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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Speaking as a gay man, I don't think you can make a blanket statement like this....

What I think one can safely say is that homophobes are likely very conflicted about their own sexuality. Does that necessarily mean they are gay? No, but then again human sexuality runs along a spectrum, and is not the binary, black-and-white kind of thing many of us would like to think it is.
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:24 PM (0 replies)

Some ideas/direction sought on a piece on privatization I'm working on...

I'm in the early stages of developing a blogpost I'm writing. The piece is intended to debunk, to the extent possible, the claims made by the right to the effect that private industry always delivers products/services more efficiently (i.e., at a better quality per price) than the government. One of the things I always try to do in pieces like this is to anticipate the counter-arguments and counter examples. And here's the point where I could use some ideas/direction pointers. Can anyone here, being as generous as you reasonably can to the right's argument, think of any example from U.S. history where a product/service that was originally a publicly provided and was later privatized, about which a remotely arguable case can be made that such privatization worked to the benefit of the public at large?

I'm not looking for folks to do my research for me here, but just for some examples I might use to anticipate the right's counter-argument. Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Apr 23, 2012, 07:12 PM (18 replies)

Raw Story: U.S. authorities crackdown on medical marijuana spots

The federal crackdown on state legalized medical marijuana facilities has grown to become a rising issue across the United States, as a new report from Al Jazeera documents.

California is an epicenter for the law enforcement crackdown despite being one of the dozen states to legalize medical marijuana, including a recent raid at Oaksterdam University in Oakland.

WATCH: Video from Al Jazeera, from April 21, 2012.

Video available at http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/21/u-s-authorities-crackdown-on-medical-cannabis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRawStory+%28The+Raw+Story%29
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Apr 22, 2012, 01:44 AM (19 replies)

The Catholic Leadership's Selectuve Use of Duct Tape

Love this send-up of NY's Cardinal Dolan!

Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:50 PM (0 replies)

Truthout: White House to Delay Implementation of Key Anti-Discrimination Order

Seems I will need a still larger clothespin for my nose when I cast my vote in November...

After months of dodging questions about the progress of an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting, the White House won’t issue the directive, but will instead study whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees require employment protections, ThinkProgress has learned. The news comes after White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett held a meeting with LGBT advocates to discuss the matter.

Existing studies suggest that 11 to 16 million additional employees would have gained protections as a result of the measure, since many “federal contractors do not currently have those policies, and they employ millions of workers.” Among them are Jarrod Scarbrough and Les Sewell, a gay couple who attended Monday’s Easter Egg Roll at the White House to ask Obama to sign the order. “Jarrod works for a company that the government contracts through, and we live in New Mexico — we’re actually protected, we don’t have to worry too much about being discriminated against. However, in June we’re moving to Florida where that protection, we’ll no longer have that,” Sewell explained during an appearance on MSNBC. “Without this administrative action, Jarrod could lose his job and then where would this family be?”

Equality advocates who had been working to advance the measure are asking similar questions. “Today’s news that the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors will launch a study to better understand workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans is confounding and disappointing,” said Winnie Stachelberg, the Executive Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress. “The President should use his executive authority to extend existing nondiscrimination requirements of federal contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity,” she added.

Earlier this month, 72 Congressional lawmakers urged the administration to enact the order, noting that it would “extend important workplace protections to millions of Americans, while at the same time laying the groundwork for Congressional passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).” Data show that “43 percent of LGB people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination” and that the overwhelming majority of Americans — 73 percent — would have supported a measure prohibiting it.

Read full article at http://truth-out.org/news/item/8493-white-house-to-delay-implementation-of-key-anti-discrimination-order
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:14 PM (1 replies)

Refreshing ruling in a student drug testing case...

... from a school approximately 40 miles from my hometown:

[font size=5]No drug tests for student[/font]
[font size = 1]April 5, 2012
By MATT HUTCHINSON - mhutchinson@sungazette.com , Williamsport Sun-Gazette [/font]

A Loyalsock Township High School senior has won his right to participate in school activities once again.

Lycoming County Judge Richard A. Gray granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday against Loyalsock Township School District's drug testing policy that targets students involved with extracurricular activities and those who park their cars at school.

< . . . >

Brandon was banned from participating in school service clubs, a scholastic scrimmage team and National Honor Society recognition because he refused to sign papers consenting to random drug testing. He also was removed as junior class president because of his refusal.

