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September 07, 2010

NAACP launches site to track Tea Party bigotry, Fox News freaks out

Think Progress -- Right Wing Freaks Out Over Tea Party Tracking Effort
Just before Glenn Beck’s “non-political” tea party rally on the National Mall less than two weeks ago, the NAACP — in collaboration with ThinkProgress, Media Matters, and New Left Media — launched a site called TeaPartyTracker.org. Consistent with the NAACP’s stated desire to expose the intolerant elements of the tea party, the new site will aggregate and filter content produced by its partners that is related to the core mission of holding the tea parties accountable. The tea party tracking site has spawned a conspiratorial fit from the right wing. The conservative blog Gateway Pundit sees the effort as a “smear” against the right. Glenn Beck’s new site cautions, “Tea Partiers beware — the NAACP is watching you.” This morning on Fox & Friends, contributor Andrew Napolitano said that because Glenn Beck has assembled “the largest political gathering in the past 40 years,” “suddenly, the left is worried.” Appearing on CNBC to discuss the CAPAF-sponsored Clean Energy Summit, John Podesta was asked about the tea party tracking effort by conservative host Joe Kernen. Podesta responded, “What we’re trying to do is just really focus on the facts, talk to people, see what they’re for. … We want to have an open dialogue.” Referring to Fox News, he added, “There shouldn’t just be one source of information about the tea parties coming from one of your network rivals.”

August 29, 2010

New York: Republican candidate for Governor wants to put welfare recipients in prison

NY candidate: Prison dorms for welfare recipients - The Buffalo News
NEW YORK (AP) - Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in "personal hygiene." Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists, isn't saying the state should jail poor people: The program would be voluntary. But the suggestion that poor families would be better off in remote institutions, rather than among friends and family in their own neighborhoods, struck some anti-poverty activists as insulting. . . . Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would work for the state - "military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service," he said - while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors. "Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said.

August 25, 2010

Amazon quietly removes gay books from search results, bestseller lists

Not all queer books, but very many. Including award winners and seminal favorites like "Rubyfruit Jungle" or Bechdel's marvelous "Fun Home." Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times
"American Psycho" is Bret Easton Ellis' story of a sadistic murderer. "Unfriendly Fire" is a well-reviewed empirical analysis of military policy. But it's "Unfriendly Fire" that does not have a sales rank -- which means it would not show up in Amazon's bestseller lists, even if it sold more copies than the "Twilight" series. In some cases, being de-ranked also means being removed from Amazon's search results. Amazon's policy of removing "adult" content from its rankings seems to be both new and unevenly implemented. On Saturday, self-published author Mark R. Probst noticed that his book had lost its ranking, and made inquiries. The response he got from Amazon's customer service explained: In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature. Probst wrote a novel for young adults with gay characters set in the old West; he was concerned that gay-friendly books were being unfairly targeted. Amazon has not responded to the L.A. Times request for clarification. Our research shows that these books have lost their ranking: "Running with Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs, "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel, "The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1" by Michel Foucault, "Bastard Out of Carolina" by Dorothy Allison (2005 Plume edition), "Little Birds: Erotica" by Anais Nin, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Jean-Dominque Bauby (1997 Knopf edition), "Maurice" by E.M. Forster (2005 W.W. Norton edition) and "Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette, which won the 1992 National Book Award.