Elvis, John Prescott and me: an interview with April Ashley, Britain’s first transsexual

Buuuh… Wrong…  Even in 1960 April Ashley was far from being the first in Great Britain.  That honor quite probably goes to Roberta Cowell some eight years prior.

None the less April was much cooler and a whole lot hipper.

From The Telegraph UK:   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10313565/Elvis-John-Prescott-and-me-an-interview-with-April-Ashley-Britains-first-transsexual.html

The subject of a new exhibition, April Ashley was the tortured little boy who became a glamorous woman. So has Britain’s first transsexual lived happily ever after? Not quite.

By
25 Sep 2013

Once, a long time ago now, a 25-year-old man from Liverpool called George Jamieson lay down on a hospital bed in Casablanca.

His last memory before he lost consciousness was seeing his surgeon leaning over the bed and saying, “Au revoir monsieur.” During the nine hours he was asleep everything changed. “When I woke up the surgeon was looking at me again. Only this time he said, ‘Bonjour mademoiselle.’ And those were the most lovely words I’d ever heard.”

George Jamieson had effectively died on the operating table, and been reborn as April Ashley.

At 78, April Ashley walks a little stiffly and uses a stick, but as she makes her way into a gastropub in Fulham she still exudes an air of enormous grandeur.

She’s dressed all in white, apart from gold trainers; her hands are exquisitely manicured, and her lips the colour of ox blood. As for her purple-tinted hair, it looks as if nothing, not even a nearby earthquake, could ruffle it.

 

“I’d like a glass of champagne, please,” she tells the waitress. When it arrives she picks it up by the stem and looks at me through a haze of bubbles, one eyebrow arched in readiness.

From Friday she will be the subject of an art exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool entitled April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady”, curated by the Homotopia gay rights organisation. When I ask how her 25-year-old self would feel about being accorded such recognition, she gives a throaty chuckle.

“Even my 77-year-old self would have been astonished,” she says – or rather drawls in a voice that stretches each vowel to about four times its normal length. “It’s all come as a great surprise.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10313565/Elvis-John-Prescott-and-me-an-interview-with-April-Ashley-Britains-first-transsexual.html

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Scumbag Regnerus Study Editor James Wright Lies Again

From Lez Get Real:  http://lezgetreal.com/2013/09/scumbag-regnerus-editor-james-wright-lies/

by: Scott Rose
on September 24, 2013

Reposted with Permission

James Wright, the derelict editor who enabled the infamous anti-gay Regnerus hoax, has once again been caught in flagrante telling lies.

The untruths involve interactions between Wright and the publisher Elsevier regarding the “impact factor” for “Social Science Research,” the disreputable journal that published the two anti-gay Regnerus packages in June and November, 2012.

In the case that John M. Becker is bringing against Wright’s University of Central Florida, Wright’s Deposition was filed on June 25, 2013.

Asked this question for the Deposition:

“Does your publisher have discussions with you about what level — what your impact factor is from day to day, week to week, month to month?”

Wright said:

“no, it’s not day to day, week to week, or month to month. Once a year, new impact factor scores come out, and I get an E-mail sent to me through Elsevier that says, ‘Your impact factor for last year was’ … whatever it was. And that’s about the extent of it.”

Wright’s statement there, however, is completely contradicted in the “Audit” he published of the process through which the first anti-gay Regnerus package saw the light of day. The Auditor, Darren Sherkat, tried to make the case that Regnerus’s junk science and the additional junk papers published with and in support of it resulted from Elsevier putting pressure on Wright to improve the journal’s impact factor. One thing Sherkat confessed in his audit was that “rigorous independent evaluation of these manuscripts would have made Social Science Research a less popular but better journal.”

Here is what the Audit Wright published has to say specifically about impact factor:

“The fetishism of the journal impact factors comes from the top down, and all major publishers prod editors about the current state of their impact factor. Elsevier is particularly attentive to this and frequently inquires about what Wright is doing to improve the already admirable impact factor of Social Science Research.” (Bolding added).

In Becker’s lawsuit, where Wright is trying to portray himself as not having published Regnerus’s anti-gay junk science because of “impact factor”-related pressures, he says that he only hears from Elsevier about impact factors once yearly.

