January 7th, 2011

NYC Restores Funds for Homeless Youths

The New York City council announced Thursday morning that it had reached an agreement with the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would restore $35 million in proposed budget cuts, including devastating reductions for runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth services.

According to a council news release, “The Council proposed alternative cuts and sources of savings in order to pay for its proposed restorations. Together, the alternative cuts and identified savings achieve the Council’s goal of reducing spending while preventing cuts to programs that serve New York City’s most vulnerable groups.”

The release cited a period of “extensive negotiations” between city council speaker Christine Quinn, finance committee chairman Domenic Recchia Jr., and the Bloomberg administration.


Collapse )
Your sarcasm AMUSES me!

Down and Out on $250,000 a Year

After the heated battle over extending the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, a single number emerges from the crossfire: $250,000. It’s the annual income that President Obama and others have repeatedly used to define what it means to be "rich" in America today. And even though a tentative deal has been reached on the cuts, $250,000 is etched in the minds of policymakers and pundits as the number that separates the middle class from the wealthy.

By most measures, a $250,000 household income is substantial. It is six times the national average, and just 2.9 percent of couples earn that much or more. “For the average person in this country, a $250,000 household income is an unattainably high annual sum — they’ll never see it,” says Roberton Williams, an analyst at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

But just how flush is a family of four with a $250,000 income? Are they really “rich”? To find the answer, The Fiscal Times asked BDO USA, a national tax accounting firm, to compute the total state, local and federal tax burden of a hypothetical two-career couple with two kids, earning $250,000. To factor in varying state and local taxes, as well as drastically different costs of living, BDO placed the couple in eight different locales around the country with top-notch public school districts, using national data on spending.

The bottom line: It’s not exactly easy street
for our $250,000-a-year family, especially
when it lives in high-tax areas on either coast.

Collapse )

The Fiscal Times; more about The Fiscal Times from Fair.org

Bill O'Reilly on Science: You Can't Explain the Tides

(NEWSER) – Apparently, Bill O’Reilly has never heard of the moon. In a debate Tuesday with Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheist group behind this, the Fox host tried to prove the existence of God by citing the unknowable mysteries of the tides. “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion,” he told Silverman. “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

Silverman looked stunned. “Tide goes in, tide goes out?” he stuttered. O’Reilly pressed on. “The water, the tide—it comes in and it goes out. It always goes in, then it goes out. … You can’t explain that. You can’t explain it.” Of course, Raw Story points out, people who passed high school science might tell you that tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon as it orbits the earth. But Silverman had a better response: “Maybe it’s Thor up on Mount Olympus who’s making the tides go in and out."

P.S. I- I- I just don't know. I haven't the first clue where to even start
P.P.S. the comments at source, are a pleasant mix of wank, stupid, with a light peppering of funny.

Necessary protection, unnecessary protection, or... A SET UP?!~ dundundun

U.S. Sends Warning to People Named in Cable Leaks
Published: January 6, 2011

WASHINGTON — The State Department is warning hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and businesspeople identified in leaked diplomatic cables of potential threats to their safety and has moved a handful of them to safer locations, administration officials said Thursday.

The operation, which involves a team of 30 in Washington and embassies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, reflects the administration’s fear that the disclosure of cables obtained by the organization WikiLeaks has damaged American interests by exposing foreigners who supply valuable information to the United States.

Administration officials said they were not aware of anyone who has been attacked or imprisoned as a direct result of information in the 2,700 cables that have been made public to date by WikiLeaks, The New York Times and several other publications, many with some names removed. But they caution that many dissidents are under constant harassment from their governments, so it is difficult to be certain of the cause of actions against them.

Collapse )


I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and besides, there are very real reasons (selfless and selfish alike) for the US gov't and others to want to provide protection to people who either a) really need it, or b) don't need it but are important enough to warrant a semblance of concern for the sake of reinforcing the eyeroll-inducing exaggeration that WikiLeaks is going to result in everyone in the entire field of diplomacy, military, and government getting exploded. And in fact I'm kind of pissed to read that WikiLeaks has failed to hide the identities of a few informants with certain cables. They can do better than that.

