“The Civil rights issue of our time”

urlAs America continues to grow and morph as a social melting pot of differences, the issue of civil rights of each group rises to the forefront of our attention and becomes a matter to which law enforcement personnel must adjust. We adjusted during the ’60s and ’70s, evolving to recognize the rights of women and African Americans. We also evolved during the ’90s to recognize the rights of lesbians and gays. Law enforcement, often the social leadership of American society, has also become diversified with the addition of women and minorities, as well as gay and lesbian officers, within their ranks. Continue reading ““The Civil rights issue of our time””

Support for raising minimum wage

Seven in 10 Americans say they would vote “for” raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour if given the opportunity, while 27% would vote against such a bill, reports Gallup. “The proposal, made by President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union speech, is backed by over 90% of Democrats and self-described liberals, and by over two-thirds of independents and moderates. Republicans are evenly split on the proposal, while conservatives tilt slightly in favor.imgres Continue reading “Support for raising minimum wage”

Oberlin cancels classes due to hate groups

Oberlin College canceled classes Monday to hold a “Day of Solidarity” following a month of hateful vandalism and the latest report of a person spotted on campus wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style outfit, reports Huffington Post


Throughout February, multiple acts of vandalism on the Ohio campus have targeted the black, Jewish and LGBT communities with hate speech.

“Black History Month posters were defaced with the N-word, a note found at the LGBTQ Community Coordinator called it the “Nigger + Faggot Center,” and someone wrote “Nigger Oven” in an elevator, among other incidents according to the Review. On several occasions, swastikas were drawn, the Cleveland Jewish News reports.

“On Monday morning, the school’s administration sent out an announcementessentially calling the reported KKK outfit the last straw:

“Early this morning, there was a report of a person wearing a hood and robe resembling a KKK outfit between South and the Edmonia Lewis Center and in the vicinity of Afrikan Heritage House. This report is being investigated by both Safety and Security and the Oberlin Police Department. This event, in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and all non-essential activities for today, Monday, March 4, 2013, and gather for a series of discussions of the challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks.

“Oberlin had previously scheduled a convocation for Wednesday in response to the “racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic messages spread anonymously around campus,” according to the school’s Office of Communications, but moved it up to Monday afternoon. Prior to the convocation, there will be a “Rally Against Hate.” AFeb. 13 march in response to the initial vandalism drew around 460 students, according to one student’s count.”


Full story at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/oberlin-cancels-classes_n_2805573.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices

Gender bias in online games

Verbal abuse is a pandemic in the online gaming community.And while it affects all sorts of gamers, there’s a select brand of vitriol reserved for women who venture into voice chat. For an interesting article on this phenomenon, see themarysue.com, excerpted as follows: ” This is an oft-discussed issue, and we still don’t have a good understanding of the root causes, or of what we can do to alleviate it. But some recent academic research provides a interesting (and sobering) look at how persistent the problem is.imgres-2 Continue reading “Gender bias in online games”

Hate groups on the rise

The number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high in 2012, fanned by President Barack Obama’s reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center amd reported upon by Huffington Post: Continue reading “Hate groups on the rise”

California schools & gender non-conformity

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at guaranteeing transgender students the right to use public school restrooms and participate on the sports teams that correspond with their expressed genders, reports USA Today.imgres-1

“The bill reflects the accommodations that a number of U.S. schools are being asked to make as Americans start identifying as transgender at younger ages. Continue reading “California schools & gender non-conformity”

Your child is fat

imgresAbout 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, and more than four in five people say they are worried about obesity as a public health problem, reports NPR:

“But a recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed a curious schism in our national attitudes toward obesity: Only one in five kids had a parent who feared the boy or girl would grow up to be overweight as an adult. Continue reading “Your child is fat”

Games as art at moma

MOMA in New York as always saved a spot for design, and by extension, popular culture.Video games, as their name suggests, combine the ancient human practice of formal play with moving pictures, a younger form, reports today’s New York times. “But the unsatisfying name we are saddled  with for this medium — itself approaching middle age, if you date its history to the first home console in 1972 and apply the rule that middle age begins when you are older than every current Major League Baseball player — doesn’t capture the essence of video games.


“The defining feature of video games is interaction, the three-way conversation among designer, machine and player. “Applied Design,” a new installation at the Museum of Modern Art — and an important one because it is the first time the museum has displayed the 14 video games it acquired in November — attempts to isolate this relationship. The games on view, from Pac-Man toCanabalt, are naked, without their packaging or other nostalgic trappings. There are no arcade cabinets on view, no outmoded consoles or computers to gawk at.

“Instead, each game is austerely contained on a screen set against a gray wall, with a joystick or other controller resting on a spare platform beneath it. The installation is “an experiment to isolate the experience of the interaction itself,” said Paola Antonelli, the senior curator of the museum’s department of architecture and design, comparing her decontextualized approach with Philip Johnson’s in his 1934 “Machine Art” exhibition at MoMA, which set things like propeller blades against white museum walls.

“This philosophy is markedly different from the one that motivated the Museum of the Moving Image’s “Spacewar!” show, which closed Sunday. That exhibition, which presented a more focused argument, refused to separate the interactive experience of playing a game from the object it first appeared in. An iPad game would be played on an iPad, and Space Invaders and its ilk were on view, and playable, in their original stand-up cabinets.

 More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/arts/video-games/a-museums-games-are-not-on-pedestals.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Everybody Loves Ellen

Ellen DeGeneres weighed in on Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex message, penning a tongue-in-cheek “Supreme Court brief” on her blog, reports Huffington Post.


