Friday Night Fun and Culture: 1963

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Fifty Years Ago Today

I remember it clearly.

It was about 1:45pm Eastern Standard Time.

I was sitting in Miss Ross’ junior year  history class.  Someone came by from the office and called her out in the hall with the other teachers in that section of the school.

She came back in the class room and said we were to all gather in the gymnasium for an announcement.  She was pale and crying, she said, “President Kennedy has been shot.”

The all the junior and senior high students went to the gym and gathered there while a television and a PA were set up.

Then the school principle, Mr Beebe made the announcement that President Kennedy was dead.

We were told to gather any younger brothers and sisters we had at the school and take them home with us.

We were told we should turn on the news once we got home.

By the time I got my brother who was in a different school and got home Lyndon Johnson had been sworn in as President.

A police officer named James Tippit was dead and Lee Harvey Oswald was captured at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, a south Dallas neighborhood.

JFK’s assassination was the first of many during the turbulent years of the 1960s.  Medgar Evers,  Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy.

And finally even though his assassination was a decade after the 1960s ended John Lennon.

I can’t help but think the world would be a far better place if all those victims of assassin’s bullets had lived.

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Holding the Line on Transgender Student Protections

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/holding-the-line-on-transgender-student-protections_b_4296672.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

11/21/2013

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
–George Santayana

During the 1990s and 2000s the two biggest LGBT issues that the religious right flogged their faithful with were gay marriage and gays in the military. From 1998 until now, the religious right has used marriage as a wedge issue to put anti-LGBT laws and state constitutional amendments on the ballot. But with the demise of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), and the more or less inevitable end of Section 2 of DOMA, even the hard right has come to realize that they’ve lost on these issues. This doesn’t mean that they have given up and gone home, though. Not by a long shot.

They have effectively pivoted to two new arguments. The first is “religious freedom,” by which they really mean, “I don’t want anyone holding me accountable for being awful.” The second issue they have pivoted to is transgender people in public spaces. The attempt to repeal A.B. 1266 (a law ensuring equal access to activities and facilities for transgender students in California) has drawn a mob of hate groups, plus the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Given the staggering defeats that NOM has suffered in the past year, a search for a new raison d’être is imperative for their organization to survive.

As a result, I believe that the transgender community is facing an imminent wave of anti-transgender laws and amendments. Just as the religious right began learning in 1998 that legislating against marriage equality was a winning issue for them, the current attempt to repeal A.B. 1266 is effectively a test marketing of a new brand of anti-LGBT hate. If they win, you can expect a wave of bills targeting transgender people’s access to public accommodations, just like with marriage. The nature of the anti-transgender bills is bounded only by what few constitutional protections transgender people have (read: nearly zero) and the fertile imaginations of people like Tony Perkins.

The only way to stem this tsunami of anti-transgender legislation is a vigorous offense. The counteroffensive needs to hit fast, hit hard, and hit often. The problem within the LGBT community is that there is a tendency to want to go for defensive messages designed to stir empathy. These play well with progressives and other LGBT people, but not with wider audiences. We need to acknowledge upfront that these types of ads preach to an echo chamber and lack effectiveness. Marriage campaigns eventually got this. Supporters of A.B. 1266 and the transgender community as a whole must acknowledge it upfront.

We can’t afford a long learning curve. This has to be stopped now, or the next decade is going to see us going steadily backwards. Doing so requires the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense. Here are the messaging rules that I would use if it were up to me:

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/holding-the-line-on-transgender-student-protections_b_4296672.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Fallon Fox responds to Ashlee Evans-Smith, who says trans fighters should be barred from women’s MMA

From Out Sports:  http://www.outsports.com/2013/11/20/5123442/fallon-fox-ashlee-evans-smith-trans-mma

Despite saying that Fox isn’t the better fighter and has disadvantages, Evans-Smith doesn’t think Fox should fight women

By
on Nov 20 2013

Ashlee Evans-Smith, the woman who handed me my first professional MMA loss, now says that I have unfair advantages that should bar me from competing against other women. Let me repeat: The fighter WHO BEAT ME says I have UNFAIR ADVANTAGES.

“I don’t feel like Fallon should fight dudes,” she said. “I don’t feel like she should fight women. I feel like there should be a unique organization for those needs. She did have an advantage. She definitely did.” [Check out the interview of Evans-Smith below]

Her interview was hard to watch. She started out by saying that I didn’t have a strength advantage or a cardio advantage, which is exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. Then she went on to say that I hit hard.

Damn right I hit hard! I’m a MMA fighter and that’s what we do! It’s not as if there are not other female MMA fighters who can hit as hard as or harder than me. Marciea Allen has trained with me before, and it’s been my experience that she hits harder than me. When I fought Allana Jones, both of us could tell that I hit harder than her. So, I fit pretty neatly in the variation of strength and punching power alongside my sister competitors.

