July 21st, 2010


Derrick Martin starts Project LifeVest

Kicked out of home over prom, gay Ga. teen launches Project LifeVEST to help others

by Laura Douglas-Brown
Monday, 12 July 2010 15:24

In April, Derrick Martin, a gay teen from Cochran, Ga., was asked to leave home after publicity surrounding his decision to take his boyfriend to the high school prom. Today, Martin launched Project LifeVEST to help other LGBT people in similar situations.

States the new group's website: "Our mission is simple: 'To be a helping hand, a life vest, to as many LGBTQ teens and adults as possible. We will carry out this mission through the establishment of safe places in as many cities as possible; through opening a call center with a qualified and well-educated and experienced team of counselors who can give advice and guidance where needed; through finding qualified and screened families who can, if the need arises, host rejected teens while they finish schooling or find a new place.'"

Martin is founder and president of the new organization. The website lists as its board of directors Aaron Fricke, Arturo Beeche, Dave Higdon, Don Martin-Nielson, Leesa Nixon and Russell Phillip.

Collapse )


Project LifeVest website, Facebook, and Twitter

Collapse )
Sufjan Smile

Making green a commodity

Amy Muldoon reviews a new book by Heather Rogers that argues that capitalism cannot offer real solutions to environmental degradation.

July 21, 2010

The Beauty of capitalism lies in its seductive ability to manufacture needs and fulfill them just long enough until a new need comes along to replace it.

It also creates true needs by the very fact of its instability and destruction. Incredibly, it has managed at particular times in history to attempt to fulfill the need to rebel against and reject capitalism itself with clever product placement. Oldsmobile's famous "Not your father's Oldsmobile" slogan embodied the strategy of advertisers to commodify the rebelliousness of the '60s generation and sell it back to them on the open market.

Today, the looming destruction of the environment is creating a pressing need for solutions, but again, capitalism approaches the problem as one of how to sell the most products to the most people. Behind the façade of protecting the environment, the same rapacious logic that has brought the biosphere to the brink continues to operate--but is now being brought home in reusable bags.

Heather Rogers, who has truly earned the title "muckraker" after her exhaustive examination of garbage in her first book Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, returns to test the green credentials of the would-be saviors claiming that the solution to ecological meltdown can be found on the shelf of your local free market showroom.

Green Gone Wrong: How our Economy is Undermining the Environmental Revolution is a powerful rebuttal to this assertion.

Excellently researched through firsthand reporting, by turns infuriating and heartbreaking, and refreshingly respectful of the millions of working-class people who are seen by many environmentalists as the problem, Green Gone Wrong points to the large-scale nature of the problem and the need for systematic solutions.

Like in Gone Tomorrow, Rogers depicts consumers as being in the passenger seat of the market; it is industrial producers who are doing the driving.
Collapse )

Socialist Worker

Chomsky (self-parody mode approaching here) offers better commentary on the greater issue of environmentalist anti-capitalism than I could:

Destruction of the environment is not only rational; it's exactly what you're taught to do in college. If you take an economics or a political science course, you're taught that humans are supposed to be rational wealth accumulators, each acting as an individual to maximize his own wealth in the market. The market is regarded as democratic because everybody has a vote. Of course, some have more votes than others because your votes depend on the number of dollars you have, but everybody participates and therefore it's called democratic. Well, suppose that we believe what we are taught. It follows that if there are dollars to be made, you destroy the environment. The reason is elementary. The people who are going to be harmed by this are your grandchildren, and they don't have any votes in the market. Their interests are worth zero. Anybody that pays attention to their grandchildren's interests is being irrational, because what you're supposed to do is maximize your own interests, measured by wealth, right now. Nothing else matters. So destroying the environment and militarizing outer space are rational policies, but within a framework of institutional lunacy.

We cannot reasonably expect environmental reforms to come through the very system which rationalizes such exploitation. Neo-liberal thought is the death of real environmentalist justice.

(no subject)

RNC fails to report $7M in debt to FEC - Party treasurer faults Steele 

The Republican National Committee failed to report more than $7 million in debt to the Federal Election Commission in recent months - a move that made its bottom line appear healthier than it is heading into the midterm elections and that also raises the prospect of a hefty fine.

