November 6, 2013 (Heritage) – Children living with married opposite-sex parents were more likely to graduate from high school than peers living with cohabiting, single, or same-sex parents, according to a new study in the Review of the Economics of Households.
This finding is consistent with the decades of research on children’s educational outcomes and family structure. However, this study is relatively unique because it uses data (a 20 percent sample of the 2006 Canadian census) that offers a sufficiently large nationally representative sample of children (ages 17–22) in same-sex-parent homes. So far, only four studies analyzing three U.S. datasets offer such or similar data (two on the 2000 U.S. Census, one on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, and another on the New Family Structure Study).
The Canadian data has several advantages for studying the topic, including:
Specifically, the study looks at the likelihood of graduating from high school. It identifies six family types: married opposite-sex (which may include remarried parents), common law opposite-sex, gay parents (two dads, married or common law); lesbian parents (two moms, married or common law), single mothers, and single fathers. It also accounts for important characteristics of children and parents.
Continue reading their lying bullshit at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/girls-with-lesbian-parents-45-less-likely-to-graduate-high-school
A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans’ personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit.
Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy’s Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before “abolishing” it, freeing individuals from their bills.
By purchasing the debt at knockdown prices the group has managed to free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt, mainly medical debt, spending only $400,000.
“We thought that the ratio would be about 20 to 1,” said Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt and professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. He said the team initially envisaged raising $50,000, which would have enabled it to buy $1m in debt.
“In fact we’ve been able to buy debt a lot more cheaply than that.”
The group is able to buy debt so cheaply due to the nature of the “secondary debt market”. If individuals consistently fail to pay bills from credit cards, loans, or medical insurance the bank or lender that issued the funds will eventually cut its losses by selling that debt to a third party. These sales occur for a fraction of the debt’s true values – typically for five cents on the dollar – and debt-buying companies then attempt to recoup the debt from the individual debtor and thus make a profit.
The Rolling Jubilee project was mostly conceived as a “public education project”, Ross said.
“We’re under no illusions that $15m is just a tiny drop in the secondary debt market. It doesn’t make a dent in the amount of debt.
“Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there’s certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market.”
By Joe Conason
November 8, 2013
When Wendy Davis proclaimed that she is “pro-life” — a description long since appropriated by conservatives opposed to abortion rights — the right-wing media practically exploded with indignation. How could she dare to say that? But having won national fame when she filibustered nearly 12 hours against a law designed to shutter Lone Star State abortion clinics, the Texas state senator with the pink shoes doesn’t hesitate to provoke outrage among the righteous.
Speaking to a crowd at the University of Texas in Brownsville last Tuesday, Davis, now running for governor as a Democrat, made a deceptively simple but profound declaration: “I am pro-life. I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry their children’s future and their ability to provide for that.”
Her argument directly pierced to the contradiction within the right’s “pro-life” sloganeering. So far the feeble answer from the right is that Davis must be “lying” because nobody who supports a woman’s right to choose is pro-life.
But that response is merely a repetition that seeks to evade her deeper philosophical thrust. Whatever anyone may think about abortion, the persistent question for self-styled pro-lifers is why they tend to insist on making life so much more difficult for so many children who have entered the world. The same Republicans — and they are nearly all Republicans — most vocally opposed to reproductive rights are also most likely to cut assistance to poor families, infants and children at every opportunity, from the moment of birth long into adolescence and beyond.
November 12, 2013
The Hawaii state Senate voted 19-4 Tuesday to recognize same-sex couples’ right to marry, all but legalizing marriage equality in the Aloha State.
The Hawaii state Senate approved a marriage-equality bill that was amended and passed with a 30-19 vote by the state House of Representatives Friday night after 56 hours of public testimony over five days. Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), who called the state Legislature back for a special session to consider same-sex marriage legislation after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in June, is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as tomorrow. With Abercrombie’s signature, marriage licenses will begin being issued to same-sex couples as early as Dec. 2.
The amended bill protects clergy from having to perform weddings for same-sex couples and religious organizations from having to provide goods, services and facilities for same-sex weddings. The state Senate previously approved a similar bill 20-4 late last month, and today’s vote comes two contentious weeks after the special session began on Oct. 28 to consider the bill.
The Hawaii Legislature is the second state legislature in the past week to vote to legalize same-sex marriage. On Nov. 5, Illinois lawmakers approved marriage-equality legislation that is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn (D) later this month. When those bills are signed into law, Hawaii and Illinois will become the 15th and 16th states, plus D.C., to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Last month, New Jersey became the 14th marriage-equality state after Gov. Chris Christie (R) dropped his appeal of a state court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
The passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Hawaii is of particular significance, and brings the fight full circle after two decades of debate. Hawaii is considered the original battleground of the marriage-equality movement. It was 20 years ago in 1993 that a lawsuit was filed on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking marriage rights, sparking political backlash across the country. With the Hawaii Supreme Court giving serious consideration to legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii, Congress approved and President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 giving state lawmakers the power to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Civil unions were approved in 2011.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/11
The process is gradual, insidious, lethal. It starts with financial stress in various forms, and then, according to growing evidence, leads to health problems and shorter lives.
