Mother Of Transphobic Smear Campaign Target Defends Daughter

From Right Wing Watch:

by Brian Tashman
on Monday, 10/21/2013

Several conservative media outlets, including Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network, have reported that a transgender student in a Colorado high school has been harassing other girls in the locker room and restrooms, citing claims made by the anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute (PJI).

However, the school never found any verified cases of harassment.

As it turns out, the PJI never found any cases of harassment either, but simply considers the use of a women’s restroom by a transgender girl to be “inherently intimidating and harassing.”

The Transadvocate reports that the mother of the transgender student, who for privacy reasons is referred to as “Jane Doe,” is now speaking out about how the PJI is trying use the bogus story to paint her daughter as a sexual predator in order to boost its campaign to repeal a California law protecting transgender students:

When she went to her old school as herself, Jane flourished. When asked if she had experienced any bullying at the time she said, “Just some name calling.” Jane’s mother elaborated, “Before she transitioned, we would go to shopping and when she would try to use the male restroom, they would make rude comments.” I asked her if she meant that men in the restrooms would verbally abuse her daughter before she ever transitioned because she was perceived to be female even when trying to present as male. “She was scared to use the restroom. They made rude comments, language that she didn’t need to hear just because she was trying to go to the bathroom that she thought she had to be in.”

“Since she changed, she’s comfortable with life. She’s really feminine, but doesn’t do tons of makeup each day. She’s just a normal girl. If people see her on the streets, people don’t… didn’t know, you know? Before all of this stuff happened, none of this bothered anyone.”

When Jane’s mother refers to the “stuff that happened,” what she means is that one of the nation’s most influential ex-gay organizations suggested to the international press that her daughter was predator. The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), an ex-gay organization, needed someone to be their cautionary tale if they hoped to fight an effective battle to end protections for trans children in California and apparently decided that Jane fit the bill.

A media ambush is how the school, Jane and Jane’s family learned about the “harassment” charges. Let’s be clear about what this was: it’s a classic media gotcha moment. Prior to this hostile media encounter, apparently no allegations had been made about Jane.

“Jane is private about everything. She’s timid and shy and tends to be afraid to talk to people. That they’re saying that she’s going around harassing people… it’s just not true. The people who are doing these stories need to realize that the kid behind these stories has feelings and gets hurt.”

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Jelly Belly chairman helps fund repeal of bill protecting transgender students’ rights

From Raw Story:

By Scott Kaufman
Monday, October 28, 2013

Records show that, in September, the chairman of the Jelly Belly board, Herman Rowland, Sr., donated $5,000 to Privacy for All Students, a group whose sole purpose is to repeal California Assembly Bill 1266.

The bill, as previously reported, allows transgender students the opportunity to participate in sex-segregated activities and use restroom facilities consistent with their stated gender identities instead of the one on their birth certificates.

It was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in August.

But Privacy for All Students is mounting an effort to acquire enough signatures to have it repealed. The group is run by Frank Schubert, a press activist for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which recently claimed that “forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms is bullying.”

Contrary to NOM’s statement, AB 1266 did not “forc[e] boys and girls to share bathrooms.”

A petition sponsored by the National Center Lesbian Rights is already actively acquiring support.

It reads, in part: “Jelly Belly Chair Herman Rowland Sr. is using some of his fortune to fund an effort to overturn California’s new School Success and Opportunity Act. This law ensures that transgender students are allowed to participate in school programs and activities just like every other boy and girl.”

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Center for Disease Control called out for transphobic policy

From The Colorado Independent:

Decades-old policy denies care to those who most need it

Tessa Cheek
October 28, 2013

Reposted under Creative Commons Permission

Despite a big win last month when both Kaiser and Colorado HealthOp agreed to cover a wide range of services for transgender Coloradans, discrimination persists, particularly against patients seeking publicly funded treatment.

ProPublica reports that uninsured 62-year-old Jennifer Blair of Denver was denied a CDC-funded mammogram last year on the grounds that screenings under the program Women’s Wellness Connection were only available to those born with female genitalia.

“[The] CDC’s position has been that federal funds can only be used to screen clients born as women since the law establishing the program specifically states women,” wrote Jacqueline Miller, who runs the screening program, in a FAQ.

The statement elicited letters from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and One Colorado.

“It is concerning when transgender women have higher rates of breast cancer that they can’t get the care they need,” said Ashley Wheeland, Health Policy director at One Colorado. She added that, medically and economically, transgender patients are far more likely to need exactly the kind of care the CDC is currently denying them.

One Colorado recently completed a survey on LGBT health which found that “the uninsured rate for transgender individuals is close to 27 percent, compared to 17 percent of the general population.”