In a memo to RNC budget committee members, RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen on Tuesday accused Chairman Michael S. Steele and his chief of staff, Michael Leavitt, of trying to conceal the information from him by ordering staff not to communicate with the treasurer - a charge RNC officials deny.

Mr. Pullen told the members that he had discovered $3.3 million in debt from April and $3.8 million from May, which he said had led him to file erroneous reports with the FEC. He amended the FEC filings Tuesday.

Campaign-finance analysts said that simply misreporting fundraising numbers to the FEC can lead to millions of dollars in fines and that criminal charges can be levied if the actions are suspected to be intentional.

"This is significant because the civil penalties could mean big fines that take a significant bite out of the RNC's finances close to the November congressional elections, when state parties need the RNC's financial help for their 'victory' programs," said former FEC Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky.

Collapse )


Nice one.  Fiscal responsibility, my ass!

Shirley Sherrod blasts Fox News as racist

Shirley Sherrod blasts Fox News as racist

Now this is going to drive the right bananas.

Check out this nugget in an interview that Shirley Sherrod did with Joe Strupp, in which she comes right out and claims Fox News is using her as a "pawn" in a racist plot to undo the gains African Americans have made:

She said Fox showed no professionalism in continuing to bother her for an interview, but failing to correct their coverage.

"I think they should but they won't. They intended exactly what they did. "They were looking for the result they got yesterday," she said of Fox. "I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person."

This is pretty incendiary stuff. Sherrod is clearly not going away, and now she appears determined to force a larger conversation about the Breitbart-Fox News axis's broader efforts to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president.

Of course, if the White House's goal is to avoid racial controversies, this blast from Sherrod isn't going to make it any easier for them to take a stand and resolve this.

But let's have that conversation about what Breitbart and Fox are really up to, say I! Looking forward to Fox's coverage of this.

WaPo Blogs

Breitbart: "The White Farmers are Libural Agents"

Just Like Obama's Birth, The White Farmers are Using an Elaborate Hoax to Confuse Us.

Breitbart’s New Conspiracy Theory: The ‘Purported’ Farmer’s Wife Is A Plant

Two white farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by former USDA official Shirley Sherrod spoke out on her behalf yesterday, saying “no way in the world” is she racist.

But last night, the right-wing blogger who instigated this faux controversy questioned the white farmers’ honesty and repeated his false racist charges.
In interviews with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN, the Iron City, GA couple Roger and Eloise Spooner described Sherrod as a “friend for life” and a “good person” who helped save their farm. Speaking with CNN’s John King, right-wing provocateur Andrew Breitbart challenged Eloise Spooner’s “purported” story, accusing King of trusting Sherrod “that the ‘farmer’s wife’ is the farmer’s wife”:

You tell me as a reporter how CNN put on a person today who purported to be the farmer’s wife? What did you do to find out whether or not that was the actual farmer’s wife? I mean, if you’re going to accuse me of a falsehood, tell me where you’ve confirmed that had this incident happened 24 years ago. [...]

You’re going off of her word that the farmer’s wife is the farmer’s wife?

Watch it (full interview, part one and part two):

Of course, CNN wasn’t just going off Shirley Sherrod’s word, but also the word of Eloise and Roger Spooner themselves. Just for the record, if the “purported” Spooners are a hoax, they’re a quite involved one:

– Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Marcus Garner confirmed to ThinkProgress that the paper independently found Eloise Spooner for her interview.

– Eloise and Roger H. Spooner are listed in the Iron City, GA phone book.

– The Spooners’ 62nd wedding anniversary, according to a blog post of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, was celebrated at the 2009 Tennessee Truck Show.

– Roger Spooner has been cited in “mainstream” news reports, including a 2002 Associated Press story in the Lexis-Nexis database, claiming to be a “survivor” of the USS Yorktown at anniversaries of the Battle of Midway, which purportedly happened in 1942.

– In a 2009 article, USS Yorktown survivor Roger Spooner claimed to have “discharge papers” from the Navy in his “wallet.”

In his desperation to defend his ugly tactics, Breitbart is resorting to dragging an innocent family’s name through the mud.
aurora // once upon a time

Tailoring smartphone tech to the battlefield

Google’s Android system at the center of efforts to equip U.S. Army with handset-based location and surveillance software

Smartphones could become the next weapon in the United States' battlefield arsenal, as defense companies seek to cash in on the rapidly growing use of sophisticated mobile applications.


