January 22, 2017

Kellyanne Conway and Trump Alternative Facts = Ur Own Truth

The phrase "alternative facts," coined by President Donald Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, buzzed around the Internet Sunday (Jan. 22), leading to amused commentary by many -- including 'NSYNC's Lance Bass.
Conway said the White House delivered "alternative facts" to those reported by the media regarding how large Trump's inauguration crowd was. Press secretary Sean Spicer backed up claims by Trump on Saturday, saying, "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period -- both in person and around the globe." Photos of his inauguration crowd compared to previous ones -- including former President Barack Obama's in 2009 -- showed otherwise. The New York Times, with the help of an expert, reported that Trump's crowd was roughly one-third of the size of Obama's.
"You're saying it's a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that," Conway said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. "I don't think you can prove those numbers one way or another. There's no way to quantify crowd numbers."
 Conway's choice of words baffled many and made way for some jokes as the hashtag #AlternativeFacts was born on social media.
Bass mocked Trump's counselor, tweeting, "As a member of the @backstreetboys, I had a love child with @BettyMWhite. #AlternativeFacts” 
Conway was also parodied on SNL Saturday night in a Chicago-inspired skitthat imagined why she joined Trump's campaign.
Meanwhile, the ‘NSYNC singer kept busy this weekend, taking part in the Women's March in Los Angeles, where he carried a sign that read "Gays Love Vaginas."

Trump in DC Putin in the Kremlin Both Take Care of Their Own

Moscow’s Central Clinic Hospital has extensive grounds. A helicopter landing pad is to be built there this year. REUTERS

As Millions demonstrate against Trump’s presidency with his filling the White House Cabinets and the most important positions in the executive branch with billionaires and truly swamp politicians which are Trump’s backers, Putin in Russia is taking care of his backers.. In the US Trump is rewarding his backers with positions that usually go to (yes, true) backers of the President but at least they tend to be qualified in those positions. 

How can the head of the Energy Department not know what the dept. does? To top it all off in the past (Perry) for just showmanship and political positioning promised to abolish it.  trump is giving Positions of Civil rights to candidates that have been  proponents that gays should be locked up or worse. I know Trump would say that they don’t longer believe in those extreme things but all you have to do is ask them and you will be convinced they have no love for civil rights as we were taught in school.

While we have all these stories happening since the inauguration, this blog decided to not let a story that VISE  published over this weekend to go too unnoticed. It has to do with Trump but in a very indirect way. Instead is about someone Trump said he admires, yes you guess is Putin.

I am afraid that as Putin rewards his top people Trump has been doing the same thing in Washington DC. There is no congress or oversight in Russia but the same in Washington since the majority belongs to the same party. They are the one Trump called the swamp. The same swamp he has been picking out candidates to help him run the country. How about the Media, well not in Russia because is controled byMoscow. How about in the USA? So far it has been a fight right now for survival and to keep it free and independent.

This is why there is no free media in Russia and that is precisely why Trump is yelling and screaming about ours. Instead of letting the Press be the Press and if they report incorrectly open up and show the truth; Trump instead  is trying to scared the Press to not report all the times there are negative stuff about him(Trump).  He’s been described as a bully and nothing fits him better. Yell, yells, yells. No occasion is too sacred for him wether is the inauguration speech or the yelling he did at CIA headquarters. But like all bully’s he does it because people allow him and because like all bully’s he has backers. Bully’s  can’t operate in a vacuum. They operate and yell and scream to the delight of their audience who yells back, “Kill, Kill!” 

Now what is Putin up to now?                 

Vladimir Putin is backing a $48 million health clinic dedicated to senior Kremlin officials and elites in the Russian president’s retinue, a Reuters investigation reported Thursday. The opulent healthcare clinic will open in Moscow at a time when Russian healthcare is in crisis and the disparity in the quality of medical care for Russian oligarchs vs. the country’s ordinary citizens continues to widen.

Russia ranked 119th out of 188 countries in an assessment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals published in the Lancet medical journal, trailing countries with significantly lower GDP, like Samoa and Tajikistan. And Russia doesn’t fare so well when it comes to life expectancy either: It declined sharply after the fall of the Soviet Union, from 68.4 years in 1991 to 65 years in 2003. Although it’s risen since to 70.46, according to most recent data collected by the World Bank, it still falls below the world average of 71.5.
In April 2015, the Moscow Times reported that between 2005 and 2013, the number of health facilities in rural areas of Russia dropped 75 percent, from 8,249 to 2,085.

