50 Years After LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” a Call for a New Fight Against 21st Century Inequality

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Geoengineering: As Bad As Climate Change?

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/01/08-4

Risky plan to mitigate climate change could dry out the tropics: study

Andrea Germanos

New research shows how a controversial plan to rein in global warming caused by runaway greenhouse gases could bring a “new unintended side-effect over a large part of the planet” that could be as bad as the effects of rising CO2.

  The study by researchers at the University of Reading published Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters used climate model simulations to show potential effects of one method of “geoengineering.”

The Guardian reports that

The controversial idea of geoengineering – deliberately changing the Earth’s climate – is being seriously discussed as a last-ditch way of avoiding dangerous global warming if efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions fail.

But the new work shows that a leading contender – pumping sulphate particles into the stratosphere to block sunlight – could have side-effects just as serious as the effects of warming itself. Furthermore, the impacts would be different around the world, raising the prospect of conflicts between nations that might benefit and those suffering more damage.

“We have shown that one of the leading candidates for geoengineering could cause a new unintended side-effect over a large part of the planet,” BBC News quotes study co-author Dr. Andrew Charlton-Perez as saying.

Specifically, the BBC continues, putting these sulphate particles into the stratosphere—”stratospheric aerosol geoengineering”—means that

Rainfall around the tropics could be cut by 30% with significant impacts on rainforests in South America and Asia and increasing drought in Africa.

The changes would happen so quickly there would be little time to adapt, say the researchers.

“When stratospheric aerosol geoengineering is represented more realistically using a sulfate aerosol layer there is additional atmospheric heating from the aerosol layer which weakens the tropical circulation, suppressing convection and further reducing precipitation,” the researchers write in their study.

“Consequently, though stratospheric aerosol geoengineering could be used compensate for the surface warming produced by CO2 globally, or even regionally, there is a tropical precipitation change of the opposite sign to and greater in magnitude than the long-term response to CO2,” the study finds.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/01/08-4

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Former Alabama youth minister arrested for allegedly sodomizing teen boys

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/09/former-alabama-youth-minister-arrested-for-allegedly-sodomizing-teen-boys/

By David Ferguson
Thursday, January 9, 2014

A former youth minister and music director from First United Methodist Church in Sheffield, Alabama was arrested this week and charged with second-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree sodomy.

According to the Florence Times-Daily, 79-year-old Oliver Brazelle was arrested Monday afternoon by agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Brazelle is accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy who was a member of his youth group. The crime reportedly took place at Brazelle’s residence in the suburb Happy Hollow in the mid-1990s.

The arrest came after an investigation by the ABI, said agent Brian Faulkner. Allegations surfaced in 2012 that Brazelle had engaged in inappropriate relations with boys in his congregation, but at the time, no victims were willing to come forward.

Faulkner began his investigation in December when an adult victim came forward and announced his willingness to cooperate with the agency.

Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray told the Times-Daily, “Officially, we never had a victim. We talked to several people, but no one (came) forward.”

“I’m glad someone finally stepped up,” Ray said. “Maybe this will bring others forward.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/09/former-alabama-youth-minister-arrested-for-allegedly-sodomizing-teen-boys/

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“Drugs Aren’t the Problem”: Neuroscientist Carl Hart on Brain Science & Myths about Addiction

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Can Media Please Stop Focusing on Trans People’s Bodies?

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/01/09/op-ed-can-media-please-stop-focusing-trans-peoples-bodies

In interviews with Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox, Katie Couric displayed a lack of understanding of trans issues that is too common in media.

BY Parker Marie Molloy
January 09 2014

Monday’s episode of Katie was billed as an opportunity to discuss trans-specific sociopolitical issues, but it quickly took an all-too-familiar detour toward a singular, overplayed topic: genitals.

Katie Couric is a celebrated journalist whose previous accomplishments include time as evening news anchor at CBS and cohosting the Today show on NBC for 15 years, but the world of daytime television has a reputation for sensationalism in pursuit of an audience. Monday’s episode rode the line between being objective and exploitative.

It featured Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox. Carrera is best known from her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race and, more recently, for an online petition to make her the first transgender Victoria’s Secret Angel. Cox stars in Netflix’s breakout hit Orange Is the New Black, in which she plays Sophia Burset, a character who, like Cox, is a transgender woman.

In the lead-up to Carrera’s introduction, Couric displayed various photos of the beauty queen in bandages, preparing the viewer for what was sure to be a “shocking transformation.”

As is often the case when I watch a ratings-driven show portray a transgender person in this way, I cringed. My stomach turned in knots, as I knew what would come next. Sadly, my intuition was spot-on: Couric continued down the trans-as-science-project path, introducing Carrera with the words “she was born a man, and that’s why she’s on our show.”

Right from the start, the words “born a man” evoke so much ignorance about trans people. Why is it that only when describing trans people, others feel the need to treat us like we were born fully grown adults? Carmen Carrera wasn’t “born a man,” she was born a baby.

With Couric’s announcement that Carrera was on the show first and foremost because she was born male, my heart sank. This was going to be another one of those episodes. The sole reason for this show would be to pique the curiosity of those who see trans people as freaks, as anomalies. Maury, another show hosted by a respectable journalist-turned-carnival barker, used this tactic time and again in his “Woman or Man?” episodes, in which he’d parade out a line of women and ask audience members which ones were “men.”

