and of course:
and from Bilerico:
Yesterday while speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, President Obama mentioned homophobia in a list "hatred that degrades its victim." Obama:
"To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened - who perpetrate every form of intolerance — racism, antisemitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and more — hatred that degrades its victim and diminishes us all. Today, and every day we have an opportunity, as well as an obligation to confront these scourges. To fight the impulse to turn the channel when we see images that disturb us, or wrap ourselves in the false comforts that others' sufferings are not our own.
View video here.
In June, ONE and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) will present a book called The Big Read to President Barack Obama, urging him to keep his promise to ensure children in developing countries have access to basic education through a U.S. contribution of $2 billion to a Global Fund for Education.
The Big Read book includes the stories of people around the world involved in the fight against extreme poverty. Because of the important work ONE members do in advocating for global education, a ONE member's story will be published in The Big Read book—alongside the writings of Nelson Mandela, Queen Rania, Desmond Tutu and other world leaders.
Learn more and send in story for consideration before April 29 click the pic to get the info:
Miss USA contestants from states where same-sex marriage is legal are speaking out.
President Obama says it's up to Attorney General Holder whether to prosecute the individuals responsible for the Bush administration's torture policies. One of the top names on Holder's list should be William J. Haynes II.
As General Counsel for the Pentagon under Donald Rumsfeld, Haynes authored the legal strategy for some of the most heinous torture techniques authorized by Bush - techniques that were, according to the New York Times, "interrogation practices based on illegal tortures devised by Chinese agents during the Korean War."
Haynes left the Pentagon when Rumsfeld did, but instead of going into exile - or better yet, prison - Haynes instead went to a cushy gig as chief corporate counsel for Chevron.
I just took action to tell Chevron CEO David O'Reilly to fire Haynes - I hope you will, too.
Relentless bullying, including anti-gay slurs, by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield pushed sixth-grader Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover to take his own life, according to his mother. The quality of interventions by school officials is unclear. But an act so desperate by one so young is a clear reminder of how schools can become torture chambers for students perceived as different.Gay blogger Rod McCullom: "Bullying is much more intense in poor, urban school districts because this is where children (and their "parents") are taught to glorify "thug" culture. So it becomes unfortunately all-too-common in the black community to taunt and harass boys and young men who do not act like thugs. How many more children have to be bullied to death until we learn this wrong?"
Massachusetts led the nation in 1993 by crafting an anti-discrimination law for gay and lesbian students. But the law is only as effective as the educators who implement it. And the stakes can be higher in poor, urban districts like Springfield, where nonconformity too often draws aggressive attention. Teachers or administrators who ignore even a single degrading comment in that environment can open the door to a world of pain.
The following is an article from the March/April 2009 issue of Cal-liope, a newsletter for members of an EDD-related professional organization. See attachments for the actual Initiative and Legislative Analyst’s response.
Initiative to be Submitted to Voters In California
In January 2009 “The McCauley Public Employee Pension Reform Act” was registered with the Secretary of State in California and if passed will change the California Constitution Article 1, Sec. 9 to allow state and local governments and taxing districtsto renegotiate public employee pension contracts, including reducing vested benefits for existing and prospective retirees to enable governments to meet public services needs or to meet long term public investment needs.
The proposed initiative requires the collection of 694,354 signatures by June 22, 2009 to get this initiative on the statewide ballot.
The proposer of this initiative believes that past promises made to public employees for future pension entitlements were excessive at the time and have resulted in excessive financial burdens on taxpayers to pay the promised pensions and to meet funding requirements of existing pension contracts causing an unacceptable level of job loss and unemployment.
What does this mean in simple terms? Retirees and future retirees, i.e., all public employees, may have their retirement plan renegotiated and current and future benefits reduced!
What can you do? Do not sign the petition required to get this on the ballot and encourage your friends and neighbors not to sign the petition. If this initiative should get on the ballot, work to get it defeated. The Secretary of State’s tracking number on this initiative is 1350.