“That number includes a 95 percent drop in the number of district hospitals, from 2,631 to only 124, and a 65 percent decline in the number of local health clinics, from 7,404 to 2,561,” the article noted.

Gennady Gudkov, a prominent Putin critic and retired KGB colonel, described the state of Russian healthcare as “tragic.”

“There is outdated and often nonfunctioning equipment, a lack of medicines and hospital beds, and a shortage of medical specialists,” he told Newsweek in November.

The move reflects a concerted effort from the Kremlin to maintain the comfort of elite Russians who find themselves isolated from certain customary luxuries in the wake of crippling sanctions and travel bans instituted by Western governments following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to Reuters.

The new wing may come to be the latest symbol of Russia’s unparalleled divide between its ultra-wealthy and the rest of the country. A 2016 wealth report by Credit Suisse stated that those in the country’s top 10 percent owned nearly 90 percent of all household wealth in Russia.

“This is significantly higher than any other major economic power,” the report stated. “According to our estimates, inequality in Russia is so far above the others that it deserves to be placed in a separate category,” the report added.


Bush Fights at The Inauguration Obama Remains Cool

Only looking at the funny, stupidly dumb and politicly astute as more political as ever can we survive when things happen in the next four years that have never happened before. We will see how good this nation is or what a worldly monster it has been since its inception. Looking at this picture will undoubtedly make some anti war Americans wish for the times of Bush’s wars. However we will see. Hopefully we will be gracious but still not taken as fools when we are told 3 million is less than 0. We wont argue at the impossible but just laugh to shame the offender selling the silly numbers.

Obama plays it cool as Bush struggled with a sheet of plastic (Picture: Reuters)

January 21, 2017

When knife Placed on Corpse to Remove Cornea Eyes Flinch, Still Dead?

Reader Advisory-Not for everyone, this is a true medical story. 

 Be educated while your brain works, tell them now how things should be handle or may be you don’t care because you will be dead; But would you really be dead?
The Beating Heart ❥Corpses

