March 30th, 2010

MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

More on the Prom Saga

Judge: Lesbian student's rights violated
By Chris Joyner

ABERDEEN, Miss. — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Itawamba County, Miss., school board violated the rights of a lesbian student by canceling the prom when the student challenged a ban on same-sex dates, but the judge stopped short of ordering the district to reinstate the April 2 prom.

U.S. District Court Judge Glen Davidson said he denied the injunction request because a private prom parents are planning will serve the same purpose as the school prom and because "requiring defendants to step back into a sponsorship role at this late date would only confuse and confound the community on the issue."

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Well this is good. Here's hoping the private prom isn't another bigoted mess.
MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Anti-lesbian prom school and town hate transgender students too

Trans Student Suspended from Same School in Mississippi That Canceled Prom, Later Hounded Out of Town
by Dan Savage

Constance McMillen wasn't the first student at Itawamba Agricultural High School to contact the ACLU this year.

Juin Baize was a student at Itawamba Agricultural—for a grand total of four hours.

Baize, his mother, and his two sisters moved to Fulton, Mississippi, from New Harmony, Indiana, to live with Baize's grandmother at the beginning of the year. (For now Baize says he prefers to use male pronouns.) Baize, age sixteen, enrolled at Itwamba Agricultural High School, where Constance McMillen was also a student. McMilllen clearly recalled Baize's first—and only—day at Itawamba Agricultural.

"People were talking about him all day, trying to get a look at him," said McMillen. "It was insane, it was ridiculous, it made me so mad. They said he was causing a distraction with what he was wearing but it was a half day of school and people didn’t have time to get used to him."

The other students wouldn't be given a chance to get used to him: the next time Baize came to school, according Kristy Bennett, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, Baize was given a suspension notice and sent home. When Juin returned to school after his first suspension, he was suspended again. [Unknown LJ tag]

“Juin’s case was a situation where a transgender student wanted to attend school dressed in feminine clothing," said Bennett, "and the school district would not even let him attend school."

The reasons for a student's suspension are supposed to be noted on the suspension form, according to Bennett, but that part of Baize's suspension notice was left blank. So the ACLU sent a letter to the school on Baize's behalf asking the school administration for the reasoning behind his suspension—information the ACLU would need in order to challenge Baize's suspension in court.

"But the school would not talk to us about the situation," said Bennett.

Baize's suspension was written about in the local paper in February—which prompted Baize's grandmother to order her daughter and her three grandchildren to move out of her house. I spoke with Baize's mother, Beverly Bertsinger, last week. At the time she and her three children were staying in the home of a friend-of-a-friend.

“If I had the money, I would move the kids somewhere else, somewhere they would be safe
,” Bertsinger told me. “I wish we could move somewhere for my son, somewhere a transgender teenager would be safe. I worry about him constantly. Everywhere he goes he goes with me.”

Baize's appearance and the fact that he, unlike Constance McMillen, was perceived as a trouble-making outsider made living in Fulton increasingly impossible. Beverly Baize couldn't find work because, she believes, Fulton is a small town and people disapproved of her son. Juin was harassed when he left the house, according to Beverly Baize, so she stopped letting him go out alone and then stopped letting him go out at all.

“I’m so afraid for him,” Bertsinger told me last week. “I support him. I buy him the clothing to wear as a female. I just want him to be safe.”

Things reached a crisis stage over the weekend when the friends-of-friends who had been putting up Bertsinger and her three children told her that Juin would have to leave. Bertsinger called some old friends who live in Pensacola, Florida, and asked if they would take Juin in. Her friends drove to Fulton the same night to pick Juin up. Bertsinger is granting temporary guardianship of her son to her friends until, she says, she can find a job and save enough money to move to Florida with her other two children.

The ACLU won't be pursuing Juin's case.

“Juin not being in Fulton makes it difficult for us to pursue any kind of legal action here,” says Bennett. "And personally, I feel it may be a better decision for Juin to relocate and move on with his life.

Juin Baize agrees.

“There’s this thing here called Florida Virtual School,” Juin told me today, “and I’m going to enroll in that online and do that until next year. And from what I’ve heard the high school near here is very accepting. So I’m going to start fresh."

“I’m in a much better place now."

UPDATE: Folks are emailing me to ask if there's any way to help Juin out—and there is. Make a donation to help get Juin settled in Pensacola and help his mom and sisters move to Florida. I've checked into Juin's situation and I'm confident that—although his life has been chaotic—any monies donated will be spent appropriately.

