poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, January 28, 2005

From: Human Rights Spanish Network

New Zealand recognizes same sex unions

Wellington, The New Zealand Herald.- The Civil Unions Bill was recently passed by Parliament. Parliament voted 65-55 to pass the controversial legislation which has polarized opinion and split political parties. The new legislation will become effective on April 26 next year, when couples can commit themselves to the new civil union.

The minister in charge of the bill, David Benson-Pope, said "Once this bill is passed, and the sky doesn't fall in, the opposition to it will very quickly evaporate,” he added , "It gives the simplest of things -- the formal recognition and respect by our laws for the individual choices of New Zealanders

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Same-sex marriage fight shifts to California

SANTA ANA, California (AP) -- They filed their lawsuit almost as an afterthought. But a legal challenge by a same-sex couple from suburban Orange County against laws banning same-sex marriage has suddenly become key in the thin field of litigation on the issue.

Christopher Hammer and Arthur Smelt plan to be in U.S. District Court on Thursday as their attorney argues that the federal law, as well as California's Proposition 22, are violations of civil rights akin to slavery or denial of women's right to vote.

California recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman, and the Defense of Marriage Act allows states to disregard gay marriages performed in other states and foreign countries

Eugene primed to revisit transgender issue
The Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A new mayor means Eugene will get another look at extending civil rights protections to transgendered people

The Antiwar Movement and the Iraqi Elections
From: "Action Center"

1) Election Under Occupation

The media theater called the Iraqi election is under way. U.S. television anchor people are broadcasting live from Baghdad, breathlessly describing the preparations for Sunday's display of so-called democracy. It is important to emphasive the circumstances under which this election is being held. More than 150,000 U.S. troops occupy the country, patrolling the streets with guns trained on Iraqi civilians. Iraq is under a state of emergency, with expanded police powers and a curfew.

This is and election at gunpoint, which will be supervised by U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. Negroponte built an impressive resume as a brutal enforcer of U.S. policy through murder, rape, and torture. Negroponte served as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985; a period during which Honduras was the launching pad from which the Reagan administration conducted its violent attacks on the people of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The U.S-backed atrocities, which were condemned by the International World Court in the Hague, included kidnappings, rape, torture and killing of suspected dissidents. Reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Honduras alleged that Negroponte oversaw the expansion of U.S training camp and military base on Honduran territory, where the U.S. trained Contra terrorists, and where the military secretly detained, tortured and executed Honduran suspected dissidents.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The 10 Worst Corporations of 2004
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, AlterNet.
The year's most egregious price gougers, polluters, union-busters, dictator-coddlers, fraudsters, poisoners, deceivers and general miscreants

It is never easy choosing the 10 Worst Corporations of the Year – there are always more deserving nominees than we can possibly recognize. One of the greatest challenges facing the judges is the directive not to select repeat recipients from last year's 10 Worst designation.

The no-repeat rule forbids otherwise-deserving companies – like Bayer, Boeing, Clear Channel and Halliburton – from returning to the 10 Worst list in 2004. Of the remaining pool of price gougers, polluters, union-busters, dictator-coddlers, fraudsters, poisoners, deceivers and general miscreants, we chose the following – presented in alphabetical order – as the 10 Worst Corporations of 2004

Neglecting Mother Earth
by Derrick Z. Jackson

This week, researchers at Yale and Columbia, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, published its latest index of global environmental stewardship. Out of 146 nations, the United States, the world's richest nation, ranked only 45th for protecting the environment.

This is even more ridiculous based on who is ahead of us. The United States, with a gross domestic product of $37,800, according to the CIA World Handbook, trails Gabon, Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia, Albania, Central African Republic, Panama, Namibia, Russia, Botswana, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Congo, Mali, Chile, Bhutan, and Armenia. Those 19 nations all have GDPs of under $10,000, going as low as Bhutan's $1,300, the Central African Republic's $1,100, Mali's $900, and Congo's $700. The average American has 54 times more money in GDP terms than the average person in Congo. Yet the Congolese exhibit better stewardship of the planet.

Economist: China Loses Faith in Dollar
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer
China Has Lost Faith in Stability of U.S. Dollar, Top Chinese Economist Says at World Forum

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) -- China has lost faith in the stability of the U.S. dollar and its first priority is to broaden the exchange rate for its currency from the dollar to a more flexible basket of currencies, a top Chinese economist said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum.

Ohio recount volunteers allege electoral tampering, legal violations and possible fraud
‘Why were there stickers on ballots in Clermont County, Ohio?’
By Larisa Alexandrovna | RAW STORY Staff

Serious new election tampering allegations have emerged from an Ohio county, where witnesses allege that stickers were placed on presidential election ballots, RAW STORY has learned.

Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law, and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont’s Board of Elections and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla O’Donnell as complicit in these acts

Canada gears up for gay marriage
Ben Townley, UK

The Canadian government could be days from introducing its gay marriage bill to parliament, with a view to rolling out marriage access to same-sex couples across the country.

According to press reports, the Liberal government will introduce the bill as early as next week, despite ongoing protests over the proposals.

Poor are victims of toxic waste imports

China remains one of the world's top dumping grounds for toxic waste, which is causing serious health and environmental problems in poor areas, reports say.

Developing countries are absorbing most of the world's annual 500 million tons of toxic waste, with China among the top destinations, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

China imported 3 million tons of waste plastic in 2003 and 1.88 million tons in the first half of last year, the newspaper said, quoting customs statistics.

US ad campaign in Pakistan for bin Laden's capture
The advertisement campaign was launched in the Pakistani newspaper Jang Jan 7 and is now being expanded to the broadcast media
Indo-Asian News Service

Washington, Jan 25 (IANS) The US has launched an extensive media advertisement campaign in Pakistan seeking information on the elusive Osama bin Laden. US State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said television and radio in Pakistan would air advertisements featuring photos and reward amounts for the capture of the Al Qaeda leader.