But in the Audit, where Wright is trying to show that Elsevier puts a lot of “impact-related” pressure on him, and that therefore, he should be excused for publishing Regnerus’s junk science in a hot rush, we read that Elsevier “frequently inquires about what Wright is doing to improve” “Social Science Research’s” impact factor.

The statements are mutually exclusive. It can not possibly be the case that 1) Wright only hears once per year from Elsevier about “Social Science Research’s” impact factor, and that 2) Elsevier frequently inquires about what Wright is doing to improve “Social Science Research’s” impact factor.

Notice also, in the Deposition, Wright says he heard only once per year from Elsevier, and only about what the “Social Science Research” impact factor for the year just past was.

In thoroughgoing contradiction to that, the Audit says that Wright hears “frequently” from Elsevier, which wants to know what he is doing to improve “Social Science Research’s” impact factor.

As previously reported, whereas the Audit claims that Wright is so busy with “Social Science Research” work that he could not possibly have been expected to find topic experts without fiduciary conflicts of interest to peer review the Regnerus and Marks submissions, Wright in his deposition says that on average, he spends just three to four hours per week working on the journal “Social Science Research.”

According to the public court record for Becker’s lawsuit, Becker filed a September 18, 2013 Motion for Discovery to Re-Depose James Wright based on changed testimony. Then on September 20, UCF filed a Response in Opposition to Petitioner’s Motion to Re-Depose Dr. James Wright.

The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees are named as Defendant in Becker’s lawsuit.  If they have any interest in their school’s integrity, they will promptly let the public know whether Wright was lying about Elsevier and impact factor matters in his Deposition, or in the Audit he published.

To sign the petition asking the University of Central Florida to hold James Wright accountable for violating its CREED in publishing the two anti-gay Regnerus packages, go here.

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Do We Really Need a Feminist Press?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leora-tanenbaum/do-we-really-need-a-femin_b_3910466.html

09/13/2013

Yes, we do.

Founded in 1970 by Florence Howe, the Feminist Press is an independent, nonprofit publisher with an illustrious history. In its earliest years, a husband legally could rape his wife, a pregnant woman could be fired for being pregnant, abortion was illegal, and workplace sexual harassment was rampant and accepted. In this environment, Howe recovered “lost” literary works by Zora Neale Hurston, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and others to show the toll of sex discrimination and the complexity of women’s lives — and also to give voice to what was possible. At the time, the Feminist Press was radical and cutting-edge: no one else cared about these literary treasures that are now on every feminist intellectual’s bookshelf or e-reader.

But in 2013, when many authors writing in print on feminist themes — Toni Morrison, Hanna Rosin, Sheryl Sandberg — are courted by mainstream publishers, what role does the Feminist Press still serve?

With a new publisher and executive director, Jennifer Baumgardner, the Feminist Press is about to become more relevant than ever before. Baumgardner intends to expand beyond the traditional mission of publishing — producing books and delivering them to readers. Her goal is to transform the Feminist Press into a nerve center for feminist work that includes books as well as grassroots activism.

Baumgardner, born the year the Feminist Press was created, is the author of six books, including Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics and Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, co-authored with Amy Richards and a staple in gender/women’s studies curricula. She is also the documentary filmmaker of I Had an Abortion and It Was Rape. Her newest work, forthcoming in October, is We Do! American Leaders Who Believe in Marriage Equality, an anthology edited with Madeleine Kunin, former governor of Vermont. Baumgardner has been the keynote speaker at over 250 colleges and universities. Together with Amy Richards, she created a feminist lecture agency, Soapbox Inc., which has become a cornerstone of feminist intellectual life. (I have been fortunate to be dispatched by Soapbox to college campuses across the country to speak about my own work.)

I first met Baumgardner 18 years ago, when she was an editor at Ms. and I was a freelance writer. She quickly rose to become a central figure in third-wave feminism.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leora-tanenbaum/do-we-really-need-a-femin_b_3910466.html

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Carolyn Cassady, Beat Writer and Muse, Dies at 90

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/books/carolyn-cassady-beat-generation-writer-dies-at-90.html?hpw&_r=2&

By
Published: September 23, 2013

Carolyn Cassady, a writer who entered the American consciousness in 1957 as a character in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road,” and decades later chronicled her life as a member of the Beat Generation, died on Friday near her home in Bracknell, England. She was 90.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter Cathy Sylvia, who said Ms. Cassady lapsed into a coma after an emergency appendectomy.

