June 29th, 2010

Tell a Sentinel

Suppose they gave a teaparty and no-one came..

A small piece hit CNN’s blog today stating that the National Tea Party Unity convention was moving from its set date of July 15-17 to October 2010. The reasons given by the organizing committee include:
  • “it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections.”
  • “The heat in Las Vegas in July is keeping many who would like to participate from attending.”
  • “We have also received numerous emails from people who were forced to decide between family vacations and attending the convention.”
CNN’s piece basically served as publication of their statement without applying any critical analysis to it. There are some basic questions you should be asking here that don’t even require you to be a veteran event organizer.
To make the point bluntly their stated reasons for moving the convention are bullshit, and CNN buried the real reason this is happening in the story which was “moving back the date allows other Tea Party groups to attend the convention.” In other words they’re two weeks from their event and they’ve got no attendees and no interest in it.

This should be a juicy media story about the staying power of the Tea Party movement. Are they going to keep it going or does the excitement fizzle out at some point? That’s pretty much the first question I’d be asking if I were a reporter covering the Tea Party and this crossed my desk.

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Five years later, still happily married

the source is in Spanish, the translation is mine. I've intertwined with the Spanish text so if there are any native spanish speakers reading, feel free to correct my errors, which should be easier to spot.

Llevan 35 años conviviendo y cinco años felizmente casados. Sueñan con "envejecer juntos" y convertirse en "un matrimonio de ancianitos simpáticos". Se piropean constantemente el uno al otro y son incapaces de permanecer más de un día sin verse.

Emilio Menéndez (55 años) y Carlos Baturín (63) son los primeros homosexuales que se casaron en España después de que entrara en vigor la reforma legal del Código Civil que las Cortes aprobaron el 30 de junio de 2005.

En realidad, hubo una pareja de mujeres que intentó casarse en La Coruña, allá por 1901, pero el párroco las descubrió después de que una de ellas tratara de hacerse pasar por hombre. Las persiguieron y tuvieron que huir a Argentina.

Ya estas cosas no ocurren, pero, hace cinco años, los detractores de la nueva ley decían aquello de que las bodas entre personas del mismo sexo ponían en peligro los valores tradicionales y vaticinaban que la familia tradicional iba a extinguirse.

"Las familias no se rompen por las leyes, se rompen por las personas". Lo dice Emilio, la media mitad de un matrimonio que se considera "muy tradicional". "No nos verás en el ambiente o en noches locas, no somos gente de alternar", añade.

Llevan una vida pausada y ordenada, desconfían de internet y cenan temprano. Les gusta el vino bueno. Son los presidentes de la comunidad de vecinos y los ocupantes de un ático en el madrileño barrio de Chamberí, pequeño y lleno de plantas.

El 11 de julio de 2005, el asturiano Emilio, escaparatista de El Corte Inglés, y el neoyorquino Carlos, psiquiatra retirado, protagonizaron una boda mediática en la localidad madrileña de Tres Cantos en las que estaba todo el mundo menos la gente del PP. Les casó un concejal de IU, amigo de la familia. Se dieron el sí en menos de cinco minutos.

Cinco años después, dicen que la boda ha aportado más solidez a su relación. "Estar más cerca que antes es imposible", explica Carlos, "pero quizá con el matrimonio hemos adquirido más consciencia de la pareja y de la familia". "El matrimonio une, los sentimientos cada vez son más fuertes", añade Emilio.

Algo tiene el matrimonio, reflexionan, que hace que las relaciones duren más. "Hay parejas a nuestro alrededor que se han deshecho, los matrimonios no".

"Tenemos muchos amigos casados, formamos un pequeño grupo y celebramos los aniversarios juntos", explica Carlos. Para el suyo, harán una fiesta en la terraza de su casa.

They have 35 years living together and five years happily married. They dream of growing old together and talk of "a nice old man marriage (?)'. They constantly complement each other and are incapable of going more than one day without seeing each other.

