Friday Night Fun and Culture: September Song

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‘Porno’ Peter LaBarbera exploits lgbt youth to fuel obsession about gay sex

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

Alvin McEwen
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reposted with permission

Our favorite irrational homophobe, ‘Porno’ Peter LaBabarbera of Americans for Truth is unwittingly teaching a lesson today on how members of the religious right cherry-pick legitimate science to demonize the lgbt community.

On his webpage, LaBarbera posted a muddled mess of a report regarding HIV cases amongst young gays. I can’t even begin to make coherence of this mess. He cites the Centers for Disease Control studies to make his case. Then he tries to claim that when the CDC supports the work of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSAN), they are actually exacerbating the problem. He says:

With HIV rates growing among YMSM (young men who have sex with men), the CDC’s focus on building self-esteem among LGBT youth and creating a “positive school climate” for homosexuals — includes forming “gay”-affirming clubs in schools — seems disconnected from reality.

The gist of what LaBarbera is trying to say is this:

The chasm between the obvious and extreme health risks associated with “gay” male sex and the CDC’s politically correct, pro-homosexuality mindset reflects public policy malpractice on an Orwellian scale. “Gay” activist ideology and assumptions — including intrinsic (many would claim innate) “gay”/bi/transgender identities — go unquestioned at the CDC. Ironically, the most direct answer to the HIV-youth crisis — teaching young people NOT to practice unhealthy homosexual sex — is the one thing that is essentially forbidden.

All across America, “gay” activists and their straight liberal allies are advocating “gay”-positive lesson plans and strategies in response to anti-homosexual bullying. However, while everyone can agree that all bullying is wrong, many “anti-bullying” programs double as pro-LGBT affirmation programs. This is troubling because:1) bullying can be discouraged with neutral messaging that does not promote “out and proud” homosexuality and transgenderism; and 2) in the name of “safety,” educators and cultural elites are advocating a sexual lifestyle that has continually been shown to be dangerous, particularly for males.

Is LaBarbera’s assumptions about the CDC wrong? Yes.

Is LaBarbera clueless? Always.

Had LaBarbera not been so obsessed with demonizing “gay sex “(yet again), he would have known that the CDC had conducted a study that looked at risk behavior among youth and an excellent part of that study was a paper which looked at the health problems regarding lgbt youth.

The CDC has also said:

LGBT youth are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers More studies are needed to better understand the risks for suicide among transgender youth.
Another survey of more than 7,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students from a large Midwestern county examined the effects of school climate and homophobic bullying on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) youth and found that

  • LGBQ youth were more likely than heterosexual youth to report high levels of bullying and substance use;
  • Students who were questioning their sexual orientation reported more bullying, homophobic victimization, unexcused absences from school, drug use, feelings of depression, and suicidal behaviors than either heterosexual or LGB students;
  • LGB students who did not experience homophobic teasing reported the lowest levels of depression and suicidal feelings of all student groups (heterosexual, LGB, and questioning students)

The CDC has also linked negative sexual behaviors to these problems amongst lgbt youth. In addition, the CDC has also listed ways to combat lgbt youth health problems:

For youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LBGT students. School personnel, leaders of community organizations, parents, and youth have a role to play in building positive, supportive, and healthy environments for youth. Such environments promote acceptance and respect and help youth feel valued . Schools can assist by implementing clear policies, procedures, and activities designed to prevent violence. For example, a study, found that, in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups.

In other words, by doing all of the things that LaBarbera seems to have a problem with, the CDC is in fact not contributing to the problem but attempting to combat it.

Let’s be honest here. LaBarbera could care less about aiding lgbt youth. They are just pawns in his continued obsession about gay sex.

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Advocates see momentum for ENDA, other bills

From The Washington Blade:

on September 11, 2013

As lawmakers return from August recess, advocates are anticipating movement on pro-LGBT legislation in the Senate during the upcoming weeks, although the Employment Non-Discrimination Act appears to have the most momentum.