Source with donation link at bottom

This is so tragic and awful. Just... I can't understand how people can be this hateful.

Also, thank you to fofomazuzu for the original link.

(no subject)

Half of Americans say they are fine with an openly gay president -- and they're even hotter on a lesbian Miss America or homosexual Super Bowl quarterback, according to a poll released yesterday.

Fifty percent of those questioned by the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey said they'd have no problem with a gay commander in chief.

Even more said they'd support a gay Miss America or NFL quarterback.


The random phone poll interviewed 967 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.


What happened to angry female music stars?

Joan Jett is remembering a time long ago, before women were ruling the charts as well as gig venues, when women in rock were as angry as hell. "Anger for women in music, for me, stemmed from the fucking principle. It was about being told that a girl couldn't play guitar when you're sitting in school next to girls playing violin and cello and Beethoven and Bach. The anger came from not been given a chance, from being told to shut up and sit down and act like a lady." Jett laughs, the rasp in her voice heavy with passion and grit. "Once you start throwing that kind of shit around, it's war!"

Joan Jett's memories of making rock music with the Runaways, the five-piece female rock group from the mid-1970s, should read like a page from a history book. But it actually sounds old-fashioned for a very different reason – because women in rock are rarely angry any more. It wasn't always this way. After the Runaways, a rush of punk performers – including Siouxsie Sioux and X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene (who mocked people who thought "little girls should be seen and not heard") – and then later the riot grrrl groups of the early 1990s showcased women who offered empowering messages as they pummelled their guitar strings. Twenty years later, the charts are full of female musicians, so maybe their predecessors genuinely opened doors, and also broke down prejudices. But look behind the charts. Look, say, to the media. Look at Q magazine, for example, which still treats "women in rock" as a genre all of its own, and only featured three women on its cover in the last year, all in states of undress (Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole and Lily Allen). Have women yet been accepted in rock music on their own terms?

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panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Signs Largest Reform Of Student Aid In 40 Years

President Barack Obama prepared Tuesday to sign the piece of his sweeping health care overhaul that makes the government the primary lender to students and strips banks of that power.

Obama's hard-fought legislative victory packaged two of his domestic priorities. Obama already signed the bulk of the health care legislation, but a final set of tweaks provided a route for the education package, the largest rewrite of federal college assistance programs in four decades.

The legislation has a wide reach. About half of undergraduates receive federal student aid and about 8.5 million students are going to college with the help of Pell Grants.
Obama's hard-fought legislative victory packaged two of his domestic priorities. Obama already signed the bulk of the health care legislation, but a final set of tweaks provided a route for the education package, the largest rewrite of federal college assistance programs in four decades.

The legislation has a wide reach. About half of undergraduates receive federal student aid and about 8.5 million students are going to college with the help of Pell Grants.

Under the measure, private banks would no longer get fees for acting as middlemen in federal student loans. The government would use the savings to boost Pell Grants and make it easier for some workers to repay their student loans. In addition, some borrowers could see lower interest rates and higher approval rates on student loans.

Obama has touted the changes as a way to make college more affordable for students and their debt load more manageable after graduation. He used his weekend radio and Internet address to cite expected benefits for young people: more student lending, caps on those repayments and more money for minority colleges and universities.

"This reform of the federal student loan programs will save taxpayers $68 billion over the next decade," Obama said in his weekly address. "And with this legislation, we're putting that money to use achieving a goal I set for America: By the end of this decade, we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

The plan caps student loan repayment at 10 percent of a graduate's income when the law takes effect in 2014.

JL: Annoyed J. Law

Officials cancel Baldwin Middle-Senior High School's 'broad' political activity

Calling it too political, Duval County Public Schools officials abruptly canceled a Baldwin Middle-Senior High School write-your-lawmakers assignment aimed at helping preserve state education funding.

The three-day activity was scheduled to begin Monday and would have required all high school students to write letters to state representatives.

Duval schools face as much as a $125 million shortfall next year. The estimate includes $25 million to pay for potential class-size amendment requirements. To bridge the gap, the district may have to cut art, music, physical education and guidance counselor positions, officials said.

Baldwin's teaching staff was told about the mandatory assignment in a Friday e-mail from Jessica Parrish, a school standards coach.

Parrish expressed concern over her "livelihood" because of potential funding cuts and told teachers the activity would channel students' pre-spring break energy into something educational.