Emilio Menéndez (55) and Calros Baturín (63) are the first gays to marry in Spain after the legal reform of the Civil Code that the Courts approved June 30, 2005

In reality, there were a pair of women that intended to mary in La Coruña, back in 1901, but the pastor discovered them after one of the women tried to pose as a man. They were persecuted, and had to flee to Argentina.

Now these things don't occur, but, for five years, the detractors of the new law say that the weddings of persons of the same sex endanger traditional values and predict that the traditional family will become extinct.

"Families don't break because of laws, they break because of people." says Emilio, the average half (?) of a marriage that is considered very traditional. N/B: I'm having trouble with the next line and Google Translate isn't helping

They lead a leisurely and orderly life, distrusting the internet and eating dinner early. They like good wine. They are the presidents of the community of neighbors and the occupants of an attic (?)in the Madrid neighborhood of Chamberí, small and full of plants.

July 11, 2005, the Austurian Emilio, (worker?) at El Corte Inglés, and the New Yorker Carlos, a retired psychiatrist, staged a (media?) wedding in the Madrid local of Tres Cantos in which there was the whole world minus the top of the PP. They were married by a councillor (?) of the EU, a friend of the family. They found the other(?) in less than five mnnutes. Okay, for those not familiar, Asturias is a province of Spain, El Corte Inglés is like Target, PP is a political party, and I have no idea what the last line is on about

Five years later, they say that the wedding has brought strength to their relationship. "To have been more close [to each other] before is impossible", explains Carlos, "but perhaps with the wedding we have acquired more awareness of 'couple' and 'family." "The marriage, the sentiments each time are stronger", added Emilio.

Sometimes to have marriage, they reflect, makes the relationships stronger. "There are couples around us who have been undone, but the married ones, no".

"We have many married friends, we form a small group and celebrate the anniversaries together", explains Carlos. For theirs, there will be a party on the terrace of their house.

Source, if you wanna Google Translate it yourself
Professor Chaos

A Straight Person's Guide To Gay Pride

If you are a opposite-gender lover you may not know this is Gay Pride Weekend in New York. You should come join the party! But first, here are a few things you need to know before joining the fun.

If Halloween is Gay Christmas and the Oscars is the Gay Super Bowl, then Pride is Gay Fourth of July. There are picnics and fireworks and lots of drinking and it's all about freedom! Pride isn't really one single occurrence. Much like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it is a collection of parades, rallies, parties, private events, functions, fundraisers, and bead throwing. So, one doesn't so much "go to Pride" as one "does Pride." Every gay observes it differently, but it really is the one time of the year when all the leather daddies, bull dykes, twinks, alternaqueers, trannies, drag queens, femmes, circuit boys, bois (who are actually girls), and all the other wonderful gay archetypes rub elbows in a giant celebration of living somewhere over the rainbow.

While the day is all about being gayer than Liza Minnelli singing "Single Ladies" in a Sex and the City movie, we love it when our straight allies come out and lend their support. If you want to join in, here are some handy tips to keep in mind.

* The first Gay Pride parade was really a march through the streets of New York to protest the unfair treatment of gay men by police at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. We now mark the infamous Stonewall Riots every June with a parade through town. It is no longer very political. It's mostly about corporations telling us that they're "down with the gays" and an excuse for gay people party. Don't judge us.

* In New York, the major event is the Gay Pride March, which goes down Fifth Avenue in Midtown before snaking through Greenwich village before stopping at Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Riots took place. The people who go to the parade are out-of-towners, the very young, the very old, every lesbian who lives in the suburbs, and straight people. Please go, you'll fit right in.

* OK, the real main event for the boys is the Dance on the Pier, a giant outdoors dance party on the Hudson River. There's usually a surprise performer who comes out and does a number at the end of the party. If you want to send any gay into a tizzy between now and Sunday, tell them you heard Lady Gaga is going to be at the Pier Dance.