Collapse )
High-tech source. 


CEO shot to death by cop at 'gay' cruising spot

DeFarra Gaymon, the successful CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta, was shot and killed by a police officer in Newark, New Jersey last week after allegedly propositioning the officer at a cruising area to which he had made a detour on the way to his 30th high school reunion.

Details regarding Gaymon's death, mostly from the one-sided perspective of the officer who shot him, are emerging:
On Tuesday, the acting Essex County prosecutor gave the first detailed, public description of what happened in the wooded park that night, saying that the officer, who had tried to arrest Mr. Gaymon, 48, over lewd behavior, fired in self-defense. The prosecutor, Robert D. Laurino, said that Mr. Gaymon assaulted the officer, a 29-year-old member of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, tried to flee and then, when cornered, attempted to disarm the officer.
The incident, despite whatever your personal opinions are about consensual sex in public places (between men, most of whom do not identify as gay), begs the question of why police budget and resources are being spent to send armed officers to deal with this type of behavior.
Around 6 p.m., after chasing down a man and arresting him, the officer realized he had lost his handcuffs in the pursuit and went back into the woods, alone, to retrieve them, the prosecutor said.

“The plainclothes officer was bending down to retrieve his handcuffs,” Mr. Laurino said, “when he was approached by Mr. Gaymon, who was engaged in a sexual act at the time.” Words were exchanged that the prosecutor said “would lead one to believe that” Mr. Gaymon was propositioning the officer.

“The officer pulled out his badge, identified himself as a police officer and informed Mr. Gaymon that he was under arrest,” Mr. Laurino said. Then, he said, Mr. Gaymon shoved the officer to the ground and ran, ignored the officer’s demands to stop, and repeatedly threatened to kill the officer if he approached. The officer cornered Mr. Gaymon beside a pond and tried to handcuff him, Mr. Laurino said, but again Mr. Gaymon resisted.

“Mr. Gaymon reached into his pocket and lunged at the officer in an attempt to disarm the officer,” Mr. Laurino said. The officer, “fearing for his life,” the prosecutor said, shot Mr. Gaymon once, and he died at the hospital three hours later.

Mr. Laurino’s statement was based on an account given by the officer to investigators. Prosecutors said they knew of no one else who saw what happened, and they asked that any witnesses step forward.
A married father of four is now dead because someone on the Newark police force felt that eradicating this behavior was more of a priority than all of the other problems in that city.

Source: Towleroad

BNP could face financial ruin over Marmite ad

A few weeks ago we pointed out how Marmite brought down the BNP website.

In short, using Marmite in an ad, which many within the BNP thought would be a good stunt, backfired badly when Unilever decided to sue.

The Daily Mirror reports today that the party had to privately settle the court claim, and may now face financial ruin.

The party has reportedly been hit with a claim – estimated at up to £170,000 – over the TV stunt, in which leader Griffin was pictured beside a huge jar of the spread.

The party then showed a jar of Marmite – slogan “Love it or hate it” – with its own motto “Love Britain Vote BNP”.

A recent investigation by Searchlight magazine explained how the Marmite incident backfired so badly on Nick Griffin and how it exposed internal infighting.
After Unilever responded by launching proceedings over copyright infringement, Griffin and Dowson realised they had underestimated the severity of the legal and financial consequences and came up with pathetic excuses, such as a claim that a “joker” had amended the film.

When Unilever’s lawyers refused to believe them, [Simon] Bennett says he was expected “to go to court and lie through my teeth in order to bail them out of a ridiculous hole they had dug themselves into”.
Simon Bennett was the party’s online campaigns manager.

He responded by attacking the BNP upper hierarchy and taking down the websites for Griffin’s MEP website, as well as sites for Andrew Brons, the other MEP, and their London AM Richard Barnbrook – all just before the election.

Those websites are now back up but the party has not yet recovered from the stunt.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
franklin sherman

Followup to old story - No Punishment for Roid-raging Baltimore Officer Rivieri

Remember this?

Cleared of all abuse charges, they only care about the paperwork.

