D.C. Judge Rosemary Collyer To Lead Surveillance Court

Zoe Tillman | The National Law Journal | April 28, 2016

May is shaping up to be a month of change for Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

On May 18, Collyer will take senior status, a position that gives her the flexibility to handle a reduced caseload should she choose. The next day, she’ll become presiding judge of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to an announcement posted on the court’s website.

The surveillance court—housed in the same downtown Washington courthouse as the U.S. district court—reviews U.S. law enforcement applications for electronic surveillance. It operates largely in secret.

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Editor of Bangladesh’s First LGBT Magazine Stabbed to Death

Bangladeshi policemen try to control the crowd of onlookers at a building where two people were found stabbed to death in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Monday. (photo: A.M. Ahad/AP)
Bangladeshi policemen try to control the crowd of onlookers at a building where two people were found stabbed to death in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Monday. (photo: A.M. Ahad/AP)


Associated Press | Reader Supported News | April 25, 2016

wo men, including the editor of a gay rights magazine, were hacked to death in Bangladesh’s capital Monday, police said, two days after a university professor was slain in a style similar to recent attacks on bloggers and secular activists by Islamic militants.

Authorities said Islamic militants were suspected in Monday’s slayings at an apartment building in the Kalabagan area of Dhaka, though no arrests were reported and no one claimed responsibility. In addition to the two men killed, a guard at the building was injured, officials said.

The men killed Monday were identified as Xulhaz Mannan, 35, an editor for Roopbaan magazine and an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his friend, Tanay Majumder, an activist for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, police said.

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Stonewall National Museum & Archives Events April 2016

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The Naked Civil Servant
Film Screening and Discussion hosted by Larry Ferber
Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery
2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 Free.
Celebrating new acquisitions to our permanent collection of Quentin Crisp memorabilia!

Based on Quentin Crisp’s 1968 autobiography, the once-controversial picture The Naked Civil Servant

(1975) stars Sir John Hurt as Crisp, an outrageous flamboyant gay man who publicly declared his homosexuality during the brutally homophobic and misogynistic England of the 1930s and ’40s — a time when being homosexual was still an offense punishable by imprisonment in Great Britain.
Hosted by Larry Ferber, three time Emmy-Nominated television producer and host of The Living Room movie series at FAU.
Join us for a glass of wine before the film. Seating is Limited. Free.

FRIDAY, MARCH 4 AT 7 PMLike us on Facebook
A Tale of Lesbian Pulp Novels
Visual Presentation by Robin Cohen
Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery
2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305. Free.
Celebrating the collection of gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels in the Stonewall National Archives.
Historian and researcher Robin Cohen shares her comprehensive and fascinating research into the area of Lesbian Pulp Fiction. Through a moving personal narration of a visual presentation featuring music and book covers spanning decades, Robin shares a history of lesbians in the 1950s, and fascinating stories of uncovering pulp author identities, including one author surprisingly unveiled in her own family.

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Here & Now
Presented in partnership with the Silver Eye Center for Photography
Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery

2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

On exhibit March 10 – May 1
Originally curated by Rafael Soldi for Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA, this show features work from three artists “embarking on physical and emotional journeys to define and discover queerness across the American landscape.” Works by Richard Renaldi, Molly Landreth and Elle Perez will offer for visitors a view of gay life across America. Here and Now will challenge commonly held beliefs about what is gay “normal” and how a new generation of LGBT folks are redefining gay life in America.

Democracy Spring and the US Voting Matrix: How Much of the Electoral Process Is Illusory?

Candice Bernd | Truthout | April 24, 2016

(Courtesy: Peter Callahan / Democracy Spring)Protesters with Democracy Spring demonstrate against money in politics. (Courtesy: Peter Callahan / Democracy Spring)


The parallel Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening mobilizations wrapped their week of sit-ins protesting the corrosive influence of money in politics and voter suppression at the US Capitol on Monday, tallying more than 1,400 arrests.

Launching with a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, the movement hosted rallies, speakers and teach-ins last week, along with lobbying members of Congress. The protests broke the record for the most nonviolent arrests at the Capitol in a single week, culminating Monday with arrests of leaders from the civil rights, labor and environmental movements.

