Monday, March 12, 2012

336 Gay Kids of Gay Parents oppose Gay Marriage campaign

Gay Kids of Gay Parents oppose Gay Marriage campaign

(1) Gay Kids of Gay Parents oppose Gay Marriage campaign
(2) Condom with 'Teeth' (on the inside) Designed to Catch Rapists
(3) Nurseries 'teaching children using computers'
(4) Why teenagers can't concentrate (but we weren't like this in the 1960s - Peter M.)
(5) Charles Darwin's thinking shaped by the "Scottish Enlightenment"

(1) Gay Kids of Gay Parents oppose Gay Marriage campaign

From: WVNS <> Date: 24.06.2010 10:12 AM

Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage!

Resist the Gay Marriage Agenda!

October 9, 2009

by queerkidssaynomarriage

It's hard for us to believe what we're hearing these days. Thousands are losing their homes, and gays want a day named after Harvey Milk. The U.S. military is continuing its path of destruction, and gays want to be allowed to fight. Cops are still killing unarmed black men and bashing queers, and gays want more policing. More and more Americans are suffering and dying because they can't get decent health care, and gays want weddings. What happened to us? Where have our communities gone? Did gays really sell out that easily?

As young queer people raised in queer families and communities, we reject the liberal gay agenda that gives top priority to the fight for marriage equality. The queer families and communities we are proud to have been raised in are nothing like the ones transformed by marriage equality. This agenda fractures our communities, pits us against natural allies, supports unequal power structures, obscures urgent queer concerns, abandons struggle for mutual sustainability inside queer communities and disregards our awesomely fabulous queer history.

Children of queers have a serious stake in this. The media sure thinks so, anyway. The photographs circulated after San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to marry gay couples at City Hall show men exchanging rings with young children strapped to their chests and toddlers holding their moms' hands as city officials lead them through vows. As Newsom runs for governor these images of children and their newly married gay parents travel with him, supposedly expressing how deeply Newsom cares about families: keeping them together, ensuring their safety, meeting their needs. These photos, however, obscure very real aspects of his political record that have torn families apart: his disregard for affordable housing, his attacks on welfare, his support for increased policing and incarceration that separate parents from children and his new practice of deporting minors accused – not convicted – of crimes. As young people with queer parents we are not proud of the "family values" politic put forth by these images and the marriage equality campaign. We don't want gay marriage activism conducted in our name – we realize that it's hurting us, not helping us.

We think long-term monogamous partnerships are valid and beautiful ways of structuring and experiencing family, but we don't see them as any more inherently valuable or legitimate than the many other family structures. We believe in each individual and family's right to live their queer identity however they find meaningful or necessary, including when that means getting married. However, the consequences of the fight for legal inclusion in the marriage structure are terrifying. We're seeing queer communities fractured as one model of family is being hailed and accepted as the norm, and we are seeing queer families and communities ignore and effectively work against groups who we see as natural allies, such as immigrant families, poor families, and families suffering from booming incarceration rates. We reject the idea that any relationship based on love should have to register with the state. Marriage is an institution used primarily to consolidate privilege, and we think real change will only come from getting rid of a system that continually doles out privilege to a few more, rather than trying to reform it. We know that most families, straight or gay, don't fit in with the standards for marriage, and see many straight families being penalized for not conforming to the standard the government has set: single moms trying to get on welfare, extended family members trying to gain custody, friends kept from being each other's legal representatives. We have far more in common with those straight families than we do with the kinds of gay families that would benefit from marriage. We are seeing a gay political agenda become single-issue to focus on marriage and leave behind many very serious issues such as social, economic, and racial justice.

How the marriage agenda is leaving behind awesome queer history.

We're seeing the marriage equality agenda turn its back on a tradition of queer activism that began with Stonewall and other fierce queer revolts and that continued through the AIDS crisis. Equality California keeps on sending us videos of big, happy, gay families, and they're making us sick: gay parents pushing kids on swings, gay parents making their kids' lunches, the whole gay family safe inside the walls of their own homes. Wait a second, is it true? It's as if they've found some sort of magical formula: once you have children, your life instantly transforms into a scene of domestic bliss, straight out of a 1950's movie. The message is clear. Instead of dancing, instead of having casual sex, instead of rioting, all of the "responsible" gays have gone and had children. And now that they've had children, they won't be bothering you at all anymore. There's an implicit promise that once gays get their rights, they'll disappear again. Once they can be at home with the kids, there's no reason for them to be political, after all!