“Transgender folks run into a lot of barriers, both in public and private coverage,” said Wheeland. “This is an example, but it’s a system-wide problem.”

The CDC has yet to respond to One Colorado’s letter

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How Jock Culture Supports Rape Culture, From Maryville to Steubenville

From The Nation:

Dave Zirin
on October 25, 2013

Your 14-year-old daughter is dumped on your freezing front lawn in a state of chemically induced incoherence with her shoes off and frost stuck in her hair. She tells you she was raped. You hear her 13-year-old best friend was also raped that same night. Your daughter is then bullied as a tape of the incident passes around her high school. You wait for the indictments and some semblance of justice, but they dissipate, as one of the accused is a football star from one of the area’s most prominent and politically connected families. The county prosecutor drops the charges, stating that your family is refusing to cooperate even though you are begging to be heard. Then it gets worse.

You are fired from your job without warning and the violent threats against your family through social media increase. You have to pick up your family and leave town. After your departure, your house is burned to the ground. But you refuse to be intimidated.

A public outcry develops, spurred by the decision of your family to come forward and speak out. Now, eighteen months after the incident, a special prosecutor is looking into the case.

This is the story of Melinda Coleman, her daughter, Daisy, her friend Paige, and Daisy Coleman’s alleged rapist, Matthew Barnett, the grandson of a longtime member of Missouri’s House of Representatives.

There are other young men as well who are under scrutiny: athlete Jordan Zech, who allegedly filmed the assaults, and a 15-year-old whose name we do not know—who admitted to police that 13-year-old Paige “said no” several times, yet he refused to stop.

I do not know how Melinda Coleman has had the wherewithal to go public, be strong, and even have to serenity to say, in advance of a demonstration called for her family, “I do not condone violence in our defense I don’t want others terrorized as we have been.”

I am amazed by the composure of the now 16-year-old Daisy Coleman, choosing to go public, standing up for herself and writing essays online where she shares:

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The Revolt of the Lower Middle Class and the Stupidity of the Elites

From Truth Out:

By Mike Lofgren
Monday, 28 October 2013

We read in the aftermath of the government shutdown and near default on the country’s sovereign debt that the US Chamber of Commerce is clutching its pearls. “We are going to get engaged,” said a mouthpiece for the chamber. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.” The chamber is the top lobbying organization in America, and it gave 93 percent of its political contributions to Republican candidates in the 2010 election that birthed the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Apparently it is now having buyer’s remorse. Politico, the newsletter of the Beltway illuminati, reports similar tidings: Rich Republican mega-donors like hedge fund vulture Paul Singer are expressing frustration with Republican office holders, even though Singer has been a major financial backer of the Tea Party-oriented Club for Growth, which egged on the politicians who forced the shutdown. Even the Koch brothers have been distancing themselves from the shutdown.


Most Democrats, needless to say, are rubbing their hands with glee, and predictions of doom for the GOP are too numerous to count. The Tea Party, according to this narrative, has taken over the Republican Party and will lead it to inevitable electoral oblivion: The sheer irrationality of their demands constitutes electoral suicide. Others are not so sure. Michael Lind has advanced the theory that the Tea Party is an aggregation of “local notables,” i.e., “provincial elites [disproportionately Southern] whose power and privileges are threatened from above by a stronger central government they do not control and from below by the local poor and the local working class.” He links it to a neo-Confederate ideology that is “perfectly rational” in terms of its economic objectives – a stark contrast to the prevailing description of the Tea Party as irrational. Lind further contends that progressives have misread the Tea Party, downplaying the element of elite control and obsessing over the anger and craziness of its followers.


There is some truth in this. The Tea Party definitely is disproportionately Southern, as Lind stipulates, and any movement that seeks to hobble the functioning of the federal government naturally will advance themes and tactics that sound a lot like the template of the Confederacy: states’ rights, disenfranchisement of voters, use of the filibuster and so forth. Some Tea Party candidates look an awful lot like neo-Confederate sympathizers. But Lind misconstrues some of the data. If, as he says, 47 percent of white Southerners express support for the Tea Party, how does that square with his “local notables” theme: That the “backbone” of the movement is “millionaires [rather than] billionaires?” It is doubtful that 47 percent of the white population in the poorest region of the country consists even of local notables, much less millionaires.


