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Monthly Archives: May 2011

What the hell is the big deal?

via SFist.com

At Oakland’s Redwood Heights Elementary school, a cute and seemingly harmless lesson on gender diversity has provoked the religious right in to action. The hour-long lesson, part of a requirement that all state schools take on the subjects of gender identity and sexual orientation, used examples from nature to illustrate to fourth and fifth graders that things can be more complicated than just boys versus girls. Unfortunately that’s what the Pacific Justice Institute, defenders of your religious freedom to deny what you saw on the National Geographic Channel, have latched on to.

According to Katy Murphy, education reporter for the Contra Costa Times, school administrators invited parents to attend teacher training along with representatives from Gender Spectrum, the nonprofit that created the lesson plan. Although those training sessions happened several weeks ago, the Pacific Justice Institute waited until late last week to send out their incendiary press release, “Oakland Elementary School Teaches Pupils That There Are More Than Two Genders“.

Naturally, Fox News and USA Today latched on to the headline and showed up to sit in on yesterday’s lesson about the many wonders of the animal kingdom. Although those articles haven’t been published yet, the Chronicle explains those reporters learned about tricky gender issues through examples like: a gender-changing clownfish, all-female geckos and “boy snakes that act ‘girly.’ “

The lesson wasn’t something parents could choose to opt their children out of, but school district officials told the Chron only a few kept their kids home from school yesterday. At the end of the day, the lawyers at the Pacific Justice Institute seem to be the only ones acting childish about this:

“People can feel like girls,” [Gender Spectrum teacher Joel] Baum said. “They can feel like boys. They can feel like both, and they can feel like neither.”

At the end of the lesson, fourth-grader Desmond Pare thought that was no big deal

Friends…don’t forget to come out and celebrate with us!

We are turning 4 years old and want to celebrate with you. Here is an invitation to party! We got free booze, DJs Lankston and Tibbs (Berkeley Squares), two new shirt designs (T-Party and Yellownecks) and a fatty discount on all of our in-store merchandise!

So join us at the fiftyseven-thirtythree Flagship Store (4125 Piedmont Ave, 2nd Floor) on May 26 from 6pm-10pm. It’s a Thursday, because Thursdays are the new Friday, or something like that.

xoxo,

the fiftyseven-thirtythree family

Whether or not the man in the wheelchair was doing something that warranted an arrest, this is not a lawful action whatsoever.  Law are made to protect, not abuse, the people.

via Huffington Post

Hey everybody, did you hear the news? Two days ago, in DC’s U Street neighborhood, there was an “encounter” between a “wheelchair-bound man” and Metro Transit Police. What kind of “encounter” was it? Did the wheelchair-bound man and the Metro Transit Police trade some recipes, or something? Did they come together to share their feelings with one another? Are Metro Transit Police now providing street-side psychotherapy sessions with DC’s underserved populations?

Nah. Mostly these two cops just hoisted the wheelchair-bound man out of chair, threw him on the ground, and cracked his head open on the sidewalk. There’s video of the whole thing. Also, some terrifically weaselly reporting from the Washington Post, who apparently find the “encounter” too vague an incident to actually describe correctly.

According to statements provided by the police, the unidentified man was spotted by Metro Transit Police with an alcoholic beverage that he was allegedly drinking in public. The transit cops “tried to issue a citation, but [the unidentified man] ‘refused to comply.'” He was then informed that he would be placed under arrest, and is said to have resisted that arrest. The transit police allege that, at some point, the man assaulted a police officer — from his wheelchair.

So, okay, this is all crime blotter stuff. What gets the matter extra special attention from the newspaper is the video of the “encounter.”

You can pretty much see for yourself what happened. Now, maybe send an email to the Post‘s reporter, Martin Well, so you can explain it to him. Because he’s seemingly lost on the basic concepts here.

As most of us are aware of the news the former that the Terminator and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child more than 10 years ago with a household staff member, more news has recently broke.

Patrick Schwarzenegger, 17 year old son of the former governor, announced he will change his last name to Shriver, the surname of his mother.  Above is a tweet he posted regarding his family situation.

Sorry Patrick, but changing your name to Shriver isn’t going to make you “normal”.

Last Wednesday, President Obama visited the U.S.-Mexico border. His laudable words on the need for immigration reform belie his administration’s actions: two years of enforcement-only policies yielding 400,000 deportations and little hope for true reform.

In contrast, concrete gains for immigrants were announced in San Francisco just the day before. Two years of advocacy by a community coalition resulted in Mayor Edwin Lee instituting a new policy to grant due process for undocumented immigrant youth caught up in the juvenile justice system. Given federal inaction and so much misguided state and local lawmaking, it is heartening to see San Francisco lead the way with a policy that serves both justice and community safety.

It has been a long, hard road. In 2008, the city of San Francisco, a pioneer of immigrant rights, fell prey to the xenophobia abetted by irresponsible media outlets that scapegoat undocumented immigrants as the main cause of our country’s economic crisis. Then-mayor Gavin Newsom overturned long-standing policy in 2008 by agreeing to turn over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the time of arrest, any youth suspected of being undocumented. The result was often heartbreaking: youth were deported without a hearing on the underlying criminal charges (often enough minor), sometimes after having lived in this country nearly their entire lives.

The shift of San Francisco’s juvenile policy is a victory and a balanced compromise.  The new policy is consistent with federal law and San Francisco’s Sanctuary City ordinance, which is intended to protect immigrants.  It does not forbid the city’s Juvenile Probation Department officials from voluntarily contacting ICE; JPD is allowed to report a minor to ICE once a felony charge is sustained. The new policy also prevents conflict with state law that mandates the confidentiality of juvenile cases files and court records in order to protect the interests of minors.

Yet it is a bittersweet victory because it applies only to undocumented youth who have parents or guardians in the Bay Area. Those youth who do not, or who have been convicted of a felony, will continue to be turned over to ICE.

Still, innocent youth and youth who have committed low-level offenses will no longer be torn from their families and deported. It will also make us all safer because it will encourage immigrants to cooperate with law enforcement, rather than being afraid that any contact with the police might result in a loved one’s deportation. San Francisco’s victory, limited though it is, will help hundreds of immigrant families and, we hope, be seen in retrospect as a moment when the arc of history bent just a little more sharply in the direction of justice.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12rhz)

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