Listening to this promise, we're a bit stunned. Whoever said domesticity wasn't political? Wasn't it just a few years ago that the feminists taught us that the personal is political? That cooking, cleaning, raising children and putting in countless hours of physical, emotional, and intellectual labor should not mean withdrawing from the public sphere or surrendering your political voice? After all, we were raised by queers who created domestic lives that were always politically engaged, who raised kids and raised hell at the same time. What makes Equality California think that an official marriage certificate is going to make us any less loud and queer? Oh wait. We remember. It's that sneaky thing about late liberal capitalism: its promise of formal rights over real restructuring, of citizenship for those who can participate in the state's economic plan over economic justice for all. Once you have your formal rights (like a marriage license), you can participate in the market economy and no longer need a political voice. Looking around at the world we live in, we're unconvinced.

We're also seeing another alarming story surface: If gays are ready to get married and have children, the AIDS crisis must be over! Gay men shaped up after AIDS hit, or at least the smart ones did. Those responsible enough to survive realized that they wanted children, and promptly settled down into relationships that were monogamous and that, presumably, carried no risk of HIV contraction. Come on. We reject all the moralizing about parenthood, responsibility, and sexual practice that goes on in this story. Besides the obvious fact that the AIDS crisis is not over, in the US or abroad, we realize that parenthood and non-monogamy aren't mutually exclusive. The gay marriage movement wants us to believe that you need a sperm donor or an adoption agency to have children, but we know that there are more ways to make queer families than any of us can imagine. We refuse the packaged and groomed history that writes out the many HIV+ individuals in our lives and communities who are living healthily, loving in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships and raising children. We challenge our queer communities to remember our awesomely radical history of building families and raising children in highly political, inventive, and non-traditional ways.

How marriage equality fractures our community and pits us against our strongest allies.

We believe that the argument for gay marriage obscures the many structural, social, and economic forces that break families apart and take people away from their loved ones. Just for starters, there's the explosion in incarceration levels, national and international migration for economic survival, deportation, unaffordable housing, and lack of access to drug rehabilitation services. The argument for gay marriage also ignores the economic changes and cuts to social services that make it nearly impossible for families to stay together and survive: welfare cuts, fewer after school programs, less public housing, worse medical care, not enough social workers, failing schools, the economic crisis in general.

We choose solidarity with immigrant families whom the state denies legal recognition and families targeted by prisons, wars, and horrible jobs. We reject the state violence that separates children from parents and decides where families begin and end, drawing lines of illegality through relationships. We see this as part of a larger effort on the part of the state to control our families and relationships in order to preserve a system that relies on creating an underclass deprived of security in order to ensure power for a few. We know that everyone has a complex identity, and that many queer families face separation due to one or more of the causes mentioned here, now or in the future. We would like to see our queer community recognize marriage rights as a short-term solution to the larger problem of the government's disregard for the many family structures that exist. As queers, we need to take an active role in exposing and fighting the deeper sources of this problem. We won't let the government decide what does and does not constitute a family.

The way that the marriage agenda phrases its argument about healthcare shows just how blind it is to the needs of the queer community. It has adopted marriage as a single-issue agenda, making it seem like the queer community's only interest in healthcare is in the inclusion of some members of two person partnerships in the already exclusive healthcare system. Health care is a basic human right to which everyone is entitled, not one that should be extended through certain kinds of individual partnerships. We know this from queer history, and if we forget it, we will continue to let our community live in danger. The question of universal healthcare is urgent to queers because large groups of people inside our communities face incredible difficulty and violence receiving medical care, such as trans people who seek hormone treatment or surgery, people who are HIV positive, and queer and trans youth who are forced to live on the street. Instead of equalizing access to health care, marriage rights would allow a small group of people who have partnered themselves in monogamous configurations to receive care. If we accept the marriage agenda's so-called solution, we'll leave out most of our community.

Perhaps because the gay marriage movement has forgotten about the plurality and diversity of queer communities and queer activism, it has tried to gloss over its shortcomings by appropriating the struggles of other communities. We reject the notion that "gay is the new black," that the fight for marriage equality is parallel to the fight for civil rights, that queer rights and rights for people of color are mutually exclusive. We don't believe that fighting for inclusion in marriage is the same as fighting to end segregation. Drawing that parallel erases queer people of color and makes light of the structural racism that the civil rights movement fought against. The comparison is made as if communities of color, and black communities in particular, now enjoy structural equality. We know that's not true. We would like to see a queer community that, rather than appropriating the narrative of the civil rights movement for its marriage equality campaign, takes an active role in exposing and protesting structural inequality and structural racism.