Their hearts are still beating. They urinate. Their bodies don’t decompose and they are warm to the touch; their stomachs rumble, their wounds heal and their guts can digest food. They can have heart attacks, catch a fever and suffer from bedsores. They can blush and sweat – they can even have babies.
And yet, according to most legal definitions and the vast majority of doctors these patients are thoroughly, indisputably deceased.
These are the beating heart cadavers; brain-dead corpses with functioning organs and a pulse. Their medical costs are astronomical (up to $217,784 for just a few weeks), but with a bit of luck and a lot of help, today it’s possible for the body to survive for months – or in rare cases, decades – even though it’s technically dead. How is this possible? Why does this happen? And how do doctors know they’re really dead?
Premature burials
Identifying the dead has never been easy. In 19th Century France there were 30 theories about how to tell if someone had passed away – including attaching pincers to their nipples and putting leeches in their bottom. Elsewhere, the most reliable methods included yelling a patient’s name (if the patient ignored them three times, they were dead) or thrusting mirrors under their noses to see if they fogged up.
Suffice to say, the medical establishment wasn’t convinced about any of them. Then in 1846, the Academy of Sciences in Paris launched a competition for “'the best work on the signs of death and the means of preventing premature burials” and a young doctor tried his luck. Eugène Bouchut figured that if a person’s heart had stopped beating, they were surely dead. He suggested using the newly invented stethoscope to listen for a heartbeat – if the doctor didn’t hear anything for two minutes, they could be safely buried.
He won the competition and his definition of “clinical death” stuck, eventually to be immortalised in films, books and popular wisdom. “There wasn’t much that could be done, so basically anyone could look at a person, check for a pulse and decide whether they were dead or alive,” says Robert Veatch from the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.
But a chance discovery in the 1920s made things decidedly messier. An electrical engineer from Brooklyn, New York, had been investigating why people die after they’ve been electrocuted – and wondered if the right voltage might also jolt them back to life. William Kouwenhoven devoted the next 50 years to finding a way to make it happen, work which eventually led to the invention of the defibrillator.
It was the first of a deluge of revolutionary new techniques, including mechanical ventilators and feeding tubes, catheters and dialysis machines. For the first time, you could lack certain bodily functions and still be alive. Our understanding of death was becoming unstuck.
The invention of the EEG – which can be used to identify brain activity – dealt the final blow. Starting in the 1950s, doctors across the globe began discovering that some of their patients, who they had previously considered only comatose, in fact had no brain activity at all. In France the mysterious phenomenon was termed coma dépasse, meaning literally “a state beyond coma”. They had discovered the ‘beating-heart cadavers’, people whose bodies were alive though their brains were dead.
This was an entirely new category of patient, one which overturned 5,000 years of medical understanding in a single sweep, raising new questions about how death is identified and dredging up some thorny philosophical, ethical and legal issues to boot.
 “It goes back and forth as to what people call them but I think patient is the correct term,” says Eelco Wijdicks, a neurologist from Rochester, Minnesota.
These beating heart cadavers should not be confused with other kinds of unconscious patients, such as those in a coma. Though they aren’t able to sit up and respond to the sound of their name, they still show brain activity, undergoing cycles of sleep and (unresponsive) wakefulness. A patient in a coma has the potential to make a full recovery.
A persistent vegetative state is decidedly more serious – in these patients the higher brain is permanently, irretrievably damaged – but though they will never have another conscious thought, again, they are not dead. 
To qualify as a beating heart cadaver, the entire brain must be dead. This includes the “brain stem”, the primitive, tube-shaped mass at the bottom of the brain which controls critical bodily functions, such as breathing. But, somewhat disconcertingly, our other organs aren’t as troubled by the death of their HQ as you’d think.
Alan Shewmon, a neurologist from UCLA and outspoken critic of the brain death definition, identified 175 cases where people’s bodies survived for more than a week after the person had died. In some cases, their hearts kept beating and their organs kept functioning for a further 14 years – for one cadaver, this strange afterlife lasted two decades.
How is this possible?
In fact, biologically speaking, there has never been a single moment of death; each passing is really a series of mini-deaths, with different tissues dropping off at different rates. “Choosing a definition of death is essentially a religious or philosophical question,” says Veatch.
For centuries, soldiers, butchers and executioners have observed how certain body parts may continue twitching after decapitation or dismemberment. Even long before life support, 19th Century physicians related accounts of patients whose hearts had continued to beat for several hours after they stopped breathing.
At times, this slow decline can have alarming consequences. One example is the Lazarus sign, an automatic reflex first reported in 1984. The reflex causes the dead to sit up, briefly raise their arms and drop them, crossed, onto their chests. It happens because while most reflexes are mediated by the brain, some are overseen by “reflex arcs”, which travel through the spine instead. In addition to the Lazarus reflex, corpses also have the knee-jerk reflex intact.
Further along the life-death continuum, skin and brain stem cells are known to remain alive for several days after a person has died. Living muscle stem cells have been found in corpses which are two-and-a-half-weeks old.
Even our genes keep going long after we’ve taken our last breath. Earlier this year, scientists discovered thousands which spring to life days after death, including those involved in inflammation, counteracting stress and – mysteriously – embryonic development.
Beating heart cadavers can only exist because of this lopsided decline – it’s all dependent on the brain dying first. To get to grips with why this happens, consider this. Though the brain makes up just 2% of a person’s body weight, it sucks up a staggering 25% of all its oxygen. 
Neurons are so high-maintenance in part because they are active all the time. They are constantly pumping out ions to create miniature electrical gradients between their insides and the surrounding environment; to fire, they simply open up the floodgates and let the ions flow back in.
The trouble is, they can’t stop pumping. If their efforts are stalled by a lack of oxygen, neurons are rapidly inundated with ions which build to toxic levels, causing irreversible damage. This “ischaemic cascade” explains why if you accidentally lop off a finger, it can usually be sewn back on, but most people can’t hold their breath for more than a few minutes without fainting.
Which brings us back to that perennial medical problem: if your heart’s still beating, how can doctors tell you’re dead? To begin with, doctors identified victims of coma dépasse by checking for the absence of brain activity on an EEG. But there was a problem.
Colleen Burns woke up just as doctors were about to remove her organs 
