I beg of you.
Soul song week: 4. You’re All I Need to Get By
5 minutes ago
"There are at least 15 initiatives attempting to address the problem of conflict minerals by governments, companies and international organizations. This is the usual story of good intentions paving the road to hell, given that these overlapping and for the most part uncoordinated efforts will largely cancel each other out."
"The objective of mineral certification is to change the commercial calculus from violence to stability, from smuggling to legality, from collapsed state to rebuilding state, from private bank accounts to public revenues.
The chain of change begins with the consumer of the end products: laptops, cell phones, etc. The consumer demands change from companies and governments. Companies and governments lean on mineral to metal refiners. Refiners in turn press Central African exporters. Exporters subsequently -- for their economic survival -- demand transparency from suppliers right down to the mines, if that is what making money requires. It is a classic domino effect."
"Democratic Republic of Congo (CNN) -- Our friend Kika is a long-term resident of Panzi Clinic, a remarkable facility in eastern Congo that manages, under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to accommodate a small number of women who have survived excruciating acts of gender violence. For the sufferers who have heard of Panzi, post-rape, they will do anything to get there. Kika did. She crawled. It took her one month.
Kika was fetching water one early morning, as she always did. On this day, something that is becoming almost inevitable for girls and women happened to her. Armed militia appeared and began to sexually assault her. She screamed, attracting her older brother Patrice's attention. He came running. The militia welcomed their next victim by demanding he rape his sister. He refused. They insisted again. He said, "Kika is like my mother. I will not."
They stabbed him to death with their bayonets, then repeatedly raped Kika.
Patrice's now deceased and Kika's now broken body were carried back to their small home. After a week, Kika smelled very bad. She had had no medical attention. Her own family insisted she leave. That was when she began to crawl.
What links Kika's anguish and any one of us reading this? What connects us to her catastrophic suffering and that of so many other women and girls like her from Congo?
The ingredients in our electronics, that's what. The way they are being mined has everything to do with armed militia gang raping tens of thousands of civilians in what is grimly known as the worst place In the world to be a girl or woman.
When asked how she had endured such suffering, the otherwise straight-backed and stoic Kika wept. "Panzi Clinic did not abandon me," she said, sopping tears with a kitchen towel worn at her waist. The statement is profound.
The question for us, then, is, will we abandon her? Will we abandon tens of thousands of girls and women already incapacitated by the extraordinary violence done to their bodies and spirits, crippling a whole society? Will we abandon those who will be raped, either again, or for the first time, by armed militia extracting the minerals used in the electronics we love and rely on? Or, will we as consumers, as Americans, as members of the human race, take these simple actions, sustained over time, to make gender violence atrocities stop?"
“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
~ from the New York Times
"She was severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera. Her 22-year-old son, Sajad and her 17-year-old daughter Saeedeh are completely traumatised by watching this programme," said Houtan Kian (Ashtiani's attorney).
"That's absolutely inaccurate — it's completely false," Amy Truong said. "I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It's like they're calling us liars."
David Truong said, "We want justice. The people here need to be held responsible and to be stopped. It did happen. There are witnesses everywhere."
"We reject the Department’s remaining arguments for the same reason: they do
not provide a reasonable basis for allowing homosexual foster parenting or
......guardianships while imposing a prohibition on adoption."
"Under Florida law, homosexual persons are allowed to serve as foster
parents or guardians but are barred from being considered for adoptive parents.
All other persons are eligible to be considered case-by-case to be adoptive parents,
but not homosexual persons—even where, as here, the adoptive parent is a fit
parent and the adoption is in the best interest of the children.
The Department has argued that evidence produced by its experts and F.G.’s
experts supports a distinction wherein homosexual persons may serve as foster
parents or guardians, but not adoptive parents. Respectfully, the portions of the
record cited by the Department do not support the Department’s position. We
conclude that there is no rational basis for the statute."
"Unlike Dr. Schumm, Dr. Rekers sees no role for individual evaluation of the
proposed adoptive parent, if that parent is a homosexual. He maintained that
performing an individualized study of the proposed adoptive parent, like F.G., is
not viable because even if F.G. is found to be entirely appropriate as an adoptive
parent at the present time, it is possible that he may develop some sort of a
disorder later in life."
11 Dr. Rekers opined at one point that he would favor removing
children from foster parents who are homosexual persons even where the children
had lived with the foster parents for ten years. R. 1736. He also said, however,
that if he evaluated the F.G. household (which he had not done for this case), he
might recommend continued foster placement. R. 1758.
"Dr. Rekers was questioned about his recent authorship of a law review
article entitled An Empirically Supported Rational Basis for Prohibiting Adoption,
Foster Parenting, and Contested Child Custody by Any Person in a Household that
Includes a Homosexually-Behaving Member, 18 St. Thomas L. Rev. 325 (2005).
According to the judgment, “the doctor heavily cited to the conclusions of a
colleague who is sharply criticized as distorting data and was censured and ousted
[or withdrew in lieu of ousting] by the American Psychological Association for
misreporting evidence regarding homosexual households.” Final Judgment at 20
(footnote omitted). The court concluded that “Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from
a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence.” Final
Judgment at 23."
"SALTER, J. (concurring).
I concur in affirming the judgment of adoption in this case. I write only to
emphasize certain parts of the record beyond those detailed by the trial court and
my respected colleagues. Those differences pertain to (1) the record regarding
the other persons in the adoptive parent’s household and (2) the substantial
changes in law and Department of Children and Families’ policy after the
Legislature enacted subsection 63.042(3) in 1977.
The categorical ban was enacted in haste and reaction in 1977.16 Those who
voted for it in the legislature did not prohibit the placement of children with
homosexual foster parents or permanent guardians—only the permanent step of
adoption was addressed. Because the Department has approved homosexuals to
serve as foster parents and permanent guardians,17 the Department now has
years of experience and observation to inform its position and its testimony in the
Moreover, the placement of children in those households has allowed
bonds and relationships to form that are in the best interests of children—steps
toward permanency and stability in young lives that have already known too
much pain and separation. In short, the categorical ban and the statutory
polestar of “best interests of the children” after an extended and very successful
foster placement (as here) are inimical.
In striking the categorical ban of section 63.042(3) on equal protection
grounds, we need not address the larger controversy regarding same-sex
marriage.21 The Department’s policies and stipulations (Appendix, paragraphs 6
and 8) have made it clear that placement with a married couple, or even an
applicant who might later marry, is not the rational basis proffered in support of
the ban. The unconstitutionality of this particular categorical ban regarding
adoption simply leaves the Department in the position described by its chief of
child welfare services in her testimony below:
Q. Okay. So if the state law didn’t exist and the folks in the
department were implementing the child welfare policy,
would there be a reason to exclude gay people from adopting?
A. If the law didn’t exist, we would use the same criteria to
assess those families as any other, and the best interest of the
child would be the, would be the norm.
With these few differences in analysis, I concur in affirming the final
judgment of adoption."
21 In the recently-decided federal case in California, Perry v. Schwarzenegger,
2010 WL 3025614 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2010), many of the same equal protection
arguments, and two of the expert witnesses who testified in the adoption case here,
were cited in the court’s order.
The trial court made an alternative finding that “the statute infringes on the
Children’s right to permanency pursuant to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of
1997, [42 U.S.C. § 671,] adopted in Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes.” Final
Judgment at 38. The Department contends that this ruling was erroneous.
Because we affirm the declaration of unconstitutionality on the ground that there
is an equal protection violation under the Florida Constitution, we need not reach
the trial court’s alternative holding.