BUT: that prologue aside, I can't help but have all kinds of Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy/etc. scenarios run through my mind where a government warns that various people could be in danger and then uses this warning as a perfect cover for assassinating people deemed "risks" or "inconveniences." The CIA et al. are ridiculously capable of accomplishing such a feat. I would never say this were genuinely the case without having evidence, but I wanted to toss that possibility out there to start wank for the sake of critical discussion.

More queerfail from the BBC? SAY IT AIN'T SO!

 A guest on last night’s BBC Newsnight called the Australian cricket team “poofters” for having dyed hair.

The incident comes after almost 100 people complained to Ofcom over a BBC News broadcast which interviewed the Christian fundamentalist and gay execution supporter Stephen Green over Elton John’s surrogate baby.

During the live Newsnight programme last night, presenter Kirsty Wark interviewed Australian publisher and cricket fan Carmen Callil and comedian Matthew Hardy about their home team’s misfortunes in the Ashes.

After calling the Australian team “grossly overweight”, Ms Callil criticised their “blond prickly” hair.

Ms Wark interjected: “Maybe they are entitled to their feminine side when they dye their hair?”

Ms Callil responded: “No, it’s not a feminine side, it’s sort of a poofter side, isn’t it?”

After laughter, Ms Wark said: “Oh my God, Carmen. You may say that, I would never say that.”

The conservation was then swiftly moved on.

Oxford University student Owen Alun John, who complained to the BBC about the comment, told PinkNews.co.uk: “I was quite taken aback when I heard what Ms Callil said. Hardly the kind of language you expect to hear on TV in 2011, least of all on Newsnight.

“What annoyed me most was that no apology was offered. The word is clearly offensive and just to say sorry would be easy enough; you’d think the BBC would realise that it’s caused quite enough offence to LGBT people this month through its interview with hate preacher Stephen Green.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Kirsty addressed the comment at the time and moved the conversation on.”

On Twitter, Mr Hardy later retweeted the message: “Just spoke to @MrMatthewHardy who was worried how he’d come over on #Newsnight until the woman opposite him said ‘poofter’. It is 2011.”

Last Tuesday, BBC News at Six interviewed the homophobic Christian preacher Stephen Green about Elton John and his civil partner having a surrogate baby.

Mr Green, who has supported the death penalty for HIV-positive gay men, was used to “give an opposing view” on the issue of gay parenting, the BBC said.

The corporation would not say if pro-gay organisations, or even non-extremist Christian groups, had been contacted for comment.

Source: Pink News

Laughing and moving swiftly on is "addressing the comment", is it Beeb?

ETA: Have a video, c/o Pink News' Facebook feed.


Helena man says Bridger Bowl's For-Women-Only ski program violates human rights, aka

It's the word "only" that really gets to retired Helena resident Fritz Behr.

That's the problem word, the one that he says violates Montana's human rights law, and the reason Behr, 77, is decrying Bridger Bowl's For Women Only ski program.
"They can't exclude you just because you are male," he said. "I'm not trying to hurt Bridger. I'm just trying to be helpful and bring to their attention that what they're doing is not permitted."

Collapse )


I heard about this and nearly shit myself. I mean, really? A women's-only ski day is evil to this dude? I can't see how he has a case, given how Bridger does one for men too. I just hope that this doesn't turn into some long, drawn-out lawsuit, since Bridger's just a small nonprofit ski area and most likely doesn't have the money to handle some ridiculous legal battle.
comet- credit rainbowgraphics

Egypt's Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, as "human shields".

Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community.

Yasmine El-Rashidi , Friday 7 Jan 2011

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

Collapse )


Chick-fil-A Partners With Rabid Anti-Gay Group

You might like the tasty pickles that they put on their chicken sandwiches, but if you're eating at Chick-fil-A, you're also eating at an establishment that partners with some of the most ferocious anti-gay groups around.

Take a look at an event scheduled for February 2011, co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the leading anti-gay group in the Keystone State and a group that has worked hard to try and pass a constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania banning same-sex marriage.

The February event co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A is called "The Art of Marriage," and it's intended to be a launching point for Pennsylvania to return to "the biblical definition of marriage." Given the work of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, it's hard not to see where this event is going to go -- straight for the jugular of anyone who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The Pennsylvania Family Institute has been a leading opponent of marriage equality, and has condemned the expansion of civil rights for same-sex couples. Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the group's president, Michael Geer, said that gay marriage is not moral, and should be put up for a vote rather than decided by courts or legislatures.