Officer cleared of charges in berating of skateboarding teen
Inner Harbor incident was recorded, shown on YouTube

The Baltimore police officer who was caught on video berating and pushing a 14-year-old skateboarder at the Inner Harbor three years ago has been cleared of the most serious administrative charges, a police union leader said Tuesday.

A three-member police panel called a trial board held a hearing last week and found Officer Salvatore Rivieri guilty of failing to issue the youth a citizen contact receipt and file a report but not guilty on charges of using excessive and unnecessary force and uttering a discourtesy.

The decision is a blow to the Police Department and overturns an investigation led by internal affairs detectives who concluded that Rivieri had exceeded his authority in the incident. Administrative charges that could have led to the officer's termination were filed as a result of that investigation.

Robert Cherry, the president of the city's police union, said the panel recommended a suspension of several days for failing to file the proper paperwork. But Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has the final say, and a department source said he could review the video of the disciplinary hearing and possibly decide to fire the officer anyway. In most cases, the police commissioner accepts the trial board's rulings, but the commissioner does have the authority to exceed the board's recommendations.

The video, which was posted online by one of the skateboarder's friends, became an Internet sensation in part because of Rivieri's rant on the ever-contentious topic of whether teens pay enough deference to authority. Rivieri became enraged when Eric Bush, listening to an iPod, appeared to ignore him and later repeatedly referred to the officer as "dude" and "man."

At one point, Rivieri told Bush: "Don't get defensive with me, son, or you'll spend some time in juvenile. You aren't allowed to ride your skateboards down here, nowhere."

Then, Rivieri went on his now-famous rant:

"Obviously your parents don't put a foot in your butt quite enough because you don't understand the meaning of respect," the officer screamed at Bush. "First of all, you better learn how to speak. I'm not 'man.' I'm not 'dude.' I am Officer Rivieri, and the sooner you learn that the longer you're going to live in this world. You go around doing this kind of stuff, somebody's going to kill you."

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said personnel rules prohibit him from commenting on the case. Rivieri, a 19-year veteran, was initially suspended and then moved from the harbor beat to patrol in the Southeastern District.

Cherry called the ruling just and chastised the department for not backing Rivieri in the face of nationwide criticism and debate generated by the video viewed by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube.

"I wish the department had a little bit more courage when they're out there doing their job," Cherry said Tuesday. "Despite what people may have thought, despite what people saw on that short video, Officer Rivieri was doing his job."

The officer's lawyer, Michael Davey, confirmed the trial board's decision but refused to comment further, noting that "the case is not concluded until the commissioner signs the final order." He said that Bealefeld does have the right to fire his client.

But William P. Blackford, the attorney for the now 17-year-old skateboarder, said the department has yet to take the simple step to say it's sorry.

"I never thought Officer Rivieri was an evil man," the lawyer said. "He overreacted. They should just apologize." He said that dragging the case out over three years only shows the public that police have unique rights and "re-enforces the insidious perception that the police play by different rules."

Blackford filed a civil lawsuit against the Baltimore Police Department, but a Circuit Court judge dismissed it because the family missed by 59 days a deadline for notifying the city of its intent to sue. Blackford said Bush's mother waited so long to hire a lawyer because she was expecting an apology from Rivieri, which never came.

The video of the confrontation in the summer of 2007 quickly went viral after a friend of Bush's posted the video on YouTube. Within days, 400,000 people had watched and weighed in with opinions including that Bush deserved to be lectured and disciplined and that the cop should be fired.

Rivieri warned Bush and his friends to stop skateboarding at the harbor and then drove away, only to see them resume skateboarding a few moments later. He returned and sternly warned them again to stop, then got increasingly upset when Bush appeared to ignore his commands.

Rivieri said in civil court filings that when he tried to grab Bush's board, the youth held the board "in a threatening manner," pulled it to his chest and resisted. The officer grabbed the board and pulled Bush to the ground, supporting the boy's weight to cushion the fall, he said in the court papers filed in connection with the now-dismissed civil suit.

Rivieri said in a report in the court file that Bush "immediately lunged forward to stand up" and that Bush pushed him "back down to a seated position." In his civil suit, Bush said Rivieri "violently grabbed him by the throat and body," threw him to the ground and "struck him when he tried to get off the ground."

In the video, it does not appear that Rivieri struck Bush, but neither does it appear that the teen "lunged" toward the officer. The commissioner's review could take several days or weeks.


