Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

02 July 2007

36 Years and counting: when will lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgered people have eqaulity?

by Christopher E. Renner
From Bob Strawn's interview with Citizens for a Better Manhattan...
Yes or no. Do you support amending the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity?
No. I grew up as a man working for Chevron, a San Francisco company, and later for General Atomics, and currently for General Atomics, a San Diego company. I have had a tremendous amount of exposure, more so than probably 99% of the people in Manhattan, to gay and lesbian cultures in commerce. I have many friends who are gay people, gay men. I can’t say that I know a lot of lesbian women because I just don’t, but I do know a lot of gay men. We have had gay people in our house for dinner. I consider them my friends. I do not believe in Manhattan that we have, what I have seen, that we have achieved a level where we need to make a special class of people and segregate them based on their sexual orientation. I grew up at a time during the sexual revolution when once sexuality was a very private matter. I don’t want people knowing what my sexual proclivities are or making choices about my employment or where I live based on what my sexual choices are. I think that exacerbates the problem; it doesn’t cure the problem. Those are intensely personal choices that ought to remain there. So I do not believe and I have not seen in this community a level of angst towards gays, lesbians, transsexuals that would require me as a city commissioner today to say we need to establish a special class of people. If that changes, I’ll deal with it, but I sure don’t see it today.

Bob Strawn’s comments during his interview for the City Commission conducted by Citizens for a Better Manhattan on whether he would or would not support changing Manhattan’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance typifies the inherent prejudice and ignorance of many politicians when it comes to assuring that the citizens they supposedly represent have their basic civil and human rights protect. When he says he doesn’t see the “angst” needed to change the ordinance, I have to ask how can he, since he is a member of the heterosexual majority and as such has no idea of fear many LGBTs live in daily. His statement, along with statements by Don Miller and Paul Barkey at the Human Rights and Service Board in 2006, exemplify the prejudice and bigotry LGBTs face daily in Manhattan.

In a new report released by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School, they document that hate crime rates against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are comparable to other groups already covered by federal hate crime laws that currently only defines race, color, religion and national origin as protected categories.(1)

The "Comparison of Hate Crime Rates across Protected and Unprotected Groups" report shows that on average, 13 in 100,000 gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals per year report being the victim of a hate crime, compared with eight in 100,000 African-Americans, 12 in 100,000 American Muslims and 15 in 100,000 Jews.

Those who were in attendance at the Human Rights and Services Board’s deliberations on the proposal to change Manhattan Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, saw hate crimes that had been committed against residents of Manhattan dismissed by the Board’s members. One person who gave testimony of being attacked and beaten while walking home form Aggieville was told that his story didn’t demonstrate any form of discrimination because he was covered by state statue for battery. The individual was beaten by three thugs, who did so solely because they assumed he was gay and repeatedly called him a “faggot.” According to the Human Rights and Services Board this wasn’t an example of discrimination. Go figure!

Shortly after I returned to the US in August, 1998, I had the culture shock of dealing with the killing of Matthew Shepard. I have to say that part of the reason I left the US in 1982 was because I was tired of being afraid of being an openly gay man. Returning to US brought up all those fears I had from my adolescence when I was reminded daily by my classmates that as a faggot, I was less than human. The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard brought up all those feelings I had long thought were behind me. Why, as a culture are we so afraid of people who are different from ourselves?

About four months after that event, I had a late night visitor come to my house. Bloody and distraught, he too had been attacked in Aggieville because someone thought that fag bashing was a sport. This individual was not out to his family and refused to go to the hospital or call the police to report the beating he had just endured. He was filled with fear that his parents would find out he was gay and would disown him. He was more worried about that than the fact that he could have serious injuries. He had been beaten with 2X4s by two guys who had approached him in a bar and asked if he wanted to spend the night with them. I cleaned him up to the best of my ability and urged him to go to the hospital, but mostly he just cried about being a disappointment to his family. Two months later he graduated from KSU and moved to Los Angles.