Alarmingly, alcohol, anaesthesia, some illnesses (such as hypothermia) and many drugs (including Valium) can shut down brain activity, conning doctors into thinking their patient is dead. In 2009, Colleen Burns was found in a drug-induced coma and doctors at a hospital in New York thought she was dead. She woke up in the operating room the day before doctors were due to remove her organs (NB: it’s unlikely this would have gone ahead, because her doctors had planned additional tests before the surgery).
Several decades earlier in 1968, a group of esteemed Harvard doctors called an emergency meeting to discuss exactly this. Over the course of several months, they devised a set of foolproof criteria which would allow doctors to avoid such blunders and establish that beating heart cadavers were definitely dead. 
The tests remain the global standard today, though some of them look uncannily like those from the 19th Century. For a start, a patient should be “unresponsive to verbal stimuli”, such as yelling their name. And though leeches and nipple pincers are out, they should remain unresponsive despite numerous uncomfortable procedures, including injecting ice-cold water into one of their ears – a technique which aims to trigger an automatic reflex and make the eyes move. This particular test is so valuable it won its discoverer a Nobel Prize.
Finally, the patient shouldn’t be able to breathe on their own, since this is a sure sign that their primitive brain is still going. In the case of Burns, the horrifying incident was only possible because her doctors ignored tell-tale signs that she was alive; she curled her toes when they were touched, moved her mouth and tongue and was breathing independently, though she was hooked up to a respirator. Had they followed the Harvard criteria correctly, they would never have declared her dead.
Cadaver donor management
You might expect all medical treatment to stop after someone is considered dead – even if they are a beating heart cadaver – but that’s not quite true. Today beating heart cadavers have spawned a strange new medical specialty, “cadaver donor management”, which aims to improve the success of transplants by tending to the health of the dead. The aim of the game is to fool the body into thinking everything is fine until recipients are lined up and their surgeons are ready.
In all, nearly twice as many viable organs – around 3.9 per cadaver– are retrieved from these donors compared to those without a pulse and they’re currently the only reliable source of hearts for transplant.
Intriguingly, the part of the brain that the body misses most is not its primitive stem or, as we’d like to think, the wrinkled seat of human consciousness (the cortex), but the hypothalamus. The almond-shaped structure monitors levels of important hormones, including those which regulate a person’s blood pressure, appetite, circadian rhythms, sugar levels, fluid balance and energy expenditure – then makes them, or instructs the pituitary gland to do so.
Instead the hormones must be provided by intensive care teams, who add just enough to an intravenous drip as and when they are needed. “It’s not just a case of putting them on a ventilator and giving them some food – it’s far more than that,” says Wijdicks.
Once the consent forms have been signed, dead patients receive the best medical care of their lives 
Of course, not everyone is comfortable with the idea. To some, organ donor management reduces human beings to mere collections of organs to be stripped for parts. As journalist Dick Teresi cynically put it, once the consent forms have been signed, dead patients receive the best medical care of their lives.
These interventions are only possible because the Harvard tests promise to sort the dead and the living into neat boxes – but alas, yet again death is messier than we’d like to think. In a review of 611 patients diagnosed as brain dead using their criteria, scientists found brain activity in 23%. In another study, 4% had sleep-like patterns of activity for up to a week after they had died. Others have reported beating heart cadavers flinching under the surgeon’s knife and there have even been suggestions that they should be given an anaesthetic – though this is controversial.
To inject further controversy into the mix, some people don’t even agree with the definition in principle, let alone in practice. In the United States, many Orthodox Jews, some Roman Catholics and certain ethnic minorities – in total, around 20% of the population – like their dead with a flat-lining heart rate and cold to the touch. “There’s this group of people who quite militantly are offended when a doctor tries to pronounce death on someone that the family thinks are still alive,” says Veatch.
“Even with clinical death, there are disputes – for instance about how long it’s necessary for circulation to be lost before it’s impossible for it to be restored. We use five minutes in the US but there isn’t really good evidence that that’s the right number,” says Veatch.
At the heart of many legal struggles is the right to choose your own definition of death and when life support should be removed, issues Veatch is particularly passionate about. “I have consistently supported individuals who would insist on a circulatory definition, though that’s not the one I would use,” he says.
Where it gets particularly sticky is if the victim is pregnant. In these cases, the patient’s family have a heart-breaking choice to make. They can either accept that they’ve lost her unborn baby, or begin the intensive and often gruesome battle to keep her going long enough to deliver, which is usually when the foetus is about 24-weeks-old.
Back in 2013, Marlise Munoz was found unconscious at her home in Texas. Her doctors suspected that she had suffered a pulmonary embolism and discovered that she was 14 weeks pregnant. Two days later she was declared dead. Munoz was a paramedic and had previously told her husband that in case of brain death, she would not want to be kept alive artificially. He petitioned to have her life support removed – but the hospital refused.
“In Texas there’s an automatic invalidation of a pregnant woman’s advanced directive. If she wanted them to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, then when she died that would not be allowed – that would be ripped up. She would be provided life-sustaining treatment,” says Christopher Burkle, an anaesthetist from Rochester, Minnesota who co-authored a paper on the subject with Wijdicks.
The circumstances are extremely rare, with only about 30 reported cases between 1982 and 2010, but the tug-of-war between the interests of the mother and those of her unborn baby begs the question: which human rights should we retain when we’re dead?
“In the US a dead patient still has rights to the protection of their medical information, for example. You can’t publish their medical record on the 6 o’clock news – a person who is dead has privacy rights in that respect. It’s not a huge jump to suggest that rights be maintained in other avenues for a dead person,” says Burkle.
And things may be about to get a lot more complicated. At the moment, doctors are bound by the “dead donor rule”, which asserts that no organs can be removed until a person is dead – that is, totally brain-dead or with a heart which has already stopped beating. But some people, including Veatch, think this should change.
They have proposed the “higher brain” definition, which means a person isn’t dead when their heart stops beating, or even when they stop breathing – a person is dead when they lose their “personhood”. Those with crucial parts of their brains intact and the ability to breathe independently would be dead so long as they could no longer have conscious thoughts. 
By loosening up the definition a little further, transplant doctors would have access to a much larger pool of potential donors than they do at the moment and save countless lives.
Death isn’t an event, it’s a process – but after thousands of years of trying, we’re still searching for something more definitive. It doesn’t look like this is about to end any time soon.
 --By Zaria Gorvett
  From BBC Future, Earth, Culture.