Libural Conspiracy is Making Andrew Breitbart Look Foolish

Andrew Breitbart: I Never Said She was a Racist! Shirley Sherrod is Not a Racist! Is The NAACP That is Racist!!!

Breitbart Feels Sorry For Shirley Sherrod (VIDEO)

Andrew Breitbart, who posted the clip of USDA official Shirley Sherrod that got her fired, said today that he feels sorry for Sherrod.

"I feel bad that they made this about her, and I feel sorry that they made this about her," he told MSNBC. "Watching how they've misconstrued, how the media has misconstrued the intention behind this, I do feel a sympathy for her plight."

Breitbart says his intention was never to prove that Sherrod, until this week the Georgia state director for rural development, was racist. He says the video he posted proves instead that the NAACP is racist, because of the audience's reaction to her speech. (Watch the video here.)

He even admits that in watching the full video, "you see that she mentions that she went through some type of a transformation."

Breitbart, a champion of the tea party, is battling with the NAACP after the NAACP voted to condemn racism in the tea party movement.

EDL rampage after failure in Dudley

The English Defence League’s (EDL) hopes for a morale boosting success in Dudley were sorely disappointed last Saturday.

This was the EDL’s third protest in Dudley this year. It aims to stir up anti-Muslim racism in towns and cities across Britain.

But last Saturday’s mobilisation was significantly smaller than its previous rally in Dudley – down to around 600 from over 2,000 in April. Local people joined a protest against the EDL’s return.

EDL supporters vented their frustration by attacking shops, houses and a Hindu temple.

Opposition to the EDL has broadened. In April, the police and local authority told people to stay home.

This time, the council opposed the EDL rally. The leader of the Labour group, David Sparks, attended the counter-protest organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the Dudley Inter-faith forum.

Paul Singh, the convenor of Dudley UAF, said “The Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and black communities, as well as trade unionists, all supported our protest.

“People are clearer that the EDL just wants to start a race riot. They’re not welcome here.”

Local Muslims moved between the mosque and the rally – over 350 people mobilised against the EDL.

Groups of the EDL thugs broke through police lines and went on the rampage. They smashed the windows of houses, shops and cars.

Residents in the area are mainly white, but a Balti restaurant was targeted and its window smashed.

The EDL claims that it only opposes “Muslim extremists” but supporters showed their racist colours when they attacked the Hindu temple on King Street.

“Fifty or 60 of them broke down the fencing outside to get into the temple grounds,” Gian Narad, the temple’s treasurer told Socialist Worker.

“They threw bricks and stones at the building, smashing three windows. They also broke all the handrails and used them to attack the building. It was frightening for the people inside at the time.”

The police confirmed that they are investigating the attack.

The EDL also attacked UAF supporters. Daljit Nijjar came from Wolverhampton to attend the counter-protest on the day. The EDL attacked him and his friends as they returned to their cars to leave Dudley.

He said, “We were attacked by a small group throwing rocks at us. I became separated. I heard a roar and saw hundreds of EDL who were shouting ‘Paki’ and ‘UAF scum’.”

Collapse )

Source: Socialist Worker UK

Jean Charles de Menezes: shoot to kill in Stockwell

Five years ago police killed a 27 year old Brazilian electrician on a tube train in south London. Simon Basketter looks at what the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes reveals about the British state

It took 30 seconds for the police to kill Jean Charles de Menezes. The cover-up took a little longer. At 10.06am on 22 July 2005 Jean Charles sat down on a tube train in Stockwell, south London.

One police officer held him down while two others fired seven hollow tip bullets into his head and one into his neck. Three other bullets missed.

Jean Charles had left his block of flats in Tulse Hill that morning.

Surveillance officers, including some from military intelligence, were watching the flats, looking for alleged terrorists. They did not know which flat he had been in.

Officers followed Jean Charles onto two buses and down into Stockwell tube station. Other armed officers, who did not know whether Jean Charles was a suspect, brandished their weapons as they made their way down to the platform.

Rachel Wilson, who was sitting opposite Jean Charles, initially thought the plain clothes cops were lads “messing around”. She said, “Only when I saw blood, I realised it was not the case. Then I thought they were terrorists.”