That a fair number of local big shots is involved in the movement is unsurprising and natural, given their economic interests; what is more interesting from a sociological point of view, as well as more significant from a political perspective, is the millions of non-rich people, including those dependent on federal programs like Social Security and Medicare, who pull the lever for Tea Party candidates. The fact that 144 of 231 voting Republican House members opted for shutdown and default is not explained by the Svengali-like influence of a relatively small, regionally based group of Lind’s “second-tier” affluent people, especially because the first tier, the people that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents, was opposed strongly to the shutdown and to allowing a default. The most plausible answer is that there is a mass popular movement (albeit working in carefully gerrymandered Congressional districts) that would throw these members of Congress out of office if they had voted otherwise. If big-shot money were the sole criterion, the office holders would never have threatened default in the first place.

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Reagan’s Southern strategy gave rise to the Tea Party

From Salon:

By leveraging race and religion — especially in the South — he set an example for today’s bitter politics

Sunday, Oct 27, 2013

Adapted from Strategy: A History

Late in the 1960s the practice of political campaigning in the United States began to be transformed. New techniques meant that it was increasingly possible to disseminate messages to extraordinary numbers of potential voters, tailored to the interests and views of particular constituencies. At the same time attitudes were in flux, a consequence of the past decade’s social upheavals, and the old party machines were declining in influence. All these factors combined to accentuate the established tendency in political strategy to accentuate the negative.

When journalist James Perry wrote about The New Politics in 1968 his focus was on technique and not about how protests, demonstrations, civil disobedience, and community organizations might be shaking up the old elite. He explained how polling and marketing were becoming more sophisticated, and even drew attention to the potential uses of computers. Perry described how the moderate George Romney was taking advantage of these techniques in the race for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. By the time the book was published, however, Romney’s campaign had collapsed, having failed to connect with voters. The new techniques could only take you so far.

The importance of a media image had been underlined in different ways in the previous two elections. John Kennedy had famously gained an advantage over Richard Nixon in the televised presidential debate in 1960, and then the possibilities of negative advertising had been underlined by one used by the Democrats against Barry Goldwater in 1964. This showed a small girl counting daisies as a missile countdown began leading toward a nuclear explosion, with President Johnson in the background urging peace. This became identified as a turning point in technique. It played on an established image of Goldwater’s recklessness. The appeal of the ad was emotional. It contained no facts and Goldwater’s name was not mentioned.

The limitations of technique when combined with an uncertain message were illustrated by Nixon’s 1968 Presidential campaign. Joe McGinnis’s “Selling of the President” captured the idea that someone so unprepossessing could be turned into a marketable political product. The aim was to attach a positive, moderate image to Nixon. But this cautious approach was not wholly successful. The margin of victory was surprisingly narrow.

To Kevin Phillips, a young lawyer with an interest in ethnography, who worked for Nixon in 1968, the candidate’s failure was in not recognizing the true opportunities created by the turmoil of the 1960s. His The Emerging Republican Majority was long and analytical but the underlying message was straightforward.  The country had been dominated by a liberal establishment that was now old and out of touch, “a privileged elite, blind to the needs and interests of the large national majority.” Against the New Left’s idealism and the old progressive hope that ethnic differences could be transcended, Philips asserted that these identities were strong and enduring.  While Jews and blacks might go with the Democrats, the minorities with a more Catholic background—Poles, Germans, Italians—were   lining up against the liberals. Though immigrant communities once saw the Democrats   as a defense against the Protestant Republican establishment in the North, now their children saw the Democrats as hostile.  In 1970, two Democrat pollsters, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg, also warned that the Republican majority was not yet in place but could be if the Democrats did not acknowledge anxiety among their natural constituents about crime and permissiveness. Instead, the Democrats moved to the left, with young activists pushing those issues that alarmed centrist voters, thus marginalizing the party’s former establishment.

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Not All Millennials Are White and Privileged!

From Alternet:

A lot of us are fighting for an education, battling inequality and marching for justice. Quit calling us lazy!

By Sydette Harry
October 19, 2013

I have a timer set on my phone. It counts how often I hear the words “millennial” or “Generation Y’er” with some sweeping crass generalization about how awful people my age are. It is coupled of course with photos, of some Instagram-lit, tattooed, white manic-pixie dream girl and her alt-rock flannel boyfriend. The chances of the poster children looking like me (fat, and unambiguously black) hover between not-in-the-slightest and Christmas miracle. Rhetoric that comes anywhere close to talking about my life is even less common.

It’s easy to to make fun of the entitled, selfie-taking stereotype. In reality those of us born between 1980 and 2009 are a diverse group, who have had extraordinarily different experiences growing up. The lack of engagement with race, class, regional, political and immigration issues in journalism about millennials does us all a disservice by dodging the serious questions of what our coming of age means for the future of America.

Our generation has been a media focus for years. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2009 article   “Millennium Muddle”  highlights the problem  beautifully, if unintentionally. In an entire article about this burgeoning analytic framework, only one of the academics, Fred A. Bonner II, challenges the assumption that all millennials are coddled and indulged.