Financial stress is brought upon us by the profit motive of capitalism, which offers little incentive to feed hungry children, to treat the sick, to secure us in retirement, to provide job opportunities for middle-class Americans. Some of the steps in the process are becoming more and more familiar to us.
1. Giving Half of Your 401(k) to the Banks
The Frontline documentary The Retirement Gamble reported that a 401(k) fund earning 7% a year with 2% in fees would lose up to 60% of the value of an equivalent non-fee fund.
A 2% fee doesn’t seem like much, but the documentary’s claim was close to the truth. Based on the 6% historical stock market return, an employee investing $1,000 a year for 30 years in a non-fee fund and then holding the accumulated sum for another 20 years would end up with $269,000. Imposing a 2% annual fee would reduce the final total to $127,000, a 53% loss. Imposing a 1.3% fee, which according to the documentary is the industry average, would reduce the final total to $165,000, a 39% loss.
The financial industry is taking this money from more of us every year. The number of private sector workers depending on a 401(k) instead of a company pension has increased from 12 percent to 68 percent since 1983.
2. Watching 24,000,000 Children Go Hungry to Avoid Inconveniencing 20 Rich Individuals
It’s an unthinkable trade-off, but it’s happening. Although the 2013 SNAP (food stamp) budget of $78 billion is less than the 2012 investment earnings of 20 wealthy Americans, SNAP is being cut while not a penny extra is taken from the multi-billionaires.
3. Listening to the “Job Creators” Mock the Truth
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/11
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/greenhouse-gas-emissions-highs_n_4223800.html
* Carbon dioxide, methane volumes grew faster in 2012
* World temperatures to rise 2 degrees by mid-century
* UN conference in Warsaw to seek new emissions pact (Adds detail, background, quotes)
By Tom Miles
GENEVA, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change hit a new record in 2012, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday.
“For all these major greenhouse gases the concentrations are reaching once again record levels,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a news conference in Geneva at which he presented the U.N. climate agency’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin .
Jarraud said the accelerating trend was driving climate change, making it harder to keep global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at a Copenhagen summit in 2009.
“This year is worse than last year, 2011. 2011 was worse than 2010,” he said. “Every passing year makes the situation somewhat more difficult to handle, it makes it more challenging to stay under this symbolic 2 degree global average.”
Greenhouse gas emissions are set to be 8-12 billion tonnes higher in 2020 than the level needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees, the U.N. Environment Programme said on Tuesday.
Posted by Michele Catanzaro
Friday 8 November 2013
A chain of terrorist attacks has struck scientists in Mexico since 2011. Similar actions were taken in Switzerland in 2010 and in Italy in 2012. The Mexican attacks have been claimed by a group called Individuals Tending Towards Savagery (ITS). Their texts are littered with references to Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and expressions including “fire on nanotechnological development and on those that support it”. Nanotechnology is portrayed as the cause of a future ecological catastrophe, generated by the self-replication of lethal nano-robots.
Experts say that the response to these attacks should be severe. “The answer should not be debating the terrorists on the intellectual ground, but on the moral ground: that kind of violence is simply unacceptable,” says Chris Toumey, a researcher in cultural anthropology of nanotechnology at the University of South Carolina.
But where does the violence come from? The authors of the communiques are reportedly “anarcho-primitivists”, a subculture that arose in the 1990s when anarchism crossed with radical environmentalism. It calls for overthrowing of industrial civilisation and a return to a primitive lifestyle. One of its references is writer Derrick Jensen, who called for “deep green resistance”.
“[ITS’s] language very much resembles long-standing rhetoric from the green anarchist subcultures in the US,” says Bron Taylor, professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida, with 25 years’ experience of ethnographic research about the terror movements.
“I do find interesting echoes of something we saw in the 90s: the alliance among deep ecology activists and anti-capitalists groups in the context of the anti-globalisation protests,” says Steve Jones, a literary historian at Loyola University Chicago, and an expert in luddites, a 19th-century group of English artisans who protested against new industrial textile machines by smashing them. Radical environmentalists are often “involved in reading the luddites into the contemporary situation”, he says.
The reference publication of the movement in the 80s, the Earth First journal, featured a column called Ask Ned Ludd, in reference to the mythical character that gave name to the luddites. Jones thinks that neo-luddites are in fact misreading the original luddites, but he believes that understanding the difference between the old and modern ones tells us a lot about the ideology of the latter.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/11-7
The first prophetic sign to follow CNN’s irrelevant Pandora’s Promise is this: the Dallas-based Luminant Power Company has cancelled two mammoth reactors.
