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8358NEWS -- 2013.09.30.Monday night

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  • James Martin
    Sep 30, 2013
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      Remembering Fanny Ann Eddy
      Nine years ago
      1) NPR's New Boss: Financial Industry Lobbyist, GOP Donor, Right-Wing Think Tank Booster
      2) Bush 41 Witnesses Same-Sex Marriage
      3) NYC inmate 1 year almost as costly as 4 year Ivy League tuition
      4) The ideal age for women to get married is...
      5) LGBT Muslims Make Progress on the Path to Acceptance
      6) Impeach Judge Who Ordered Ohio to Recognize Gay Marriages, Says Local Lawmaker
      http://fair.org/  Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

      NPR's New Boss: Financial Industry Lobbyist, GOP Donor, Right-Wing Think Tank Booster

      By Peter Hart, 17 September 2013

      Last month NPR CEO Gary Knell left to take a job at National Geographic, making him the latest in a string of CEOs who left after a short stint running the public radio outlet. On September 13, NPR named a new acting president and CEO: board member Paul G. Haaga.

      The NPR press release  (9/13/13) states that Haaga's "accomplished career" included a stint as "chairman of the Investment Company Institute"–the powerful lobbying group of the mutual fund industry. As the Los Angeles Times  (11/29/03) once reported, "Mutual funds have been mostly shielded from the reforms forced on the financial world–thanks in large part to the efforts of the Investment Company Institute."

      NPR also adds that Haaga has ties to right-wing think tanks–he is "a member of the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute" and he sits on "the Board of Overseers of Hoover Institution at Stanford University."

      Haaga is also a fairly regular contributor to Republican politicians. According to OpenSecrets.org, this year he made a $32,400 donation to the Republican National Committee;  in the previous two years, he made contributions of around $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. He's also given four-figure checks to a large number of mostly Republican candidates, including  Rep. Paul Ryan, George Allen and Mitch McConnell.

      So the new boss–for now–at NPR is a former financial industry lobbyist who is a regular donor to Republican politicians, with ties to two prominent conservative think tanks. When NPR finds a new boss, he'll continue to be a member of NPR's board.

      According to right-wing mythology, NPR is a decidedly left-wing media outlet, living off government subsidies and pushing a liberal agenda. That's not at all true when it comes to what's on the air–or who's on the board.

      Comments at the URL.
      My comment ---
      If you want to kill an organization or something, join it and do it from inside. 
      Republicans understand this; Democrats don't. 
      Like the Tea Party today in Washington.

      Bush 41 Witnesses Same-Sex Marriage


      by Ed Brayton, 28 September 2013

      Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara not only attended a same-sex wedding in their famous summer home of Kennebunkport, Maine, they acted as witnesses for the couple and signed the marriage license. The couple owns a general store in that town and have known the Bushes for years.

      Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara served as an official witnesses Saturday at the Maine wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, co-owners of a Kennebunk general store. Thorgalsen posted a photo on Facebook of the 41st commander-in-chief signing a set of documents for them at an outdoor celebration: “Getting our marriage license witnessed!”

      No big statement from the ex-prez’s office. His rep Jim McGrath confirmed his and wife Barbara’s presence at the Kennebunkport wedding: “They were private citizens attending a private ceremony for two friends.”

      In an email from their honeymoon in London, Clement told us they’ve known the former first couple for years and were thrilled they accepted the wedding invitation. Thinking about “how monumental this time is in our lives” and “how blessed we are to be in their lives,” they decided to ask them “to really personalize it for us” as witnesses.

      Good for them and kudos to the Bushes for displaying decency and humanity here rather than bigotry. I don’t think they’ve ever had a problem with gay people or equal rights, nor do I think George W. Bush ever did. But wouldn’t it have been far better for them to make their views known long before now, during the political battles? Having the senior Bush, one of the grand old men of the Republican party, take a stand for equality could have been a big help five or ten years ago.

      But the fact is that the elder Bush chose to stay silent and the younger Bush cynically used anti-gay politics to win reelection in 2004 (which explains why the elder Bush kept his mouth shut). Just like the Cheneys did even while knowing that their daughter was being demonized and tangibly harmed by it. The very fact that they all do — genuinely, I think — support equality is all the more reason why I don’t know how they can live with themselves now. They sold out an entire group of people whose humanity they recognize for political power.


      NYC inmate almost as costly as Ivy League tuition

      AP,  JAKE PEARSON, Monday 30 September 2013

      NEW YORK (AP) — New York is indeed an expensive place, but experts say that alone doesn't explain a recent report that found the city's annual cost per inmate was $167,731 last year — nearly as much as it costs to pay for four years of tuition at an Ivy League university.

