Breaking: Rhode Island Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage 26-12

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-rhode-island-senate-passes-same-sex-marriage-26-12/news/2013/04/24/65885

by David Badash
on April 24, 2013

The full Rhode Island Senate this afternoon passed a same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 26-12, bringing the state to the edge of becoming the tenth state in the nation to extend marriage to same-sex couples. The bill now travels back to the House for a procedural vote to mesh the two versions of the bill, and assuming passage there, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee’s promised signature.

Governor Chaffee, now an Independent, was the first Republican U.S. Senator to support same-sex marriage.

All five Republican state senators voted for the bill.

As expected the most outspoken opponent was Democratic Senator Harold Metts, who spoke for nearly ten minutes, quoting Leviticus, misquoting Biblical passages and mis-quoting the Ten Commandments. Senator Metts during last month’s Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill claimed there is “a cosmic battle between God and Satan” as his reason for opposing same-sex marriage, “whether we like it or not.”

Senator Metts also claimed that the rise of China’s financial fortunes may be because America is moving away from traditional religious beliefs, ignoring that China makes religion all but illegal.

Senator Metts also said he could go home tonight and change his sexual orientation.

The bill’s chief sponsor is Democratic Senator Donna Nesselbush, who is openly-gay, and quipped at the beginning of the debate that the issue was so important to her that she “even wore a dress.”

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking-rhode-island-senate-passes-same-sex-marriage-26-12/news/2013/04/24/65885

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HBS: Play Ground for Frauds, Bullies and Self-Loathing Transsexual-Transgender People and wannabee Transsexuals

Yesterday I posted a piece titled: Django Unchained: House Slaves Like Stephan and the “Girls” of HBS.

I’ve gotten really sick of these bullies claiming some sort of right to decide who is or isn’t transsexual based on some sort of purity test that they, themselves would likely fail.

I first came on line in the summer of 1996, back in the days of search engines like Alta Vista and the Usenet/News Groups.

It was kind of a free for all and I joined in.  After a few months, the deliberate cruelty on the part of too many participants drove me away.  I was being drawn into the same sort of behavior.

One thing I noticed even then was how many of the people engaging in this sort of viciousness hid behind aliases and created sycophant sock-puppets, evil trolls to do their dirty work.

Having this happen in a community where there are way too many people who have suffered from abuse and bullying seemed totally fucked up.

I’ve seen the damage of all the abuse and bullying play out across the various trans-communities.  I’ve seen the suicides, I’ve seen the substance abuse.

I’m still alive because I stopped doing drugs back when Reagan was President and they stepped up the War on Drugs.  I was never into the prescription drug abuse so many of my friends were.

Now I’m still here while most of my friends from the 1970s are dead, their deaths brought on by the years of drug abuse.

I fought my own battles with the bottle and haven’t had a drink in over a dozen years.  People now ask me for advice on getting sober.

Along the line I took stock.  Figured out the abuse of people for being transsexual/transgender had to stop.

It was bad enough coming from the Christo-Fascists and Neo-Nazi right wing not to mention the Rad Fems.

Too have the gaggle of wannabees, virtual reality TS/TG KKK dancing around behind masks spewing hate is really disgusting.

They preach to their own circle and are surprised when their sock-puppets aren’t allowed to post.

They scream censorship while having their blogs as platforms to spew hatred from.

To Jennifer Usher’s credit she doesn’t hide behind a mask to spew her hatred and bigotry.  Others do.  Andrea James hunted down a bunch of the fakes including Kiira Tirea and Cheryl Chase at one point. Back by popular demand: internet fakes

Many of us were raised with a burden of guilt and shame regarding being TS/TG.  This leads to self-hatred.

Much of homophobia comes from people who are closet case gay men and lesbians.  So too for the virulent hatred spewed by the HBS faction of TG/TS people.

I’ve seen photographs of a number of them.  Andrea James has exposed others. Most seem to have rather sad isolated lives and are lashing out at people who are having more successful lives than they are.

Oddly enough the more they spew, the more elaborate their fantasy lives the easier they are to see through.

Time is not on their side.

There are too many bright, talented and together TS/TG men and women along with some marvelously eccentric and transgressive TS/TG folks out there who are actively organizing for their right to have lives of equality and dignity.