Ms. Cassady, whom Jerry Cimino, director of the Beat Museum in San Francisco, called “the grande dame of the Beat Generation,” was a central figure in the real-life circle of friends whose travels across the country in search of kicks and revelation were immortalized in “On the Road.” She was the inspiration for the character Camille, the second wife of Dean Moriarty, the “wild yea-saying overburst of American joy” who makes the novel go go go. Dean Moriarty was based on Neal Cassady, her husband during the period recounted in the novel.

For a woman in the 1940s and ’50s, this was not an easy role. While her male peers, including her husband, celebrated the freedoms of sex, drugs, literature and the open road, Ms. Cassady was by turns an eager participant and a dissenting adult, the one who kept the utilities on, raised the children and watched with dismay as the next generation of young men emulated the self-destructive impulses of the last.

Her two books, “Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal” (1976), which was made into a 1980 film, and “Off the Road: My Years With Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg” (1990), provided a sobering corrective to what she considered misconceptions about the essentially unhappy lives of these men, the poet Allen Ginsberg among them, even while excusing the worst of her husband’s transgressions.

“I kept thinking that the imitators never knew and don’t know how miserable these men were,” she told the novelist Gina Berriault in 1972. “They think they were having marvelous times — joy, joy, joy — and they weren’t at all.”

Ms. Cassady was born Carolyn Robinson on April 23, 1923, in East Lansing, Mich., the youngest of five siblings in a household that prized Victorian values and books — more than 2,500 of them. Her father was a biochemist and her mother a former English teacher.

The family moved to Nashville when Carolyn was 8. After attending an elite prep school and Bennington College in Vermont, she was studying painting and theater design in a graduate program at the University of Denver in March 1947 when her life took a wild turn — as several lives did in those days — in the person of Neal Cassady.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/books/carolyn-cassady-beat-generation-writer-dies-at-90.html?hpw&_r=2&

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World News Today -Guess How Bribes Affected NSA Spying Votes in Congress

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Chicago politicians plan paramilitary policing – the last thing we need

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/25/chicago-politicians-paramilitary-policing

No one disputes that gun violence is a big problem in parts of Chicago. But we can’t tackle criminality without talking poverty


theguardian.com, Wednesday 25 September 2013

Pundits and politicians would have you believe that violence in Chicago is at an all-time high, that conditions on the south and west side are so bad they should be considered war zones. Yet, mass shootings have become increasingly common in America – last week’s incident on a Chicago basketball court occurring just days after the deaths at the navy yard in DC. Despite bearing the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate in the country, FBI crime statistics released Monday 16 September show that Chicago residents are less likely to be victims of homicide than, for example, residents of Flint, Michigan.

Like every big city in this country, a significant portion of Chicago’s population is involved in illegal activities. Yes, this latest shooting was perpetrated by a gang in retaliation for an earlier shooting. Yes, the shooters gave no consideration to any bystanders, including the three-year-old boy who was injured by a bullet that night. However, the shooters weren’t alone in their lack of concern.

Thirteen people were shot in a park on the south side, but the reaction of political leaders wasn’t an outpouring of mourning. Instead, there were a number of calls to solve the problem by sidestepping civil liberties and common sense. Rather than address any of the conditions that foster crime in the city, local politicians have chosen to engage in their favorite form of political theater: acting “tough on crime”.

The last six months have brought solutions that range from calls for federal intervention, even using the national guard, to round up all members of the largest gangs (suggested by Senator Mark Kirk), to a recent offer from Governor Quinn to send in the state police. Meanwhile, a history of police brutality in the communities with higher rates of violence has done little to foster trust. So little, in fact, that the strategy implemented under Mayor Emanuel – sending extra officers (all rookies) to walk beats in the most violent areas – has not had the desired effect.

Framing what’s happening here as an epidemic to be stopped at all costs ignores the reality that the criminals involved are people. It ignores the fact that the communities at the center of the violence have every right to expect actual support from public servants.