      They say a big part of it is due to New York's most notorious lockup, Rikers Island, and the costs that go along with staffing, maintaining and securing a facility that is literally an island unto itself.

      "Other cities don't have Rikers Island," said Martin F. Horn, who in 2009 resigned as the city's correction commissioner, noting that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent a year to run the 400-acre island in the East River next to the runways of LaGuardia Airport that has 10 jail facilities, thousands of staff and its own power plant and bakery.

      --- click on URL to continue ---
      Lots of comments at the URL.
      My comment ---
      Look at the money wasted.  But look at all the salaries paid.  This prison infuses lots of cash into the local economy.

      The ideal age for women to get married is...

      By Amy Klein

      When we were young, the trajectory of life sounded so simple: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage” — but modern relationships are much more complicated than that. People date more partners before settling down, cohabitate and procreate without getting married… and, on the whole, marry later in life these days. Currently, the median age in the U.S. for a man to marry is around 29; for a woman, it’s when she’s approximately 27 years old (that’s compared to the 1960s when people typically married in their early 20s, according to the Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends blog). Marriage itself is at an all-time low right now in America — only 51% of Americans are currently married, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau reports, compared to 72% in 1960.

      But for people who do see marriage in their future, the debate rages on: What is the ideal age for women to tie the knot? When it comes to education, economics, personal development and childbearing goals, below are some pros and cons of getting hitched at every age:
      Marrying at age 22-25
      You’ve probably finished college or are on your way to getting your career off the ground by now. At this age, you’re likely tying the knot with your college or high-school sweetheart — or even the guy you met on the first day of Kindergarten or became friends with after growing up together in the same neighborhood.

      Pros: You and your groom are both young, so you can grow, change and move in the same direction as you grow together as a couple. You’ll be young parents if you choose to have children, and you’ll also be able to have a large family. Plus, when the kids get packed off to college, you’ll still only be in your 40s — which is young enough to embark on new adventures and rediscover yourselves as a couple, not just as other people’s parents.

      Cons: When you’re under 25, you might not know yourself very well — especially when it comes to what you want to do with your life and what you really believe in, both as an individual and as a couple. People’s values also change quite a bit after their idealistic, naïve early 20s. The 50% divorce rate that’s so often cited in America specifically applies to people who marry when they’re less than 20 years old; for those in the 20-23 age range, it jumps to 34% — and that divorce rate also declines again as you age. And if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, you might find yourself lost from an identity standpoint when the kids eventually leave home. “I don’t know what to do with myself now,” says Stacy Abrams, 42, of New Jersey, who got married at 22 and subsequently devoted her life to raising her five children. “My kids have to teach me how to use the computer now,” she admits.

      Marrying at age 25-30
      These are the fabulous, fun days of discovery where you’re finding out who you really are as a woman, what you ultimately want to do with your life, and what becomes meaningful to you personally. Dating men in their 20s and 30s will make you feel like the belle of the ball.

      Pros: You’re more likely to end up with someone who shares similar values as your own now that you’re more self-aware. You also have had enough time to party it up with your other single friends, travel and endure long hours at work before you “settle down” like an “old married couple” with an established social circle and career.

      Cons: Economically, a woman’s earning power is at its highest if she marries at age 30 or later, according to the “Knot Yet: the Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America” study published online at nationalmarriageproject.org. Marrying after your 30th birthday also adds an extra $18,000 to a woman’s earning power. One risk to consider: If you take a break to focus on child-rearing now, it could take a serious toll on your career.

      Marrying at age 30-35
      If it’s true that 30 really is the new 20, then you’re a woman with many opportunities ahead of her. You’re secure with both your career and personal finances, and you’ve probably stopped thinking of your dates as “boys” — at this age, you’re definitely dating “men” (at least, that’s how you’re referring to and thinking about them, anyway).

      Pros: Not only do you know who you are and what you want out of life, you also have a good sense of what you need in a romantic partner. You’re likely to pick someone who’ll be a good life partner for you over the long-term and have a solid career in place to boot. A woman over 30 is only 8% likely to get divorced, according to marriage site The Knot — pretty good odds compared to 20% for those who marry at age 27-29!

      Cons: Contrary to popular wisdom, a woman’s fertility only begins to dip slightly when she’s 28, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Between ages 30-34, a woman’s infertility issues are almost doubled from 8-15%, according to Management of the Infertile Woman by Helen A. Carcio and The Fertility Sourcebook by M. Sara Rosenthal — but the good news is, you still have some time to deal with it if you find yourself struggling to conceive. A woman’s chance of getting pregnant only decreases from 63-52%, so if you’re still under 35, it might take you a little bit longer to start a family — but it will still probably happen, given enough time. “I was so scared that I would have trouble conceiving that I starting trying the very minute I got engaged,” says Dana White, who got married in San Francisco on her 35th birthday — while she was five months pregnant.