Time is not on the side of the HBS bigots and trolls.  Even a place like Idaho, home to all sorts of strange survivalists and right wing kooks has amended their policy on issuing gender congruent driver’s licenses and ID cards.  See: Idaho Amends Policy for Changing Gender Marker on Driver’s Licenses

Perhaps the HBS holes will someday learn some self acceptance and stop projecting their internalized pathologies onto others.

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Transgender rights: the next big political movement

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/23/transgender-rights-movement-gaining-momentum

Akin to the marriage equality effort, there is a coalition forming to end discrimination and misunderstanding of the trans community


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 April 2013

Recently we’ve been inundated with images of gay couples holding hands, demonstrating their commitment to one another and protesting the marriage ban. But while the push toward marriage equality sits in the spotlight, there’s another movement underway, one that’s gaining momentum and promises to grow into a leading political contender, but you may not know it yet. I’m talking about the transgender movement.

We live in a culture of disrespect towards trans people, only compounded by laws on the books that fail to uphold justice equally. But this isn’t just about a distant minority, the status of trans people in this country matters not only because we are a marginalized minority – though that is in itself significant – but also because it has broader implications for who we are as a nation. How do we treat each other? To what standard do we hold our government?

One of the biggest issues is discrimination, which holds transgender people back in a myriad of ways, primary among them being in employment. It’s shocking to learn that transgender people are nearly four times more likely than the general population to make less than $10,000 a year, according to Injustice At Every Turn (pdf), the largest study ever conducted on transgender people in the US. This is due in large part to public attitudes. Transgender people are often denied jobs or promotions, keeping us on the bottom of the economic ladder. There’s no federal law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, and only 16 states have stepped up to fill the void. That leaves 34 states where it is perfectly legal to fire someone for being transgender.

We’re also face discrimination in the streets – confronting violence and harassment, including from the police, who are the very ones sworn to protect us. Hate crimes go under-reported, or cases aren’t taken seriously, and survivors are frequently disregarded and disrespected. In the study Injustice at Every Turn, over one-fifth (22%) of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by officers, with much higher rates reported by trans people of color. In fact, trans people are often targeted by law enforcement as “suspicious”. In another study, almost 60% of trans Latinas stopped by police in Los Angeles said they were stopped while doing everyday things like “coming back from the grocery store” and “waiting for the bus” – hardly criminal activities. Considering police mistreatment, the last thing you want is to be caught “walking while trans”, especially if you’re a trans woman of color.

But in the face of such rampant discrimination, transgender people are coming together to create a bona fide political movement. Formal organizations are starting up, creating infrastructure to make demands of those in charge and hold them accountable. A critical mass of us are moving past getting angry and moving on to getting politically savvy, building a network of activists pushing for social change. We’re starting to rake up smaller victories that lay the groundwork for larger culture shifts. For example, of the 16 state laws protecting trans people against employment discrimination, 14 of them passed within the last decade, representing a groundswell of political organizing and public education.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/23/transgender-rights-movement-gaining-momentum

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Gay vs. Trans Cultural Influence, and the Slow Evolution From Ignorance to Acceptance Within the LGBT Community

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/gay-vs-trans-cultural-influence_b_3118538.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

04/22/2013

Over the past few weeks there have been several music-related media stories making the rounds in the LGBT community: the homophobic rant by Michelle Shocked and the subsequent fallout, and the Indigo Girls’ commitment to stand with the trans community at the iconic Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF). The way these two stories developed exemplifies the difference in power and influence between the two communities, gay and trans, which are united except when they’re not.

Once Shocked’s rant went viral, fans boycotted her shows, and promoters cancelled her performances. She was so infuriated that she herself lashed out with some performance art and the usual unapologetic “apology.” The consequences of her words led to what now seems an unremarkable, well-organized response from the gay community and its allies. The well-oiled machine that is the gay communications “war room” primes a community that is no longer willing to tolerate abuse and puts into motion with remarkable efficiency a potent campaign response. It works, the mission is accomplished and the story fades, and one hopes that others with feelings similar to those of Shocked, like Dr. Ben Carson, stop and ponder their beliefs and begin to change their behaviors.