Aside from the problems with “solutions” that involve introducing more guns to an already unstable situation, there is the reality that these tactics do not work. Research done as recently as 2007, in Chicago and other major cities with high crime rates, shows that using punitive methods against gangs are ineffective. Prevention and intervention yield better results for the individuals involved, and for their communities. A focus on preventing children from joining gangs in the first place, as well as on offering gang members the access to education and employment that they have been lacking is more likely to be effective.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/25/chicago-politicians-paramilitary-policing

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We Live Under a Total Surveillance State in America — Can We Prevent It from Evolving into a Full-Blown Police State?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/activism/we-live-under-total-surveillance-state-america-can-we-prevent-it-evolving-full-blown-police

It’s our duty to save democracy from the authoritarianism emerging from the Executive Branch.

By Fred Branfman
September 25, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of an original AlterNet series on the U.S. Executive Branch.  Part 1 was “How The U.S. Executive Branch Threatens U.S. National Security,” Part 2 “The World’s Most Evil And Lawless Institution,”  Part 3 “A Clear and Present Danger to Our Democracy“ and  Part 4 “New Hope For Defending Democracy Against Executive Power.”

“Knowledge (of) the scale of our capability would raise public awareness generating unwelcome publicity for us and our political masters.” —Classified UK NSA  document

“To approve such a program, the Court must have every confidence that the government is doing its utmost to ensure that those responsible for implementation fully comply with the Court’s orders. The Court no longer has such confidence.” —U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance  Court Order, p. 12, 3-9-2009

***

For those alarmed by the steady growth of lawless, violent and authoritarian U.S. Executive power for the last 50 years, the events of the past few months have been exciting. The emergence of a de facto coalition of progressives and conservatives opposing the  National Defense Authorization Act law giving the Executive the right to unilaterally detain or execute American citizens without a trial, and  NSA mass surveillance of phone and Internet data, has been unprecedented, and offers the first hope in 70 years that Executive power can be curbed

The most important development has been the public and congressional reaction to President Obama’s proposal to strike Syria. A huge majority of the American people opposed even a limited military action by the Executive Branch. Reading the polls, the President decided to seek congressional authorization for a limited military action. For the first time in living memory, Congress clearly opposed him. It is too soon to say what this will mean for the future, but the implications clearly extend beyond just this particular strike or President.

The main arena besides the Middle East where the issue of the Executive Branch vs. Congress and the American people will play out in coming months will concern attempts to limit not only Executive surveillance of innocent Americans, but its other assaults on the very foundation of democracy itself.

The fundamental issue involved amidst the ongoing  cascade of revelations about NSA wrongdoing is this: what must be done to roll back the Executive Branch’s creation of a surveillance state, which is just one more major economic crisis or 9/11—as even centrists like  Bob Woodward and Tom Friedman warn—from becoming a police-state.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/activism/we-live-under-total-surveillance-state-america-can-we-prevent-it-evolving-full-blown-police

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Should Poor People Eat? Let’s Hear From Both Sides!

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18996-should-poor-people-eat-lets-hear-from-both-sides

By Peter Hart
 Monday, 23 September 2013

OK, so maybe this headline is slightly unfair, but it seemed like a good way to capture the essence of a USA Today story (9/18/13) about the fight over food stamps.

As you may already know, House Republicans are looking to cut some $40 billion from the SNAP program, otherwise known as food stamps, over the next 10 years.

It’s not unusual for politicians to disagree; one would hope that journalism might intervene on the side of the facts. But here’s how USA Today‘s Paul Singer presented the issue:

The cost of the federal food stamp program has exploded over the past decade, according to the Department of Agriculture. In 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By 2012, there were 46 million people enrolled at a cost of a little under $75 billion.

Democrats say the program has grown because the economy tanked; Republicans argue much of the expansion is attributed to states giving benefits to people who do not qualify.

Well OK then–either there was a massive economic collapse, or people are cheating the government. Who’s to say which side is right?

The paper gets quotes from lawmakers–Republican Eric Cantor’s office explains they aim to “restore the integrity of this safety-net program,” while Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern says the idea that people are cheating in order to get food stamps instead of working is “a lie.”