I’m not complaining about the advantages Ashlee had over me, and I lost. Her leg strength was stronger than mine for sure. It aided her technique when I took her down and she just sprang back up almost every time. It plays well into her fighting style.

And she admitted that her cardio was better for this fight. So, do I then go around complaining about her physical attributes or skill? Do I now say, “Hey, Ashley was taller than me, her legs were stronger, her cardio was better. She beat me, what the hell? I think that fighters with her characteristics should be in a separate category from all other female fighters!”

No, I won’t say that.  I realize that all female fighters come with different attributes and we compete with each other in order to see who is better at getting around them within the category of “woman.”  That is the whole point.

Continue reading at:  http://www.outsports.com/2013/11/20/5123442/fallon-fox-ashlee-evans-smith-trans-mma

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What Straight People Think Lesbians Look Like

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Elizabeth Warren’s populist insurgency enters next phase

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/11/12/elizabeth_warren%E2%80%99s_populist_insurgency_enters_next_phase/

It’s about more than politics or 2016. First comes a new plan to restore the economy and blow up the finance sector


Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013

If asked, Americans of all political persuasions will say overwhelmingly that they prefer “tougher rules” for Wall Street. But what does that actually mean?

You can frame this conventionally: supporting regulators, punishing rules violators, mopping up 2008-style disasters to limit the damage and attempting to prevent such chaos from happening again. But by “tougher rules,” maybe Americans are really signaling a vague but persistent dissatisfaction with an economy that has become dominated by the financial sector. And you can see within that how transforming banking back to its traditional purpose — as a conduit for putting capital in the hands of worthwhile business ventures and driving shared prosperity — would be one antidote to an unequal society full of financial titan gatekeepers, who confiscate a giant share of the money flowing through the system.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — in many ways the avatar of a new populist insurgency within the Democratic Party that seeks to combine financial reform and economic restoration — will speak later today in Washington at the launch of a new report that marks a key new phase in this movement. Released by Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute – and called “An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us” — the report is a revelation, because it finally invites fundamental discussions about these issues. Its 11 chapters from some of the leading thinkers on financial reform do look back at the successes and failures of the signal financial reform law of this generation, the Dodd-Frank Act. But the report also weaves in a story about how we can reorient finance as a complement to the real economy, rather than its overriding force. Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the co-editor of the report, tells Salon, “The financial sector is still eating up a lot of GDP [gross domestic product], and it’s not clear what we’re getting out of it. We want to get the conversation at that level.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/11/12/elizabeth_warren%E2%80%99s_populist_insurgency_enters_next_phase/

See also:  Raw Story: Warren: We’re in this mess because Washington has ignored the middle class for a generation

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Ready for Hillary? Really?

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20029-ready-for-hillary-really

By Pierre Guerlain
Sunday, 17 November 2013

Recently Nancy Fraser wrote an interesting article titled “How feminism became capitalism’s handmaiden – and how to reclaim it.” Her first paragraph stated the core idea: “As a feminist, I’ve always assumed that by fighting to emancipate women I was building a better world – more egalitarian, just and free. But lately I’ve begun to worry that ideals pioneered by feminists are serving quite different ends. I worry, specifically, that our critique of sexism is now supplying the justification for new forms of inequality and exploitation.”

Of course, it is quite common, not to say the rule, for ideas to be subverted or inverted and ideologies to change their meaning when invoked by different political groups. The young libertarian socialist Marx was claimed by the ugly Stalinist and Maoist régimes; Orwell is treated as a hero by the most reactionary thinkers like the neocons, and feminism was kidnapped by the Bush administration to justify its wars of choice.

Nancy Fraser’s key point applies now with the gearing up for the US presidential election in 2016. Feminism is mobilized by Hillary Clinton’s supporters to sell her presidential bid, but the key point is this: Would a Clinton presidency improve the lot of women in the United States and abroad, and would Clinton be a progressive president?

Because the United States, in spite of its shutdown follies and NSA surveillance bungling, remains the pivot of the world system, American presidential elections are of global interest. So even three years before the next presidential election, global media have started following the budding campaign. Although Clinton did fight for some feminist ideals in her youth, she famously declared she was not going to bake cookies while her husband ran for president before baking those cookies and kowtowing to the rules of the political game. In the Democratic primaries of 2008, Clinton ran against Obama as a war hawk and appealed to the right of the Democratic Party, which had itself already moved to the right of Eisenhower on many fronts. Her feminism was a thing of the past – or reduced to symbolic gestures merely.