January 20, 2017

Ethics Watch Dog Launches 2 Complaints Vs.Trump for Violating


Donald Trump was sworn in and gave his speech this morning. Now the streets are on fire, and an ethics watchdog group has already filed complaints with the government about him, regarding his conflicts of interest. With things going so well, I now understand why he wanted to make Monday his first official day on the job.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced in a press releasethat they filed two complaints against the hours-old Trump administration. One was over the fact that Trump could be violating the terms of the lease he was given for the Old Post Office, which is now the Trump International Hotel. In the complaint, CREW asks the General Services Administration to find Trump in violation of the lease terms which state that "[no] elected official of the Government of the United States...shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." 
According to the CREW complaint, there's been no evidence so far that Trump is no longer in charge of Trump Post Office LLC, the LLC that owns the lease for the hotel. And, since as the complaint helpfully points out, the fact that Trump is now the president of the United States makes him a government official. The complaint is asking the GSA to notify Trump Old Post Office LLC that it is in violation of the lease, and to initiate the possible revocation of the property.
In the other complaint, CREW is alleging that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is refusing to answer their Freedom of Information Law request to share any emails the incoming administration sent the NOAA asking to name employees who were doing work on climate change. According to the complaints, CREW sent the FOIA request on December 16th, and other than a same day confirmation they got the letter and an agreement to waive the fee associated with the request on January 4th, the NOAA has otherwise not responded.
In addition to the specific complaints, CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder released a statement in which he alleged that Trump is in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, although no one knows "just to what extent this violation goes—because he is the first person elected to the presidency in decades to fail to clear the ethical bar of Richard Nixon and release his tax returns, much of his foreign business has remained secret."
Meanwhile, ProPublica reports that ten days after announcing that he would relinquish leadership and management of the Trump Organization and place it in a family trust by inauguration day, there is no evidence of Trump having filed the paperwork to do so. Trump is "not doing what they said they would do,” Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, tells ProPublica. “And even that was completely inadequate.”

“ILoveMakonnen” Comes Out Gay

iLoveMakonnen has come out as gay.
The hip-hop star shared his news with a string of tweets in the small hours of Friday morning. “As a fashion icon, I can’t tell u about everybody else's closet, I can only tell u about mine, and it's time I've come out,” he wrote in one tweet.
The Atlanta rapper’s social media feeds have been mostly filled with love and support.
The MC (real name Makonnen Sheran) broke out with the 2014 smash "Club Goin Up On A Tuesday" and was a signing to Drake's OVO Sound. He left the label last year, issuing a statement on his departure: "I'm sure the haters will have something negative to say, but all in all my choice to be solely on Warner Bros Records was the right thing for me and for my best interest. Sorry there’s no beef to report.”