The long-pursued legislation to bar anti-LGBT job bias passed out of committee in July on a bipartisan basis and supporters of the bill are expecting a vote sometime this fall.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said ENDA is the legislative focus for the organization as well as for the multi-group Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign it formed after the panel vote.

“Obviously the congressional calendar has many agenda items but we fully expect to see a Senate vote on ENDA in the fall and we’re working with our partners in the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign to build support for this critical bill,” Cole-Schwartz said.

But when ENDA will come up in the Senate this fall remains unclear. The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), hasn’t responded to multiple requests from the Blade to comment on the timing for an ENDA floor vote since the bill was reported out of committee. Reid has previously pledged in a Pride statement this year to bring up the legislation “soon.”

Allison Preiss, spokesperson for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, echoed remarks from HRC by saying panel Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is hoping a vote would take place this fall, but wasn’t more specific.

“Chairman Harkin is also optimistic that this fall, the Senate will consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the HELP Committee on a bipartisan basis and includes for the first time protections against discrimination based not only on sexual orientation but on gender identity as well,” Preiss said.

Christian Berle, legislative director for Freedom to Work, said the time has come for a Senate floor vote on ENDA because the organization believes that sufficient lobbying has occurred to reach the 60-vote threshold required to overcome a filibuster.

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Lithuania to consider five anti-gay, anti-trans bills

From Gay Star News:

Five homophobic and transphobic bills are under consideration in Lithuania

By Robert Hart
10 September 2013

Five anti-gay and anti-trans bills are to be considered in the Lithuania parliament later this year.

These bills include  a complete ban on gender reassignment, banning same-sex adoption and ‘criticisms of homosexual behavior’ no longer being classified as hate speech.

The first proposed amendment would place a ban on all trans surgery in Lithuania.

Official notes for the amendment states as Lithuanian society views ‘gender reassignment as very controversial’, it should be prohibited.

‘Society is not ready to accept gender reassignment practices due to certain psychosocial reasons, and therefore the permission to undergo gender reassignment surgeries will lead to a number of medical and ethical issues,’ it says.

The reasoning goes on to ignorantly state it is impossible to reassign gender surgically because it ‘is determined genetically from the very moment of conception’.

Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in 2007, Lithuania is obliged to enact a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment.

Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in 2007, Lithuania is obliged to enact a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment. – See more at:

A proposal that will lead to a complete ban on same-sex adoption is also being considered by the parliament on the grounds of child protection.

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Christo-Fascist advice show urges dads to keep their daughters from going to college

From Salon:

“Is the loss of our daughter’s purity worth them getting a degree they’re probably not going to use,” asks the host

Rayman Alleman is a Louisiana-based certified public accountant who, in his spare time and just for funsies, dabbles in making Internet videos filled with terrible advice about how to live your life in a terrible way.

Here is some of his advice: Hey, dads! Don’t let your daughters go to college because sexual impurity something something women don’t really need an education something something something! 

Now look, I know plenty of really intelligent and accomplished people who never went to college, and no one should feel obligated to go or in any way inadequate if they didn’t go, but the idea of telling families to keep young women from seeking higher education because they might lose their “purity” is obviously total bullshit.

I am perfectly happy to let this fool Alleman speak for himself, but Lindy West over at Jezebel was generous enough to provide a nice rundown of why he is such a garbage peddler. But you may not want to believe me (or West) about this (or anything, really!) because, per Alleman, feminists are liars who don’t care about women.

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CUNY Students Confront War Criminal David Petraeus

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When the Police Become a Standing Army, Liberty is Sacrificed Without Security

From Truth Out:

By Radley Balko
Thursday, 12 September 2013

Have law enforcement forces evolved into a standing army? Yes, in many ways, Radley Balko argues in Rise Of The Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.

According to PublicAffairs, the publisher of Balko’s book, released this September,

The American approach to law enforcement was forged by the experience of revolution. Emerging as they did from the shadow of British rule, the country’s founders would likely have viewed police, as they exist today, as a standing army, and therefore a threat to liberty. Even so, excessive force and disregard for the Bill of Rights have become epidemic in today’s world. According to civil liberties reporter Radley Balko, these are all symptoms of a generation-long shift to increasingly aggressive, militaristic, and arguably unconstitutional policing – one that would have shocked the conscience of America’s founders.

