“. Just three years ago, Wal-Mart fought efforts in states such as Maryland that would have required large companies to offer health insurance to workers. Though it succeeded in defeating those initiatives, the company endured a raft of bad publicity and since then has moved toward covering more of its 1.4 million employees. Duke suggested it is time for compromise. “We are entering a critical time during which all of us who will be asked to pay for health-care reform will have to make a choice on whether to support the legislation,” according to the letter. “This choice will require employer to consider the trade off of agreeing to a coverage mandate and additional taxes versus the promise of reduced health-care cost increases.””—
Swedish couple raises child gender-free [Link]doublex.com
Parents of children born with an ambiguous gender often beg doctors to let them choose one gender or another. Now, in Sweden, a couple has decided to raise their now 2-year-old with no gender. Of course, the kid has one, but they won’t tell anyone what it is. They dress the kid in any old colors. When they change the diaper, they hide its parts. The kid’s name is Pop. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother told a Swedish newspaper. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.“
“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”—Robert Fulghum
Justices refuse to hear case over protests at soldier funerals [Link]politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com
A small Kansas church that has gained nationwide attention for protesting loudly at funerals of U.S. service members killed in overseas conflicts received a temporary victory from the Supreme Court over their free speech rights.
The justices Monday rejected an appeal from Missouri officials over their efforts to keep members of the Wichita-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating at least 300 feet from memorial services and burials.
The church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, believes God is punishing the United States for “the sin of homosexuality,” through events including soldiers’ deaths. Members have traveled the country, shouting at grieving family members at funerals and displaying such signs as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Blew Up the Troops” and “AIDS Cures Fags.”
“I think President Obama has one of the most disciplined minds and styles I’ve ever seen. And I think of my – I exercise every day. I’ve been doing it for umpteen years. I read a book, one every three weeks, I think I’m personally pretty disciplined. This guy is incredibly disciplined. And not only, structured, but his mind is unbelievably disciplined. He goes into a meeting and he’ll have read the brief the night before, and have the crux of his argument written down that he wants to drive that discussion to basic points. And he goes right to either the assumptions, the presumptions of the case. Now, I mean, I loved, as you know, working for President Clinton, who had an unbelievably creative mind. And I think was, for a host of reasons, was a very significant president. I was honored to work for him. Their contexts are different, so while every president has a domestic issue and an international issue, etc., I mean, President Obama has what President Clinton had, but, I don’t want to say, it’s not appropriate to say on steroids, but by a quotient of 10.”—Rahm Emanuel comparing President Obama and President Clinton (via apsies)
I can be pretty sure that my roomate, hallmates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
I did not grow up with games that attack my sexual orientation (IE fag tag or smear the queer).
I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.
I can go home from most meetings, classes, and conversations without feeling excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared because of my sexual orientation.
I am never asked to speak for everyone who is heterosexual.
I can be sure that my classes will require curricular materials that testify to the existence of people with my sexual orientation.
People don’t ask why I made my choice of sexual orientation.
People don’t ask why I made my choice to be public about my sexual orientation.
I do not have to fear revealing my sexual orientation to friends or family. It’s assumed.
My sexual orientation was never associated with a closet.
People of my gender do not try to convince me to change my sexual orientation.
I don’t have to defend my heterosexuality.
I can easily find a religious community that will not exclude me for being heterosexual.
I can count on finding a therapist or doctor willing and able to talk about my sexuality.
I am guaranteed to find sex education literature for couples with my sexual orientation.
Because of my sexual orientation, I do not need to worry that people will harass me.
I have no need to qualify my straight identity.
My masculinity/femininity is not challenged because of my sexual orientation.
I am not identified by my sexual orientation.
I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my sexual orientation will not work against me.
If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has sexual orientation overtones.
Whether I rent or I go to a theater, Blockbuster, an EFS or TOFS movie, I can be sure I will not have trouble finding my sexual orientation represented.
I can walk in public with my significant other and not have people double-take or stare.