Another witness, Anna Dunwoodie, was sitting two seats away from Jean Charles when he was shot. She says the police were in a “state of panic” and that “things felt like they were a bit out of control”.

She watched in horror as the men ran into the carriage with “lots of guns”.

She told the inquest into Jean Charles’ death, “I think it was the man, who I now know to be a surveillance officer, [who] really seemed to be frightened or hyped up when he was calling the other men.”

She added that she felt “pressured” into making a hurried statement to police afterwards.

The surveillance officers said they did not identify Jean Charles as a terror suspect before he was shot dead. The firearms officer who fired the shots, officer C12, said they did – and that he was prepared to tackle terrorists who were intent on “mass murder”.

He said Jean Charles’ behaviour had been “in keeping with a man acting suspiciously, with being a potential suicide bomber”.

This referred to the fact that Jean Charles “appeared agitated” – with good reason it turned out.

Jean Charles had briefly run on the platform to catch the train. Several bulky white men wearing, variously, a suit, jeans and a tracksuit, chased him, waving guns.

Within 15 minutes of his death, an explosives expert had confirmed that Jean Charles was not the “suicide bomber” the police had claimed he was. His wallet and mobile phone showed his true identity.

Dozens of other officers later admitted that they knew within hours that Jean Charles was innocent.

Yet the police in general – and Metropolitan police chief Ian Blair in particular – claimed for a further 24 hours that Jean Charles had been involved in a terror plot.

Blair, as head of the Met police, later explained that he had not lied but had been “almost totally uninformed”.

Cressida Dick was deputy assistant commissioner at the Met and the senior officer in charge of the operation that killed Jean Charles.

She insisted that none of the officers involved in the execution-style slaying had done anything wrong.

The killing took place the day after a failed bombing attempt in London and two weeks after the 7/7 bombings.

As the truth emerged, there was much talk of the “difficult atmosphere” in the run-up to the shooting.

That atmosphere doesn’t explain why, in the investigations and inquest that followed, police officers altered their evidence. Evidence was tampered with or removed. Photographs were altered to make Jean Charles look more like the suspected suicide bomber. Witnesses were intimidated.

There were four investigations into Jean Charles’ killing. Much was revealed – but much was not.

An inquest gave an open verdict over his killing. The Independent Police Complaints Commission produced two reports, one of which was kept secret for years.

The Metropolitan Police was fined £175,000 after a health and safety trial convicted it of “endangering the public” and having failed “to provide for the health, safety and welfare of Jean Charles de Menezes” – a disgusting understatement.

While malicious lies about Jean Charles appeared in the press, Ian Blair was busy attempting to block inquiries into the shooting.

Jean Charles’ real identity was known by 3pm. By 4.30pm, assistant commissioner Andy Hayman had told journalists that Jean Charles was not one of the 21 July bombers.

But at 5pm Hayman told a meeting of senior police officers that they should give the opposite impression.

He said, “There is press running that the person shot is not one of the four bombers. We need to present that he is believed to be.”

Rampaging police officers with the intent to kill gunned down an innocent man. Yet no officer at any level has been either disciplined or prosecuted for involvement in the slaying of Jean Charles. The opposite has happened.

Cressida Dick was promoted. Andy Hayman was awarded a CBE. Ian Blair became a Sir in 2008 and is now in the House of Lords.

Blair himself has admitted that police could kill again. “It’s still happening out there,” he said. “There are still officers having to make those calls as we speak. Somebody else could be shot.”

Collapse )

Source: Socialist Worker (UK)
bubble tea

Transgender woman wins federal lawsuit against Ga. General Assembly

Vandy Beth Glenn was eating breakfast Tuesday when she got a call from Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal transgender rights attorney.

“Dru called me and told me we had won,” Glenn said. “I felt excitement and relief.”

Glenn’s excitement and relief came after learning a federal judge ruled late July 2 that the Georgia General Assembly illegally discriminated against her when she was fired from her job as a legislative editor after announcing her plans to transition from male to female. Lambda Legal is representing Glenn.

After learning the news, Glenn said she broke down in tears.

“This is the happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time. It’s been two years this month since we filed the suit and I was fired more than two and a half years ago. It’s been a very long road,” Glenn said.

She said she’s been temping and doing freelance editing to make ends meet. In March, she got a job with the U.S. Census.