Again, who’s right? That would seem to be a rather important matter. Luckily there’s plenty of evidence available. Alan Pyke of ThinkProgress recently noted (9/6/13) that the latest report from the Department of Agriculture’s inspector general found no problems with “high-dollar overpayments” in the SNAP program. And according to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (3/28/13), SNAP  “has one of the most rigorous payment error measurement systems of any public benefit program,” with a very small amount of funds going to overpayment (about 2 percent of the total cost of the program). And the group’s research also shows that increased enrollment in SNAP is historically correlated with economic downturns. This is what caused the size of the program to spike in 2008 and 2009; the rate of growth has slowed considerably since then.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18996-should-poor-people-eat-lets-hear-from-both-sides

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Robert Reich asks Bill Moyers: ‘When do you reach a point where inequality is simply too much?’

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/20/robert-reich-asks-bill-moyers-when-do-you-reach-a-point-where-inequality-is-simply-too-much/

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, September 20, 2013

Economist Robert Reich found himself slightly agreeing with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in an interview with Bill Moyers, arguing that while he doesn’t support “equality of results,” the problem with the U.S. financial system is a lack of equality when it comes to opportunity.

“The question is not inequality, per se,” Reich told Moyers on Friday. “The question is, at what point do you tip over, do you get to a tipping point where the degree of inequality actually is threatening your economy, your society, your democracy? When do you reach a point where inequality is simply too much? Where most of your people feel like the game is rigged.”

Reich told Moyers that when the country’s tax laws are weighed in favor of the wealthy, that creates an educational system that steers families in lower socio-economic tiers to schools that lack comparative resources.

“A lot of middle class and poor people actually are paying, particularly through social security taxes, which nobody talks about,” Reich explained. “They all want to talk about income taxes. They’re paying a much larger share of their income.”

Reich, a former Secretary of Labor under Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, also explained what he described as an easy decision to team with director Jacob Kornbluth for the new feature Inequality For All, a long-form visual explanation of his theories on the surge in income disparity.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/20/robert-reich-asks-bill-moyers-when-do-you-reach-a-point-where-inequality-is-simply-too-much/

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Important! The Dark Ice Project

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The Rights of Mother Earth vs. Carbon Trading

From Other Words:  http://otherworldsarepossible.org/because-land-ours-rights-mother-earth-v-carbon-trading

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell
September 15, 2013

Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect their lands and waters.

The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon trading. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters.

In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”

Because indigenous nations and communities have preserved their forests so well, they are everywhere being targeted by REDD projects. What may sound like dry policy is in fact a contest in who has control over the land, the air, and future: those who have stewarded the earth for millennia, or those who want to buy and sell it as merchandise.

First among the problems of REDD is that it allows industries to pay to continue polluting. When corporations can buy the right to contaminate the air instead of changing their destructive practices, everyone and everything suffers.

Continue reading at:  http://otherworldsarepossible.org/because-land-ours-rights-mother-earth-v-carbon-trading

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75,000 Commit to Civil Disobedience if Obama Cuts Deal on KXL

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/24-8

Leading green groups warn president against deal-making with Canadians on tar sands pipeline

Jon Queally

Amid rumors that the Obama administration might try to cut an emissions deal with Canada in order to justify approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, leaders from 25 US environmental groups—backed by millions of members and at least 75,000 individuals willing to engage incivil disobedience—warned the president on Tuesday that such a deal would be considered nothing less than a bitter betrayal.

In a tersely-worded letter signed by 350.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, NRDC, Sierra Club, and twenty other well-known green groups, the signers welcomed the idea of Canada finding new ways to reduce its growing rate of carbon pollution, but were direct in saying that making promises of future reductions the basis of a deal on Keystone would ignite a serious backlash.

“On behalf of our millions of members and supporters nationwide,” reads the letter, “we oppose any deal-making in return for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Our rationale is simple. Building Keystone XL will expand production in the tar sands, and that reality is not compatible with serious efforts to battle climate change.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, president of the League of Conservation Voters Gene Karpinski—whose group is not often associated with the more activist-oriented groups like Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network—said that his organization’s members are among the tens of thousands who have expressed their willingness to engage in civil disobedience if Obama approves the pipeline.

“The intensity out there has not diminished one bit,” he said. “If anything, the willingness of people to go to jail over this is expanding.”

Karpinski’s reference is to an online pledge of resistance hosted by Credo Action, and supported by many of the groups who signed Tuesday’s letter, that asks people who are willing to pledge to “engage in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could result in arrest in order to send the message to President Obama and his administration that they must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.” As of Tuesday, 75,709 people had signed the pledge.