Rather than choosing to fight the things that keep structural racism intact, the liberal gay agenda has chosen to promote them. The gay agenda continually fights for increased hate crimes legislation that would incarcerate and execute perpetrators of hate crimes. We believe that incarceration destroys communities and families, and does not address why queer bashings happen. Increased hate crimes legislation would only lock more people up. In a country where entire communities are ravaged by how many of their members get sent to jail, where prisons are profit-driven institutions, where incarceration only creates more violence, we won't accept anything that promotes prison as a solution. Our communities are already preyed upon by prisons – trans people, sex workers, and street kids live with the constant threat of incarceration. We believe that real, long-term solutions are found in models of restorative and transformative justice, and in building communities that can positively and profoundly deal with violence. We challenge our queer communities to confront what we are afraid of rather than locking it up, and to join members of our community and natural allies in opposing anything that would expand prisons.

The gay marriage agenda also supports the expansion of the army, seemingly forgetting about all of the ways that the army creates and maintains violence and power. The gay marriage agenda fights to abolish the "don't ask don't tell" policy, promoting the military's policy and seeking inclusion. We've thought long and hard about this, and we can't remember liking anything that the US military has done in a really long time. What we do remember is how the military mines places where poor people and people of color live, taking advantage of the lack of opportunities that exist for kids in those communities and convincing them to join the army. We think it's time that queers fight the army and the wars it is engaged in instead of asking for permission to enter.

Marriage doesn't promise real security.

As the economy collapses, as the number of Americans without a job, without healthcare, without savings, without any kind of social security net increases, it's easy to understand how marriage has become an instant cure-all for some. Recognizing that many in our community have lived through strained or broken relationships with their biological families, through the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, through self-doubt about and stigmatization of their relationships, we understand where the desire for the security promised by marriage comes from. However, we see the promotion of gay marriage as something that tries to put a band-aid over deeper sources of insecurity, both social and economic. With marriage, the state is able to absolve itself of responsibility for the well-being of its citizens, as evidenced by the HRC's argument that with gay marriage, the state could kick more people off of welfare. If the HRC got its way, the queers who do not want, or are not eligible for, marriage would be even less secure than before. We're frightened by the way the marriage agenda wants to break up our community in this way, and we're committed to fighting any kind of politics that demonizes poor people and welfare recipients. We challenge our queer communities to build a politics that promotes wealth redistribution. What if, rather than donating to the HRC campaign, we pooled our wealth to create a community emergency fund for members of our community who face foreclosure, need expensive medical care or find themselves in any other economic emergency? As queers, we need to take our anger, our fear, and our hope and recognize the wealth of resources that we already have, in order to build alternative structures. We don't need to assimilate when we have each other.

We're not like everyone else.

Everywhere we turn, it seems like someone wants us to support gay marriage. From enthusiastic canvassers on the street to liberal professors in the academy, from gay lawyers to straight soccer moms, there's someone smiling at us, eager to let us know how strongly they support our "right to marry," waiting for what should be our easy affirmation. And there seems to be no space for us to resist the agenda that has been imposed upon us. We're fed up with the way that the gay marriage movement has tried to assimilate us, to swallow up our families, our lives, and our lovers into its clean-cut standards for what queer love, responsibility, and commitment should look like. We reject the idea that we should strive to see straight family configurations reflected in our families. We're offended by the idea that white, middle-class gays – rather than genderqueers, poor people, single moms, prisoners, people of color, immigrants without papers, or anyone whose life falls outside of the norm that the state has set – should be our "natural" allies. We refuse to feel indebted or grateful to those who have decided it's time for us to be pulled out from the fringe and into the status quo. We know that there are more of us on the outside than on the inside, and we realize our power.

