Trudy Ring | Advocate | May 14, 2015
The city became the first in Wyoming to adopt an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law.
In 1998 gay college student Matthew Shepard as brutally beaten and left for dead on a fence like this one near Laramie.
The town where Matthew Shepard became the victim of a deadly antigay hate crime in 1998 — Laramie, Wyo., — has become the first municipality in the state to adopt an LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination law.
The Laramie City Council passed the ordinance last night by a vote of 7-2, the Associated Press reports. It bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and it sets up a process for filing discrimination complaints, which the city will then investigate. The ordinance will go into effect by the end of this month.
“What a day for Wyoming, and what a day for the city that became synonymous with Matthew Shepard’s murder to now step up and do this right thing,” Jeran Artery, head of the LGBT rights group Wyoming Equality, told the AP. “And I would really encourage other communities across the state to follow Laramie’s lead.”
Efforts to enact a similar law on a statewide basis have failed repeatedly, most recently in February. “I’m thrilled that Laramie’s [adopting an antidiscrimination law], at the same time sort of saddened that the state of Wyoming can’t see fit to do that as well,” Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, told the AP. “Maybe the rest of Wyoming will understand this is about fellow human beings and not something that’s other than what they are.”
Demonstrators took part in a global protest to demand governments agree a binding new deal on climate change. (photo: Franck Robichon/EPA)
Rebecca Solnit | Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | May 17, 2015
Enough of this narrative of powerlessness. The actions of a minority can still make all the difference
ots of people eagerly study all the polls and reports on how many people believe that climate change is real and urgent. They seem to think there is some critical mass that, through the weight of belief alone, will get us where we want to go. As if when the numbers aren’t high enough, we can’t achieve anything. As if when the numbers are high enough, beautiful transformation will magically happen all by itself or people will vote for wonderful politicians who do the right thing.
But it’s not the belief of the majority or the work of elected officials that will change the world. It will be action, most likely the actions of a minority, as it usually has been. This week’s appalling Obama administration decision to let Shell commence drilling in the Arctic sea says less about that administration, which swings whichever way it’s pushed, than that we didn’t push harder than the oil industry. Which is hard work, but sometimes even a tiny group can do it.
Take San Francisco, population 850,00, which is near the very top for percent of people who believe in climate change, according to a pollster I spoke to recently. I wish that meant that there were 850,000 climate activists in my town, or even 425,000. But I’ve watched for two years (and sometimes joined) the group of people pushing the San Francisco Retirement Board to divest its half billion dollars or so in fossil fuel investments. In April of 2013, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an exhilarating unanimous (but nonbinding) resolution asking the Employee Retirement Board to divest.
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed the Bush administration’s torture program. (photo: kickstarter)
John Kiriakou | OtherWords | Reader Supported News | May 17, 2015
fter I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, the fallout for me was brutal. To make a long story short, I served nearly two years in federal prison and then endured a few more months of house arrest.
What happened to the torture program? Nothing.
Following years of waiting for the government to do something, I was heartened when I read in my prison cell — in a four-day-old copy of The New York Times — that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had finally released in December a heavily censored summary of its report on the CIA’s brutal “enhanced interrogation” techniques.
Finally, I thought, Congress will do something about our government’s shameful embrace of torture. It was big news — for two or three days.
As opportunists try to hijack the movement’s legacy, let’s remember what actually occurred.
Recollections of the Civil Rights Movement shape the way we comprehend and respond to a protest that remains sharply contested. The civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s aimed to remove racial barriers that confined, degraded, and marginalized racial minorities, particularly blacks. After half a century, people today recall the movement in different ways for different purposes. The filter of memory is used to contour the politics of the present.Many conservatives, with the convenience of retrospect, affirm the movement’s insistence that racial disenfranchisement and legally required segregation were abominations wholly inconsistent with constitutional requirements and that strong remedies were needed to eradicate those evils. It is not unusual nowadays to find celebration of the defeat of Jim Crow in, say, National Review
Of course, things were different when the movement was in the midst of the very battles that we now commemorate. Siding with segregationists in 1956, National Review denounced Brown v. Board of Education as “one of the most brazen acts of judicial usurpation in our history.” A year later, defending white supremacists who excluded blacks from the ballot, National Review averred:
Sean Parnell | Philadelphia Inquire | Concern Veterans | May 9, 2015
May 3, 2015
Are we doing enough to help those who have served in uniform to integrate successfully into the civilian world? The answer appears to be a decisive “no.”
It’s hard to determine precisely how many veterans commit suicide, but the most frequently cited figure comes from a 2013 Veterans Affairs study that found 22 veterans die by their own hands each day. Experts warn that the number may be significantly higher, as there is no centralized data source of veteran suicides, and the numbers must be extrapolated from state-level estimates.
The challenges of returning from combat are not new. But the sheer numbers of veterans’ suicides today is cause for alarm.