* Seriously, every gay bar is going to be packed all weekend, so if you want a festive good time, just go to your neighborhood homo watering hole. Just watch out though, because you may walk yourself square into a theme party and not have anything to wear!

* While watching the parade, every float will basically be either a gay group (charitable, social, activist, religious, or otherwise) or a a bunch of men wearing little clothing and lots of body glitter. No matter which of the two these are, they will be dancing to one of the same three dance remixes—probably Gaga. Once you've heard "Bad Romance" for the fiftieth time, feel free to take revenge by using the little "Gaga at the Pier Dance" trick we just taught you.

* If you're going to come to an event, even the parade, you need to work a look. Straight girls, you better not leave the house looking all half-assed, because there will be a ton of semi-drunk professional stylists walking around and they will want to read you (and if you don't know what reading is, please Netflix Paris Is Burning before going to Pride). Do your makeup, shave your legs, paint your toes, and then dress! But not too much, you don't need anyone thinking you're a drag queen. Boys, you'll be fine, as long as you're hot. And if you are, you should take your shirt off. If being an objectified piece of beef is the one thing you do for your gay neighbors all year, that is enough. And if you really want to drive them wild, wear a harness.

* And that goes in reverse. Never, ever, ever, ever tell a drag queen that you can do hair and makeup better than she can, even if she is wearing a ratty wig and some globby pancake makeup over two days of beard. You probably have better makeup skills, but they are way more vicious, and they will make you cry. Even at Pride.

* Yes, we know all the lesbians look like Justin Bieber. Stop telling us.

* The first places where gay people could freely congregate were bars and still, to this day, most Pride celebrations are bar centric. Just because we want to hang out at a place that is overly decorated with rainbow banners and has hot shirtless straight boys slinging drinks doesn't mean that we're a bunch of drunks. Don't judge us.

* Girls, we love having you in gay bars, even when it is super crowded and we're trying to get laid. Just one rule. No shrieking! This is Gay Pride, not a bachelorette party. And nothing makes a gay's testicles retract back into their body like drunk girls screaming.

* Also, ladies, don't show your support by making out with another straight girl. This isn't a frat party. However, if a dyke on a bike calls you her bitch and tries to jam her tongue down your throat, you'd better let her.

* Straight guys, if you want to make out with another dude, especially for the first time, this is completely acceptable—especially if you're hot.

* Oh, guys. If you see anyone that you want to remotely have sex with, it's either a fag hag or a drag queen. They will both flirt back with you, just make sure you know which is which, because one has a "surprise."

* For the last time, they are not "assless chaps." All chaps are inherently assless, so saying "assless chaps" is as redundant as saying "fingerless mittens." If you see some guy with a pasty, hairy, tush waddling around in a pair, just say "Ew!" and point. That's what the gays do.

* Lots of lesbians have children, whether from adoption, sperm donors, or previous relationships. Do not mess with the lesbians' children. If you think regular Park Slope mothers are vicious when it comes to their kids, you don't even want to find out what happens when you get between a lesbian and her cubs. Also, gay men treat their little dogs like children, so be careful of them too. Yes, it's stupid, but it's our only choice. Don't judge us.

* If you go to any sort of Gay Pride dance party and someone puts a bottle under your nose, do not inhale. These are poppers and they are a secret gay elixir. We don't want straight people knowing how good they are, so please don't try them. The last thing we need is a shortage of Rush thanks to you guys!

* We know you want to show your support, but no rainbows. Not on hats, pins, necklaces, leis, or boas. They're good enough for flags and decorations, but actually adorning one's body with a rainbow is just tacky. Trust us.

* The soundtrack for the day is stereotypical gay jams: Madonna, Indigo Girls, house anthems, Melissa Etheridge, Katy Perry, Beyoncé. Steel yourself.

* Remember, this day is all about the gays. It's like you're a Red Sox fan at Yankee Stadium. You need to just go along with what's happening. Even if you don't like it or get uncomfortable, take a deep breath and try to fit in. Every other day of the year is Straight Pride Day, and today, you play by our rules.