Rise of the Warrior Cop traces the arc of US law enforcement from the constables and private justice of colonial times to present-day SWAT teams and riot cops. Today, relentless “war on drugs” and “war on terror” pronouncements from politicians, along with battle-clad police forces with tanks and machine guns have dangerously blurred the distinction between cop and soldier.

The following is an excerpt from Rise Of The Warrior Cop, illustrating how no one is immune to the excessive force and technology of a modern police force, even a mayor.

Cheye Calvo only intended to be home long enough to grab a bite to eat and walk his dogs. Calvo worked full-time at an educational foundation in Washington, DC, but he also had an unusual part-time job: he was mayor of the small town of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. In 2004, at age thirty-three, he was the youngest elected mayor in the history of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Now thirty-seven, he lived with his wife, Trinity Tomsic, her mother, Georgia Porter, and their two black labradors, Payton and Chase. Calvo was due back in town later that night for a community meeting.

As Calvo took the dogs out for a walk the evening of July 29, 2008, his mother-in-law told him that a package had been delivered a few minutes earlier. He figured it was something he had ordered for his garden. “On the walk, I noticed a few black SUVs in the neighborhood, but thought little of it except to wave to the drivers,” he would later recall. When Calvo and the dogs returned, he picked up the package, brought it inside, then went upstairs to change for his meeting.

The next thing Calvo remembers is the sound of his mother-in-law screaming. He ran to the window and saw heavily armed men clad in black rushing his front door. Next came the explosion. He’d later learn that this was when the police blew open his front door. Then there was gunfire. Then boots stomping the floor. Then more gunfire. Calvo, still in his boxers, screamed, “I’m upstairs, please don’t shoot!” He was instructed to walk downstairs with his hands in the air, the muzzles of two guns pointed directly at him. He still didn’t know it was the police. He described what happened next at a Cato Institute forum six weeks later. “At the bottom of the stairs, they bound my hands, pulled me across the living room, and forced me to kneel on the floor in front of my broken door. I thought it was a home invasion. I was fearful that I was about to be executed.” I later asked Calvo what might have happened if he’d had a gun in his home for self-defense. His answer: “I’d be dead.” In another interview, he would add, “The worst thing I could have done was defend my home.”

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In Historic Move, AFL-CIO Expands Ranks With Vote to Include Non-Union, Immigrant, Low-Wage Workers

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Labor’s Makeover

From In These Times:

Live from the AFL-CIO convention: Federation President Richard Trumka has a dream.

BY David Moberg
September 12, 2013

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told the federation’s quadrennial convention in Los Angeles on Monday that he wants the federation of unions to broaden itself into a new movement that includes all working people, not only those in traditional labor unions. And he wants that working-class movement to be the cornerstone of a more closely knit, broadly based progressive movement.

Coming shortly after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Trumka’s effort to inspire leaders of an embattled labor movement invited comparison with Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. By that measure, it fell short-—and not just of the unrealistically high bar for public rhetoric. More significantly, the declining labor movement has little of the energy of the ascending civil rights movement 50 years ago.

Persistent corporate and political attacks since the 1970s have weakened unions and put them on the defensive; they’ve not yet found a foothold for a counteroffensive. As a result, over the past several decades, the labor movement lost much of its former power to improve all workers’ lives and create a more egalitarian and democratic society. Many non-union workers came to see unionized workers’ advantages not as the standard that they might share, as they did during the 1940s through the 1960s, but as simply union privilege. And rather than improve the pay of non-union workers to match the union standard, employers increasingly demanded union concessions to match non-union—or overseas—standards. Unions thus lost some ability to protect their gains, and the class solidarity inspired by union-spurred improvements to the lives of all workers was fractured.

Since 1980 or so, Trumka said, the world of the American worker has been turned upside down: The richest Americans took all the new national income, and consequently, “The working class is not the middle class any more.”