The new campaign, to be overseen by the Foreign Ministry, aims to appeal to people who are less concerned with Iran's nuclear aspirations and more fearful of its human rights abuses and mistreatment of minorities, including the gay and lesbian community. The campaign plans to recruit the international gay community, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed in 2007 when he said there were no homosexuals living in his country. The campaign will also reach out to Jewish groups who want to bring more attention to Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial and some members of the Iranian regime's anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist views. About NIS 8 million have already been budgeted for the new campaign, which also includes increased briefings for foreign journalists on the Iranian nuclear program and greater use of the Internet and sites such as YouTube.
Editor’s Note: Iran Press Watch has received the following urgent request from the Baha’is of Shiraz. It is requested that this note be posted in as many other sites as possible.
By the Baha’is of Shiraz
Imprisoned Baha’is in Shiraz are being kept under inhumane conditions. They are held in small cells, in solitary confinement. These cells are about 2.2 meters x 2.2 meters wide, with an open washroom at the corner, and without any sort of windows, openings or ventilation system. Their bedding consists merely of two blankets on the cement prison floor. At present, there are seven Baha’i detained in the city of Shiraz.
Among them, the situation of Haleh Houshamandi-Salehi (arrested March 18, 2009), is the gravest (see http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/04/serious-health/). She has a heart ailment and her physician has stated that any stress or trauma will have an extremely serious impact on her health. Under the intense psychological and physical pressures of solitary confinement and ongoing interrogations, she developed numbness on the left side of her body to the point that she could not get herself up from the floor. After 22 days in solitary confinement, authorities transferred Halah Ruhi (detained since October 2007), to Haleh’s cell. Although Haleh Houshamandi-Salehi is being given some medication in the prison, she is in urgent need of proper medical care and the attention of a heart specialist. Her family has taken her medical records to the detention centre, hoping for compassion and understanding.
However, in response to her family’s ongoing inquiries into Haleh’s condition, the judiciary investigator recently said: “What happens if one of you dies, one less the better”.
Haleh Houshmadi-Salehi’s 8-year old son, Sooren, traumatized by the raid of his home and the detainment of his mother, often bursts into tears. The mothers of his classmates help their children with their homework, drop them off and pick them up from school, but the authorities have left Sooren without his mother. He says, “I feel like crying, but I try very hard and stop myself. I worry that my classmates will make fun of me”. He often asks when his mother will be home, but no one has any answers to comfort this broken-hearted child.
On April 4, a bail was set by the Prosecutor General of Fars province for the release of four of the prisoners arrested in the last two months. However, the judiciary investigator stated that under no condition would he accept the instructions of the Prosecutor General and allow these Baha’is to be discharged on bail (see, http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/04/imprisoned-bahais-barred/).
A few days ago, an arrest order was briefly shown to a Baha’i that was being questioned by Islamic authorities. The arrest order was entitled: Arrest Warrant of all Connected Individuals. This revelation is very alarming as it indicates the authorities’ intentions to use such broad reaching statements to justify numerous arrests. With such a vague and ambiguous warrant, any and all family members of the detained Baha’is can be considered “connected individuals” and any Baha’i can be considered a “connected individual” by virtue of their faith and their common beliefs. Their use of elusive terminology on warrants allows them to detain, question and arrest any individual for any period of time, at will, and without any further justification or clarification.
It is the urgent hope of the detainees’ families that the ongoing atrocities against Baha’is are stopped, and that their loved ones, detained solely because of their beliefs, are released.
Today, many Americans will honor the Day of Silence called for on behalf of victims of harassment and bullying around issues of sexual orientation, including a recent suicide who would have turned 12 today. On Monday, we will memorialize the Columbine High School victims from a decade ago. Through these painful remembrances, we must all acknowledge our collective role and responsibility in preventing student deaths and ensuring that our schools and universities remain safe havens of learning.Thank you, Secretary Duncan.