NAACP president Cornell Brooks, Communication Workers of America president Chris Shelton and Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard were among those who helped lead the Democracy Awakening mobilization on Monday, which also aimed to pressure Republicans to confirm President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court.

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Let’s Be Clear About Andrew Jackson (and Lord Jeffery Amherst)

The image of Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill. (photo: Politico)
The image of Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill. (photo: Politico)


Harvey Wasserman | Reader Supported News | April 23, 2016

he decision to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill is long overdue. So is the movement to remove the name of Lord Jeffery Amherst from that college town in western Massachusetts.

Let’s start with Jackson, our most racist major president next to Woodrow Wilson.

Jackson was our first president from west of the Alleghenies, and the first to not wear the powdered wigs favored by Virginia plantation owners.

Andy’s parents were Irish immigrants who died early. He had a brutally impoverished childhood. One of his fourteen duels left a bullet permanently lodged near his heart. (Teddy Roosevelt also had one of those.)

Jackson is most revered as the “Common Man” who fought Alexander Hamilton’s national bank. He later personally profited from kickbacks paid him by cronies who owned smaller banks that benefitted.

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Crash and Burn: Confronting Capitalism’s Toll on the Environment

A trash fire in Manila, Philippines. (photo: Adam Cohn/Flickr)
A trash fire in Manila, Philippines. (photo: Adam Cohn/Flickr)


Kate Aronoff | Jacobin | Reader Supported News | April 23, 2016

f climate wonks have a Holy Grail, it’s decoupling rising greenhouse gas emissions from a rising GDP. Paths to economic growth have historically involved digging up and burning massive stores of carbon held in fossil fuels. For centuries, their fumes have produced the energy needed to build factories, plan modern cities, and increase living standards.

Calls to find new paths to prosperity are met by cries from the Right that pit growth against environmental stewardship. Take dirty energy out of the mix, they say, and the chances for a better life for billions crumble.

“We frankly don’t have an option,” United Nations climate chief Christiana Figures recently told journalist Elizabeth Kolbert about decoupling. Growth and falling emissions, she warned, “are absolutely key to being able to feed, house, and educate the two billion more family members who will be joining us.”

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Michelle Alexander: A Vision for America Beyond the ‘New Jim Crow’

Professor Michelle Alexander. (photo: Hampshire College)
Professor Michelle Alexander. (photo: Hampshire College)


Krista Tippett | On Being | Reader Supported News | April 22, 2016

s. Krista Tippett, host: The civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander is one of the people who is waking us up to history we don’t remember and structures most of us can’t fathom intending to create. “Mass incarceration” and the “school-to-prison pipeline” — these are shorthand ways of talking about human wreckage decades on from policies that began during the Nixon administration in the wake of civil rights advances, in the name of reestablishing order.

Poor people of color were swept into the criminal justice system as war was waged on drug crimes which were largely ignored when committed by middle- or upper-class whites. Michelle Alexander calls the punitive culture that has emerged the “new Jim Crow.” And she is making this visible in the name of a fierce hope and a conviction that, across the differences in this land, we not only can, but already are rising to the transformation to which it calls.

Professor Michelle Alexander: The press of our daily lives can make it difficult to imagine alternatives, and to commit ourselves to even small steps towards building a movement that might have some hope of being truly transformational. But all over the country right now people are actually doing that work. In faith communities, in reentry centers, in schools, on campuses, on street corners and barber shops today, people are asking questions that haven’t been asked in a long time, and saying, we don’t want to live in a prison state. How are we going to go about building a movement that can birth something new?

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Teflon Toxin Contamination Has Spread Throughout the World

PFOA has spread throughout the world. (photo: The Intercept)
PFOA has spread throughout the world. (photo: The Intercept)


Sharon Lerner | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | April 19, 2016

n recent months, PFOA, the perfluorinated chemical formerly used to make Teflon, has been making news again. Also known as C8, because of its eight-carbon molecule, PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. Although the chemical was developed and long manufactured in the United States, it’s not just an American problem. PFOA has spread throughout the world.