* Feel free to stare. That's what Pride is all about. And if we were ashamed, we wouldn't be out in public like this in the first place!

I thought this was a funny article (mainly because I love Gawker's humor) and fitting for the occasion. Perhaps one day I will get to NYC to see this myself as I am from a smaller city in WNY and our pales in comparison. To all the straight people and families who support us, thank you. Also I chose the QAF pic above because this was my absolute favorite scene from this show along with the song they play during their dance. 

ETA many of Gawker's article's/writer's use sarcasm liberally (like Joel Stein did in his write up). It's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek but may come across as offensive to some. Obviously that's not  my intention. So my apologies to those who were. All the same please support pride and have fun and be silly.
Sufjan Smile

A license to witch-hunt

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a part of the USA PATRIOT Act that criminalizes free speech as "terrorism"--and the Obama administration, which was expected to stop its predecessor's assault on the Constitution, is celebrating the decision as a victory.

The 6-3 decision of the court, announced June 21, upholds a portion of the 2001 Patriot Act that classifies some speech and other "intangible assistance" as material aid to terrorists.

The justices agreed with the arguments of the Obama administration--specifically, its choice to sit on the Supreme Court, former Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who made the White House's case before the court.

The administration opposed a lawsuit brought by the Humanitarian Law Project that challenged the law's provision that prohibits material support--specifically the giving of "expert advice or assistance"--to groups designated as "terrorist" by the U.S. State Department.

The law project wanted to provide advice to two groups--the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Kurdistan Workers' Party--on peacefully resolving disputes and working with the United Nations. But in his opinion justifying the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the motives of the Humanitarian Law Project didn't matter, and any assistance to a group on the State Department's terrorism list represented "material support."

The consequences of the ruling are far-ranging, as the New York Times pointed out:

The court at least clarified that acts had to be coordinated with terror groups to be illegal, but many forms of assistance may still be a criminal act, including filing a brief against the government in a terror-group lawsuit.

Academic researchers doing field work in conflict zones could be arrested for meeting with terror groups and discussing their research, as could journalists who write about the activities and motivations of these groups, or the journalists' sources. The FBI has questioned people it suspected as being sources for a New York Times article about terrorism, and threatened to arrest them for providing material support.

In a strong dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer, supported by Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the court's majority was too willing to believe the government's argument that national security concerns required restrictions on speech and had "failed to insist upon specific evidence, rather than general assertion."
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Source: Socialist Worker

The continued support of the PATRIOT ACT, the expansion of executive power, and the detainment of people who are objectively innocent is in line with the foreign policy of the Bush years, and represents still a misfire of justice. And note, a good deal of these are executive policies. The administration could just say "Look, we're going to stop utilizing the PATRIOT ACT, it's unconstitutional, we're going to stop using state secrets as legal arguments, that's unfounded, and we're going to release innocent Yemeni prisoners back to their government." It's all in the hands of the executive.

Not that I'd expect anything from the establishment though. Like the state would cede power so many are complicit with them having.
Akuma River

Hurricane in the Gulf will hamper BP's Oil Spill Leak cleanup

Far-off hurricane could slow oil spill cleanup
By TOM BREEN and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer Tom Breen And Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press Writer – 21 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – The tropical storm plowing across the far side of the Gulf of Mexico could send oil skimmers back to port and make containment booms useless, even from some 500 miles away. But the rough weather also might give nature a hand in breaking down crude from the massive oil spill.

Forecasters expect Alex to grow to hurricane strength later Tuesday over the southwestern Gulf on track for the Texas-Mexico border region and away from the oil spill area off Louisiana. But it will blow waves and stormy winds all the way to the open Gulf, where BP PLC is working to cap and contain the oil, and the coastal waters tinged with crude.

The effects may be mixed.

