How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - "A former academic mathematician and ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics, with results that cause damage both financially and to the fabric of society. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: Weapons of Math Destruction." [more inside]
Never before has a British ambassador given an interview about being lesbian or gay [...] this is the first full discussion with a member of the press about life as an out-and-proud ambassador. It has taken 25 years for this to even be conceivable – and it isn’t until the end of the interview that the real reason for Gough’s anxiousness emerges.
A woman wanting a mans-style hair-cut was denied one by a Toronto barber because his religion forbids him from touching a woman he is not related to. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is expected to hear the issue if mediation fails, as a competing rights issue where there is a conflict between two individuals exercising their rights. The OBA (warning, cheesy music autoplay) defends some Barbershops as a men's-only space tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, while others point to womens-only spaces like spas that are allowed to continue to operate while discriminating against men.
Judge Rules "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is Unconstitutional - Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court struck down President Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in an opinion (Scribd) issued late Thursday, ruling on the constitutionality of a complaint brought by the Log Cabin Republicans (PDF). President Obama's Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Judge Phillips's permanent injunction, which is uncertain given Obama's previous support of his Department of Justice defending the legality of DADT, despite his opposition to DADT in principle.
In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
"My answer is, I don't know. I don't know." US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker asked Prop 8 supporters to define the nature and extent of damage done by same-sex couples to the institution of marriage, and being unable to get any definitive answer, denied the request from supporters of Prop 8 to throw out Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ordered the case to trial in January 2010.
Being a same-sex, taxpaying couple is more expensive, overall, than being a straight, taxpaying couple, for the same services and benefits, when available.
workplace protection--not as hotbutton as Marriage Equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, but far more essential
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow --a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994, the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act (text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
The First Freedom Project --new from the Dept of Justice, announced at the Southern Baptist Convention along with a call for their help---specifically and only to protect the religious from discrimination against them. Many are not impressed: The administration has often ignored the importance of the no establishment principle by supporting attempts of governments to endorse a religious message, using tax dollars to fund pervasively religious organizations, allowing religious discrimination in hiring for federally funded projects, ... Legal strategies and actions from groups like the Alliance Defense Fund and ACLJ are now official DOJ policy, it appears. ...In his statement, Gonzales mentioned several cases litigated by ADF and its allies ...
Laurel Hester, RIP --because she and her partner fought, New Jersey police and fire department employees can now name anyone--not just a spouse--as a beneficiary for pension rights, helping to protect those they love after they're gone. Just one person who made a difference.
Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
Every gay and lesbian federal employee has just lost their protection from discrimination. Gay and lesbians in the entire federal workforce have had their job protections officially removed by the office of Special Counsel. The new Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, says his interpretation of a 1978 law intended to protect employees and job applicants from adverse personnel actions is that gay and lesbian workers are not covered. Bloch said that the while a gay employee would have no recourse for being fired or demoted for being gay, that same worker could not be fired for attending a gay Pride event.