The recent contretemps with the MWMF, however, was a much more placid affair, one that has played out many times over the past 20 years since the actively trans-exclusionist policy of the festival was made public. Change, if it happens, will continue to be incremental, a slap on the wrist and not the kind of punishment meted out to Shocked. A change.org petition made the rounds, the Indigo Girls made a statement and Lisa Vogel, the MWMF’s only director for the 38 years of the festival’s existence, replied with a non-apology. This included a comment about the event’s desire to “recognize and honor diverse gender expression among womyn,” a remarkable statement that persons who were assigned female at birth (obviously only on the basis of their perceived genitalia) and then raised as girls are uniquely “womyn-born womyn” and constitute a unique gender identity in themselves. She also highlighted in her response the fact that at the time the festival was created, “the mere idea of a female identity autonomous of male identity was revolutionary.”

And therein lies the rub. Ms. Vogel has not evolved over the past four decades from a second-wave-feminist, Manichean worldview that sees two warring camps, male and female, and she follows the so-called “feminist” philosophy that trans women are simply tools of the patriarchy. It is also doubly ironic that when modern feminism developed in the mid-20th century, the fundamental point was that reproductive biology was not destiny, and yet today we have “feminists” lauding the beauty and function of their reproductive systems as the reason to exclude trans women from the set of all women.

I support the right of all to freely associate. That includes lesbian separatists as well as bigots. As former Vice President Dick Cheney memorably said, “Freedom means freedom for everyone.” If our community accepts this overt bigotry, however, we send the wrong message.

Now I will wade in more deeply. MWMF is simply the tip of the cultural iceberg. I wish that Lisa Vogel and Janice Raymond and Julie Burchill and the rest of them were simply a small group of loud outliers. Unfortunately, they are not. While we have a remarkable group of cisgender lesbian allies, my experience, and that of many of my 50-plus-year-old trans women friends, is that many cis lesbians do not view trans women as women, nor do they view trans men as men, which is probably even more offensive.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/gay-vs-trans-cultural-influence_b_3118538.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Amid Much Tumult, France Approves ‘Marriage for All’

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/world/europe/france-approves-same-sex-marriage.html?ref=global-home&_r=1&

By SCOTT SAYARE
Published: April 23, 2013

PARIS — With a definitive vote by the lower house of Parliament, France on Tuesday became the world’s 14th nation, and the third in just two weeks, to approve marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the Constitutional Council and signed into law by President François Hollande in time to allow the country’s first same-sex weddings this summer.

Passage of the “marriage for all” law, sponsored by Mr. Hollande, a Socialist, came after months of sometimes angry debate and a series of major protests, rallies that drew Roman Catholics from France’s rural regions and received the backing of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, as well as the conservative political opposition. Homophobic violence had risen in recent weeks, with a handful of attacks on gay couples reported across the country.

The legislation was approved by a vote of 331 to 225 in the National Assembly, the lower house, where the left holds a strong majority. Eleven legislators from the center and right broke with party lines to support the law, though there were indications that some of those votes may have been cast by mistake. There were 10 abstentions.

“It is a generous text that you’ve voted for today,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told legislators on Tuesday evening, calling the law a “very beautiful reform.”

Opposition to the law, which also opens adoption to same-sex couples, remained strong and vocal even after the vote. Members of Parliament from the country’s main opposition party, the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, had earlier announced that they would challenge the legality of the new law before the Constitutional Council, a high court that rules on matters of constitutionality. And organizers for an opposition movement called La Manif Pour Tous, or Protest for All, said they intended to continue to demonstrate.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the National Assembly, where opponents have held daily protests. Several dozen violent protesters, some wearing balaclavas, clashed with the riot police there, French news media reported, but most remained peaceful.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/world/europe/france-approves-same-sex-marriage.html?ref=global-home&_r=1&

See Also: Gay Star UK: France passes same-sex marriage, adoption

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Delaware House passes marriage-equality bill

From The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:   http://sdgln.com/news/2013/04/23/delaware-house-oks-marriage-equality-bill

DOVER, Dela. – The House voted 23-18 today to approve a marriage-equality bill.

The bill, HB 75, will be considered next by the state Senate. Both the Senate and the House are controlled by Democrats. Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, proposed the bill and promised to sign it into law if passed.

Gay-rights advocates and allies are optimistic that there are enough votes for passage.

“The history-making vote in the House represents just how ready for marriage equality Delaware is,” said Lisa Goodman, Equality Delaware president. “Constituents from up and down the state are reaching out to their lawmakers to express their support for treating everyone equally under the law. And legislators are hearing that message, from both Democrats and Republicans, loud and clear.”

