Georgia: Special Session Call to Override Veto

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor's veto of the antigay "religious liberty" bill.

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor’s veto of the antigay “religious liberty” bill.

Right-wing Georgia politicians are seeking a special session in an attempt to override Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a controversial antigay “religious freedom” bill today.

Only minutes after Deal announced the veto in a press conference, Republican State Sen. Mike Crane called for the special session , reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Crane, currently running for Congress, released a statement on his website,  saying, “Our government needs committed conservatives who never stop fighting to protect the constitution.”

He also made a statement that appeared to refer to business opposition to House Bill 757 and threats from entertainment companies to boycott Georgia if the bill became law. “The announcement by Governor Deal is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists,” Crane said. [Except for when those corporations and lobbyists are doing something in their favour, then it’s just dandy!]

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But lawmakers who supported the measure are not giving up yet. The Journal-Constitution reports that Sen. Josh McKoon told Boston NPR station WBUR, “The question we have to resolve is whether or not government is going to be used to punish people with a particular point of view [Oh how I wish irony poisoning was a real thing]. … I fully expect we’ll be back next year debating this again.”

Full Story.

NC may lose federal funding

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Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina has faced intense pressure to repeal House Bill 2 from major businesses such as Apple and Facebook, but now, they may lose billions of dollars in federal funding for passing the anti-LGBT bill.

The Obama administration is in the process of considering whether HB2 makes the state ineligible for federal funding for schools, highways, and housing, reports The New York Times. House Bill 2 bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones.

The Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all told the paper that they are currently reviewing the law to determine whether the state will continue to be eligible for federal funding.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Education told The Times on Friday that they “will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.” Last year, they provided the state with $4.3 billion dollars in funding for kindergarden through 12th grade, and for colleges, reports The Times.

If states are going to insist on legislating hate and bigotry, I think it’s a fine idea for them to lose all federal funding. Then they can see how much it is worth to them to continue embracing their hate. The full story is at The Advocate.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

On the Mississippi bill, considered to the be the worst one yet, passed the senate and is now poised to hit the governor’s desk:

Mississippi’s sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has indicated his potential support for the legislation.

A final concurrence vote took place in the state’s House of Representatives this morning, following a final Senate vote Thursday in favor House Bill 1523, reports BuzzFeed News. Full story: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2016/4/01/mississippis-anti-lgbt-bill-headed-governor

Bisexual Support is Crucial

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

A December 2015 study in the Journal of Bisexuality found that gays and lesbians had nearly identical prejudice against bisexuals as heterosexuals1. But most bisexuals don’t need a study to affirm that fact, and failure to acknowledge biphobia from within and outside LGBT communities is extremely harmful.

Failure to acknowledge and address biphobia has had a powerful impact on bisexual health, forcing our risk factors to skyrocket past those of gay and lesbian people.

Nearly half of bisexual women have considered or attempted suicide2. They have higher rates of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, compared to lesbians or heterosexual women3. One in two bisexual women has experienced severe violence by an intimate partner as opposed to one in three lesbians and one in four heterosexual women4. Bisexual women are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as lesbians5, are less likely to be out to their doctors,6 and are more likely to smoke and have substance abuse issues7.

The stats for bisexual men aren’t much better. One in three bisexual men has considered or attempted suicide8. They are 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than gay men9. Nearly half of all bisexual men suffer from mood disorders10, while one in three has experienced rape, violence, or stalking by an intimate partner as opposed to one in four gay men.11 According to the CDC, half of black bisexual men and a quarter of bisexual Hispanic men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes—the same as gay men.

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On April 16, the #StillBisexual campaign will join the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 360, the health and wellness fair for LBTQ women, to help educate attendees about the unique health needs of our community. I hope that through raising awareness about the campaign and the abysmal bisexual health statistics, our community as a whole will finally get funding and policies in place to address our health disparities. But that will only come through raising awareness and empathy about the bisexual experience—and gaining allies to help us put an end to the prejudice against us.