< . . . >

In his ruling, Gray noted that a precedent was set with Theodore v. Delaware Valley School District (2003), where the state Supreme Court said that a random drug testing program will "pass constitutional scrutiny only if the district makes some actual showing of the specific need for the policy and an explanation of its basis for believing that the policy would address that need."

Read full article at: http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/576637/No-drug-tests-for-student.html?nav=5011
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:00 PM (1 replies)

An article of mine on health care just published on the "Working Class Heroes" blog...

This is a piece I wrote for the blog, "Working Class Heroes."

[font size=5]What we stand to lose if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act[/font]

Mark Kessinger, a WCH contributor and IT support specialist, is a passionately progressive political investigator and writer.

I’ve seen several people of late, in discussing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”, or in many circles, “Obamacare”), complaining about increases in their health insurance premiums as some of the regulations of
the PPACA have begun to become effective. It may well be that, particularly in the short run, some folks’ insurance premiums will go up. But before moaning and groaning too much about the higher premiums, perhaps they should consider the things they will get under the new law that they didn’t have before—and what they stand to lose if the Supreme Court overturns the PPACA.

The coverage for preexisting conditions alone is an enormous benefit to almost everyone, whether they realize it or not. Oh, you think you don’t have a preexisting condition and none of your loved ones has one either? You might want to rethink that. Consider this: if you or one of your family members has ever been treated for hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, obesity—even, in many cases, common emotional and mental health issues such as depression or anxiety (and we haven’t even mentioned any of the really major stuff like coronary artery disease, cancer, stroke, etc.), then you (or your loved one) has a preexisting condition which, under the old underwriting rules, could be used as a basis to deny you health insurance coverage in the future. That is, should you for any reason lose your current coverage say, as a result of a job loss or change, the health insurance plan offered by your next employer (assuming it is offered at all), would be legally entitled to either deny you coverage or charge you a premium that is astronomically higher than what everyone else pays. Look at that list above again. Have you, or a loved one, ever been prescribed medication for any of those conditions? I think it’s fair to say that most of us have either been treated for one of those conditions or has a family member who has.

The PPACA also bans lifetime benefit caps—another source of worry for someone with a preexisting condition that requires ongoing medical monitoring and maintenance. Under the old system, you could find yourself having managed your condition very well for years, but then later on having another, unrelated serious health issue arise that requires expensive treatment. It is possible that treatment will be unavailable to you unless you either have the money to pay for it yourself, or you have not maxed out your lifetime benefit under your health care plan. . . .

< . . . >

The new law is not perfect. Many of us would have preferred to see a single-payer system or even a national health care system like most of the developed world enjoys. But make no mistake: the existing law accomplishes some hugely important things that will benefit virtually everybody. Yes, premiums might be higher at the outset; but over time you will actually pay less out of pocket for healthcare than you now do. Don’t you think that’s worth it?

Read full article.

Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Apr 2, 2012, 07:22 PM (0 replies)

ThinkProgress: Dempsey Hits Ryan For Calling Military Brass ‘Liars’

There's a very interesting parallel between Ryan's accusing the military brass of lying, and the accusations of Senator Joe McCarthy to the effect that the entire U.S. Army command had been infiltrated with Communist sympathizers. When McCarthy's insanity got to this point, it heralded the end of his anti-Communist witch hunts. Let's hope Ryan's insanity similarly heralds the end of today's version of right-wing psychosis!

[font size=4]Dempsey Hits Ryan For Calling Military Brass ‘Liars’: ‘I Stand By My Testimony’ In Support Of Obama DOD Budget[/font]

Yesterday during a policy discussion hosted by the National Journal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the House GOP’s supposed budget guru, said that America’s top military brass were lying about their support for President Obama’s Pentagon budget. When asked why the GOP’s budget — which passed the House yesterday — ignores the generals advice and increases military spending, Ryan replied, “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice.”

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Martin Dempsey fired back at Ryan, the Wall Street Journal reports:

“There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Gen. Dempsey told reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft after a four day visit to Latin America. ”My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”

Dempsey — who said in February that the Pentagon’s new budget will “maintain our military’s decisive edge and help sustain America’s global leadership” — added that the budget “was a collaborative effort” among the nation’s top military officers as well as combat leaders.

< . . . >

Read full article.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Apr 1, 2012, 09:23 AM (2 replies)
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