Delaware legalized same-sex civil unions in 2011, and that law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France (this summer), Iceland, the Netherlands (and the Caribbean island of Saba), New Zealand (August 2013), Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay (this summer).

In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and in the states of Oaxaca and Quintana Roo. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order.

In Brazil, same-sex marriage is legal in the states of Alagoas, Bahia and São Paulo. Elsewhere in Brazil, same-sex couples can enter into a “stable union” then go before a judge and convert the union into a full marriage.

Continue reading at:  http://sdgln.com/news/2013/04/23/delaware-house-oks-marriage-equality-bill

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BREAKING: Rhode Island senate committee advances gay marriage bill

From LGBTQ Nation:    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/04/breaking-rhode-island-senate-committee-advances-gay-marriage-bill/

Staff Report
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island state Senate committee on Tuesday voted to advance a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure by a vote of 7-4 moments ago, sending the bill to the full Senate, which could take up the measure as early as Wednesday. The House passed the bill in January.

The committee also voted 5-6 not to put forward a proposal by Sen. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence), which sought to place a marriage referendum on the 2014 ballot.

The Senate has long been seen as the true test for gay marriage in Rhode Island, now the only state in New England without gay marriage.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent and supporter of same-sex marriage, has promised to sign the bill if passed by the legislature.

Earlier on Tuesday, all five members of the Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus announced their support for the bill, becoming the first unanimous legislative caucus in the nation — of either party — to support marriage equality.

Rhode Island is one of four states that could legalize same-sex marriage this year — the others are Delaware, Minnesota and Illinois.

See Also: Pivotal vote on same-sex marriage bill looms in Rhode Island

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Nevada Senate OKs Marriage Equality, Senator Comes Out

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2013/04/23/nevada-senate-oks-marriage-equality-senator-comes-out

Nevada’s state Senate approves the first step in overturning its same-sex marriage ban, and a senator comes out.

BY Michelle Garcia
April 23 2013

The Nevada State Senate voted 12-9 to repal the statewide constitutional amendment that currently bars same-sex couples from marrying, after a floor debate in which Sen. Kelvin Atkinson told all of his colleagues that he is gay.

“I’m black. I’m gay,” he said Monday, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black gay male.”

Atkinson, who was reportedly very emotional, added that his father, who remarried a woman of another race, would have been barred from doing so earlier in American history. He also argued that establishing marriage equality for same-sex couples would not threaten heterosexual marriages.

“If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place,” he said.

The state senate now has three openly gay members, including senators David Parks and Pat Spearman, with Atkinson.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer was the only Republican to vote in favor of overturning the constitutional ban. Sen. Ruben Kihuen, a Catholic, said he wasn’t sure if he would “be allowed in church on Sunday,” after voting to repeal the ban, but Mormon senator Justin Jones said he had to vote in support of his gay brother-in-law.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2013/04/23/nevada-senate-oks-marriage-equality-senator-comes-out

See Also:  Think Progress: Nevada Senator Comes Out As Senate Approves Repeal Of Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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How Capitalism Is Dismembering America

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-capitalism-dismembering-america

If there’s any way capitalism can work, it has to be regulated. Otherwise greed takes over.

By Paul Buchheit
April 21, 2013

Too many Americans are unaware of the extreme disparities that have been caused by the unregulated profit incentive of capitalism. Our winner-take-all system is flailing away at once-healthy parts of society, leaving them like withered limbs on a trembling body, even as the relative few who benefit promote the illusion of opportunity and prosperity for all. Concerned citizens armed with facts are not fooled. Instead, the more they learn the angrier they get. And as in revolutions of the past, discontent leads to change.

Hacking Off the Poor Half of Society

Some wealthy and uninformed individuals have referred to the lowest-income 47% of Americans as the “takers,” who enjoy government benefits at the expense of the high-earning one percent. But their claim is meaningless. The total amount paid out in ‘welfare’ (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is less than the investment income of just three men in a single year .

The monthly TANF income for a family of four is less than what the average member of the Forbes Top 20 made in one second at the office.

The 47% don’t own stocks. They don’t own anything. The so-called ‘takers’ have ZERO wealth. The value of any assets owned by nearly half of the country is surpassed by their debt.