Waves churned up by Alex — as high as 12 feet — could help break up the patches of oil scattered across the sea. The higher-than-normal winds that radiate far from the storm also could help the crude evaporate faster.
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Goddamn fucking Hurricane. My area is in Tropical Storm Warning as of yesterday. The Hurricane is bound to hit the Brownsville area about a Cat 2. We can't afford another Hurricane at the moment...the last one that hit us in 2003 left our house badly damaged and in 2007 we were nearly done with the repairs to the roof (all it needed was shingles...but we couldn't afford it at the time) when the fucking Monsoon flood season of the century hit and destroyed all of that plus the good wood... A Hurricane now will finish it off. *hates FEMA*

So...who else is prepping for the Hurricane? It's not exactly evacuation material (unless you live in the lowlands/flood areas)? Since we are about 500 miles from it we think we'll only get some waves and storms. Within two days our zero percent chance of rain went to 60-70% for the whole week. *sighs*

Son of Fred Phelps speaks out about his 'hateful' anti-gay father

The son of Pastor Fred Phelps, the man who founded the adamantly homophobic Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas which claims that God hates the United States for supporting gay rights, has broken his silence and begun to publicly speak about his relationship with his estranged father.

Father of four and self-confessed atheist Nate Phelps, 51, lives in Calgary and is engaged to be married to his second wife. Speaking to Canadian Newspaper, Globe and Mail, he said, "I don’t accept the argument that growing up in a twisted environment is what led me to atheism . . . I accept the argument that growing up in a hyper-focus-on-God environment led me to search for answers. There’s no doubt about that. And I do accept that there’s damage there . . . I just don’t see any evidence for a God. But I see plenty of evidence for good and evil in humans."

Mr Phelps acknowledged in the interview that he felt a need for atonement and to work out his feelings about his upbringing, which his plans to put into a book.

Lately, he has been speaking on the subject of his family and the religion he was raised with at both secularist and gay conventions. He spoke at the Toronto Centre for Inquiry, a non-profit organisation for the promotion of critical thinking, and a month ago, returned to Topeka to speak at a gay rally, a move that "put him at the centre of his father’s hate campaign". Mr Phelps was well received at the rally but confessed he found the experience "terrifying".

Mr Phelps said he no longer felt any love for his father, but was conflicted about his mother, who he saw as a "victim" like the other members of his family. Shirley Phelps-Roper, Mr Phelps's sister, admits that their father beat them as children, but denies he ever physically attacked their mother.

On the subject of homosexuality, Mr Phelps said he understands that [gay people] don’t choose their sexuality, but the religious prejudice that his father "hard-wired" into his brain sometimes makes him doubt his thoughts. He conceded, however, that it wasn't "an intellectual thing. It’s an emotional thing. It’s what was hard-wired into my brain. And it whispers, 'What if I’m wrong?'"

Mr Phelps also said he stuggled with suicidal thoughts and depression, but lives in hope. He is one of 16 of Fred Phelps's children, two of whom changed their names and turned their back on the family for good.

Source: Pink News

Daily Mirror journalist says there is 'no chance' of English football players coming out

Daily Mirror sports journalist John Cross has stated in an interview with an anti-homophobia in sport website that he cannot see any English footballers coming out in the near future as "our sport has created a dangerous taboo".

Speaking to thejustincampaign.com, Mr Cross said he didn't for a moment believe there were no gay professional footballers. He added, "football is part of society. Unless we break down barriers across the whole of society then we can't expect football to be exempt of such taboos. Can you imagine any other part of society with thousands of people working in the business without a single openly gay employee?"

Mr Cross, a self-confessed football fanatic, said he didn't believe the Football Association's heart was really in the fight against homophobia, adding that he was very disappointed that they pulled their video campaign last year.

When asked about homophobia in the sporting press, Mr Cross said that his recent Daily Mirror article about homophobia in football was greeted with "some gentle ribbing" adding that, with a few exceptions, "football journalists aren't very forward thinking either."