      Marrying at age 35-40
      Some of us ladies are what I like to call “late bloomers.” It takes women like us a couple of jobs to discover what we really enjoy doing to earn a living, visiting a few countries to figure out where we want to live, and dating enough men to learn what we don’t want in a romantic partner.

      Pros: At this age, a first marriage will also probably be your only marriage for life. And get this: When you’ve waited so long to walk down the aisle already, you can have pretty much any kind of wedding you want, anywhere you want — your parents will be so happy that you finally found The One, they probably won’t even care how much it costs… or who’s on the guest list.

      Cons: Trouble conceiving can be a serious issue by now, as the likelihood of infertility rises from 15-32%; at this age, you’ve only got a 33% chance of getting pregnant (as opposed to 50% when you’re under 35 years old).

      Marrying at 40+
      At midlife, you’re definitely an independent woman who likely boasts of having enjoyed a stellar career and a strong circle of friends to provide you with emotional support. Your dating pool has opened up to include divorced/widowed guys and single dads, and you feel like the belle of the ball all over again.

      Pros: Your dating options may seem slimmer after 40, but you’ve almost certainly gotten any love for chasing after bad boys out of your system by now. Not only that, you’ve also likely had your fill of partying, dating, traveling, clawing your way up the career ladder and made peace with your parents and siblings — so when you do finally settle down, you will have absolutely no regrets or thoughts about missing out on some unexplored part of your life. That’s right: none!

      Cons: If you still want to have children, you’re probably going to need professional help — but you’re financially and emotionally secure enough to handle the challenges that come with being a later-in-life parent, you’ll be just fine.

      Amy Klein writes the weekly “Fertility Diary” column for The New York Times’ Motherlode blog. Her website is kleinslines.com.

      LGBT Muslims Make Progress on the Path to Acceptance

      Around the nation and the world, LGBT Muslims and their allies are working to build an inclusive faith — and having some notable success.

      BY Trudy Ring

      September 23 2013 7:00 AM ET

      Islam is not intrinsically homophobic.

      That statement may come as a shock to some, but it’s a case made by several activists and scholars who are dedicated to making their faith more welcoming to LGBT people. And they are seeing gradual but definite progress, at least in Western nations.

      “We’re not at an accepting level — we’re at a tolerating level,” says Ani Zonneveld, cofounder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values, which advocates for LGBT and women’s equality, interfaith cooperation and understanding, and other progressive causes. She qualifies that by saying there are progressive Muslim communities that are totally accepting, while among traditional ones, the attitude is more “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but is beginning to shift to a more inclusive stance.

      “Acceptance of LGBTQ Muslims varies widely, depending on the community and the country,” adds Tynan Power, co-coordinator of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, which works to support, empower, and connect LGBTQ Muslims. In the U.S., he says, “acceptance of any LGBTQ identity in mosques is rare,” but he points out that in recent years Muslims for Progressive Values and other grassroots groups have created gender-egalitarian and LGBTQ-welcoming congregations in U.S. cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and his hometown of Northampton, Mass., where in 2010 he founded Pioneer Valley Progressive Muslims, which he serves as imam, or prayer leader. Outside the U.S., such congregations can be found cities including in Toronto and Paris.

      The movement for greater acceptance of LGBT people in Islam, and to help LGBT Muslims reconcile their faith with their sexual identity, is a growing one. Muslims for Progressive Values was founded in Los Angeles in 2007, and since then it has expanded to include chapters in D.C., Atlanta, Salt Lake City, New York City, and Columbus, Ohio, as well as France, Chile, Australia, and Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.

      In May the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity welcomed 86 attendees to the third annual LGBTQ Muslim Retreat, an event aimed at advancing the reconciliation process. That’s up from 71 in each of the past two years, and the number would have been greater if the retreat space was larger, says Power. His organization officially launched this year, but several of the people involved with it helped organize the earlier retreats, and some of them worked with an earlier, now-defunct LGBT Muslim group, Al-Fatiha. He hopes the founding of the alliance heralds “a bright new era for LGBTQ Muslims in the U.S.”

      Both Power, a queer transgender man, and Zonneveld, a straight woman, say there’s nothing in the Koran, the Muslim holy book, that promotes or justifies antigay or antitransgender sentiments.

      “There are progressive Muslim scholars who offer analysis of the Koran and Hadith — sayings and accounts of the life of the prophet Muhammad — which aims to counter some of the religious arguments that are made to exclude LGBTQ Muslims,” says Power.