I can choose to not think politically about my sexual orientation.
I do not have to worry about telling my roommate about my sexuality. It is assumed I am a heterosexual.
I can remain oblivious of the language and culture of LGBTQ folk without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
I can go for months without being called straight.
I’m not grouped because of my sexual orientation.
My individual behavior does not reflect on people who identity as heterosexual.
In everyday conversation, the language my friends and I use generally assumes my sexual orientation. For example, sex inappropriately referring to only heterosexual sex or family meaning heterosexual relationships with kids.
People do not assume I am experienced in sex (or that I even have it!) merely because of my sexual orientation.
I can kiss a person of the opposite gender on the heart or in the cafeteria without being watched and stared at.
Nobody calls me straight with maliciousness.
People can use terms that describe my sexual orientation and mean positive things (IE “straight as an arrow”, “standing up straight” or “straightened out”) instead of demeaning terms (IE “ewww, that’s gay” or being “queer”).
I am not asked to think about why I am straight.
I can be open about my sexual orientation without worrying about my job.
“Nearly everyone here wants the smelter to remain open and for the cleanup to proceed. But with Peru forging closer ties to the United States in Latin America through its new trade deal with Washington, some here question the benefits of such a pact. ‘It’s like we’re pawns in a game,’ said Rosa Amaro, 52, a leader of an environmental group here. 'What I still fail to understand is why we are exposed to the risks of an American investment,’ she added, 'but not to the environmental protections enjoyed by the citizens of the United States.’”—In the Andes, a Toxic Site Also Provides a Livelihood - NYTimes.com
The Women Of McSweeneys: in response to "Why Women Aren't Funny" by Vanity Fair [Link]therumpus.net
Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women?” inquired Christopher Hitchens in “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” Vanity Fair, January 2007.
That’s a good question. And by that I mean, fuck you.
Since women are so hilarious all the time/everywhere (see: Margaret Cho, Janeane Garofalo, Starlee Kine, Katie Crouch, Kristen Schaal, etc.), I’d like to feature the women of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, who are reliably hysterical, clever, and concise. Below is what I consider the best of what women have written for the site since the beginning of 2008.
The list (out of hundreds and in no particular order):
The Sexually Fluid Person’s Guide to a Seamlessly Uneventful Coming Out by Amy York Rubin
Commentary by David Simon, Creator of The Wire, for the He’s Just Not That Into You DVD by Maureen Miller
Shakespeare Wrote for Money: An Introduction by Sarah Vowell
Ulysses Sells Out by Rebekah Frumkin
The Talk by Julia Weiss
Sick of the Revolution by Deb Olin Unferth
Everything Is Wrong With You: A Letter from Dr. Phil by Wendy Molyneux
An Overheard Conversation at the Suburban Neighborhood Pool, if the Suburban Neighborhood Pool Were in Deadwood by Kari Anne Roy
Children’s-Film Sequels as Imagined by Famous Directors by Rebekah Frumkin
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise: Mattress Salesman and Customer by Marianne Hess
Proust Discovers LiveJournal by Summer Block Kumar
Amazon.com’s Recommendation Algorithm Applied to Life Events by Maribeth Mooney
Borges Teaches Self-Defense by Susan Schorn
Yoga Proverbs by Crystal Schachter
OK, It’s Time to Talk about the Elephant in the Room by Wendy Molyneux
Conversations My Parents Must Have Had While Planning to Raise a Child by Jen Statsky
Real Historical Dolls: A Catalog by Kathryn Higgins
A Suburban Mother Tells Her 14-Year-Old Babysitter How to Make Her Parties More Raging by Wendi Aarons
Abstinence-Only Driver’s Ed by Suzanne Kleid
The Tom Tom Club Catechism by Maureen Miller
Production Rider for Kate Kershner’s Holiday Visit Home Tour by Kate Kershner
Bikram Writing 101 by Liz Worthy
Essay Prompts for the 2009 Senior Advanced Placement High School Engish Exam for Women by Wendy Molyneux
And a special treat: Comments Written by Actual Students Extracted from Workshopped Manuscripts at a Major University collected by Tanya Rey
New Protections for Transgender Federal Workers [Link]nytimes.com
Lawyers for President Obama are quietly drafting first-of-their kind guidelines barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees, officials said Tuesday.