“The Census is my first full-time job since I got fired,” she said.

And while her story of unemployment may be similar to many people now unemployed due to the downturn in the economy, there is a major difference.

“I lost my job due to injustice,” she said. “Justice may be sure, but is often not swift.”

Glenn was not surprised by the decision.

“I always thought the facts supported our side,” she said.

Collapse )


I'm so glad that she won her case. Hopefully, this is a step to change Georgia's non-discrimination law to include Gender identity.

White House Apologizes To Shirley Sherrod

The Obama administration formally apologized on Wednesday to Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official abruptly fired earlier this week for comments taken out of context by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.

"On behalf of our administration, I offer an apology," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during Wednesday's daily briefing, acknowledging that the administration had not seen a full tape of Sherrod's comments prior to Tuesday evening. "Look, a disservice was done, an apology is owed. That's what we've done."

Gibbs relayed that Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had been trying to reach Sherrod on the phone but, as of 3:00 p.m., had not been able to reach her. He blamed the episode, in part, on the "frenzied culture" that exists in modern politics. "[W]e have a society and culture that's pervasive in this town where everything is viewed through the lens of who wins, who loses, how fast, by what margin," he said.
He also called the episode a "teachable moment," but declined to address who exactly was being taught or who was doing the teaching.

Certainly, the firing has provided a lesson in how racial politics still captivates much of the conversation even during what was supposed to be a post-racial presidency. Earlier in the day, the president signed into law sweeping financial reform legislation, a major accomplishment that was given only mild attention during the daily briefing.

As the administration waxed apologetically for the firing, so too did Breitbart, who said he felt "bad that they made this about her." However, Sherrod rightfully remains very upset about her treatment. She called Fox News's coverage of her out-of-context remarks (in which she appeared to talking about her past hesitancy in dealing with white farmers but was merely explaining how she overcame her race-based dispositions) unprofessional and even racist itself.

"I think they should, but they won't. They intended exactly what they did. "They were looking for the result they got yesterday," she said, in an interview with Media Matters. "I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person."

Sherrod, who was watching the Gibbs briefing on television, has not said whether she would take her job back.
The White House, certainly, would welcome a peaceful ending to the saga. The administration, Gibbs stressed repeatedly, acted in haste.
Sherrod said that an Agriculture official called her three times on Monday night demanding her resignation. Meanwhile, Ben Smith of Politico reported that top-ranking White House aides were initially pleased with how quickly they responded to the apparent crisis -- an account seconded to the Huffington Post by a Democratic source.

Gibbs stressed that the White House was not directly involved in the firing, that the decision was ultimately made by Vilsack. He vehemently denied that the administration had been too eager to quiet its conservative media critics. Indeed, he declined to criticize Breitbart by name. He did, however, offer subtle lectures to the reporters in attendance for (like the administration itself) not waiting to see the full context of Sherrod's remarks.

"Members of this administration, members of the media, members of different political factions on both sides of this have all made determinations and judgments without a full set of facts," he said. "Without a doubt, Ms. Sherrod is owed an apology."


About frakking time!  My brain was about to explode over this.  I'm glad they had the balls to admit they screwed up.

"As the administration waxed apologetically for the firing, so too did Breitbart, who said he felt "bad that they made this about her"

I'm sorry, what?  Breitbart feels BAD they made it about her??? JESUS CHRIST ON A POGO STICK, HE'S THE ONE WHO MADE IT ABOUT HER!!!


ETA:  Oh, and here are a couple of good pieces that basically call out all of the offending parties involved in this utter clusterfuck.

Jason Linkins - Sherrod Scandal: Washington Post Finds It Impossible To Form Any Conclusions On The Incident

Bob Cesca -
Fooled Again by Breitbart and the Wingnut Right
MISC - moustache

Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."

Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names," Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.

"Under this pretext, they [the U.S.] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then, a million people have been killed only in Iraq."

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference on the Iran threat, Netanyahu compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and likened Tehran's nuclear program to the threat the Nazis posed to Europe in the late 1930s.

Netanyahu said Iran differed from the Nazis in one vital respect, explaining that "where that [Nazi] regime embarked on a global conflict before it developed nuclear weapons," he said. "This regime [Iran] is developing nuclear weapons before it embarks on a global conflict."