Finally sitting down to chat with Carrera, Couric dove in, asking a line of questions that I couldn’t imagine her asking a cisgender (nontrans) person, specific to Carrera’s genitals. In an attempt to broach the issue, Couric asked Carrera whether she experienced physical pain as a result of transitioning, on account of “all the surgery” she needed to undergo. Skillfully, Carrera spoke briefly on the topic of breast augmentation and rhinoplasty, intentionally avoiding any discussion of her genitals. For whatever reason, this wasn’t enough to tip off Couric to the fact that Carrera wasn’t particularly interested in answering questions regarding that particular surgical procedure.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/01/09/op-ed-can-media-please-stop-focusing-trans-peoples-bodies

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I was not Born a Man, I Was Born a Baby. Further Would You Ask Cis-Gender People About Their Genitals?

For the record I had SRS over 40 years ago during the bronze age of their doing SRS.

Think about it!

Cis-privilege means people don’t automatically think they have the fucking right to ask you about your genitalia.

If you had cancer they might ask as to your recovery but they don’t think they have the right to know intimate details.

For the last fucking time.  Men are adult males.  Women are adult females. No one is born a man, nor is anyone born a woman. Being a man or a woman is something babies grow up to be.

I was assigned male at birth. I grew up to be a woman.

Transsexual and/or transgender is not a fucking title like Mr., Miss, Mrs. or Ms.  Stop putting it in front of our names..  For that matter we are not Transsexual and/or Transgender artists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, models etc. etc.  Being Transsexual and/or Transgender is not part of a job description either.

Don’t bother asking someone who had SRS 20-30-40 years ago what it is like to be a transsexual.  They most likely have forgotten what you want to know about.  On the other hand if you want to hear about dealing with a life time of cis-gender stupidity and bigotry pull up a chair and pop a 64gig card into your digital recorder.  You are in for a long recounting of how hard you have made life for people like us.

The Right-Wing Media’s Obsession With Objectifying Transgender Bodies

From Media Matters For America:  http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/01/08/the-right-wing-medias-obsession-with-objectifyi/197488

January 8, 2014

Transgender actress Laverne Cox made waves with a recent appearance on Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, where she pushed back against Couric’s fixation on the genitalia of Cox and fellow guest Carmen Carrera, a transgender model. In decrying the objectification of trans people, Cox highlighted a problem that plagues right-wing media coverage of transgender issues.

On the January 6 edition of Katie, Couric repeatedly focused on her guests’ gender transitions, introducing Carrera by stating that “she was born a man and that’s why she’s on our show,” before inquiring whether Carrera’s “private parts” are “different now.” Carrera challenged Couric’s line of questioning, saying the issue was “really personal” and that “after the transition there’s still life to live, I still have my career goals, I still have my family goals.”

Couric pursued the matter further when Cox joined the segment, asking the Orange is the New Black actress for her take on Carrera and Couric’s exchange. Cox responded that fixating on trans people’s bodies detracts attention from the realities of transgender lives:

COX: The preoccupation with transition with surgery objectifies trans people and then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we’re targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the [LGBT] community. … [B]y focusing on bodies, we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination.

Compelling as they were, Cox’s words fell on deaf right-wing ears. The Media Research Center’s Tim Graham responded by mocking Carrera and Cox’s handling of what he called “those uncomfortable wiener questions” and “the bulge issue.” Graham derided the “two men” for believing “[i]t’s possible to pretend to be a woman and use a urinal.”

Graham’s transphobia dovetails with the right-wing media’s approach to transgender coverage, characterized by willful ignorance and expressions of derision and disgust. After Army Private Chelsea Manning announced her gender transition in 2013, Fox News mocked her transition as “confus[ing]” and “bizarre.” Fox & Friends ended a segment on Manning’s transition by playing Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),”while one Fox host cautioned viewers not to be “deceived” by Manning’s announcement that she’s a female.

Fox’s response to Manning’s announcement fit its pattern of transphobic coverage, which has featured persistent emphasis on trans people’s genitalia. After Chaz Bono struggled with a knee injury on Dancing with the Stars, the hosts of Fox & Friends joked about “the one part of Chaz that hasn’t been operated on.” Commenting on a transgender beauty contestant, Bill O’Reilly declared in 2012, “She wasn’t born that way; she bought all that.” Fox News contributor Stephen Crowder, meanwhile, published a FoxNews.com column in 2013 calling transgender female MMA fighter Fallon Fox a man who liked “beating up women,” before snarking that “Fallon Fox has been using steroids for decades. They’re called testicles.” Fox “Medical A Team” member Keith Ablow’s commentary on trans people hasn’t been any less ignorant. Disregarding the expert consensus on gender identity, Ablow has depicted transgender youth as simply confused. In a 2011 appearance on the network, he misgendered a transgender female child, remarking that “We have two women raising a child. He’s adopted. And he’s come to believe that he too is female.”

Continue reading at:  http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/01/08/the-right-wing-medias-obsession-with-objectifyi/197488

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