We write this feeling as if we have to grab our community back from the clutches of the gay marriage movement. We're frightened by its path and its incessant desire to assimilate. Believe it or not, we felt incredibly safe, happy, taken care of, and fulfilled with the many queer biological and chosen parents who raised us without the right to marry. Having grown up in queer families and communities we strongly believe that queers are not like everyone else. Queers are sexy, resourceful, creative, and brave enough to challenge an oppressive system with their lifestyle. In the ways that our families might resemble nuclear, straight families, it is accidental and coincidental, something that lies at the surface. We do not believe that queer relationships are the mere derivatives of straight relationships. We can play house without wanting to be straight. Our families are tangled, messy and beautiful – just like so many straight families who don't fit into the official version of family. We want to build communities of all kinds of families, families that can exist – that do exist – without the recognition of the state. We don't believe that parenting is cause for an end to political participation. We believe that nurturing the growth, voice and imagination of children as a parent, a family and a community is a profoundly radical act. We want to build networks of accountability and dependence that lie outside the bounds of the government, the kinds of networks that we grew up in, the kinds of networks that we know support single-parent families, immigrant families, families who have members in the military or in prison, and all kinds of chosen families. These families, our families, work through our collective resources, strengths, commitments, and desires, and we wouldn't change them for anything.

(2) Condom with 'Teeth' (on the inside) Designed to Catch Rapists

From: Denver Media Service <> Date: 21.06.2010 11:34 PM

Condom with 'Teeth' Designed to Catch Rapists

Monday, June 21, 2010,2933,594991,00.html

Do they have one for the asshole with teeth? What a lovely image. This product will probably end up getting women killed.

A female condom with jagged "teeth" that grips a man's penis is the latest device developed to catch rapists in South Africa, CNN reported Sunday.

South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers is distributing the condom — called Rape-aXe — for free during the World Cup, in a country with one of the worst rape rates in the world.

The condom is inserted by women like a tampon and its jagged teeth-like hooks inside attach to a man's penis during intercourse.

Once it grabs hold, only a doctor can remove it. Ehlers hoped this will help authorities to catch offenders.

"It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," Ehlers said.

"If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter... however, it doesn't break the skin, and there's no danger of fluid exposure."

During the World Cup she plans to distribute 30,000 of the free devices. After the trial period they will be sold for US $2 each.

"The ideal situation would be for a woman to wear this when she's going out on some kind of blind date ... or to an area she's not comfortable with," she said.

Rights organizations in South Africa such as Human Rights Watch and Care International declined to comment about the device but Ehlers said she consulted engineers, gynecologists and psychologists to ensure the condom's design was safe.

Ehlers said she had also asked rapists in jail whether the device would have deterred them and said some admitted it would have.

But critics suggest the condom puts women at risk of further violence from men trapped by the device and reminded women of their vulnerability.

Others accuse her of inventing a medieval device.

"Yes, my device may be a medieval, but it's for a medieval deed that has been around for decades," Ehlers said.

"I believe something's got to be done ... and this will make some men rethink before they assault a woman."

(3) Nurseries 'teaching children using computers'
Traditional play is being sidelined as growing numbers of nurseries teach young children using computers and state-of-the-art whiteboards, according to research.

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor
Published: 10:00PM BST 01 Jun 2010

Nurseries attached to state schools are much more likely to expose under-fives to modern technology, it was disclosed, despite fears that it undermines children’s long-term development.

According to figures, the vast majority of nurseries in schools now spend less than half of the week on conventional play-based activities.

Researchers suggested that the trend was driven by Labour’s “nappy curriculum” which must be followed by all schools, nurseries and childminders.

Under the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), children are supposed to hit a series of targets covering literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and social interaction by the age of five.

But critics claim that it is too restrictive and forces children into inappropriate early learning before they are ready.

In the latest study, the British Educational Suppliers Association found “significant variance” between the way private nurseries and state schools delivered early years education.

Ray Barker, the association’s director, said: “As many have found, the EYFS framework is quite rigid with a focus on traditional teaching and learning such as phonics.

“Our research has indicated that private nurseries and nursery units within state schools are taking a very different approach, with schools focusing on traditional teaching methods, while private nurseries are more committed to play.”

The research – based on a study of 510 teachers – found that private nurseries were almost twice as likely to devote the majority of week to play-based activities.

Some 65 per cent of those in the private sector spent more than half of the week on play, compared with just 35 per cent of state schools.

Nursery units in state schools were also much more likely to use modern technology.

Almost all schools had at least one computer for use by under-fives, while nine-in-10 employed touch-sensitive whiteboards which can be adapted for video, animation, graphics and sound.

Mr Barker added: “There is a big difference between nursery units within schools and private nurseries when it comes to using technology to teach early years children.”

Sue Palmer, former head teacher and author of the book Toxic Childhood, said: “There are so many screen-based activities that children are exposed to from an early age.

“What they really need in the first seven years is real life interaction with real people in real time – that’s what they need to develop.