A community is only as strong as its weakest members. And though it may be hard for gays and lesbians to relate to what it’s like to be attracted to more than one gender, it is crucial that they try to accept and support the needs of all LGBT members. For the past 40 years, bisexual people have tried to address the needs of our community on our own. We failed. Why? Because every community needs allies. Without straight allies, the larger LGBT community never would have achieved the right to same-sex marriage and the resources to combat the AIDS crisis. Without LGT allies, the bisexual community will never have the opportunity to face a future without stigma, poverty, and illness. And given that bisexuals comprise the largest population within the LGBT community, that right is long overdue.

Full article is here: https://vanguardnow.org/voices/225-bisexuals-lack-support-and-it-s-literally-killing-us-3

Cultural Astronomy

Fall - Version 2

Annette S. Lee, assistant professor of astronomy and physics at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, created the oil and mixed media “Fall Stars” to represent two major autumn constellations—Moose for the Ojibwe and Turtle for the Dakota/Lakota. (Courtesy Annette S. Lee)

Even though a sprinkling of snow fell just this Thursday in northern Minnesota, any arrows shot earlier at Wintermaker apparently have hastened his final departure from the sky. But the rise in the night of Curly Tail, the Great Panther of spring, could bring the threat of floods and dangerous, uncertain travel.

Long before Europeans brought over their Greek monikers for the constellations, Native cultures already had named their sky people. And those faraway relatives helped them to understand their world and how to survive in it.

For the Ojibwe, the constellations of Mooz (Moose), Biboonikeonini (Wintermaker), Mishi Bizhiw (the Great Panther) and Nanaboujou (the original man of Anishinaabe narratives), heralded the arrival of fall, winter, spring and summer.

More on star maps and skywatchers here.

Trump Tombstone

Headstone

A renegade artist took to Central Park this weekend to express discontentment with presidential candidate Donald Trump in the form of a fake tombstone dedicated to the oft-lampooned businessman with the epitaph “Make America Hate Again.” The mysterious stone also features Trump’s birth year, 1946, but includes no year of death.

[…]

The equally-critical graveyard project first surfaced on social media on Saturday, but by Sunday night had been removed by the city Parks Department—much to the chagrin of anti-Trump New Yorkers.

A spokesperson for the parks department told NBC that there is currently no information as to who erected the tombstone, but that it was city employees who hauled it away. No word on where, exactly, the artifact was hauled to.

Read more here.

Magic in North America

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A lot of people have been less than pleased with Rowling’s Magic in North America, many of them Indigenous people, as the stereotyping was much as feared, with all Indians dumped into the popular “Native American” category. It’s beyond frustrating when people start a sentence with “Native Americans”, because there’s no such pool of people. There are indigenous peoples, there are tribes, there are nations, all different from one another, with different histories, beliefs, and traditions. Magic in North America has been the focus of much ferocious discussion for some time now, along with plenty of the casual racism one might expect to see. Dr. Adrienne Keene has addressed many of the issues indigenous people have at Native Appropriations.

[Read more…]

Cool Stuff Friday

The Creator’s Project on Instagram. Some fabulous work there, have a browse.

 

Creators

Turning thousands of discarded plastic bottles into art

 

Serge Attukwei Clottey uses his art installations to educate local communities about pollution and waste. Photograph: Serge Attukwei Clottey

Serge Attukwei Clottey uses his art installations to educate local communities about pollution and waste. Photograph: Serge Attukwei Clottey

The brightly coloured plastic jugs once played a vital role transporting water during Ghana’s droughts. Now, they’re creating a new environmental catastrophe of their own.

Seas of discarded yellow, blue and white containers – referred to locally as “Kufuor gallons” after the water crises endured under president John Kufuor in the early 2000s – have become a troubling part of Ghana’s landscape.

No longer used by local communities, vast quantities of jerry cans have built up on city streets, dumps and beaches, contributing to worsening pollution levels. In response to the growing crisis and government inaction, local artist Serge Attukwei Clottey has started using large-scale plastic art installations as a way to draw attention to the issue.

The artist says his aim is to galvanise the local community to combat the large quantities of plastic waste now blocking sewers in cities and endangering wildlife habitats along the coastline.

