Karmic Reverberations

Politics, human rights, and current events

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LGBT Youth on the Streets

Posted by karmalily on September 28, 2009

Homelessness has long been a problem in America, and numerous organizations and programs have been developed in response. Despite this, however, there are many problems left. First, people fail to identify with the homeless people they pass on the street. These people are ignored, ridiculed, and frowned upon as a “nuisance” to society. Second, some groups of homeless people are not receiving the help they need because they are discriminated against even among charities whose mission is to help those very people.

Shannon at the End Homelessness blog at Change.org wrote about the shocking number of LGBT youth living on the streets. She cites a report released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which I would like to take a further look at.

According to the report, the reason for the large number of homeless LGBT youth is due to families kicking the individual out of the home after “coming out.” This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone given the current way LGBT people are viewed in this country – homosexual marriage is still illegal in most of the US, hate crimes are committed, religious communities condemn homosexuality as a sin, and such lifestyles are seen as “radical” or comical (i.e., the stereotypical gay friend you see so often on television). The only way to stop such a problem is education to promote a societal change in the way the LGBT community is viewed. And such a thing is not easy to do…

The report goes on to discuss the psychological damage done to LGBT youth, which can ultimately lead to depression, addictions, and violence. One point I would like to emphasize is that

Lack of funding is not the only obstacle preventing LGBT homeless youth from receiving the services they need. … A number of faith-based providers oppose legal and social equality for LGBT people, which raises serious questions about whether LGBT homeless youth can access services in a safe and nurturing environment.”

So essentially, a LGBT youth who is forced out of his/her home may not be able to find help because they will be discriminated against by the assistance programs he/she vitally needs. A few suggestions about improving the circumstances of the homeless LGBT community are cited in the report, such as creating programs specially targeted to this group of people, and teaching people working with homeless people about LGBT issues.

Do Something:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Posted in activism, culture, human rights | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Plant Releases Dangerous Chemicals, Doesn’t Tell

Posted by karmalily on April 21, 2009

In a move reminiscent of the cover-up surrounding the accident at Chernobyl, managers of a chemical plant of in West Virginia waited hours to inform emergency officials about a dangerous chemical it accidentally released. Two employees at Bayer CropScience were killed, with six firefightered made sick.

From the New York Times:

Devices meant to detect releases of the chemical, methyl isocyanate, known as MIC, had been disabled, and video cameras had been disconnected, steps that “raise concerns about an orchestrated effort by Bayer to shroud the explosion in secrecy,” said the subcommittee chairman, Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan.

Apparently the plant thought that they could “refuse to provide information” to the board that was created to lead the investigation. They claimed that some of the documents requested contained sensitive information, and their release could jeopardize the plant’s safety. However, the law the company used to get out of releasing those documents was actually created to protect port security, and Bayer CropScience had to say they were under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.

This is worrisome because more people could have been hurt, and when you live near a chemical plant or any other such location, you want to know that you are secure and that the managers of the plant are doing everything they can to keep the chemicals safely contained. This is one example of how dangerous the inept leadership of companies can be. Officials should have been notified of the release of dangerous chemicals as soon as it happened, not hours later.

Posted in environment, politics, pollution | Leave a Comment »

EPA: CO2 is Bad

Posted by karmalily on April 17, 2009

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbon dioxide is bad. Really? The EPA is going to announce this “finding” soon, along with the fact that emissions from automobiles contribute to global warming. Really?

These facts are nothing new, and it is unbelievable to me that the EPA has not actually announced publicly yet that CO2 and cars are bad for the environment are adding to global climate change.

On the upside, however, once the EPA makes the official announcement, it means that regulations will be set in place. Regulations should have been in place a long time ago, but I’ll take it now instead of later.

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Rape Victim Accused of False Report

Posted by karmalily on April 3, 2009

This is just infuriating. From The Curvature:

A woman was raped at gunpoint while working for a convenience store, and reported her rape – as, you know, cops, the government, and well-meaning people are always encouraging her and other rape victims to do. Her rape was even “real” rape – since, you know, it was at gunpoint and committed by a total stranger and therefore lacking most sufficient “gray areas.”

But still, the police did not believe the victim….

Instead, they accused her of a false report and put her in jail.


First, the police and other officials should always give victims of any crime the benefit of the doubt when they first come into the station. The police are supposed to protect and serve, right? So how can they serve those who they just plain don’t give a shit about? In this particular case (and for others too) no investigation had been done. They just assumed she was a liar.

Second, as Cara at the Curvature notes,

Seemingly, it does matter that rather than doing an investigation, which likely could have verified her accusation rather easily, police instead failed to do that investigation and made their own accusation based on assumption.

Assumptions of what, I don’t know. How she was acting during reporting? How much physical evidence there was?

They had no basis to not believe the victim. They simply chose to arrest her.

And third, the worst part of this whole case is that her rapist, who could’ve been caught if they had believed the victim and went after him, raped other women after raping the victim.