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I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on this.
Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Georgia Teen Talks About Prom Fight

This month, Derrick Martin, a senior at Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Ga., won the right to take his boyfriend, Richard Goodman, to the prom on April 17. But the high-profile decision divided his small town, prompted his parents to kick out their only child, and even resulted in death threats for the college-bound 18-year-old. The soft-spoken Martin, currently living with his best friend — though he sees his math teacher father at school every day — talked with The Advocate by phone on Sunday about his mixed experiences since taking a stand.

The Advocate: Are you surprised at all the attention the prom decision has received?

Derrick Martin: Definitely. I thought maybe The [Macon] Telegraph, the local paper, would write something small. Now, I have people contacting me from all over.

How are you and Richard holding up in the spotlight?
Everything’s pretty good. I can’t really complain. It’s a big shock for both of us, but we’re both fine. We’re managing.

What’s it like being openly gay in Cochran?

It’s hard. Everyday you walk around and people yell at me: “Queer! Faggot!” It was like that even before I asked to go to prom.

Have you been threatened since your story broke?
I’ve actually been threatened to be shot at. Someone told me I should watch where I’m going when I ride around town, because they would be riding around with a gun. I’m looking into private security between now and prom, and I have an off-duty deputy that said he would go to prom with me. For now, in terms of security, I do things like drive home a different way every day.

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America Celebrates as Tea Party Will Abolish Socialist's Crown Jewels: Social Security!

Free At Last! Free At Last! Free at Last To Epic Fail Without Any Safety Nets At Last! We Can Now Destroy Welfare Queens FOREVER! Let The Free Market Soar! I CAN HAZ BUCKETS OF MONEYS NOW!

Tea party leaders say they would ‘absolutely’ abolish Social Security.

Last night on CNN, Larry King discussed the rise of the tea parties with a variety of guests and featured footage from last weekend’s lobbyist-organized Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, NV. Dana Loesch, a tea party organizer from Missouri, and another tea party organizer, Wayne Allyn Root, joined King for the discussion. Root and Loesch decried the “unprecedented” and “unconstitutional” reach of a health care mandate. However, King noted that programs like Social Security are mandatory and asked if the tea parties would like to “do away with” that program as well. Both tea party organizers enthusiastically said “yes, absolutely” and added that a compromise would be at least privatizing the system:
KING: Would anyone turn away Social Security now? Would you do away with it?

LOESCH: I would, yes.

KING: You would?

LOESCH: Yes, absolutely.

KING: Would do you away with it, Wayne?

ROOT: I’d certainly like to. At best, I do away with it because I could find better ways to spend and save my own $15,000 a year.
Watch it:

As many observers have noted, tea party fervor has infected the modern Republican Party. The Republican Budget Road Map, championed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a growing number of GOP lawmakers, would appease the tea parties by slashing entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security through cuts and privatization. Unfortunately, King did not discuss the billionaire-backers of the tea parties, like David Koch, who similarly wants to do away with Social Security.

CSI Bachmann Uncovers Evidence That Libural Media Fabricated Racist Video With CGI Technology

New Evidence Demonstrate That Black Lawmakers Are Actually Just Avatars Controlled by White Lawmakers! Also, EPA To Add Stupak To The Endangered Species List

Michele Bachmann: No Evidence Black Lawmakers Were Harassed

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told a crowd at a Duluth, Minn., rally over the weekend that there is no evidence that several black lawmakers were harassed by conservative protesters on Capitol Hill in the days leading up to the health care reform vote.

Black lawmakers, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), reported that they had been spat on and slurred by protesters demonstrating against the health reform bill last week.

"Democrats said that they were called the 'N word,' which of course would be wrong and inappropriate. But no one has any record of it. No witness saw it, it's not on camera, it's not on audio," she said. "They said that they were spat upon. No one saw it."

She went on, "There's a $10,000 reward right now for anyone who can produce a video or an audio. Don't you think we would have seen a video or an audio by now if there was something out there?"

Bachmann spoke from inside a boxing ring at a rally to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), a conservative Democrat who voted in favor of the final health care reform bill.

Bachmann accused Oberstar of "caving" to pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the question of the Stupak amendment, which was removed from the legislation but added to an executive order signed last week by President Obama. The executive order said that federal funding would not be used for abortion services or abortion coverage created by the new law.

"There is no such thing anymore as a pro-life Democrat," Bachmann said. "That's a myth that's out there."

In addition to hammering congressional Democrats and President Obama, Bachmann called on her fellow Republicans to "duke it out" in November and also warned moderate Republicans about the perils of not fighting for conservative principles.