Clottey, who has been gathering the containers for more than 15 years, cuts them into small tiles and shapes them over an open flame, later moulding sections together and binding them with copper.

The process results in what he refers to as “paint-less paintings” – large plastic tapestries that also incorporate other salvaged waste items, such as discarded electrical goods or wood, bones and shells gathered from the coastal neighbourhood where he lives and works in the capital, Accra.

The full article is here.

GunTV. There just isn’t enough facepalm…

Yes, for real. This just makes me want to despair. The home shopping gun channel is the brain fart of something called The Social Responsibility Network. Social responsibility? Really? Given the sheer amount of gun deaths and injuries every single day in uStates, I don’ think that title applies in the least. It’s days like these that make me feel like uStates has moved beyond parody. I can only imagine how terrifying we are to everyone outside uStates. It’s pretty terrifying living here.

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A man in a gun shop (Pål Joakim Olsen/Flickr)

Article about GTV here. There’s a video from the Social Responsibility Network at the link.

Some more info – naturally, they have matching website:

logo

https://www.guntv.tv/

According to this source, these are the hosts:

Carly Twissleman, an actress and professional rodeo competitor, comes from a firearms enthusiast ranching family.

Eric Anderson, former USMC field artillery platoon Sergeant, NRA certified firearms instructor, hunter safety instructor in the state of Florida, CMSA men’s level 6 cowboy mounted shooter board member and Top Shot Season 2 contender, also trains individuals in extreme horsemanship, marksmanship and firearms safety.
Denny Chapman, former law enforcement officer, is a professional cowboy mounted shooting competitor and NRA firearms instructor with his own line of signature products for the sport of mounted shooting and equestrian enthusiasts.

Amy Robbins, TV producer and host, model, certified NRA firearms instructor and all-American Texan, brings her passion for her family, faith, fashion and firearms to GunTV.

Anette Wachter, aka 30CalGal, is a member of the US Long Range Rifle Team and the 2015 World Palma Team, professional precision rifle and 3 gun competitor and a writer and blogger with her own line of gun jewelry.

Bree Warner, a veteran actress and auxiliary police officer with a large metropolitan police department, is also the founder of TactigalNYC gun blog, founded to empower women.

KC Kahne has been an avid shooter since his boyhood and with his certification as an NRA firearms instructor, KC has sought out and trained with some of the most respected and elite trainers in the firearms world.

Rydell Danzi, a military veteran with a passion for helping vets and non-vets, has directed and performed in films and is an avid outdoorsman.

Billy Birdzell, an officer in the USMC and a founding member of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) served two tours in Iraq before
coming home to earn an MBA and join the NRA Office of Advancement, while still finding time to enjoy the great outdoors and become a competitive shooter.

What May Be Worst Anti-LGBT Bill Yet

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Mississippi is one vote and one signature away from enacting what may be the strictest anti-LGBT law yet.

The state Senate passed House Bill 1523, the so-called Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, Wednesday by a vote of 32-17, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reports. Thursday morning the Senate took a second vote, sending the bill on to the House for concurrence, as the version passed by the Senate differs slightly from the one adopted by the House in February, reports BuzzFeed. If the House votes to concur, which is expected next week, the bill will go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.

The act states that the government cannot penalize an individual, organization, or business for acting according to the following “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”: that “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman”; that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”; and that “male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

The bill would therefore allow businesses to turn away customers or prospective employees by citing such beliefs, without repercussions. It would allow employees of county circuit clerks’ offices, which issue marriage licenses in the state, to refuse service to same-sex couples if they object to the marriage on religious grounds, also without repercussions. It could be used to discriminate against single parents and even conceivably allow employers to fire female workers for wearing pants, as it protects employers’ and schools’ right to maintain “sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming.”

Sen. Jenifer Branning, a supporter of the bill, argued to her colleagues Wednesday that the measure was designed to protect providers of wedding goods and services who oppose same-sex marriage, and denied that it had broader implications.

There’s more on this monstrosity of a legislation at Buzzfeed.