But as a first-generation everything and a black millennial, I respond to the laser focus on the indulged and underperforming with a special fury. As blogger Trudy of Gradient Lair points out,  education and hard work have always been hailed as the panacea for all our ills. Even more infuriating is that as recently as 2002, in the book “Microtrends,” Mark Penn pointed out that a large percentage of black teens (I was 18 that year) were hard-working, high-achieving volunteers. He also cited the 40% home ownership rate as one of the fundaments of the rise of black wealth. Post-housing crisis, with its racially targeted loans that torpedoed our economy,  how much of that was wiped out and has yet to be recovered? With half (or less) of the support white middle-class young people got, we rose to the challenge and  got hosed anyway.

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Maddow to same sex couples: ‘Just get married’ whether it’s legal or not

From Raw Story:

By David Ferguson
Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Friday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Rachel Maddow discussed a tactic that is being used by same sex marriage advocates in New Jersey, and which has proved to be effective in other parts of the country. Same sex couples have been marrying while the legality of their marriages is still being worked out in the courts, a tactic that has proven effective in moving marriage laws forward in several states.

Maddow was joined by New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Barbara Buono. The two discussed current Gov. Chris Christie’s stubborn resistance to same sex marriage, even as those marriages move forward in his state.

Maddow began the segment by explaining that in Asbury Park, NJ, the town clerk has started handing out marriage licenses to same sex couples. Asbury Park was once a run-down, nearly abandoned town well past its boom years, but an influx of LGBT people, artists and new businesses have caused the town to boom anew.

“And that is great for the residents of Asbury Park,” Maddow said. And while these couples who are marrying, she explained, are individual families, they are part of a tactic that has proved effective for marriage equality advocates.

“While marriage rights are still being adjudicated,” Maddow said, “just get married. It has an effect.”

She recounted that in 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom up and announced that he was going to start marrying same sex couples in his city. That action, she said, “strapped a turbo-charge” to the drive toward marriage equality in California. Public officials did the same in New York state and other states where same sex marriage is now legal.

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Crazy Christo-Nazi Bryan Fischer: Military Preparing To Kill Christians

‘Riots always begin typically the same way’: food stamp shutdown looms Friday

From Salon:

The head of the largest food bank says the $5 billion annual cut will take a week of meals off millions’ plates

Monday, Oct 28, 2013

Food stamp recipients face a massive benefit cut set to kick in when stimulus funds expire Friday. The nationwide cut “is equivalent to about 16 meals a month for a family of three,” according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis using the USDA’s “Thrifty Food Plan.” CBPP called the roughly $5 billion annual cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program “unprecedented” in “depth and breadth.”

“If you look across the world, riots always begin typically the same way: when people cannot afford to eat food,” Margarette Purvis, the president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, told Salon Monday. Purvis said that the looming cut would mean about 76 million meals “that will no longer be on the plates of the poorest families” in NYC alone – a figure that outstrips the total number of meals distributed each year by the Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the country. “There will be an immediate impact,” she said.

“The fact that they’re going to lose what’s basically an entire week’s worth food” each month, said Purvis, “it’s pretty daunting.” She told Salon that while policymakers “are attempting to punish people for being poor,” and “people are comforted by believing that they know that a person has to have done something wrong in order to be poor,” in reality, “I can tell you that more and more folks have more than one job and are still needing help.” (As I reported last week, audio recorded by a McDonald’s worker-activist showed a counselor on an employee hotline encouraging her to sign up for food stamps because it “takes a lot of the pressure off how much money you spend on groceries.”) Purvis added that cutting food stamps was “not even good business sense,” because each dollar of food stamps infuses over $1.70 of spending into the economy.

“We were all told that these cuts for November 1 would not happen,” said Purvis. When “they decided they were going to take from some of the increases to food stamps” to fund First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program, she told Salon, “We were told, you know, by the president…these cuts will not happen, we won’t get rid of the program. Well guess what? November 1 is around the corner, and no one has restored that money.”

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What Are Democrats in the Senate Smoking? Caving into Right-Wingers to Cut Medicare Would Be Political Disaster

From Alternet:

In twelve weeks or so, we’re going to hear more threats, more confrontations, and even more extreme rhetoric from the Govt.

By RJ Eskow
October 21, 2013

As the Bob Dylan song says: “Things should start to get interesting right about now.” You may think they’re  alreadyinteresting — what with government closings, threats of a debt default, and extremist rhetoric under the Capitol Dome — but chances are we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

In twelve weeks or so our new system of government-by-crisis will resume its regularly scheduled programming: more threats, more confrontations, and even more extreme rhetoric.

