Tag Archives: woman

3 charged in hatchet attack on transgender woman

Charlotte, North Carolina, police say they’ve charged three people in a hatchet attack on a transgender woman.

Ralayzia Taylor tells local media she was attacked Nov. 7 in a park.

She thinks the group wanted to rob her and intensified their attack after they realized she’s transgender.

The 24-year-old Taylor says one attacker cut her with a hatchet and they used gay slurs.

The FBI says it is working with Charlotte police in the investigation.

The Mecklenburg County Jail website says 18-year-olds Dajion Tanner and Destiny Dagraca face charges including attempted first-degree murder. Police say a 15-year-old also was arrested.

It wasn’t clear if they have attorneys.

North Carolina is in the midst of a fight over LGBT rights after the state passed a law limiting where transgender people can use the bathroom.

Transcript: Hillary Clinton’s concession speech

Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. Very rowdy group. Thank you, my friends. Thank you. Thank you, thank you so very much for being here. I love you all, too.

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together, this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it, too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort.

This is painful and it will be for a long time, but I want you to remember this. Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted. We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought, but I still believe in America and I always will. If you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future.

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things. The rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.

And let me add, our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet, and breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.

We have spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone, for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and for people with disabilities. For everyone. So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek, and I know you will. I am so grateful to stand with all of you.

I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It has been a joy getting to know them better and it gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front lines of our democracy representing Virginia in the senate. To Barack and Michelle Obama, our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude. We thank you for your graceful, determined leadership that has meant so much to so many Americans and people across the world.

And to Bill and Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aiden, our brothers and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express. You crisscrossed this country on our behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most, even 4-month-old Aden who traveled with his mom. I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country.

You poured your hearts into this campaign. For some of you who are veterans, it was a campaign after you had done other campaigns. Some of you, it was your first campaign. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anybody could have ever expected or wanted. And to the millions of volunteers, community leaders, activists and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook, even in secret private Facebook sites,

I want everybody coming out from behind that and make sure your voices are heard going forward. To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you. Thank you from all of us. And to the young people in particular, I hope you will hear this. I have, as Tim said, spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I have had successes and I have had setbacks. Sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional public and political careers.

You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is. It is worth it. And so we need — we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives, and to all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.

Now — I — I know — I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams. Finally — finally, I am so grateful for our country and for all it has given to me.

I count my blessings every single day that I am an American, and I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.

Because, you know, you know I believe that we are stronger together, and we will go forward together. And you should never, ever regret fighting for that. You know, scripture tells us, let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

So, my friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come, and there is more work to do. I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election.

May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

On the Web

Hillary Clinton on Facebook.

 

World stunned as Trump defeats Clinton for White House

Republican Donald Trump stunned the world by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election, sending the United States on an uncertain path.

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The billionaire real estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to win the White House race against Clinton, the Democratic candidate whose resume included serving as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Worried a Trump victory would cause economic and global uncertainty, investors were in full flight from risky assets.

The unofficial returns show Trump has collected enough of the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed to win the four-year term that would start on Jan. 20, 2017.

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Republicans also kept control of Congress, with projections showing the GOP would retain majorities in the 100-seat U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

Trump appeared with his family before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, making the un-Trumpish assertion that it is time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground.

“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I will be president for all Americans.”

He said he received a call from Clinton and praised her for her service and for a hard-fought campaign.

His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly slammed Clinton as “crooked” amid supporters’ chants of “lock her up.”

At Clinton’s election event at the Javits conference center a mile away from Trump’s event, an electric atmosphere among supporters expecting a Clinton win slowly grew grim as the night went on.

Clinton opted not to appear at her event.

Campaign chairman John Podesta told supporters, “We’re not going to have anything more to say tonight.”

Clinton was expected to speak on Wednesday morning, an aide said.

Prevailing in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls clearly forecast as favoring a Clinton victory, Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

In his victory speech, he claimed he had a great economic plan, would embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and would double U.S. economic growth.

His win raises a host of questions for the United States at home and abroad. He campaigned on a pledge to take the country on a more isolationist, protectionist “America First” path.