"The only way that we can get the people to decide this issue is through the ballot box," Geer said. "Marriage as defined as between a man and a woman has proven to be the best for the health, education and welfare of children."

And that's a mild statement coming from Geer. As more and more states have moved to legalize same-sex marriage, Geer has stated that unless Pennsylvania adopts a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it could be forced to accept same-sex couples as equals.

"Newspapers across the commonwealth editorialized -- and many legislators said -- we don't need an amendment, we already have a law [banning gay marriage]. This [ruling] makes clear that the law is insufficient," Geer said, after California's Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2008. (That ruling was eventually overturned by the passage of Proposition 8.)

The Pennsylvania Family Institute has blasted gay marriage in a number of other ways, too. They've argued that calling committed same-sex couples married is like calling the tail of a dog a leg. They've said that when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, that human civilization took a direct hit. They've suggested that discriminating against same-sex couples is perfectly acceptable, because same-sex couples weren't biologically meant to be together. And they've said that same-sex marriage threatens children, hurts families, and punishes all of society by caving in to components of a radical sexual revolution.

And if you're spending money on Chick-fil-A sandwiches, you're helping the Pennsylvania Family Institute deliver this message.

It's not the first time Chick-fil-A has been connected to some anti-gay actors. In February 2009, an Auburn student documented that Chick-fil-A had given money to Focus on the Family, the anti-gay Colorado group founded by the Rev. James Dobson. Focus on the Family, for their part, has a lengthy record of anti-gay extremism, from calling same-sex couples a danger to the planet, to suggesting that legalizing same-sex marriage would be a worse disaster than Pearl Harbor.

Fool me once, Chick-fil-A, shame on you. But fool me twice? Shame on me. That's why it's time to get Chick-fil-A to respond, and figure out whether they're interested in being a fast food restaurant, or they're interesting in being a business that partners and caters to some radical anti-gay elements in our country. Send the restaurant chain a message asking them why they're sponsoring an event in Pennsylvania with a leading anti-gay organization. And let the restaurant know that if they value all of their customers, including their LGBT customers and straight allies, they'll pull their official sponsorship from this event and stop making chicken sandwiches that support extremely homophobic agendas.

Home of the enslaved.

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

Insurer says the increases result from fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws. The move comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39%.

Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it's Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1.

Blue Shield's action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws.

"We raise rates only when absolutely necessary to pay the accelerating cost of medical care for our members," the nonprofit insurer told customers last month.

Collapse )

Los Angeles Times
once upon a time

Birther Interrupts Constitution Reading

The woman, who interrupted the reading of the Constitution during the section on presidential birth requirements to protest President Obama's qualifications to serve in the office, was arrested, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Theresa Cao, 48, of New York, was charged with unlawful conduct, disruption of Congress.

Slate reported earlier that Cao is "a birther activist and supporter of court-martialed birther Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. On December 16, she told WorldNetDaily that she was 'taking his message to the White House and Congress.'"


Farscape frell

Naomi Wolf: tired of fighting rape culture, let the victims do it for me

Julian Assange's sex-crime accusers deserve to be named
By Naomi Wolf
The shielding of sex-crime accusers is a Victorian relic. Women are moral adults and should be treated as such

As Swedish prosecutors' sex-crime allegations against Julian Assange play out, one aspect of the case merits serious scrutiny. We know Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, by name. But his two accusers are consistently identified only as "Miss A" and "Miss W" in the media, and their images are blurred. In the UK it is against the law to name an accuser in a sex-crime case once a complaint has been made; elsewhere – in the US, and much of Europe – media convention demands that accusers get the same protection. This is bad law and bad policy. Motivated by good intentions, the outcome harms women.

Collapse )

Naomi Wolf has been making me so angry during the Assange case, I can't even. Individual women should never be sacrificed to the cause of progress, assuming throwing them into the fire of public shame and death threats will even help anyone anyway. It's certainly nothing new. Also, the holes in this piece make this one look like a pothole, but I'm gonna shut up now.