His story is an example of why Bob Strawn doesn’t see the “angst” in Manhattan that would require changing the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. But even larger is the fact that Bob has to see “angst” in order to make local laws better. What we see in Bob Strawn’s thinking is nothing more than government not doing what it is supposed to do: protect the residents of the community.

Then there is the issue of work place discrimination, examples of which were brought before the Human Rights and Services Board that were once again dismissed by its members.

On June 19th Harris Interactive released the results of a survey it had conducted for CareerBuilder.com, an online employment service, and Kelly Services. It focused on workers in seven groups - African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Females, LGBT workers and people in the workforce over the age of 50.(2)

CareerBuilder said it ordered the survey to gauge the frequency and severity of discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace, whether employee diversity is valued and how diversity impacts hiring decisions, compensation and career advancement.

This study found that 28 percent of LGBT employees have suffered harassment in the workplace with nearly half describing it as severe. However, 48 percent of respondents reported that the most common incidents of discrimination or unfair treatment involved not receiving credit for one's work.

Almost as many said their concerns about discrimination were not addressed or taken seriously by their superiors/employers. Thirty-three percent said they were victimized by co-workers talking behind their backs and almost as many said they were overlooked for promotion.

Half of diverse workers who experienced discrimination or unfair treatment said they did not report the incident. Of these workers, 64 percent said they didn't think reporting the incident would make a difference while 35 percent feared being labeled as a trouble-maker and 32 percent feared losing their jobs.

The Harris Interactive survey is supported by another report conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA.(3) It found that “Studies conducted from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s revealed that 16% to 68% of LGB respondents reported experiencing employment discrimination at some point in their lives. Since the mid-1990s, an additional fifteen studies found that 15% to 43% of LGB respondents experienced discrimination in the workplace.”

“When asked more specific questions about the type of discrimination experienced, LGB respondents reported the following experiences that were related to their sexual orientation: 8%- 17% were fired or denied employment, 10%-28% were denied a promotion or given negative performance evaluations, 7%-41% were verbally/physically abused or had their workplace vandalized, and 10%-19% reported receiving unequal pay or benefits.” (3)

We can continue to pretend that hate crimes against members of our community don’t happen and we can go on believing that people aren’t discriminated against on the job because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. The fact is that people are in both situations.

But more disturbing to me is that we, a democratic society based on the believe that all people are created equal, have allowed our government and laws to be hijacked by a small group of people who want to dismantle our government and our society and replace it with theocracy.

In his recent book, American Fascist: the Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges talks about how followers of the Christian Right have cloaked the cross in the US flag; they have latched onto the “despair, isolation, disconnectedness and fear” of our modern society and use it to pass repressive laws, like the Kansas Marriage Amendment, that penalize those they fear. “The Bush administration has steadily diverted billions of taxpayer dollars from secular and governmental social service organizations to faith-based organizations, bankrolling churches and organizations that seek to dismantle American democracy and create a theocratic state “- Hedges page 23.(4)

LGBTs saw the face of this fascism at the final Human Rights and Services Board meeting when Don Miller, Paul Barkey and their followers went on for over 3 hours describing what vile, evil people LGBTs were. And just as the leading American institutions tasked with defending tolerance and liberty - from mainstream churches to research universities like KSU, our political parties, and the media - our local institution failed to stand up for the very people they are charged with protecting.

We cannot in the name of tolerance allow people whose intent is the destruction of our way of life to highjack our institutions and demonize whole segments of American society, saying that they are manipulated by Satan and worthy only of conversion or eradication.

Thus we must speak out on this anniversary of Stonewall for all Americans who suffer oppression and be vigilant against those who wish to turn our nation into another Iran.

1. Stotzer, Rebecca (2007). Comparison of Hate Crime Rates Across Protected and Unprotected Groups. Los Angles: The Williams Institute.
2. Study: 28 Percent Of LGBT Workers Harassed by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff, http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/06/061907jobs.htm
3. Badgett, M. V. Lee; Lau, Holning; Sears, Brad; & Ho, Deborah (2007). Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. Los Angles: the Williams Institute.
4. Hedges, Chris (2006). American Fascist: The Christian Right and the War on America. New York: Free Press.

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