The idea that continental fans were more tolerant was suggested as a potential ray of hope for gay footballers. Mr Cross said, "I think there is far more acceptance from the rest of Europe. Far more. I think that would be the only way to introduce the issue and then maybe – just maybe – other players would follow."

Mr Cross said he fully supports The Justin Campaign, which was set up in honour of Justin Fashanu, still the only out professional footballer to date. He committed suicide in 1998.

Source: Pink News
music | Janelle Monáe

PRIDE PotD: June 29, 2010.

Picspam Installment V of international Pride events:

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Next Pride photo-spam: Australia, Ireland, France.

Source galleries:
Other galleries:

I knew it!

Untidy beds may keep us healthy

Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.

Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

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Now we all have a good excuse for not making our beds.

Can't really think of improvements on the original article title

Chinese companies 'rent' white foreigners

Beijing, China (CNN) -- In China, white people can be rented.

For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

Some call it "White Guy Window Dressing." To others, it's known as the "White Guy in a Tie" events, "The Token White Guy Gig," or, simply, a "Face Job."

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections -- real or not -- to businesses abroad.

"Face, we say in China, is more important than life itself," said Zhang Haihua, author of "Think Like Chinese." "Because Western countries are so developed, people think they are more well off, so people think that if a company can hire foreigners, it must have a lot of money and have very important connections overseas. So when they really want to impress someone, they may roll out a foreigner."

Or rent one.

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Source, which comes complete with the usual CNN failtacular comment section.
shatner and trebek

Come for the Pizza, Stay for the Deconstruction of Masculinity

One Thursday last month, during the lunch hour at H.D. Woodson Senior High School, half a dozen teenage boys have gathered to eat pizza and talk about hollering at women. “From where I come from, you holler at a girl,” one student tells the group. “A girl can’t be too upset when a guy is paying attention to her.” “It depends on the type of girl and whether she has respect for herself,” another says. “Some girls will say, stop. But they like it, for real.” “If she’s wearing short shorts, booty shorts, short skirt, with the thong showing, she wants it,” another guy says. “Can’t blame it on the boy. She knows what she’s doing.”

“But what if it’s hot out?” This is Kedrick Griffin. He’s here to play the 37-year-old devil’s advocate on a subject that’s generally considered normal behavior for a teenage boy in the District of Columbia.

“What if all her other shorts are dirty? What if it’s 2 a.m. in a dark alley? What if it’s your girlfriend who’s wearing the short shorts?” Along with the targeted line of questioning, Griffin has also brought three boxes of Pizza Boli’s and an 18-pack of Sierra Mist. These Woodson students have been eating Griffin’s pizza since September. By now, they know full well that it’s wrong to blame a woman for rape based on what she’s wearing—now, they’re just struggling through the street harassment piece. This exercise has come almost at the end of a year-long District program called the “Men of Strength” club—MOST Club, for short. The same pattern is repeated with groups of boys in public middle and high schools across the District: Come for the pizza, stay for the deconstructions of masculinity.
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Man sauce

All out against police brutality and in solidarity with the Toronto 900!

The events of the past week in Toronto have been unprecedented in Canadian history. Over 900 people were arrested, the biggest mass arrests ever in Canada, for daring to protest against the destructive policies of the G20. ---- Protesters and local residents were subjected to violent baton attacks, snatch squads, tear gas and rubber bullets. Sleeping people have been pulled from their homes at gunpoint in the middle of the night. Many have been beaten. People who have been arrested have been strip-searched and held in cages, facing long delays in obtaining legal support. We have heard numerous accounts of sexual abuse by police from women who were arrested. Journalists have been punched, arrested and had their equipment broken. ---- On the streets of Toronto, the mask of “liberal democracy” has slipped off and the police reminded us of the State's willingness to use blatant violence against its own population in the face of popular dissent. And thanks to citizen journalists, the alternative media and even some in the corporate media, the truth of what happened in Toronto is slowly emerging.