      “However,” he continues, “for those who are not scholars, I believe the argument is much simpler. We find no example in the prophet’s lifetime of his punishing anyone for homosexuality or transgender [identity]. Homosexuality is not even mentioned by name in the Koran. More to the point, the prophet never excluded anyone from participation in the religious life of the mosque. The Islam practiced by the prophet Muhammad was one of radical welcome.”

      In some countries, of course, Islam is practiced in a radically unwelcoming fashion, with LGBT people persecuted and sometimes even executed for simply being who they are. Zonnefeld, though, sees that as a legacy of colonialism.

      For much of history, she says, homosexuality was not taboo in Islam, but European powers that colonized Asian and African countries brought sexually repressive attitudes and policies with them, all in the name of “civilizing” native peoples. “What has happened is that Muslim nations became extremely homophobic,” she says.

      To combat this, Muslims for Progressive Values is applying for consultative status at the United Nations so it can advocate for LGBT rights worldwide. Also, the group hopes to add an affiliate in the Middle East or North Africa, she says. Some homegrown pro-LGBT groups have sprung up in those regions as well, such as the Jerusalem-based Al Qaws Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, which recently launched a multimedia project called “Singing Sexuality,” using music, video, and other arts to foster dialogue about LGBT people in Palestinian society.

      Adds Power: “Non-Muslims who believe all Muslims are homophobic are misinformed. Part of the blame is certainly on Western media, which tends to paint all Muslims with a very limited palette. However, part of the responsibility is also on the individual, for not questioning such generalizations. It’s my view that assuming all Muslims are homophobic is, in itself, playing into heterosexism, because it is assuming that all Muslims are heterosexual.”

      --- continue at URL ---

      Impeach Judge Who Ordered Ohio to Recognize Gay Marriages, Says Local Lawmaker

      Ohio Rep. John Becker claims a federal judge's rulings in favor of a legally married gay couple and a gay widower demonstrate the judge's 'incompetence' and 'personal bias.'

      BY Sunnivie Brydum

      September 23 2013 1:44 PM ET

      An Ohio lawmaker wants to impeach the federal judge who declared the state must recognize the same-sex marriage of a terminally ill gay man and his husband, claiming the judge's ruling violated "state sovereignty."

      State Rep. John Becker, a Republican who represents Union Township, penned a letter to one of Ohio's representatives in the U.S. House asking the fellow republican to initiate impeachment proceedings against Judge Timothy Black.

      Black is a federal district judge who, in July, ruled that Ohio must recognize the marriage of John Arthur and Tim Obergefell, who flew to Maryland to marry earlier in July because Arthur is terminally ill with ALS. The newlywed couple sued the state of Ohio in an effort to require the state coroner to list Arthur as married on his death certificate, and list Obergefell as Arthur's surviving spouse. On July 22, Judge Black used no uncertain terms in finding in the couple's favor, writing that "this is not a complicated case," and ordering the Ohio registrar — and by extension, the state itself — to recognize the legal marriage between Arthur and Obergefell.

      Ohio voters amended their state constitution to forbid marriage equality in 2004, though Black's ruling in the Arthur-Obergefell case determined that the state law "likely violate[s] the U.S. Constitution… by treating lawful same-sex marriages differently than it treats opposite-sex marriages."

      In September, Black also ruled that Ohio must recognize the marriage of another gay couple after one spouse died unexpectedly in late August. David Michener of Cincinnati will be listed as the spouse of his husband William Herbert Ives on Ives' death certificate, Black ruled. The couple, together for 18 years, married in Delaware this summer, after raising three children together. Ives died unexpectedly on August 27.

      But according to the state lawmaker, Black's rulings amount to a "malfeasance and abuse of power."

      In his letter to Wenstrup, Becker expresses his "concerns about the federal government's ever growing propensity to violate state sovereignty," noting that federal judges are appointed for life, and the only way to remove such a justice is for the House of Representatives to vote to impeach the jurist, followed by a concurring vote from the U.S. Senate.

      "Judge Black has demonstrated his incompetence by allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence," Becker wrote in the letter, obtained by the Cincinatti Enquirer. "This will begin the process of restoring state sovereignty back to the original intent of the Constitution."

      U.S. Rep. Wenstrup issued a statement clarifying that he'll take no legal action until a federal appeal of Black's rulings makes its way through the court.

      "While Judge Black's ruling violated the Ohio constitution and the will of Ohio voters, the question of whether this decision also violated the U.S. Constitution remains before a higher court," Wenstrup said in his statement. "I will watch those appellate proceedings closely to see if Judge Black's decision is upheld, and I have full confidence in the Ohio's office of the Attorney General during the appeals process."