Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014
When Bill de Blasio was sworn in as mayor last week, the Washington establishment took it at as a sign of a “liberal resurgence” in America on economic issues. “The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is stirring,” the Washington Post’s Dan Balz observed. “Our Republican colleagues should take note,” warned Sen. Chuck Schumer, vowing to focus on issues like minimum wage and helping the unemployed. “Certainly we’re going to build on the progress we’ve made to reduce the deficit, but it is no longer the most important issue that we face.”
Yes, progressive economic reforms are strongly supported by Americans now, in the face of historic suffering. But this isn’t just a new trend. This progressive economic approach is appealing to Americans now because it has been appealing to them for a long time. The political class just hasn’t noticed.
How bad is their blind spot on this? Rewind to the summer of 2012. Elizabeth Warren’s selection as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention was seen as such an outside-the-mainstream, high-risk gamble that pundits – and some rank-and-file party members – feared her presence could up-end the convention and cost President Obama his reelection.
“I wish we could buy Elizabeth Warren some air time,” a GOP strategist snorted. “[W]hat works in Massachusetts isn’t necessarily what will work nationally,” an actual Democratic strategist freaked. “Most Americans are optimists, not pessimists. They don’t see themselves as victims.”
A week later, it was clear that this was another case of Washington failing to understand the rest of the nation. Americans, it turned out, wanted a government that did things like protect social security, provide unemployment insurance benefits in a tough economy, and ensure a living wage for its workforce. Not only did Warren’s speech avoid catastrophe, its themes served as a blueprint for every other major speech at the convention – including those given by Obama himself and Bill Clinton.
BY Parker Marie Molloy
January 09 2014
Jewelyes Gutierrez, a sophomore at Hercules High School in Hercules, Calif., made national news after video of her and three female classmates surfaced following a fight at school November 15. According to Kaylie Simon, Gutierrez’s public defender, the 16-year-old had been bullied as a result of her transgender status leading up to the altercation.
According to Gutierrez’s testimony before the school board Monday, she informed administrators about the bullying she was facing on a regular basis, but says they took no direct action prior to the physical altercation. After bullying continued, Gutierrez contends she fought back against her aggressors.
“I was just sticking up for myself,” she told NBC Bay Area. “Because you’re different, you’ll get picked on, you’ll get name calling, bullied, taunted, harassed — all those.”
While none of the individuals involved in the fight came away with serious injuries, the district attorney filed misdemeanor battery charges against only Gutierrez. All the girls involved were temporarily suspended from school.
West Contra Costa School Board President Charles Ramsey, who previously said he believes Gutierrez was the victim in the incident, disagrees with the district attorney’s charges against Gutierrez. Instead, Ramsey says the incident should have been a “teachable moment,” not “something that should rise the level of where it has to go to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.”
From Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.568401
By Tsafi Saar
Jan. 15, 2014
Two weeks ago, 11 men – armed with pepper spray and an electric prod, some wearing masks – attacked a transgender woman next to a club in south Tel Aviv. Last weekend, five gay men were attacked by another group of 11 men, in a different part of south Tel Aviv.
If the first incident displayed violent transphobia, the second demonstrated homophobic hooliganism. And all this in a city considered the most open and tolerant in Israel.
In the strict hierarchy that reigns in the jungle known as human society, there is a group that it would be hard to find more denounced and discriminated against than the transgender community. These are people whose gender identities do not coincide with society’s expectations that one’s sexual organs will determine their gender.
Transgender people are estimated to comprise between 0.1% and 0.3% of the population. The attack on the woman was a poignant and painful reminder of the depths to which the transgendered are pushed. It even turned out that the 11 suspects in the attack were members of the Border Police.
Women in general are a target for assault, and transgendered men and women even more so. Society’s treatment of the transgendered can be seen not just in the attack itself, but in how it was reported in the media – full of either ignorance, insensitivity or both simultaneously.
Among other things, it was reported that “a man dressed in women’s clothes” was attacked. Another article said a male transgender person was attacked. In the police statement following the attack, the masculine form of the derogatory Hebrew word for transgender, “coccinelle,” was used.
Continue reading at: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.568401
By Scott Kaufman
Monday, January 13, 2014
Not even a day after he was released from jail for allegedly fire-bombing his ex-girlfriend’s parent’s house, Fellowship Baptist Church Pastor Mike Lewis was leading a service in his rural California church.
The Vacaville, California pastor is accused of encouraging three homeless people in his church’s care to throw a Molotov cocktail through the front window of his ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house.
According to Sarah Nottingham, after she broke off her relationship with Lewis, he has been “trying to hurt” her and her family. She took out a restraining order against him last year.
“That’s the sickest part about it, is that this man claims to be a man of God,” she told CBS 13. She also alleges that Pastor Lewis vandalized her car and set fire to her shrubbery earlier this year.
Lewis claims to have no idea what’s going on. He told CBS 13 that “I haven’t heard about any of the accusations. I haven’t heard any of them.” He did acknowledge, however, having heard about the fire-bombing of his ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house.
“[T]hat’s what the gentlemen did the other day — the two guys and a girl.”
Anthony Newbolt, Richerd Wright and Kristen Broyles were arrested for their involvement in the incident, but police believe that the three of them were acting under Lewis’s orders. All three were homeless and under Lewis’s church’s care when the fire-bombing occurred.