The Speech in a few quoted words Took me Back to Another Era

Decree, glorious, stealing, protection, winning like never before, off welfare and back to work,  we will shine for everyone to follow, loyalty to each other, solidarity, unstoppable, no fear, protected by the military and law enforcement, protected by god, protection, fight, we will not fail, free the earth of the miseries of disease, we bleed the same blood of patriots, dreams, eradicate from the face of the earth, courage, make America wealthy again, here and now, enriched other governments, enriched americans.
Ended with right hand fist salute.

Missing: Call to unity, call for the american people to help him but instead the military and the police. The word “We”
Also missing: Enthusiasm and loud applause from the crowd.

These are the words I heard that took me away to a different era I have only read and seen on tape but not witnessed. I am sure that every person that reads these few words will see a different meaning. I have no idea of how many will see that it matches other words and for sure there are not words that were said or at least emphasized in any other inauguration that was cover live since I have been witnessing them.

There is plenty of pictures and , opinions and minute by minute live and tape coverage. As is the rule of this blog to try to post what is missed on current stories.


Manning a Powerful Transgender Symbol for Resilience

For most Americans, Chelsea Manning has been a hero or villain based on how they view her decision to leak classified material. For transgender people, she has another dimension — serving as a potent symbol of their struggles for acceptance. 
With Tuesday's commutation of her prison sentence by President Barack Obama, she's now due for release in May, when she will re-enter a society bitterly divided over many aspects of transgender rights. 
Manning was arrested in 2010 and came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in an all-male military prison. Under Army rules, she was barred from growing her hair long while incarcerated, and only after litigation by her legal team was she approved for hormone therapy. 
She spent long stints in solitary confinement, and twice tried to kill herself. 
 Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who filed the medical-care lawsuit, said Manning has viewed herself as a transgender-rights activist even in the isolation of her confinement at Fort Leavenworth. 
"She's always been a hero to me," said Strangio, a transgender man. "Her story really does reflect so much of the systemic discrimination that transgender people face — struggles growing up, suppression of her gender that prompted her to join the military ... and facing particularly egregious conditions in prison." 
"She's an incredibly thoughtful and devoted person," Strangio added. "She's felt a sense of responsibility to the transgender community and wanted to be someone who contributed to the fight for transgender justice." 
Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender author who teaches at Barnard College in New York, expressed hope that Manning would remain an activist and share her experiences. In an email, Boylan depicted Manning as "a woman who's been trapped both physically and metaphorically, finding herself smack in the middle of national disagreements about both the meaning of our war in Iraq as well as the ongoing national conversation about gender." 
"She is seen as a very public face for the complexity of gender, particularly the injustice facing anyone doing time in a facility for men who is surely, by the measure of her own heart, a woman," Boylan wrote. 
Dean Spade, a transgender law professor at Seattle University School of Law, hailed Manning as "an immensely important figure for the trans movement and for the broader LGBT movement." Manning faced conditions in prison that denied her gender, Spade said, and "the world has watched her go through this." 
A cautionary note was sounded by Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, who said there was no consensus about Manning among transgender Americans. 
"The community is divided on her actions, and parading her around as a hero will not only negatively impact her," and exacerbate the split among transgender people, Beyer wrote in an email. "Manning as the face of the trans community would be very dangerous." 
Manning was convicted of leaking many thousands of classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. There was testimony at her trial about her erratic behavior and emotional stress during her Army service. 
Among those denouncing the commutation of her sentence was Jerry Boykin, a retired Army general who is now executive vice president of the conservative Family Research Council. 
"President Obama chose political correctness over our national security," Boykin said in a statement that referred to Manning with male pronouns and decried the legal efforts to compel the Army to pay for gender-transition procedures. 
The Pentagon recently adopted a policy of allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Some conservatives are suggesting a reversal of the policy after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, although Trump's pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, told the Senate Armed Services Committee he has no such plans. 
However, many transgender activists fear that Trump's administration will abandon the Obama administration's efforts to enable transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice at public schools. And in Texas, Republican legislators are pushing a bill that would limit transgender people's bathroom access. 
Among the many problems faced by transgender Americans, their treatment in the criminal justice system is of particular concern to activists. Many juvenile detention centers are ill-equipped to handle transgender teens, and corrections officials in many jurisdictions have sought to avoid paying for sex-reassignment surgeries for adult inmates. 
After Manning's release, the Army will be off the hook for the costs of any further gender-transition medical care that she receives. However, Chase Strangio, the ACLU attorney, said the matter of cost was not paramount. "She can finally navigate her medical care on her own terms," he said. 
Shannon Minter, a transgender man who serves as legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said activists rallied behind Manning partly because her experience epitomized many of their community's problems. 
Her case "has shed a light on the serious abuses that transgender people — and in particular, transgender women — suffer daily in our nation's prisons and jails," Minter said. “While Chelsea's experience is extraordinary in many respects, the abuses she has experienced as a result of being transgender are commonplace and deserve far more attention."