In order to make sure that the actions of the police state are fully exposed, we must keep up the pressure on the police and the government.

We must also publicly demonstrate our solidarity with all those arrested so that they are released as quickly as possible and charges are dropped against all those caught up in the net of the police state.

In Toronto, solidarity rallies outside detention centres and police stations are already taking place. But just as police forces from across the province converged on Toronto for the G20, so our resistance must spread out from the epicentre of oppression to every corner of the province.

Common Cause thus calls on all those concerned to take the fight back across the province and across the country. Starting this Wednesday, June 30, we are calling for solidarity rallies outside police headquarters in as many cities as possible.

Our message will be clear:

Free the Toronto 900!

Fight back against the police state! We are putting you under surveillance!

Build the resistance against the G20! Build the resistance against austerity!

Build the general strike!

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Source: A-Infos
Also: See this relevant post on [info]ontd_feminism , in case you don't follow that comm.
Sarah roses

Bill Gives US Control of Flights From Canada

The Harper government has quietly presented a bill in the House of Commons that would give U.S. officials final say over who can board aircraft in Canada if they are to fly over the U.S. en route to a third country.

"Canadian sovereignty has gone right out the window," Liberal transport critic Joe Volpe told the Montreal Gazette in a recent interview. "You are going to be subject to American law."

Bill C-42 amends Canada's Aeronautics Act to allow airlines to pass on passenger information to "a foreign state" for flights over that country without landing.

At present, airlines are only required to give passenger information to the U.S. government on flights landing in the United States.

Bill C-42 would comply with U.S. Homeland Security's Secure Flight program, which requires airlines to submit personal information about passengers 72 hours before a flight's departure.

As Canwest News reported in March, Secure Flight has already been introduced for U.S. airlines, and U.S. Homeland Security wants to implement it internationally, including on Canadian airlines, by the end of 2010.

If Bill C-42 passes, then passengers leaving Canada on a flight to Cuba or France, for example, while flying over the U.S. would have their name, birthdate and gender subject to screening by U.S. Homeland Security, which involves running that information through various government databases to determine whether there is a terrorist threat.

If you have the same name as someone on a no-fly list, you may be questioned, delayed or even barred from the flight. If your name does not match, Homeland Security tells the airline that you may have a boarding pass.

Currently, Canadian airlines check names against no-fly lists provided by the U.S. and Canadian governments. But the airlines decide who gets a boarding pass.

Mr. Volpe noted that Bill C-42 does not refer specifically to the United States, adding that "with a stroke of the pen" the government is agreeing to give information on Canadian passengers to any foreign government.

"They just opened the door to everybody without even so much as, 'Hello, why are you doing this?'

"They can harass our airlines, harass our passengers, anything they want to."

Mr. Volpe said Bill C-42 was introduced with no warning and no discussion with the three opposition parties. Together, the opposition parties could vote down the legislation.

"The government doesn't feel very comfortable about what it is doing," he said. "It is trying to put one over on the public away from the scrutiny of the press and the opposition."

Dennis Bevington, the NDP transport critic, said Bill C-42 was presented at "the very last moment" before the June 17 adjournment.

"We're doing this without understanding what the threat assessment is," Mr. Bevington said from Hay River in his Western Arctic riding.

"There's no way that this is going to get an easy ride."

While Transport Minister John Baird presented Bill C-42 on June 17, his office redirected questions to Public Security Minister Vic Toews.

In an email, Public Security official Sophie Bedard said: "this straightforward, technical amendment to the Aeronautics Act would also ensure Canadians do not face any undue delays in their travel plans."


Fuck this noise. Here's to hoping the opposition actually grows a spine and votes this one down.

Poverty is a Queer Issue

Over the weekend, as there were Pride celebrations in many parts of the world, I visited with old friends. What was completely astonishing to me was the state of poverty that we find ourselves in right now.