The guidelines will be in an updated federal handbook for managers and supervisors to be distributed and posted online in the next couple of months, and they could also be included in other materials for managers. They will list transgender people — those who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates — as among several groups protected by antidiscrimination laws.
Though transgender men and women are not believed to make up more than a fraction of a percent of the federal work force, their inclusion in the discrimination guidelines is seen as a breakthrough by transgender and gay rights advocates.
“The president is making a very clear statement that transgender people won’t be discriminated against,” said Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, a group that has been talking with the White House about the new provisions.
This is the kind of change I believe in and the progress I know we are capable of.
On Saturday, I was walking around the Green Lake neighborhood and I saw a man across the street from me fall out of his wheelchair while trying to navigate the curb.
I was about the cross the street to try to help when I saw three dudes coming sprinting over to the scene. The men hoisted the stranger back into his wheelchair, made sure he was okay and helped him over the curb.
It is moments like these that make a person believe in the common humanity of us all and the general goodwill of people.
Thank you, fellow Seattleites, for this moment of inspiration.
“…gay people can and do reproduce. Gay women can do so through artificial insemination, and gay men can do so through surrogacy, both of which are widely accepted means of heterosexual reproduction in cases of infertility. But this misses a much more important point: producing a baby is only the first (and arguably the easiest) step in a much longer and more difficult process. Human babies require years of care before they are able to survive on their own. That’s the reason marriage is supposed to be a long-term commitment. It has nothing to do with making babies; it has everything to do with raising them. And gays are just as capable (in my experience often more so) of raising children as straight people. So the truth is the exact opposite of what you say: the shortage of resources is not babies; we’ve got babies aplenty. What there is a shortage of is couples who are ready, willing and able to raise those babies to adulthood. So it is not gay marriage that “takes families out of the pool”, is is the prohibition on gay marriage that has this effect!”—Rondam Ramblings (via azspot) (via robot-heart-politics)
“If a tree pose falls in the middle of class, and everyone pretends not to notice because yoga is completely non-competitive, does it make a sound of disapproval?”—McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Yoga Proverbs.
Grey Matters: Six Things You Can't Say in Seattle [Link]seattlemag.com
My personal favorite:
“I’m a Republican.” There is no surer ticket to the Western State Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane than to make this declaration in Seattle today. Republicans haven’t been a factor here in 40 years. Most people in Seattle have never met a Republican, let alone voted for one. To admit to being a Republican is to declare war on the sensibilities of the recycling, biking, companion-pet-owning, suburban-hating loners you live among. If you are not involuntarily committed, you will be advised to move to Bellevue, where you can speed the way toward planetary death with your own kind.
“We found a way of saving money that doesn’t hurt the student experience, and I think everybody’s happy,’ said Mr. Domke of the University of Washington. ‘With cellphones and e-mail, everyone can get hold of us. People think it’s funny that we’re the communications department and we cut phones. But it’s just a symbol, an old technology.’ He paused before continuing, ‘I’ve suggested to geography that they may want to get rid of their globes.’”—For Colleges, Small Cuts Add Up to Big Savings - NYTimes.com
“As an adult, working as a community organizer and later as a legislator, I would often walk through the streets of Chicago’s South Side and see boys marked by that same absence—boys without supervision or direction or anyone to help them as they struggled to grow into men. I identified with their frustration and disengagement—with their sense of having been let down. In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference. That is why we need fathers to step up, to realize that their job does not end at conception; that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.”—Barack Obama: ‘We Need Fathers To Step Up’ | Parade.com (excerpt)
Consumers could get up to $4,500 toward new careastoregonian.com
President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the “cash for clunkers” program, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday. For owners of low-mileage models such as the 1994 Ford Bronco, 1998 Nissan Pathfinder or the 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, the plan could give them a reason to visit their local car dealer during an economic downturn.