To reverse the decline, Trumka urged unions to embrace new forms of membership, from organizing workers even when the law or circumstances make it difficult to form traditional unions (such as taxi drivers or domestic workers) to expanding Working America, the decade-old community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

He proposed a new effort to organize traditional unions in the South, the poorest and least unionized region in the country; he also stressed the importance of revised procedures to avoid conflicts among union-organizing campaigns.

“To turn America right-side-up,” he said, “we need a real working-class movement.” That would be a movement of “the 99 percent,” he said, as opposed to the 11 percent now in labor unions, most of whom work under negotiated collective bargaining agreements.

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Public Universities Ramp Up Aid for the Wealthy, Leaving the Poor Behind

From Pro Publica:

by Marian Wang
ProPublica, Sep. 11, 2013

This story was co-published with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Shauniqua Epps was the sort of student that so many colleges say they want.

She was a high achiever, graduating from high school with a 3.8 GPA and ranking among the top students in her class. She served as secretary, then president, of the student government. She played varsity basketball and softball. Her high-school guidance counselor, in a letter of recommendation, wrote that Epps was “an unusual young lady” with “both drive and determination.”

Epps, 19, was also needy.

Her family lives in subsidized housing in South Philadelphia, and her father died when she was in third grade. Her mother is on Social Security disability, which provides the family $698 a month, records show. Neither of her parents finished high school.

Epps, who is African-American, made it her goal to be the first in her family to attend college.

“I did volunteering. I did internships. I did great in school. I was always good with people,” said Epps, who has a broad smile and a cheerful manner. “I thought everything was going to go my way.”

At first, it looked that way.

Epps was admitted to three colleges, all public institutions in Pennsylvania. She was awarded the maximum Pell grant, federal funds intended for needy students. She also qualified for the maximum state grant for needy Pennsylvania students.

None of the three schools Epps was admitted to gave her a single dollar of aid.

To attend her dream school, Lincoln University, Epps would have had to come up with about $4,000 per year, after maxing out on federal loans — close to half of what her mother receives from Social Security. It was money her family didn’t have, she said.

Public colleges and universities were generally founded and funded to give students in their states access to an affordable college education. They have long served as a vital pathway for students from modest means and those who are the first in their families to attend college.

But many public universities, faced with their own financial shortfalls, are increasingly leaving low-income students behind — including strivers like Epps.

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Recovery for the Rich, Recession for the Rest

From Campaign for America’s Future:

Richard Eskow
September 11, 2013

Five years after the financial crisis, it’s become increasingly apparent that the government didn’t rescue “the economy.” It rescued the wealthy, while doing far too little for everyone else.

That didn’t happen by accident. Our government’s response was largely designed by – and for – the wealthiest among us, and it shows. Here’s one highlight from a new analysis: The highest-earning Americans saw their income rise by nearly one-third in a single year, while the needle barely moved for 99 percent of us.

This post-crisis inequality is amplifying an ongoing wealth grab that was already decimating middle-class and lower-income Americans.

Recovery for the Rich

New figures on wealth inequality from economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez show that the top 10 percent earned more than half of our nation’s income. That hasn’t happened since they started tracking these figures a century ago.

What about the bottom 99 percent? After being left out of the post-crisis boom, they finally saw an increase in their earnings last year – but it was only a paltry 1 percent.

By contrast, income for the top 1 percent rose 20 percent. And the really rich, the top 0.01 percent, saw their income soar by more than 32 percent.

Recession America

These recent gains build on decades of wealth transfer from the majority to the already-wealthy minority. That shift has replaced the productive earnings of lower- and middle-class Americans with the far less fruitful gains of the already rich. While income to the “99 percent” is largely spent on goods and services, creating jobs and growth, income to the already-wealthy is increasingly sitting idle.