Her web site “Ready for Hilary” is a sign that she has prepared the campaign in a thorough fashion. Already many famous people are praising her and calling for a woman to be elected president. This is predicated on the idea that a woman president would be a good sign for feminism and American women in general. The key question, though, is which woman and mostly which political platform – for, as everyone knows, any woman cannot be an improvement on past presidents (all men so far). Imagine a president Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann: Would feminism get a boost? Clearly the gender of candidates cannot be a valid reason to vote for or against them.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20029-ready-for-hillary-really

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A Permanent Slump?

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/opinion/krugman-a-permanent-slump.html?_r=1&

By
Published: November 17, 2013

Spend any time around monetary officials and one word you’ll hear a lot is “normalization.” Most though not all such officials accept that now is no time to be tightfisted, that for the time being credit must be easy and interest rates low. Still, the men in dark suits look forward eagerly to the day when they can go back to their usual job, snatching away the punch bowl whenever the party gets going.

But what if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?

You might imagine that speculations along these lines are the province of a radical fringe. And they are indeed radical; but fringe, not so much. A number of economists have been flirting with such thoughts for a while. And now they’ve moved into the mainstream. In fact, the case for “secular stagnation” — a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between — was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the I.M.F.’s big annual research conference. And the person making that case was none other than Larry Summers. Yes, that Larry Summers.

And if Mr. Summers is right, everything respectable people have been saying about economic policy is wrong, and will keep being wrong for a long time.

Mr. Summers began with a point that should be obvious but is often missed: The financial crisis that started the Great Recession is now far behind us. Indeed, by most measures it ended more than four years ago. Yet our economy remains depressed.

He then made a related point: Before the crisis we had a huge housing and debt bubble. Yet even with this huge bubble boosting spending, the overall economy was only so-so — the job market was O.K. but not great, and the boom was never powerful enough to produce significant inflationary pressure.

Mr. Summers went on to draw a remarkable moral: We have, he suggested, an economy whose normal condition is one of inadequate demand — of at least mild depression — and which only gets anywhere close to full employment when it is being buoyed by bubbles.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/opinion/krugman-a-permanent-slump.html?_r=1&

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Mal-mart

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Forget the fake “war on Christmas”: End the war on autumn!

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/11/13/end_the_war_on_autumn/

The worst part of “Christmas creep”? It tramples decorative gourd season


Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013

It’s an increasingly inevitable side effect of living in a retail-obsessed culture – the “Christmas creep” that gets earlier and earlier every year. And this year, it’s more extreme than ever.

On a balmy Saturday morning this past September, I went to Ikea to buy a new desk for my daughters. I knew Ikea on a Saturday would be nightmarish enough, but what I hadn’t expected was that it would be holiday nightmarish. The warehouse was already decked out for the holidays — complete with fully decorated trees. The next day, I went to Target, where, in between the discounted back-to-school supplies and a still-in-progress Halloween section, the holiday merchandise was already appearing in the back of the store. And now that we are officially post-Halloween, all seasonal hell has broken loose. The stores are already decked in full red and green regalia – with a few silver and blue nods to this year’s incredibly early Hanukkah. Amazon has already long begun trumpeting its Black Friday deals. Another retailer is vowing that every day is Black Friday this November, which is my definition of Helltopia. This past weekend I went out for brunch, and the restaurant had its tree up and its chandeliers festooned in garland. On the door, there hung a giant wreath. It was so wrong, it almost made me forget about the $5 mimosas.

Plenty of us shudder “TOO SOON” at the way the yuletide now metastasizes all over the damn calendar. As Consumerist recently noted, having what now amounts to three-plus months of holiday time detracts from that special, “Most wonderful time of the year!” sense of wonder. It makes us feel manipulated by dollar-grubbing retailers. But I’ve come to realize there’s something else too.

It’s not that I’m Scroogey about Christmas. Are you kidding? We vaguely crafty, domestic-goddess types live for the annual opportunity to make stuff with cotton balls and twigs, for the chance to flaunt our homemade marshmallows with just a hint of peppermint and to make toffee for our friends. We live for it. A month-long rotation of “Elf” and “A Christmas Story”? Where do I sign up? But when the holidays now begin sometime after Labor Day weekend, you know what all but disappears? Fall.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/11/13/end_the_war_on_autumn/

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Leaked Memo Reveals U.S. Plan To Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change

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“Finance Climate Action, Not Fossil Fuel Subsidies”: Activists Blast Priorities of Biggest Polluters

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How to Reverse a Slow-Motion Apocalypse

From Tom Dispatch:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175775/tomgram%3A_todd_gitlin%2C_climate_change_as_a_business_model

Why the Divestment Movement Against Big Energy Matters

By Todd Gitlin
November 21, 2013

Apocalyptic climate change is upon us.  For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood.