Here’s how the plan works: Car owners could get a voucher worth $3,500 if they traded in a vehicle getting 18 miles per gallon or less for one getting at least 22 mpg. The voucher would grow to $4,500 if the new car’s mileage was 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle. The mpg figures are listed on the car’s window sticker.
Owners of sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks or minivans getting 18 mpg or less could receive a voucher for $3,500 if their new truck or SUV got at least 2 mpg higher than their old vehicle. The voucher would increase to $4,500 if the mileage of the new truck or SUV was at least 5 mpg higher than the older vehicle
“There are dozens and dozens of good economic and social reasons that women choose to terminate pregnancies that have nothing to do with expanding their “careers” — which is something not everyone in this country has the privilege to be able to aspire to. Too many women are too often just trying to scrape by, and an unwanted pregnancy (or child) is just going to add additional strain that it’s entirely possible they can’t handle. That’s the whole purpose of the Obama Administration’s purported focus on reducing the economic consequences of child-bearing, not to help women better shape their lucrative careers.”—Some People Underestimate The Economic Impact Of Abortion [via] (via anthropophagous)
A Bad Call on Gay Rights - New York Times [Link]nytimes.com
The brief also maintains that the Defense of Marriage Act represents a “cautious policy of federal neutrality” — an odd assertion since the law clearly discriminates against gay couples. Under the act, same-sex married couples who pay their taxes are ineligible for the sort of federal benefits — such as Social Security survivors’ payments and joint tax returns — that heterosexual married couples receive.
In the presidential campaign, President Obama declared that he would work to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, the administration appears to be defending it out of a sense of obligation to support a validly enacted Congressional law. There is a strong presumption that the Justice Department will defend federal laws, but it is not an inviolable rule.
If the administration does feel compelled to defend the act, it should do so in a less hurtful way. It could have crafted its legal arguments in general terms, as a simple description of where it believes the law now stands. There was no need to resort to specious arguments and inflammatory language to impugn same-sex marriage as an institution.
The best approach of all would have been to make clear, even as it defends the law in court, that it is fighting for gay rights. It should work to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the law that bans gay men and lesbians in the military from being open about their sexuality. It should push hard for a federal law banning employment discrimination. It should also work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress.
The administration has had its hands full with the financial crisis, health care, Guantánamo Bay and other pressing matters. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.
See something, say something. Share your dissapointment with President Obama.
“Lately, I’ve been in meetings regarding a new script idea I have. A studio executive asked me to change the female lead to a male, because… “women don’t go to movies.”
When I pointed out the box office successes of Sex and The City, Mamma Mia, and Obsessed, he called them “flukes.” He said “don’t quote me on this.” So, I’m telling everybody.
Nia Vardalos in a HuffPo guest column
This just puts concretely the sentiment behind that Dear Pixar piece. Studio executives DO want movie leads to be male, and they feel they have the right to tell the writers so, even if the writers are themselves female, and apparently, a lot of writers respond.
“The attack demonstrates why it is a mistake to ignore bigoted conspiracy theories. Law enforcement needs to enforce laws against criminal behavior. Vicious bigoted speech, however, is often protected by the First Amendment. We do not need new laws or to encourage government agencies to further erode our civil liberties. We need to stand up as moral people and speak out against the spread of bigoted conspiracy theories. That’s not a police problem, that’s our problem as people responsible for defending a free society.”—Chip Berlet,senior analyst at Political Research Associates via Hate Crimes and Extremist Politics - NYTimes.com
No doubt there are some genuine horror stories in Canada, as there are here in the United States.
But the bottom line is that America’s health care system spends nearly twice as much per person as Canada’s (building the wealth of hospital tycoons like Mr. Scott). Yet our infant mortality rate is 40 percent higher than Canada’s, and American mothers are 57 percent more likely to die in childbirth than Canadian ones.