Slashing the Security of the Elderly

Recipients of ‘entitlements’ are accused by the uninformed of getting something for nothing. The opposite is true. According to the Urban Institute , the typical two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes will receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in. Same for single males. Almost the same for single females.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-capitalism-dismembering-america

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Singing, Dancing, Performing: The Pressure on Women Artists to Be Extreme

From RH Reality Check: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/04/19/singing-dancing-performing-the-pressure-on-women-artists-to-be-extreme/

by Hannah Weintraub
April 19, 2013

I used to play guitar. Then, one day, I exclaimed to a friend that I didn’t need to learn how to play guitar anymore. I was happy to just find someone to play with me as I sang. He shook his head and said to me, “A girl who can sing and play an instrument: She is unstoppable.”

Unfortunately, this statement is too frequently untrue. More often than not, even the girl who can sing and play must have just the right look and just the right expression of gender, and also a touch of crazy, in order to make waves. Otherwise, the music industry has the tendency to tear girls up and put them back together into a more “acceptable” artist.

The music industry has seen so many young women crash and burn that I’m surprised these artists haven’t earned their own genre on iTunes. Here are just a few high-profile “troubled artist” examples: Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning, Britney Spears received psychiatric treatment, and Demi Lovato went to rehab.

It’s hard to tell if the music and entertainment industry attracts women who already have a high propensity for erratic behavior or if the general pressure of the environment pushes them into it. At any rate, media and advertisers seem to be interested in dictating the behavior of mainstream women artists in a way that doesn’t apply to their male counterparts. These pressures push women to two character extremes: the innocent, sweet girl-next-door type or the crazy, wild party animal. There are few women performers who can stand somewhere in the middle of these polarizing personas. What if a star dares to fall from her predetermined character mold? People from all areas ogle and judge her as if it is an astronomical malady.

This pressure to conform to a specific archetype does not just come from the media. The push also comes from companies that peddle an artist’s reputation as if it were a product itself. Some brands even capitalize on the unusual and tragic antics of a singer to generate hype for themselves. A recent article in the New York Times explained that many companies use popularity scores to select their spokeswomen. Interestingly, certain higher-end beauty and fashion companies, such as MAC cosmetics, are more inclined to hire more controversial stars with lower scores to represent their products. So does Lady Gaga, who has a line with MAC, always feel it in her heart to be a meat-wearing “monster,” or is the lure of advertiser money part of the inspiration to wear unusual outfits and act out?

Continue reading at:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/04/19/singing-dancing-performing-the-pressure-on-women-artists-to-be-extreme/

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Antibiotic resistant superbugs become mortal threat

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Why We Need More (and Better) Environmental Coverage in the News

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/23

by Tyson Miller

Around Earth Day, environmental stories in the mainstream news media usually peak. However, consistent environmental news coverage throughout the rest of the year is hard to find; with environmental stories representing just 1% of news headlines for nationally focused news outlets.

Case in point: James Bond related coverage garnered 5 times more coverage than fracking on major nightly news programs over the past year. Americans overwhelmingly want something to change in this area. In fact, data shows that nearly 80% want environmental coverage in the news to be improved regardless of age, race, or geographic location.

Invariably we live in a society where the story or headline most likely to attract a viewer is often what makes it above the fold. The problem, however, is that entertainment and crime stories, on average, garner 3 and 5 times more coverage than environmental ones.  Unfortunately, for some credible news organizations, the ratio is 50 to 1. After analyzing 17 months of data for 46 news organizations and compiling into a ranking report, some of the other findings are striking:

  • Fox News had the highest percentage of headline environmental stories (1.57%) among cable and network news outlets; with CNN having the lowest (0.36%) (although FOX’s climate coverage has been documented for being misleading over 90% of the time).
  • Despite being publicly-supported news organizations, even NPR and PBS consistently prioritize entertainment headlines over environmental ones.
  • Independent news organizations and many local newspapers prioritize environmental coverage much more than national news organizations and are the success models to look to

The good news is that the environment is an “integrating” topic and can be connected to jobs and the economy, health, climate change, food, security, community development, justice, education, business, science and technology, weather, and so much more. Fortunately, there are more resources now than ever before to report on environmental stories. Whether in the form of news wires, content sharing partnerships, credible academic institutions, or journalism training organizations, news executives have a range of resources at their fingertips. The key question is whether there is the will to push the needle forward on this issue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/23

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Debunking The Dumbest Denier Myth (Again): ‘Climate Change’ Vs. ‘Global Warming’

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/23/1909881/debunking-the-dumbest-denier-myth-again-climate-change-vs-global-warming/

By Joe Romm
on Apr 23, 2013

Some myths pushed by the anti-science crowd are so laughably backwards that repeating them should be grounds for expulsion from homo “sapiens.” And so it is with the doubly wrong claim that progressives are now using the term ‘climate change’ because the planet has supposedly stopped warming.