Slow-motion, however, is not no-motion. In fits and starts, speeding up and slowing down, turning risks into clumps of extreme fact, one catastrophe after another — even if there can be no 100% certitude about the origin of each one — the planetary future careens toward the unlivable. That future is, it seems, arriving ahead of schedule, though erratically enough that most people — in the lucky, prosperous countries at any rate — can still imagine the planet conducting something close to business as usual.

To those who pay attention, of course, the recent bursts of extreme weather are not “remote “or “abstract,” nor matters to be deferred until later in the century while we worry about more immediate problems. The coming dystopian landscape is all too real and it is already right here for many millions. (Think: the Philippines, the Maldives Islands, drowned New Orleans, the New York City subways, Far Rockaway, the Jersey Shore, the parched Southwest, the parched and then flooded Midwest and other food belts, the Western forests that these days are regularly engulfed in “record” flames, and so on.)  A child born in the United States this year stands a reasonable chance of living into the next century when everything, from available arable land and food resources to life on our disappearing seacoasts, will have changed, changed utterly.

A movement to forestall such menaces must convince many more millions outside Bangladesh or the Pacific islands that what’s “out there” is not remote in time or geographically far away, but remarkably close at hand, already lapping at many shores — and then to mobilize those millions to leverage our strengths and exploit the weaknesses of the institutions arrayed against us that benefit from destruction and have a stake in our weakness.

There is a poetic fitness to human history at this juncture.  Eons ago, various forms of life became defunct.  A civilization then evolved to extract the remains of that defunct life from the earth and turn it into energy. As a result, it’s now we who are challenged to avoid making our own style of existence defunct.

Is it not uncanny that we have come face-to-face with the consequences of a way of life based on burning up the remnants of previous broken-down orders of life?  It’s a misnomer to call those remains — coal, oil, and gas — “fossil fuels.”  They are not actually made up of fossils at all.  Still, there’s an eerie justice in the inaccuracy, since here we are, converting the residue of earlier breakdowns into another possible breakdown.  The question is: will we become the next fossils?

Continue reading at:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175775/tomgram%3A_todd_gitlin%2C_climate_change_as_a_business_model

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Climate Change Fight Getting Off Track After Major Global Setbacks In Japan And Australia, Study Finds

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/climate-change-fight_n_4308777.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Reuters
11/20/2013

WARSAW, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The world is getting further off track in limiting global warming with setbacks in Japan and Australia outweighing positive signals from the United States and China, a study showed on Wednesday.

A Climate Action Tracker compiled by scientists said the world was headed for a temperature rise of 3.7 degrees Celsius (6.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2100, against 3.1C (5.8F) if governments stuck to promised cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Governments meeting in Warsaw from Nov. 11-22 are trying to find ways to limit global warming to an agreed ceiling of less than 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels to avert more heatwaves, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels.

“We are seeing a major risk of a further downward spiral in ambition, a retreat from action, and a re-carbonisation of the energy system led by the use of coal,” said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics.

Wednesday’s study, by Climate Analytics, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Ecofys, said Japan’s decision last week to ease its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions goals made it harder to reach the global 2C goal.

Japan said its original emissions goal of a 25 percent cut below 1990 levels was out of reach after its nuclear power industry was shuttered by the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The new goal is for a maximum 3 percent rise.

Australia’s new policies, shifting from an emissions trading scheme, would also marginally raise emissions, adding to a problem that many nations were failing to stick to curbs on emissions agreed in 2009.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/climate-change-fight_n_4308777.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

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Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/20/climate-talks-walk-out-compensation-un-warsaw

Bloc of 132 countries exit Warsaw conference after rich nations refuse to discuss climate change recompense until after 2015


theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 November 2013

Representatives of most of the world’s poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about “loss and damage” – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan.

Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage helped put the issue of recompense on the conference agenda, said: “Discussions were going well in a spirit of co-operation, but at the end of the session on loss and damage Australia put everything agreed into brackets, so the whole debate went to waste.”

Australia was accused of not taking the negotiations seriously. “They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation. That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in,” said a spokeswoman for Climate Action Network.

After a three hour delay in the negotiatons,while countries debated what to do in private, talks resumed. “[The walkout] helped to clear the air. They know we are serious,” said one lead negotiator, who denied developing countries were “grandstanding.”

Developing countries have demanded that a new UN institution be set up to oversee compensation but rich countries have been dismissive, blocking calls for a full debate in the climate talks.

“The EU understands that the issue is incredibly important for developing countries. But they should be careful about … creating a new institution. This is not [what] this process needs,” said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner.

She ruled out their most important demand, insisting: “We cannot have a system where we have automatic compensation when severe events happen around the world. That is not feasible.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/20/climate-talks-walk-out-compensation-un-warsaw

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