”—Op-Ed Columnist - This Time, We Won’t Scare - NYTimes.com
Holocaust Museum Shooter Had Close Ties to Prominent neo-Nazis | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Centersplcenter.org
Law enforcement officials have identified the suspect in the Holocaust Museum shootings as James Wenneker von Brunn, born in 1920, from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. D.C. Police Spokeswoman Traci Hughes reportedly said the suspect walked into the museum at about 1 p.m. ET with a rifle and shot a guard. [full article]
“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”—Chuck Palahniuk
If gay marriage is allowed, the nation will soon begin to experience more and more degradation of the nuclear family - resulting in fewer kids being raised by both a mom and a dad…
What will the landscape of America look like if same-sex marriage is legalized across our nation? According to the writings of Dr. Stanley Kurtz, nations who have gone this way see a dramatic increase in out of wedlock births, long-term singleness, and other symptoms of the devaluation of the institution. If the American family loses the presence of its birth dad in the home, there will be several huge consequences.
Consider these statistics.
Over half of Americans studied in a survey in 2001 by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government believe that the high number of single-parent families is a major cause of poverty.
Studies also reveal that most Americans believe that welfare programs encourage single-parent families and teenage pregnancy.
Malcolm D. Williams in 1997, used a sample of 1,610 10-13 year-olds in a study. He found that children who learn to share significant ideas with their fathers had fewer behavior problems and developed stronger cognitive abilities than their peers.
Similar results were found in a 1995 study of 254 black adolescents living with both of their biological parents. Ninety-six percent of these boys said their fathers were their role models. In this study, only 44 percent of black adolescents who were not living with their fathers said their fathers were their role models.
The Journal of Family Psychology in 2000 reported a study of 116 African American students ages 10-13. The boys with married parents were found to have much higher levels of self esteem and a better sense of personal power and self-control compared to single-mother homes.
Repeatedly, scholarly studies focused on adolescence show that early onset of puberty in girls is a major problem. It is associated with negative psychological, social, and health problems. Depression, alcohol consumption, and higher teenage pregnancy rates are some of the results. An eight year study of girls and their families showed that a father’s presence in the home, with appropriate involvement in his children’s lives, contributed to later pubertal timing of the daughters in the seventh grade.
Gay Marriage is why black children don’t have role-models, girls hit puberty earlier, and why we have poverty, welfare, and births out of wed-lock.
Gays: stealing your fathers, your money, and your daughter’s virginity (without protection) since 1969.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the source of poverty was as easy to diagnose as marital status? We would no longer have to consider socio-economic background, education or employment discrimination based on race or gender or any of the other messy dimensions of privilege. We wouldn’t consider the working poor who take the bus from job to job to job and still can barely pay rent because minimum wage isn’t enough to pay for rent and day care and medical bills. All we have to do is pick something that makes us uncomfortable and say it is caused by something which we disapprove. Watch, it’s easy!
Single people on welfare CAUSED BY gay marriage
Teen Pregnancy is CAUSED BY discussion of safe sex
“America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.”—President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on a New Beginning. Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. 4 June 2009.
“When President Bush spoke in the months and years after Sept. 11, 2001, we often — chillingly — felt as if we didn’t recognize the United States. His vision was of a country racked with fear and bent on vengeance, one that imposed invidious choices on the world and on itself. When we listened to President Obama speak in Cairo on Thursday, we recognized the United States.”—New York Time Edititorial, “The Cairo Speech” [4 June 2009]
“Secluded in the upper left, dominantly gray /
Shaded skies any other day /
Sorta like the bay /
Just a little bit wetter and cold in the winter /
Proximity to water make the soul a little gentler /
Out of town they don’t be knowing about the best kept /
Aint nothing better than the summer in the Northwest /”—Blue Scholars, Morning Tea (via thoughtsdetained)