Welp, Bibi is a thoroughly horrible human being and I feel bad for sane Israelis everywhere. Also lol Ahmadinejad, you just keep on keepin' on, you crazy fucker.

Texas bus driver fired over Planned Parenthood dispute; files lawsuit for religious discrimination

-- A Texas bus driver has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, claiming he was fired for his religious beliefs after refusing to transport a client to a Planned Parenthood office, court documents showed Wednesday.

Edwin A. Graning worked for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) near Austin, Texas, for less than a year before he was let go in January. At the time, he told his supervisor that, "in good conscience, he could not take someone to have an abortion," according to the lawsuit. Graning is an ordained Christian minister.
Collapse )

Metro newspaper + rape culture = BFFs 4 lyfe

Breaking down Mel’s BREAKDOWN
Jonathan Alpert

QUESTION: What’s your take on Mel Gibson’s recent tirade? Is he losing his mind? What about his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva?

What we’re seeing play out between Gibson and Grigorieva happens every day in America, countless times over. Screaming, cursing, punching, knocking teeth out … well, maybe not the last thing, but sure, nasty fighting with passions running high when child custody is at stake. Throw an A-list celebrity and his Russian beauty into the mix and you have high drama and gripping headlines. Just because Gibson is famous doesn’t mean he’s immune to the tragedies of relationships. The recently released audio is glaring evidence of that. By no means is Grigorieva to blame for the tirade, but if indeed she felt so threatened, then why stay on the phone? People in this type of situation who feel scared are not as composed, controlled and strategic as Grigorieva, but rather panicked, and the usual response is to flee the situation. This, of course, begs the question of her intent. But for that I’ll defer to the legal experts.

Collapse )


Usually when I glance at the Metro for the purpose of not falling asleep during my morning subway commute, it pisses me off that I write about it on my own LJ. I'll certainly be doing that, too, but I thought you folks could probably have a fucking field day with Alpert a) using absurdly apologetic language concerning Gibson's behavior and domestic violence in general, b) acting like Grigorieva was stupid and/or conspiratorial to not hang up the phone, and c) being in desperate need of getting his psychotherapy license taken away.

If you're not familiar with Metro's rampant misogyny (or its other problems), I can direct you to about 40% of their articles, including their headline/first paragraph for yesterday's news about the "rape by deception" case in Israel: "Look out, Casanova: Rape just a lie away — Be careful of the lies you tell in the name of sexual conquest: There’s a new rape in town, and it’s surprisingly consensual."

Mods, can we have a misogyny tag, pretty please?

Boehner Message to His Brothers: "I am Not Your Brother's Keeper. So Stop Asking and Get a Jub!"

Boehner's three brothers lost jobs during recession

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) revealed on Wednesday that three of his brothers lost their jobs during the recession.

Boehner, who has 11 siblings, said he’s not sure whether the three brothers remain unemployed.

“I’ve got real empathy for those who are unemployed, as most of you know I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters. I know that three of my brothers lost their jobs, I’m not sure whether they’ve found jobs, yet, so I’ve got a lot of empathy for those caught in this economic downturn,” Boehner said.
Collapse )

Boehner's Recipe For Creating Jobs: Do Nothing

In a meeting with several reporters this afternoon, House Minority Leader John Boehner outlined the top three measures he'd pursue if he becomes Speaker of the House next Congress to create new jobs. But, those who thought he'd outline specific programs and how they would create jobs were disappointed with a familiar litany of wish-list items: repeal health care reform, eschew climate legislation, and renew the Bush tax cuts.

In other words, repeal a program that largely hasn't yet taken effect; prevent new legislation that is also not in effect; and keep a current tax structure in place. Step four: profit. Or jobs.

"The first thing I would do is repeal Obamacare," Boehner said at the Christian Science Monitor luncheon. "It is a giant impediment for employment. Not only will it ruin the best health care system in the world, it will bankrupt our country.

"Secondly, no cap and trade," Boehner added. "You raise the cost of energy, you raise the cost of doing business."

"Thirdly, not raise people's taxes," he concluded. "You want to get the economy going, give some people certainty about what the tax rates are going to be." Democrats hope to let the Bush tax cuts on wealthy Americans expire before the end of the year -- Boehner wants the tax cuts to continue across the board.
Collapse )