“The award-winning talk show host and comedian followed in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, who joined more than 100 established conservatives in signing a legitimate Supreme Court-bound brief in favor of allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples the right to legally wed in California.

“Though DeGeneres’ entertaining piece won’t carry the same legal weight as Eastwood’s brief potentially could, it’s nonetheless poignant. She writes:

“Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.”

Describing her much-publicized coming out as “one of the hardest things I ever did,” DeGeneres continues, “I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and let everyone enjoy the same rights. It’s going to help keep families together. It’s going to make kids feel better about who they are. And it is time.”

Full story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/ellen-degeneres-supreme-court-brief-prop-8_n_2789195.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

School transgender decision raises questions

imgres-2A Colorado school’s ruling over a transgender child has sparked questions that could affect schools all over the country. As reported by CNN, the  questions and their implications include the following:

“Which bathroom should be used by a child who identifies as a different gender from his or her body? Where’s the line between accommodation and discrimination? Continue reading “School transgender decision raises questions”

Treatment rather than jail for addiction

It’s widely acknowledged that when it come to drug addiction, treatment is more efficient and effective than jail or other punitive measures. Rather than punishing a human being who is already suffering, society should move to more therapeutic and restorative strategies.imgres

Federal judges around the country are teaming up with prosecutors to create special treatment programs for drug-addicted defendants who would otherwise face significant prison time, an effort intended to sidestep drug laws widely seen as inflexible and overly punitive, reports today’s New York Times. Continue reading “Treatment rather than jail for addiction”

Fairy tales for adults?

imgres-5The so-called “infantilization” of adults by American capitalism and media is a theme taken up increasingly in recent years, whether it is comes in the form of childish consumer values or the glorification of youthful behavior and appearance. Continue reading “Fairy tales for adults?”

Pinkwashing and the New York Post

Many New Yorkers previously unfamiliar with the term “pinkwashing” are getting some lessons from their local media.

Pinkwashing occurs when a political or corporate entity is the promoting itself as LGBT-friendly in order to downplay an otherwise negative agenda, not


unlike the way “whitewashing” glosses over or covers something up. Continue reading “Pinkwashing and the New York Post”

A pregnancy health game in India and Africa

imgres-1Games-for-Change continues to advance the use of interactive technologies toward pro-social goals, with a post today on a new game called 9 Minutes produced by Half the Sky.

9 Minutes was designed for mobile devices for users in India and East Africa, with content addressing pregnancy.  “9 Minutes plays out the adventure of pregnancy and rewards pregnant women and their spouses for keeping both mother-to-be and the baby inside her healthy and happy.” Continue reading “A pregnancy health game in India and Africa”

Clint and Barack back together

Today two legendary figures wrote to the Supreme Court in opposition to California’s ban on gay marriage: Clint Eastwood and Barack Obama. The famous gunslinger (who famously admonished an imaginary Obama in a chair at the Republican Convention) and the president chose the same day to ratchet up their support for marriage equality. Huffington Post, covered Eastwood’s announcement this way:imgres-2

“Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has taken his well-publicized support of same-sex marriage one step further, calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to drop Prop 8. As Breitbart’s Mike Flynn reports, the Oscar-winning actor and director joined more than 100 Republicans in signing a Supreme Court-bound brief in favor of allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples the right to legally wed in California.

“Flynn describes Eastwood as a “long-time Republican with strong libertarian leanings,” and says that signing the Supreme Court briefs implies that he “is going to stay active in the political landscape.” One of Eastwood’s representatives and a spokesman for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group spearheading opposition to California’s law banning same-sex marriage, confirmed the news to NBC. Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and GOP strategist Steve Schmidt are among the other high-profile names to sign the brief, CBS News reports.

“The 82-year-old Eastwood discussed his generally pro-same-sex marriage stance in a September 2012 appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. “The condition of society right now, with the high unemployment rates and the tremendous debt we’re increasing and the government spending, we’d think there’d be [many more worthy issues] to think about [rather] that worrying about gay marriage,” he told DeGeneres.In 2011, Eastwood similarly told GQ magazine, “I don’t give a f**k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”


More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/clint-eastwood-prop-8-gay-marriage-_n_2783489.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Sending a “older couple” to Mars

The Inspiration Mars Foundation has announced that a Mars mission is now possible and it is now putting a flightcrew . . .  with one unusual slant.imgres-1

A team led by millionaire and former space tourist Dennis Tito plans to send a “tested couple” to Mars and back in a privately funded mission. The Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to start its one-and-a-half-year mission in January 2018, reports the BBC. Among those involved in the project is Jane Poynter, who spent two years locked away in a sealed ecosystem with seven other people in 1991 which she described as a “New Age Garden of Eden”.

“She told BBC News that the mission planners wanted the crew to consist of an older couple whose relationship would be able to withstand the stress of living in a confined environment for two years.”I can attest from personal experience from living in Biosphere 2 that having somebody that you really deeply trusted and cared for was an extraordinary thing to have,” Ms Poynter explained.

“Ms Poynter, who ended up marrying one of those involved in the Biosphere 2 project, Taber Macallum, admitted that it could be “challenging” for the couple. But said that the selection process would attempt to find “resilient people that would be able to maintain a happy upbeat attitude in the face of adversity”.

The plan was to choose a middle-aged couple because their health and fertility would be less affected by the radiation they would be exposed to during such a long space mission. The couple would receive extensive training and would be able to draw on psychological support from mission control throughout the mission.

More at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21603490