Iraq: Torture Continues at Hands of New Government
Police Systematically Abusing Detainees

(Baghdad, January 25, 2005) -- Iraqi security forces are committing systematic torture and other abuses against people in detention, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 94-page report, The New Iraq? Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody, documents how unlawful arrest, long-term incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees (including children) by Iraqi authorities have become routine and commonplace. Human Rights Watch conducted interviews in Iraq with 90 detainees, 72 of whom alleged having been tortured or ill-treated, particularly under interrogation.

‘The public deserves to know if there are other ‘pay-to-sway’ columnists and opinion leaders on the Bush administration payroll,’ said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

WASHINGTON — In a letter to the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Human Rights Campaign requested an investigation to determine whether columnist Maggie Gallagher, having received more than $40,000 in federal grants to promote President Bush’s marriage initiatives, violated federal law by not disclosing the funding to the public or Congress. Gallagher testified in the Senate in support of the discriminatory constitutional amendment and wrote numerous syndicated columns on these issues.

March 19th - Worldwide Day of Action

March 19-20 marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. After all of the death and destruction and with the Bush administration claiming a mandate to continue their war, there's a new urgency and a stronger determination within the global antiwar movement to bring the troops home now.

CODEPINK will organize vigils, rallies, marches and nonviolent civil disobedience throughout the country to call an end to the needless suffering, devastation, and loss of life. Help us let the Bush administration know loud and clear the world’s mandate has been and continues to be one of peace.

Alarm at new climate warning
By Richard Black
BBC environment correspondent
Global temperatures could rise by as much as eleven degrees Celsius, according to one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run.

This figure is twice the level that previous studies have suggested.

The scientists behind the project, called, say it shows there's no such thing as a safe level of carbon dioxide">

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Crossing sexual boundaries in Nepal
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

"When I was about 13 it came from my heart and soul, the feeling that I was different from others," says Manisha, who has the body of a man but wants to be a woman - and likes to be described as a woman. Manisha, now 24, is what is known in Kathmandu as a "meti" or a transgender person.

"Up to the age of 18 I thought I was the only person like that in the world. I was very depressed."

That changed when Manisha began meeting similar people in the parks of the Nepalese capital. It changed even more in 2001 with the founding of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal's only organisation for sexual minorities.

Changing Their Sex in Iran
'There is no reason why not,' one cleric says of gender reassignment surgery. In fact, Khomeini approved it four decades ago.
By Megan K. Stack, Times Staff Writer

TEHRAN — Whispering like conspirators, the two cousins hook their thumbs in their belt loops, skim cocky eyes over the women and swivel, stiff-legged from their hips, like the men they have become. Across the room, and a few steps away on the gender spectrum, a man with shaggy hair wrinkles a pug nose in the mirror and struggles to drape a silky scarf over his head in the style of Islamic womanhood.

Almost everybody here, in this sterilized waiting room at a clinic in the clanging heart of Tehran, is in the midst of changing their sex. Waiting their turn to see the doctor, they strut about in self-conscious gender rehearsal. Someone has brought cookies, sweet with honey.

Abuses Against Workers Taint U.S. Meat and Poultry

(Chicago, January 25, 2005)—Workers in the U.S. meat and poultry industry endure unnecessarily hazardous work conditions, and the companies employing them often use illegal tactics to crush union organizing efforts, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

In meat and poultry plants across the United States, Human Rights Watch found that many workers face a real danger of losing a limb, or even their lives, in unsafe work conditions. It also found that companies frequently deny workers’ compensation to employees injured on the job, intimidate and fire workers who try to organize, and exploit workers’ immigrant status in order to keep them quiet about abuses.

Glass Nearly Half Full: Analysis Shows 47% of U.S. Population Now Protected From Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
One in Four Americans Lives In a Jurisdiction Banning Discrimination Against Transgender Persons

With Illinois acting last week to ban anti-gay discrimination, 47 % of the U.S. population  138 million people  now lives in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to an analysis by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Ten years ago, the figure was 34%.

The analysis also found that more than one in four Americans - 27%  now lives in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination against transgender persons, up from 4% ten years ago, and 5% just five years ago. Illinois's law also bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

"Thanks to the hard work of grassroots activists, the glass of basic fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans is slowly filling up," said Sean Cahill, Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. "While we have a long way to go until all of us are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, the progress is undeniable and unstoppable."

The Policy Institute analysis concluded that the actions of state legislatures and town councils reflected strong public support for laws protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination.

Monday, January 24, 2005


‘The American people value freedom, not discrimination,’ said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign denounced today’s reintroduction of an amendment that would deny marriage to same-sex couples, emphasizing how out-of-touch Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.; his co-sponsors; President Bush and the extreme right wing are with the American public on the issue of writing discrimination into the Constitution.

“The American people value freedom, not discrimination,” said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “Americans want laws that ensure the safety and stability of their neighbors, and that’s what our policymakers should be focused on. Pushing an amendment that would deny protections to millions of Americans is completely out-of-step with our nation’s values.”

According to an article in The Rocky Mountain News, Allard today plans to reintroduce the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, which would deny marriage to same-sex couples and deny the ability to provide any protections to same-sex couples, such as domestic partnerships and civil unions.

In a Jan. 16 interview with The Washington Post, President Bush acknowledged the lack of congressional support for the amendment and told reporters he “will not press senators to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.” After being pressured by the extreme right wing, the administration backtracked, declaring they would expend political capital to push the discriminatory amendment, despite knowing they lack the votes.

Sunday, January 23, 2005