There are only a few ways this could play out, and most of them involve cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The ones which don’t probably involve either A) catastrophic gridlock or B) a mobilized citizenry.

Your personal level of optimism probably correlates closely to whether you think A or B is more likely.

Vox populi

Any scenario which leads to Social Security or Medicare cuts would be bad for seniors. It would also be bad for any politician who supported it.

A recent poll by Lake Research shows that 82 percent of all Americans oppose cuts to Social Security, including 83 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents, 82 percent of Republicans — and, in one of the most startling findings of all, fully three-fourths of all self-described Tea Party members (74 percent). (Social Security Works has  a video and a  petition on this subject.)

Democrats hold the advantage on this issue right now, which means it’s theirs to lose. There’s a historical precedent: in 2010, after two years of presidential rhetoric about trimming entitlements, Democrats experienced a  20-point plunge on the question “which party do you most trust to handle Social Security?” Republicans responded with a thoroughly predictable, utterly insincere — and very effective — “Seniors’ Bill Of Rights.”

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Your Take/My Take LIVE – Cat Food from China?

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The climate change era is already upon us

From The Daily Climate:

We’re beyond debating the existence of climate change. Impacts we’re seeing now should compel us to reduce emissions further and start planning in earnest. It’s time to quit dithering.

By Jane Lubchenco and Thomas E. Lovejoy
Oct. 28, 2013

We have been given a sobering glimpse into the speed of our changing climate and the vulnerabilities of our world. It turns out we must focus greater attention to the tropics, where so much of humanity and wildlife live, and to our oceans.


A sophisticated analysis, published in the premier scientific journal Nature by a team of young scientists at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, shows that impacts of climate change are already dramatic, with much more to come. While policymakers posture, dither and deny, the unraveling has already begun.


Many changes will continue in the years ahead, but we can slow them and buffer some of their impacts – if we act.


Using as a baseline the observed temperatures our world has known since 1860, when records first became reliable, biologist Camilo Mora and his co-authors sought to determine when future temperatures will move beyond the bounds of historical ranges. Others have examined how average temperatures will change; the Mora team examined how the full range of temperatures is changing, compared to historic ranges.


They come to the surprising conclusion that the tropics are particularly vulnerable. A shift out of the observed range of temperatures is expected as soon as 2020. When that happens, the coldest temperatures will be warmer than the hottest in the past. The implications for people, food supplies and biodiversity are tremendous.


Into the unknown


Over the next three decades, many of the rest of the world’s ecosystems – the deserts and jungles, the temperate zones, the polar regions – will likely move outside of temperature ranges that have nurtured life as we know it.


Within 35 years or so, most cities on earth will be living in a climate different from that upon which we have built our societies and civilization.


Examining changes other than temperature, the University of Hawaii team found that the oceans are already outside the historic range of variability for acidity. Oceans today are 30 percent more acidic than 150 years ago. And life in oceans is already showing signs of this stress.

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Associate director at Centers for Disease Control: We’ve reached ‘the end of antibiotics, period’

From Raw Story:

By Scott Kaufman
Friday, October 25, 2013

In an interview that aired on PBS’s Frontline, an associate director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, said that “for a long time, there have been newspaper stories and covers of magazines that talked about ‘The end of antibiotics, question mark?’ Well, now I would say you can change the title to ‘The end of antibiotics, period.’”

“We’re in the post-antibiotic era,” he continued. “There are patients for whom we have no therapy, and we are literally in a position of having a patient in a bed who has an infection, something that five years ago even we could have treated, but now we can’t.”

As an example, Dr. Srinivasan discussed the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which recently made headlines when word spread that three players from the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers were battling it. The options for treating it have always been limited, but until the past decade, MRSA infections were rarely seen outside of health-care facilities.

But about a decade ago, Dr. Srinivasan began to see “outbreaks in schools [and] health clubs. And what most of these people were getting was something very different from what we saw in hospitals.”

“In hospitals, when you see MRSA infections, you oftentimes see that in patients who have a catheter in their blood, and that creates an opportunity for MRSA to get into their bloodstream,” he continued. “In the community, it was causing a very different type of infection. It was causing a lot of very, very serious and painful infections of the skin, which was completely different from what we would see in health care.”

Because such infections can’t be treated with conventional antibiotic therapies, doctors have begun to “reach back into the archives” and use older antibiotics. “We’re using a lot of colistin,” Dr. Srinivasan said. “And we’re using more of it every year. It’s very toxic. We don’t like to use it. It damages the kidneys. But we’re forced to use it in a lot of instances.”

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