January 19, 2017

Miguel Ferrer Dead at 61 (NCIS)

Getty Images
Miguel Ferrer 

"Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison," cousin George Clooney said in a statement.

Miguel Ferrer, best known for starring as Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, died Thursday of cancer. He was 61.
Ferrer, who appeared in numerous films and television shows throughout his career, passed peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends, according to CBS. 
"Today, NCIS: LOS ANGELES lost a beloved family member," showrunner R. Scott Gemmill said in a statement. "Miguel was a man of tremendous talent who had a powerful dramatic presence on screen, a wicked sense of humor, and a huge heart. Our thoughts go out to his wife Lori, his sons, and his entire family. He will be greatly missed."
Ferrer was the son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney, making him a cousin to George Clooney, who sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement on the loss of his family member:
"Today history will mark giant changes in our world, and lost to most will be that on the same day Miguel Ferrer lost his battle to throat cancer. But not lost to his family. Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison. We love you Miguel. We always will."
Ferrer played Bob Morton, the man who came up with the idea for a robotic police officer, in the 1987 cult classic RoboCop. Other memorable roles include Dr. Garret Macy on TV's Crossing Jordan and Albert Rosenfield on Twin Peaks. The actor also had a number of notable voice roles over the course of his career, as he voiced characters in MulanRio 2Robot Chicken and more.
Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that Ferrer would lend his voice along with Christina Ricci to Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, the DC Universe animated original movie from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. He had completed voice work for the mercenary villain Deathstroke in the movie prior to his death. The film, directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. Teen Titans), adapts the classic storyline from the 1980s comic Tales of the Teen Titans
Last week, Ferrer was set to appear at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour panel for the revived Twin Peaks, but was not in attendance.
He is survived by his wife Lori, sons Lukas and Rafi, brother Rafael Ferrer and cousin Clooney.
Shortly after the news broke, Crossing Jordan co-star Jill Hennessy shared on Twitter: “Can't believe this gut-punch...just heard @Miguel_J_Ferrer passed..loved that hilarious, brilliant dude."
 Meena Jang ,  Ryan Parker

Are You gay Teach? Student asks

At no time during my childhood or adolescent years did a teacher ever come out to me as gay — not even once. As an openly gay educator, I am just as disappointed about that fact today as I was three decades ago, when I was an effeminate young boy questioning my sexuality.

On the other hand, my teachers shared a never-ending supply of advice with me in regards to being poor (education is the key to prosperity), a Jehovah’s Witness (society doesn’t understand your family’s religious beliefs), and a Black male (never to backtalk a uniformed police officer). Yet while I can clearly recall several educators who seemed to contradict what it meant to be straight, no one professed to being a gay adult — either to me or any of my classmates. Even worse, school culture consistently conveyed to me that I was never even allowed to ask a teacher, “Are you gay?”

At Marin Country Day School, where I am an educator, never once have I hesitated to come out to a student. However, at a previous school where I taught, administrators announced at school meetings, “If you are gay or lesbian, at no time are you to come out to students.” And when I was a recruitment officer — publicly charged with both identifying and admitting families with LGBTQ parents — many straight parents asked me, “Why are we focusing so much on gay sex?”

Today, we live in a society where attitudes are evolving around what it means to be gay: Many heterosexual adults are supportive of marriage equality, adoption among same-sex couples is measurably increasing, and more employers have taken steps to make the workplace more inclusive for LGBTQ employees. However, even the most progressive educational administrators and parents are often uncomfortable with the idea of a K-12 teacher being openly gay in the classroom.

Unlike straight teachers, LGBTQ teachers must consider the risks of sharing their sexual orientation with colleagues, parents, and students.

Many teachers ask themselves, as I once did, “Will I forever be known only as the gay teacher?” and “What happens if my being gay raises unwarranted suspicions about interactions with students of the same gender?”