Of course, it hasn’t actually stopped warming (see “Global Warming Has Accelerated In Past 15 Years, New Study Of Oceans Confirms“).

But since the deniers make up stuff about the science, why shouldn’t they make up stuff about everything else?

Indeed, it is conservatives who typically change the names of things, as in refusing to say “Democratic” but only “Democrat” and insisting on “death tax” rather than “estate tax,” even though only big estates are taxed, not death.

That latter switch was championed by the GOP’s spinmaster, Frank Luntz, who, as it turns out, also championed switching from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ in 2003. Scientists, environmentalists, progressives, and frankly the whole darn planet have always used both terms — hence the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established in 1988.

In a confidential 2003 memo, Luntz asserted that the Administration and conservatives should stop using the term “global warming” because it was too frightening:

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/23/1909881/debunking-the-dumbest-denier-myth-again-climate-change-vs-global-warming/

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This Earth Day, let’s be on Mother Earth’s side

From The Progressive:  http://www.progressive.org/earth-day

By Winona LaDuke
April 22, 2013

This Earth Day, let’s quit being extremists.

That’s what the U.S. economy relies on right now, and that’s how the huge mineral and fossil fuel companies are making their money: extremism.

When they peel off layers of the Earth for oil and make poisonous tar sands, they are acting like extremists.

And when they crack and contaminate aquifers for natural gas, a process known as fracking, they are acting like extremists.

And when they blow off the top of a mountain for coal, or maybe just put an oil well in a pristine ecosystem and drill 20,000 feet down into the depths of our ocean, they are acting like extremists.

It is arrogant, and it is wrong.

And often, Native peoples pay the price.

The DeBeers mining company has invaded the Cree territory of the far north of Canada’s James Bay, pulling $5 billion worth of diamonds out annually, and relegating the Cree people to Third World conditions. Their water is contaminated, and a plague of scabies and impetigo has hit the tribe.

Elsewhere in Canada, companies are proposing to create massive mines in pristine watersheds. The acid runoff could ruin our habitat, and the cyanide could drain into our water lifeblood.

In Wisconsin, a mining company called Gogebic Taconite helped draft a law earlier this year that allows it to contaminate wetlands in the watershed of the Bad River Ojibwe just a few miles from Lake Superior. Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislature did the company’s bidding.

Continue reading at:  http://www.progressive.org/earth-day

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This Earth Day, Stop the Appalachian Health Crisis Caused by Mountain Top Removal

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/173968/earth-day-stop-appalachian-health-crisis-caused-mountain-top-removal#

Laura Flanders
on April 22, 2013

A year ago this week, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) hosted four leading scientists for Senate and House briefings on the environmental and health impacts of mountain top removal (MTR) mining in Appalachia.

The scientists’ peer reviewed research was damning: mountain top removal, the practice of clearing mountaintops of trees and topsoil and then blasting them with explosives to reveal the coal seams underneath, is polluting the Appalachian watershed decreasing organism diversity, increasing flooding and contaminating ground water. The air’s in trouble too, leading to high rates of cancer, heart and respiratory disease:

Preliminary laboratory tests, using air samples from areas where people are living in Appalachia, show mountain top removal mining dust kills heart cells and impairs vascular function.

Mortality rates in the affected areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are rising:

From 1999 to 2005, there were 4,432 “excess deaths” in Appalachia. It has also been found that babies born to mothers who live in areas with mountain top removal mining have a 26% higher rate of birth defects. That compares to babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy who only have an 18% higher risk of birth defects.

Right now, members of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Campaign are back on Capitol Hill preparing to brief House staffers on the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act, H.R. 526), which an impressive group of Democrats has introduced to protect Appalachian families and communities from mountain top removal, what many call “extreme mining.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/173968/earth-day-stop-appalachian-health-crisis-caused-mountain-top-removal#

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