Pandora’s box score for atomic America 2013 is five announced early reactor closures, nine project cancellations and six ditched uprates. Today, 100 U.S. reactors operate where 1,000 were once promised. New orders are zilch.
Even more critical: For decades the nuclear industry said zero commercial reactors could explode. When Chernobyl blew, they blamed it on the Soviet design. Now, three General Electric reactors have exploded at Fukushima. Unfortunately, as they age and deteriorate, there may be more to come.
Here are some more numbers to tally. More than 1,300 fuel rods sit in a damaged fuel pool 100 feet in the air at Fukushima 4. They contain radioactive cesium equivalent to 14,000 times what was released at the bombing of Hiroshima. There are some 6,000 rods in a common fuel pool nearby. There are some 11,000 rods scattered around the site. The three melted cores from units One, Two and Three are missing. There are roughly 1,000 tanks holding billions of gallons of hot radioactive water that are leaking and will collapse in the next big earthquake.
All 50 allegedly operable reactors in Japan remain shut. Germany is on its way to total green power.
Pandora’s Promise was largely bankrolled by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, whose buddy Bill Gates has bet big on the mythic “new generation” reactors.
As it aired on CNN, a grassroots coalition presented more than 150,000 signatures to the United Nations, requesting a global takeover at the accursed Fukushima, where three reactors cores are missing and radiation still pours into the ocean.
Meanwhile Tokyo Electric Power postponed its potentially apocalyptic bring-down of the radioactive fuel rods at Unit Four.
“More tests” were needed, they said. This week the U.S. Department of Energy will meet on how to aid an untried engineering exercise whose failure doom the planet. But if it can be done at all, it will take the entire global community to bring this beast under control.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/11-7
by Madeline Ostrander
posted Nov 01, 2013
It was clear last year at election time that Seattle needed a new sea wall to replace the crumbling, worm-eaten infrastructure that has girded the waterfront since the early 20th century. “Do you want downtown Seattle to slide into motherf-cking Puget Sound during the next earthquake thanks to a towering wave of voter apathy?” wrote the editorial board of The Stranger. (The city’s alt-weekly is not known for demure language.) More than three-fourths of city voters said yes to a small increase in property taxes to fund the construction.
But the whole thing raises tough questions: Any new road, bridge, or housing project, not just here but in every community, will endure or fail based on a set of future, more extreme climate conditions.
Today, President Obama issued an executive order that establishes a task force on “climate preparedness and resilience.” It directs federal agencies to begin dealing with the quandaries of planning for a world of bigger storms and rising seas. The order acknowledges that the impacts of climate change “are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health.”
These problems will only worsen. At this point, there’s no stopping climate change, not altogether. Even if the entire world today abandoned its cars for bicycles and replaced every coal plant with a field of solar panels, the planet would continue getting warmer because of the carbon dioxide we’ve already sent into the atmosphere. The world will still need to drastically rein in carbon emissions if it is going to avoid making the crisis far worse. But we will also need to learn how to live on a warmer planet.
The executive order represents a rapid shift in the approach to climate change, as events like Hurricane Sandy have made it obvious that we’re living in an era of weird weather. Until recent years, environmentalists and policymakers were eerily silent about adapting to climate change. “When I started you couldn’t talk about it,” says Lara Hansen, a scientist and expert on climate-change adaptation who serves on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “because it was considered giving up”—abandoning the idea that we could slow global warming.
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013
The southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline is set to begin pumping 700,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day through Texas within the coming weeks — but a new report questions its ability to do so without posing a major environmental risk.
According to a report released today by the non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, has already had to repair 125 “anomalies” along 250 miles of the complete 485 mile pipeline. The potential defects identified by the group include dents, welds, field coating problems, improper backfilling, unintentional sags, insufficient pipe support and poor soil management. While TransCanada, according to the report, say it’s excavated areas of the pipeline out of an “abundance of caution,” the report warns that the damages, along with what appear to be shoddy repairs, “raise the specter of history repeating itself, with toxic crude leaking or even gushing from damaged pipe.”
That history to which is refers is far from reassuring. From the report:
During the construction of Keystone I, TransCanada pledged to meet 50 special conditions. But more than 47 anomalies along the line in four states had to be retested, and the Keystone I line spilled 12 times in the first year of operation.
In July 2011, TransCanada’s Bison natural gas pipeline exploded within the first six months of operation, blowing out an approximate 40-foot section of pipe. TransCanada had been warned of potential quality problems with construction and inspection.
In the 1990s, Iroquois Pipeline Operations, a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., and four senior executives pleaded guilty to knowingly violating environmental and safety provisions of the pipeline construction permit. Iroquois executives had promised a pipeline of exceptional safety.