As in the U.S., PFOA has leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan, both of which were built and operated for many years by DuPont. Last year, the Shimizu facility and part of the Dordrecht plant became the property of DuPont’s spinoff company, Chemours. Just as it did in both New Jersey and West Virginia, DuPont tracked the PFOA levels in its workers’ blood in Holland and Japan for years, according to EPA filings and internal company documents. Many of the blood levels were high, some extremely so. In one case, in Shimizu in 2008, a worker had a blood level of 8,370 parts per billion (ppb). In Dordrecht in 2005, another worker was recorded with 11,387 ppb. The national average in the U.S., in 2004, was about 5 ppb.

Water contamination was also a problem in both locations. In Shimizu, PFOA was detected in 10 wells at the site, with the highest level of contamination measuring 1,540 ppb. Groundwater in Dordrecht, which is about an hour south of Amsterdam, was also contaminated, with 1,374 ppb of PFOA at one spot near the factory in 2014.

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9 GOPers Fight Honoring Maya Angelou

Writer and civil-rights activist Maya Angelou. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
Writer and civil-rights activist Maya Angelou. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)


Asawin Suebsaeng | The Daily Beast | Reader Supported News | March 2, 2016

n Tuesday, several Republican members of the House of Representatives voted against renaming a post office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after Maya Angelou, an acclaimed writer and civil-rights activist. The measure ended up passing with 371 votes, with nine Republicans voting against the bill, and one voting present.

One lawmaker cited communism for his vote.

“Congressman Harris voted against the Maya Angelou post office naming because she was a communist sympathizer,” a spokeswoman for Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), told NBC News. “His parents escaped communism and he feels that he cannot vote to name a post office in the United States in honor of someone who supported the communist Castro revolution in Cuba.”

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said in a statement that “naming post offices is one of the most benign and bipartisan duties we perform in the House of Representatives, and there is rarely any opposition,” and that he was “shocked today as nine Republicans voted against naming a post office after Maya Angelou, indisputably one of our country’s greatest poets, authors and civil rights activists.”

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Dear Victoria, have you seen the headlines in Georgia?


Just last week a sweeping religious exemption amendment was tacked on to Georgia’s “Pastor Protection” Act that will create an unprecedented license to discriminate. Just like here in Florida, bill sponsors claimed the bill would merely reinforce the fact that pastors can refuse to marry same-sex couples or anyone else if the marriage would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. After the Senate ran amok adding nasty amendments, the legislation will now allow any person, business, or taxpayer-funded organization to refuse service to potential customers simply because they are gay, transgender, black, Muslim, or a single mother.

Florida’s so-called “Pastor Protection” Act (SB 110) will be heard on the Senate floor TOMORROW – Tuesday, February 23rd – at 10:00am ET, and our fears that this bad bill is about to become much worse are amplified by what just happened in Georgia. That’s why we need your support more than ever – ask key state senators to vote “NO” on this dangerous bill.


We’ve heard testimony in both chambers from bigot after bigot who support the Pastor Protection Act, calling gay people murderers and abusers, using every slur imaginable. Legislators have stated their support for expansions to Pastor Protection just like what we’ve seen in Georgia, and now more than ever, they need to hear from their constituents who oppose this bill. We can’t allow an expanded Pastor Protection Act to become law; we can’t allow legislators to re-introduce a shameful period of our nation’s history in which businesses were allowed to say “we don’t serve your kind here.”

This bill has been divisive and inflammatory from the start, and it’s especially insulting that the Senate has moved this bill forward, allegedly designed to add an “extra layer of protection” for pastors and churches, while the LGBT community continues to have zero protections in Florida statute.

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Here’s the bottom line: No pastor or clergyperson has ever been sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding. Period. We know this bill is a political ploy meant to score points at our expense, and we cannot allow this bill to be a vehicle for sweeping religious exemptions that enable people to pick and choose which laws they will follow. Same-sex couples and all LGBT people have the right to earn a living, protect their families, and be treated fairly and equally in their communities. No one should be exempt from following the law.

As always, Equality Florida’s team will be on the front lines in Tallahassee all week to oppose this bill. We have less than 24 hours to get our message across: click here to contact the senators right away!

Carlos Guillermo Smith
Government Affairs Manager
Equality Florida

P.S. Here’s a link to find the name and contact information for your Senator – our elected officials need to hear from their constituents who oppose this bill! Be sure to give your name, street address, and phone number, and tell them you strongly urge your Senator to vote “NO” on SB 110!