Everyone knows that rape is horrible. However, there are many people who do not see all rape as rape. For example, there are people that think some women “deserve” to be raped because of their clothes. Seriously. Then there are people that don’t think rape can happen if the victim and rapist know one another. Yeah, these people are obviously fucked up, but we need to realize that there are people like this. Until all rape is taken as seriously as it should be, cases like this will continue to happen.

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Iowa Approves Same-Sex marriage!!!

Posted by karmalily on April 3, 2009

Iowa has become the third state to approve same-sex marriage. The state’s supreme court ruled that the ban that had been in place was unconstitional. From The NY Times:

The Supreme Court said same-sex marriages could begin in Iowa in as soon as 21 days, making Iowa only the third state in the nation, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut, to legalize gay marriage. …

“We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law,” the Iowa justices wrote in their opinion. “If gay and lesbian people must submit to different treatment without an exceedingly persuasive justification, they are deprived of the benefits of the principle of equal protection upon which the rule of law is founded.”

Now we just have to work on the other 47 states. I’m thrilled about this news, but as soon as I got over my initial “woot”-ness, I remembered that in the rest of the country same-sex couples are still banned from getting married. It’s ridiculous. There is no logical reason why homosexuals should not be allowed to get married. Everyone I’ve ever argued about this with was unable to come up with a decent reason why it should be illegal. Usually, opponents just hide behind some weak religious arguments, or they are simply prejudice against homosexuals. Lame. We should be embracing love. Not discriminating against it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Immigrant detainee deaths ignored?

Posted by karmalily on April 2, 2009

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that immigrants are not treated well in this country. But this is unbelievable. From the NY Times:

The hand-scrawled letter from a New Jersey jail was urgent. An immigration detainee had died that day, Sept. 9, 2005, a fellow inmate wrote in broken English, describing chest pains and pleas for medical attention that went unheeded until too late.

“Death… need to be investigated,” he urged a loccal group that corresponded with foreigners held for deportation at the jail, the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold. “We care very much because that can happen to anyone of us.”

Yet like a message in a bottle tossed from a distant shore, even the fact of the detainee’s death was soon swept away.

It is completely unacceptable that in America today immigrants are still treated this badly. I’m not going to turn this into the “America was founded on immigration” argument (although it was and it is a valid point), I just want people to realize that there are human rights abuses right here in America.

In New Jersey, an Immigrant Detainee Dies, and Then Vanishes From the Records

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New Rights for Prisoners in US Afghan Prisons

Posted by karmalily on April 2, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court. It was a 5-4 vote made in June of 2008. However, these same rights were never extended to prisoners kept in US-run prisons in Afghanistan.

As of today, that has changed. From the NY Times:

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that prisoners in the war on terrori can use U.S. civilian courts to challenge their detention at a military air base in Afghanistan.

U.S. District Judge John Bates turned down the United States’ motion to deny the right to three foreign detainees at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistand.

And speaking of Guantanamo, apparently Miss Universe had a grand ol’ time on her trip to the infamous prison.

We also met the Military dogs, and they did a very nice demonstration of their skills. All the guys from the Army were amazing with us. We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how they recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting.

Yeeaaah, I’m sure the prisoners are enjoying themselves just like you Miss Universe.

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Council on Women and Girls

Posted by karmalily on March 11, 2009

President Barack Obama on the creation of a new council on women:

The purpose of this Council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy,” said President Obama. “My Administration has already made important progress toward that goal. I am proud that the first bill I signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. But I want to be clear that issues like equal pay, family leave, child care and others are not just women’s issues, they are family issues and economic issues. Our progress in these areas is an important measure of whether we are truly fulfilling the promise of our democracy for all our people. I am confident that Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen will guide the Council wisely as its members address these important issues.

Way to go Prez!

Daily Kos

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Tibetan monks taken for “Political re-education”

Posted by karmalily on March 8, 2009

Although this is horribly upsetting, it really isn’t all that surprising. Way to go China for spitting in the face of freedom once again.

China has long been oppressing Tibet, and whenever riots or protests start to flare up they pound them down with their fists. This time is no different. 109 monks have been arrested by Chinese officials for “political re-education.” Seriously. From Times Online:

The rounding up of 109 monks from Lutsang monastery in Qinghai province, western China, is one of a series of extraordinary security measures being implemented to prevent restive Tibetans from commemorating the anniversary [of the exile of the Dalai Lama and concurrant Tibetan protests for freedom from the Chinese] with protests against Chinese rule….

…A military lockdown has been in place across Tibet for several weeks. The authorities clearly do not want to be taken by surprise, as they were on March 14 last year when hundreds of Tibetans rampaged through the streets of Lhasa, setting fire to shops and offices, hurling stones and attacking ethnic Han Chinese and Hui Muslim residents. The Government says that 22 people died before paramilitary police moved in to restore order many hours after the violence had erupted.

Things aren’t looking good for Tibet. The main problem is that no nation is willing to stand up to China and demand human rights for all Chinese citizens. Freedom is far more important than the money these nations are making from being trading partners with China.

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Obama on unemployment, credit – Weekly Address

Posted by karmalily on March 7, 2009

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