In 2014, Gary J. Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute estimated that “the percentage of adults who identified as LGB or LGBT varied across surveys from between 2.2 percent and 4.0 percent, implying that between 5.2 million and 9.5 million individuals aged 18 and older are LGBT.”

Chances are, of the roughly 50.4 million school-age children currently engaged in early childhood, primary, and secondary education in the United States, most will interact with an LGBTQ adult at least once. Whether through family friends, after-school and weekend activities, or in the classroom, school children will inevitably ask themselves, “How do you know if someone is gay?” or “Which of my teachers is gay?” How a gay teacher responds will shape a student’s perception and understanding of the emotional attraction between two adults of the same sex.

But a gay teacher’s fears about disclosing her orientation to a student or choosing to remain closeted are understandable.

A Nov. 18 report in The New York Times, headlined “Trump Victory Alarms Gay and Transgender Groups,” describes the frantic calls received by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBT rights organization, in the aftermath of the election.

“Some callers wondered if they should speed up wedding plans so they could be married before the inauguration, in case a President Trump tries to overturn gay marriage,” an HRC spokesman told the paper. “Others worried that the military would reinstate ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members that ended in 2011.”

Although they may be lauded for their performance in the classroom, even in the most progressive of schools, gay teachers are usually still advised to deny their sexual identity if a student or parent asks, “Are you gay?”

Schools are often slow at keeping up with social change, and many administrators operate under the assumption that a less empathetic parent, or group of parents, will raise concern that an openly gay teacher is out to her students. That reality often leaves LGBTQ teachers distressed, and can unintentionally send the message to all students that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is unnatural. When Trump comes after Obamacare, puts up the border wall, and re-energizes stop-and-frisk, gay men and women must not return to the closet. Now more than ever, we need to push back and stand proud.

The first time a student asked me directly, “Are you gay?”, I hesitated to answer. While I had already prepared a response for this very moment, I quickly realized three things. One, that this would be the first of many times I would have to come out. (It is not like you come out once, and then everyone knows.) Two, coming out is stressful. (It is stressful for the person being asked, and I imagine it is also stressful for the person asking.) And three, how I respond to questions about my sexuality will shape how a young person understands what it means to be gay.

After what felt like an insanely long and awkward pause, I eventually gave the student my prepared response: “Would it matter if I were gay?”

While I have never been fond of responding to a question with a question, this exception always seems warranted to me. What it does for me is to create a brief moment to consider the student’s motivation for asking the question: Has the student heard something about gay people, either positive or negative, that I have contradicted? Does the student want to ask a question that only a gay person could truthfully answer? Is the student questioning his own orientation?

It also gives me a chance to weigh how to best respond. The “Are you gay?” question, and my subsequent response, play out differently depending on whether the student asking is a third grader or an 11th grader. In the end, my goal is always to show that being gay is as normal as being left-handed, hoping for rainy days, or having a preference for strawberry milk rather than chocolate milk. Over the years, regardless of the student’s gender, ethnicity, age, or religious affiliation, each time I have responded with “Yes, I am gay,” my students have replied, “OK, cool.”

In a June 1 piece for The Huffington Post, “Coming Out to the Classroom, A Teacher’s Story,” blogger and classroom teacher Paul Emerich France makes the best case for why teachers should come out to students.

“Mr. France, the teacher they knew and loved, was gay,” he wrote. “This new fact helped them see me, regardless of my sexuality. It taught them that sexuality is only one piece of an identity. Instead of equating the word ‘gay’ with ‘weird’ or a joke between friends, they equated it with someone they first knew as their teacher: an avid reader, writer, problem-solver, and musician.”

My hope is that every gay woman and man, educators especially, will reflect on their own first few times of coming out to family, friends, or new acquaintances, and remember what gave them strength. Those teachers still weighing whether or not to come out should remember that they are not alone — with every affirmation of our LGBTQ identities, we are reminded that each of us matters.

In December 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed “homosexuality” from the psychological disorders listed in the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. December 1973 also happens to be the month and year that I was born. When

I first learned the historic significance of my birthdate, I took it as a sign that I should devote my career to further normalizing being gay.

I serve those within my school community as a proud, openly gay man.

Yes, we live — and teach — in a world where it is neither prudent nor wise for a teacher to initiate a conversation with students about sexual orientation. But when a student asks, we must be confident enough to answer: “Yes, I am gay!”

Vincent W. Rowe Jr. is the director of equity, affinity, and diversity at Marin Country Day School. He has worked in education for more than two decades.



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