"There is no time and no patience for pantywaist Republicans. No pantywaist Republicans! No wussie Republicans!" she said. "We need Republicans with a spine who will tell it like it is."

Video of the full event is below.

I post this while eating Corn Pops.

Understanding junk food "addiction" in lab rats

Exploring the hypothesis that deficits in reward processing may contribute to obesity by making it difficult for certain individuals to stop eating once their energy needs are met—either because they are prewired with faulty reward systems or because "excessive consumption of palatable food can drive reward dysfunction"—researchers from the Scripps Research Institute examined how prolonged access to a high-fat diet influenced brain reward systems in rats.

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Christian Bale

Healthcare and Economic Realities

With passage of last week’s bill, the American people are now the unhappy recipients of Washington’s disastrous prescription for healthcare “reform.” Congressional leaders relied on highly dubious budget predictions, faulty market assumptions, and outright fantasy to convince a slim majority that this major expansion of government somehow will reduce federal spending. This legislation is just the next step towards universal, single payer healthcare, which many see as a human right. Of course, this “right” must be produced by the labor of other people, meaning theft and coercion by government is necessary to produce and distribute it.

Those who understand Austrian economic theory know that this new model of healthcare will cause major problems down the road, as it has in every nation that ignores economic realities. The more government involves itself in medicine, the worse healthcare will get: quality of care will diminish as the system struggles to contain rising costs, while shortages and long waiting times for treatment will become more and more commonplace.

Consider what would happen if car insurance worked the way health insurance does. What if it was determined that gasoline was a right, and should be covered by your car insurance policy? Perhaps every gas station would have to hire a small army of bureaucrats to file reimbursement claims to insurance companies for every tank of gas sold! What would that kind of system do to the costs of running a gas station? How would that affect the prices of both gasoline and car insurance? Yet this is exactly the type of system Congress is now expanding in health insurance. In a free market system, health insurance would serve as true insurance against serious injuries or illness, not as a convoluted system of third party payments for routine doctor visits and every minor illness.

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disney || look at me
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day thirty

TRINIDAD: Women Demand a Real Gender Policy

PORT OF SPAIN, Mar 8, 2010 (IPS) - A few days after she created history by becoming the first woman to be elected as opposition leader and the leader of a major political party in Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar was kicking mad at the "misunderstanding" of the role of women and their contribution to society.

"We comprise most of the teachers and girls outstrip boys in academic performance, yet they do not hold down many top positions in the corporate world or in politics," she told delegates attending the Caribbean Football Union's (CFU) 33rd Congress late last month.

Speaking on the topic "The Changing Role of Women", Persad-Bissessar, 57, said that one of her first tasks, if she is elected prime minister, will be to establish a national commission on the status of women that will address the socio-economic issues facing them.
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Apologies to everyone for tagging this wrong.
' jules

Sometimes I realize I could literally run the Crist campaign. and then I cry.

FL-Sen: Best endorsement EVER

Gov. Charlie Crist won't be putting this endorsement, from Col. Bud Day, a Medal of Honor winner and former McCain POW cellmate, up on his website:
“You know, we just got through (electing) a politician who can run his mouth at Mach 1, a black one, and now we have a Hispanic who can run his mouth at Mach 1,” Day said. “You look at their track records and they’re both pretty gritty. Charlie has not got a gritty track record.”

Day confirmed he was speaking of Obama and Rubio.

“You’ve got the black one with the reading thing. He can go as fast as the speed of light and has no idea what he’s saying,” Day said. “I put Rubio in that same category, except I don’t know if he’s using one of those readers.”
Crist, who has nothing to lose, and will lose badly in the primary, welcomed the support, no matter how racist it was.


didnt u know he doesn't care what you think!!!!!!!!!! omg just make this race be over ;__;

Texas killing fewer people

Is the death penalty on death row?

By Paul Adams
BBC News, Huntsville, Texas

The scene outside the Huntsville unit of the Texas state penitentiary last Wednesday evening was a familiar one.

Police officers stood casually outside the imposing red-brick walls as a small group of passionate opponents of the death penalty railed against a punishment they say has no place in modern America.

Inside, a death row inmate, Hank Skinner, was due to be executed by lethal injection.

But with half an hour to go, word emerged that the Supreme Court in Washington had issued a last-minute stay of execution.

Skinner, convicted of the 1993 killing of his girlfriend and her two adult sons in Pampa, has always protested his innocence.

His French wife, Sandrine, expressed relief, but spoke of her anger at a process that could still result in her husband's execution.