“We want them to be socially confident, emotionally resilient, physically capable and intellectually curious. The more we rely on quick-fix, screen-based activities, the less time they get to develop these things.”

(4) Why teenagers can't concentrate (but we weren't like this in the 1960s - Peter M.)

Why teenagers can't concentrate: too much grey matter

UK research into teenagers' brains shows their mental processes are like those of younger children

Amelia Hill, Monday 31 May 2010 17.06 BST

{caption} Many students are unable to concentrate long enough to finish their studies. Photograph: Alamy {end}

Parents who despair over their teenagers' lack of concentration in class, inability to sit still long enough to finish homework or plan ahead, should take solace. Their children are not being lazy or careless – they are hapless victims of neurobiology.

New research has found that teenagers' brains continue developing far longer into adulthood than previously thought. Adolescents may look like young adults but their brain structure resembles that of much younger children, according to the study to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience on Wednesday.

"It is not always easy for adolescents to pay attention in class without letting their minds wander, or to ignore distractions from their younger sibling when trying to solve a maths problem," said Dr Iroise Dumontheil of University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, one of the authors of the research. "But it's not the fault of teenagers that they can't concentrate and are easily distracted. It's to do with the structure of their brains. Adolescents simply don't have the same mental capacities as an adult."

Using MRI scans, the brain activity of adolescents were monitored as they tried to solve a problem in their heads while ignoring environmental distractions.

The scans revealed an unexpected level of activity in the prefrontal cortex, a large region at the front of the brain involved in decision-making and multitasking. This indicated that the brain was working less effectively than that of an adult.

"We knew that the prefrontal cortex of young children functioned in this chaotic way but we didn't realise it continued until the late 20s or early 30s," said Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who led the study. "What we discovered was that the part of the brain needed to complete this sort of process is still very much developing throughout adolescence. This means it continues to do a lot of needless work when making these sorts of decisions."

Chaotic thought patterns are a result, she said, of teenagers' brains containing too much grey matter – the cell bodies and connections which carry messages within the brain. As we age, the amount of grey matter in our brains decreases.

"What our research has shown is that there is simply too much going on in the brains of adolescents," said Blakemore. "The result is that their brain energy and resources are wasted and their decision-making process negatively affected."

Adults, on the other hand, have less grey matter, said Blakemore. "This means that neural transmissions travel more efficiently from the cells to the brain, so the brain works far more effectively."

Comment (Peter M.):

There's a lost generation - a product of Daycare, Television, Advertising, Junk Food, the ban on Discipline, the lowering of School standards and the abolition of most school exams. In short, the revolt against Authority. Children of migrants are somewhat immune, because they bring traditional culture with them.

For over a decade, I have noticed that mechanics do not want apprentices. This young generation has grown up without discipline, and is given over to materialism and trivial pursuits.

We've destroyed our civilization by allowing our Cultural Revolution to go unchecked for too long.

If we were not running persistent Trade & Current-Account Deficits, we would notice the effects on our economy. As it is, we're importing the goods from Asia-model countries which DO retain discipline, and exchanging OUR assets for THEIR Surplus.

(5) Charles Darwin's thinking shaped by the "Scottish Enlightenment"

 From: Jonathan Graham <>  Date: 24.06.2010 11:15 PM
Subject: Charles Darwin in Scotland

This new "comprehensive account of Charles Darwin's crucially-important time in Scotland, which proved to be vital preparation for his voyage aboard the Beagle", may interest you.

My order was placed with the Book Depository, although I found the book browsing on, which has a far more flexible search engine.

Darwin in Scotland:
Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment (Paperback)
by J.F. Derry

Product Description
With exclusive contributions from Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Martin Rees, Aubrey Manning, Richard Holloway, Daniel C. Dennett, Randal Keynes, Brian Charlesworth, Ken Ham and others. This is the first book on Darwin and Darwinism that wholly concentrates on his time spent in Scotland and the key contributions to his future insights made by the Scottish Enlightenment and the University of Edinburgh. Darwin developed his theories because he attended Edinburgh University - although he participated little in formal tuition, it was through interaction with his tutors, peers and extracurricular groups that he was exposed to an ethos of naturalistic philosophy rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment and, by direct descent, the Ancient Greeks. If he had bypassed Scotland and gone straight to Cambridge, his education would have been theologically-based and unlikely to have given him the perspective that led him to question the prevailing doctrine. ...

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