In a separate letter sent to the White House by the Sierra Club on Tuesday, the group’s president Michael Brune directly challenged the idea that the emissions reduction plan reportedly offered by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could offset the explosion of carbon pollution that would follow if tar sands operations were allowed to expand.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/24-8

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Climate change: IPCC issues stark warning over global warming

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/21/climate-change-ipcc-global-warming

Call to ‘stop dithering about fossil fuel cuts’ as expert panel warns entire globe is affected

, science editor
The Observer, Saturday 21 September 2013

Scientists will this week issue their starkest warning yet about the mounting dangers of global warming. In a report to be handed to political leaders in Stockholm on Monday, they will say that the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have now led to a warming of the entire globe, including land surfaces, oceans and the atmosphere.

Extreme weather events, including heatwaves and storms, have increased in many regions while ice sheets are dwindling at an alarming rate. In addition, sea levels are rising while the oceans are being acidified – a development that could see the planet’s coral reefs disappearing before the end of the century.

Writing in the Observer ahead of the report’s release, the economist and climate change expert Lord Stern calls on governments to end their dithering about fossil fuels and start working to create a global low-carbon economy to curtail global warming. Governments, he states, must decide what “kind of world we want to present to our children and grandchildren”.

The fifth assessment report on the physical science of climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that humanity is on course over the next few decades to raise global temperatures by more than 2C compared with pre-industrial levels. Such a rise could trigger the release of plumes of the greenhouse gas methane from the thawing Arctic tundra, while the polar ice caps, which reflect solar radiation back into space, could disappear.

Although the report does not say so, Earth would probably then be facing a runaway greenhouse effect.

The scientists’ warning – the most comprehensive and convincing yet produced by climate scientists – comes at a time when growing numbers of people are doubting the reality of global warming. Last week, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) published a survey showing that the proportion of British people who do not think the world’s climate is changing has almost quadrupled since 2005.

Asked if they thought Earth’s climate was changing, 5% of respondents said “no” in 2005, a figure that rose to 11% last year and reached 19% this year.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/21/climate-change-ipcc-global-warming

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Climate Expert Slams Australian PM, Other Leaders for ‘Willful Blindness’ Over Climate Change

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/24-5

David Suzuki says Australia PM and other climate-denying politicians should be charged with ‘criminal negligence’

Jacob Chamberlain
Published on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 by Common Dreams

Recently elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other climate change-denying politicians should be charged with “criminal negligence” for their “willful blindness,” climate expert and environmental activist David Suzuki stated in separate public appearances during a trip to Australia this week.

Abbot, who is known for his climate change denialism, came into power this month and almost immediately axed Australia’s national climate watchdog, the Climate Commission. He has also promised to toss out the country’s carbon-trading program.

On two separate occasions Suzuki called out Abbott and like-minded politicians for “very, very dangerous” denialism, beginning with a speech at the University of NSW on Saturday in which he accused Abbott of “criminal negligence,” adding that the ultra-rich are also to blame for pushing denialism in the never-ending quest for profit:

Environmentalism is a way of seeing our place within the biosphere. That’s what the battles were fought over. The barbarians – that is, many of the politicians and corporate executives that environmentalists have been fighting all these years – are driven by a totally different set of values, by the drive for profit, for growth and for power.

And on Monday, on Australia’s ABC program Q&A, Suzuki was asked, “David, you’ve urged, at least twice, that legal ways should be found to jail politicians for denying what you call the science of climate change. David, do you still hold that view?”

Suzuki responded:

You bet. I think there is a category called willful blindness. Our problem is we have no means of holding our so-called leaders – people we elect to political office to lead us into the future – we have no way to keep them accountable, except booting them out of office. But the reverberations of what they do or do not do today are rippling far beyond the coming years. There will be generational impacts. Now, if you have people who stand up to take positions of leadership and they deliberately suppress or ignore information vital to making an informed decision, I think that’s willful blindness, and willful blindness, I understand, is a legal entity that you can sue people for.

Suzuki added, “I think it’s a crazy, dangerous situation if we’re going to marginalize science in favor of political priorities. I think that’s very, very dangerous.”

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