"This system has got to stop," she told the BBC. "We are not going to stop until it's over."

The death chamber at Huntsville, which carries out all Texas death penalties, is still the busiest in the nation. Twenty-four prisoners were executed last year.

But across Texas, there has been a steep decline in the number of new death sentences handed down. There were just nine last year. In the late 1990s, as many as 48 people a year were sent to death row.

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American University paper prints column saying sexual consent is....optional.

By Alex Knepper
Eagle Columnist
March 28, 2010

Jeremiah Headen likely lost the vice presidency of the Student Government over a hyperbolic Facebook note. Its contents — a blast of old-school masculinity — slammed men for not realizing that being manly had nothing to do with what is between one’s legs, but rather is about values, stoic resolve and hard work. It ended with a silly, all-caps call to raid booty and women from neighboring villages.

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Councilman Booted for Tending to FarmVille

Source: AOLNews

(March 28) -- Anyone who plays FarmVille knows it is critical to harvest your crops on time. But maybe it's not as important as administrating the second-largest city in Bulgaria.

Dimitar Kerin was voted off a committee assignment by the Plovdiv City Council for his inability to stop tending his virtual crops on the Facebook game during meetings.

Kerin was not alone in his obsession among council members. Council chairman Ilko Iliev had previously warned several of them that the new wireless network and laptops provided to all 51 council members were not to be used for playing games on social media sites during budget meetings. Kerin was singled out for continuing to manage his farm and milk his cows despite Iliev's warnings.

Saying that Kerin "needs more time for his virtual farm," council member Todor Hristov made the proposal to oust Kerin, according to Novinite, a news agency out of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Kerin was voted off his committee 20-19.

FarmVille is the most popular app on Facebook and winner of "Best Social Game" at the 2010 Game Developer Choice Awards. Games like it can be particularly addictive because of its real-time game mechanics. Crops are going to mature and even die whether or not players are logged in. If they want to maximize their yield, they better be ready to bring in their crops the second they're ready to harvest. Even if it's during a city council meeting.

The blog "Gameolosophy" has some advice for people like Kerin about managing their FarmVille obsession without going cold turkey:

"Prefer crops whose maturity takes three to four days to ripen to those that take only hours," blogger Sheila Europa writes. "This way, you won't have to keep your game window open, thus eliminating the need to be glued to the screen the whole time."


Since most of the comments are gonna be shooting the breeze about Farmville:

I have not a Facebook, but that sounds so tempting. Any one of you young whippersnappers recall a game called SimFarm? I can't wait til I have my own computer so I can install that puppy again.

The closest I have right now is Tap Farm on the iPhone. *has a sad*
K-Box cartoon

I, for one, support this long overdue budget reduction measure. :)

U.S. Government To Save Billions By Cutting Wasteful Senator Program

Nearly all of the U.S. senatorial positions were categorized as inefficient redundancies.

WASHINGTON—In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital federal services, the U.S. government announced plans this week to cut its long-standing senator program, a move it says will help save more than $300 billion each year.

According to officials, the decision to cut the national legislative body was reached during a budget review meeting on Tuesday. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing U.S. senators far outweighed the benefits they provided.

"Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible," President Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. "When we sat down to go over our annual budget, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the American people? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?"

"The answer was obvious," Obama added. "The U.S. Senate just needed to go."

Established in 1789 as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising senator program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the nation in any significant way since 1964. Last year alone, approximately $450 billion was funneled into the legislative chamber, an amount deemed fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.

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Palin Advises Tea Partiers: 'Stop' Cars With Obama Bumper Stickers

Less than a week after a Nashville man was driven off the road because his car sported an Obama-Biden bumper sticker, Sarah Palin has called on Tea Partiers to stop drivers whose cars have a similar sticker.

Stumping on Saturday from Searchlight, NV -- Harry Reid's hometown -- Palin focused her rhetoric on the health care overhaul passed last week:

It's like that old bumper sticker that says, "Government: If you think our problems are bad, wait until you see our solutions."

The crowd cheered. She went on:

Or that bumper sticker you see on the next Subaru driving by, an Obama bumper sticker. You should stop the driver and say, "So how is that hopey, changey thing working out for you?"

Her comments come at a politically charged time, just a week after a picture on her Facebook page used crosshairs to identify Democrats who voted for health care reform.

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Has she been asleep the past two weeks? Or is missing out on the passage of health care reform and student loan reform what happens when all you read is Cosmo and the only channels you watch are the ones with Bumpits commercials?