All of us are well over 50. We are the only ones to lose our home at this point; the other friends are barely holding on. Of the four of us out the other night at the Egyptian museum, only one of us has a job.

The other three hobos, I mean homos, have all been gainfully employed all our adult lives. One has owned and operated several businesses over time. Her unemployment just ran out on Friday. She is one of the 1.3 million who were dropped that day.

My unemployment ran out back in April. No income since then so my spouse is trying to keep both of us afloat.

The other friend is on disability and her partner is her paid caregiver. The Governator is about to drop that program so that poor disabled will continue to bear the burden of this Depression. They live a half hour drive out of town and cannot afford to move in closer to town so they are facing down foreclosure also.

I have to give a shout out to fellow blogger Patricia Nell Warren for also talking about the financial crisis many lgbt folks find themselves in, including herself. We are losing our houses, our savings, and our dignity in this disaster.

In all the latest rumblings about LGBT rights, I wonder how we get more of our own folks realizing the recession is a queer issue? ENDA is a jobs bill, so is DADT. But ultimately my life and ability to be a participating member is tied up in the Senate and their lack of understanding of our realities - straight and LGBT.

It was finally explained to me during my last visit to DC. It is an obvious answer, really. None of the legislature, Senate and House alike, ever see needy people every day. There is always money in DC so since they don't go outside of the comfort zone of the Hill and their homes, why would they see the other realities?

There is no urgency on the economy. There is no urgency on anything. When I heard the President tell the folks on the Gulf Coast that they were not going to be forgotten, I thought, "Well what about the rest of us? You have forgotten about us and left us. We have no help and there is no help on the horizon." Abandoned.

Let me ask this - how many unemployed people were invited to the White House cocktail party last week? All the glowing reports of words from the President are irrelevant without action. There is no action because we have been forgotten and left behind. Again.

This continued depression has a strong effect on our community. How many LGBT centers are struggling? The AIDS prevention money was stripped from the California budget so who will be the next wave of infected gay men in California? How many activists are sidelined because they have no resources and cannot devote time to planning or activism because we are crippled by poverty? Getting turned down repeatedly for jobs doesn't do a lot for a person's self esteem, trust me.

There is a price to pay for this disaster. Unfortunately, those who should be paying for it are summering in the Hamptons. The rest of us are stuck with the bill, both financial and emotional.

So during this month of Pride, while we celebrate all our victories over the years, try to remember those on the sidelines, struggling to keep our heads above water. Equality should mean an equal chance to contribute to our communities, live a good life, and hold our heads high.

Mr Fierce Advocate, this is your chance to make a difference for all of us.

Source: The Bilerico Project

Indonesia: Man Claims Cow Seduced Him for Sex

A Balinese teenager caught in the act of intercourse with a cow passed out on Friday when he was forced to marry the animal in a ceremony witnessed by hundreds of curious onlookers.

As the Jakarta Globe reported earlier in the day, Ngurah Alit, 18, an unemployed youth from the seaside village of Yeh Embang in Jembrana, was caught stark naked positioned behind the cow in a rice paddy field.

In his defence, Alit admitted to the act of bestiality but claimed the cow, which he believed was a young and beautiful woman, had wooed him with flattering compliments.

As part of a Pecaruan ritual, a ceremony to cleanse the village of the unholy act of a man mating with a cow, Alit was forced to "marry" the animal.

Alit, however, according to Detik.com, passed out surrounded by locals and police, who were attempting to prevent a number of journalists from covering the spectacle.

It is unclear whether or not he got to say "I do."

Alit's collapse prompted his mother to begin screaming hysterically, while other family members shouted at photographers not to take pictures.

"Poor kid. He's actually a quiet kid," said one villager.

As part of the ceremony, Alit's victim and new bride was drowned in ocean.

Alit, on the other hand, was symbolically drowned and bathed on the beach.

"Only his clothes were thrown into the sea," the villager said.

Village chief Ida Bagus Legawa declared that the village had been "cleansed" from the "defilement from the incident."