As the Economic Policy Institute recently observed, “The median worker saw an increase of just 5.0 percent between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity growth of 74.5 percent—while the 20th percentile worker saw wage erosion of 0.4 percent …”

What’s more, the pace of inequity seems to be accelerating. In his write-up of their new research, Emmanuel Saez notes that the top 1 percent saw their income nearly double between 1993 and 2000, rising 98.7 percent, while income for the rest rose by 20.3 percent. Over the last four years the top 1 percent saw their income rise by 31.4 percent, while the bottom 99 percent only saw real growth of 0.4 percent.

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The American Way of Poverty: As Inequality Hits Record High, Sasha Abramsky on the Forgotten Poor

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What You Need To Know About Fukushima’s Radiation And The U.S. Food Supply

From Think Progress:

By Michael Conathan
September 12, 2013

Last week, I posted a piece attempting to address a conflagration of concern that had flared up amid reports that the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is continuing to release radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. More specifically, a blogger or two had expressed the opinion that “Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over.”

Following an admittedly brief spate of investigation, my initial reaction, “Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Won’t Turn You Into a Mutant,” was rather the opposite. However, in an effort to balance reporting and expertise with entertainment and humor — most notably the amount of radiation contained in your average, every day banana — my greater point may have suffered. Commenters on the blog questioned everything from my intelligence to my ethics, and many raised legitimate questions about the potential impact of the radioactive particles that have been released into the Pacific.

So I pledged to follow up, and went straight to the experts, primarily Dr. Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Dr. Buessler was literally on his way out the door to catch a flight to Japan to continue his research, but he took a moment to read my post and return my email. His reaction:

I like [your] line
“Let’s be clear: leaked radiation is bad. This is a problem that needs urgent, international attention. But at least for now, I’m happy to reassure Joe Romm and all the parents of Facebook: your fish are not glowing with Fukushima radiation. Eat up!”


Dr. Buesseler also pointed me to a Fukushima FAQ page on his department’s website that he set up to answer the influx of questions he has received on this particular issue.

In the context of seafood consumption, the most important thing to determine is the potential degree of harm that can come to someone who eats fish that may contain higher-than-normal quantities of potentially dangerous isotopes. This begs a few specific questions:

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Is There a Limit to What Climate Movement Can Extract from Climate Science?

From Common Dreams:

Scientists and activists have rallied around the scientific consensus and the IPCC, but what if having “facts” and “evidence” on your side is not enough?

Jon Queally

If Rolling Stone’s Jeffrey Goodell is correct, the most “striking thing” about the upcoming report by the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change will not be the alarming message it contains about the dangers of a fast-warming planet, but that its publication “may actually mark the beginning of a new phase of the climate wars – one in which scientists and activists learn to fight back.”

Based on leaked portions of draft version of the IPCC assessment, others have pointed out that one of its key messages is the report’s finding that the world’s scientific community is in more agreement than ever that global warming is not only an unprecedented planetary crisis, but that more than 95% of all scientists believe, beyond doubt, that it is being driven by human- and industrial-driven activities.

As Goodell—in a thorough new piece that reviews both the history of the IPCC’s process and its possible future—writes:

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report offers slam-dunk evidence that burning fossil fuels is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warn that sea levels could rise by almost three feet by the end of the century if we don’t change our ways. The report will underscore that the basic facts about climate change are more established than ever, and that the consequences of escalating carbon pollution are likely to mean that, as The New York Times recently argued, “babies being born now could live to see the early stages of a global calamity.

But the argument forged by Goodell is not that scientists now need to do a “better job” of explaining the alarming findings of their studies. Nor does he suggest they must become better at fighting off the attacks by the network of climate change deniers funded by the fossil fuel-funded industry and spread by libertarian conspiracy theorists.  All that is well-traveled territory when it comes to climate science.

Instead, Goodell seems to find agreement with those who say the time for the drawn-out process of the IPCC review assessments may be coming to end.

Quoting David Keith, a Harvard professor who recently resigned as an author of the Fifth Assessment, Goodell says there is a group of scientists who feel as though the dire reality of the climate crisis demands more than a multi-year process that produces a document of many thousands of pages which few people will ever read.

“I think these reports have outgrown their usefulness,” Keith said, adding that if the IPCC process was gone, “scientists might reorganize themselves in a more effective way.”

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