Countries around the world reacted with stunned disbelief as the early returns showed Trump defeating Clinton in the electoral college.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, described the result as a “huge shock” and questioned whether it meant the end of “Pax Americana”, the state of relative peace overseen by Washington that has governed international relations since World War Two.

Neighbor Mexico was pitched into deep uncertainty by the victory for Trump who has often accused it of stealing U.S. jobs and sending criminals across the border.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the two countries would remain “strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Washington to stay committed to last year’s international nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump has threatened to rip up.

Trump’s national security ideas have simultaneously included promises to build up the U.S. military while at the same time avoiding foreign military entanglements.

He also wants to rewrite international trade deals to reduce trade deficits and has taken positions that raise the possibility of damaging relations with America’s most trusted allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Trump has promised to warm relations with Russia that have chilled under President Barack Obama over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the Syrian civil war and his seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Putin sent Trump a congratulatory note, saying he hoped that they can get the U.S.-Russian relationship out of crisis.

Trump entered the race 17 months ago and survived a series of seemingly crippling blows, many of them self-inflicted, including the emergence in October of a 2005 video in which he boasted about making unwanted sexual advances on women.

He apologized but within days, several women emerged to say he had groped them, allegations he denied.

He was judged the loser of all three presidential debates with Clinton.
A Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll offered some clues to the outcome.

It found Clinton underperformed expectations with women, winning their vote by only about 7 percent, similar to Obama when he won re-election in 2012.

And while she won Hispanics, black and millennial voters, Clinton did not win those groups by greater margins than Obama did in 2012.

Younger blacks did not support Clinton like they did Obama, as she won eight of 10 black voters between the ages of 35 and 54. Obama won almost 100 percent of those voters in 2012.

During the campaign, Trump said he would “make America great again” through the force of his personality, negotiating skill and business acumen.
He proposed refusing entry to the United States of people from war-torn Middle Eastern countries, a modified version of an earlier proposed ban on Muslims.

His volatile nature, frequent insults and unorthodox proposals led to campaign feuds with a long list of people, including Muslims, the disabled, Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier, a Miss Universe winner and a federal judge of Mexican heritage.

A largely anti-Trump crowd of about 400 to 500 people gathered outside the White House after his apparent victory, many visibly in shock or tears.
Some carried signs that read “stand up to racism” and “love trumps hate.”
Meanwhile, as financial markets absorbed the prospect of Trump’s win, the Mexican peso plunged to its lowest-ever levels. The peso had become a touchstone for sentiment on the election as Trump threatened to rip up a free trade agreement with Mexico.

His triumph was seen by some as a rebuke to Obama, a Democrat who spent weeks flying around the country to campaign against him, repeatedly casting doubt on his suitability for the White House. Obama will hand over the office to Trump after serving the maximum eight years allowed by law.

Trump promises to push Congress to repeal Obama’s health care plan and to reverse his Clean Power Plan. He plans to create jobs by relying on U.S. fossil fuels such as oil and gas and he poses a serious threat to the Paris climate change agreement.

Trump’s victory marked a frustrating end to the presidential aspirations of Clinton, 69, who so many expected to become the first woman U.S. president.

In a posting on Twitter during Tuesday evening, she acknowledged a battle that was unexpectedly tight given her edge in opinion polls going into Election Day.

“This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything,” she tweeted.

This story will be updated.

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ACLU demands Catholic hospital provide emergency procedure for pregnant woman with brain tumor

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sent a demand letter to a Catholic hospital in Michigan on behalf of a pregnant woman with a life-threatening brain tumor who was denied a request to get her tubes tied at the time of her scheduled C-section next month.

Jessica Mann, who is 34 weeks pregnant, was denied the procedure by Genesys Hospital because of religiously based rules that dictate hospital policy.

Mann’s doctor highly recommends that she has no further children due to the strain the pregnancy will pose to her health because of her brain tumor.

Although her doctor requested a medical exception to the general prohibition on sterilization procedures at Genesys a few months ago, the woman was just informed that the request would not be granted. Having a tubal after Mann recovers from the C-section in several weeks is also not recommended because that would also require another round of life-threatening full anesthesia and surgery. 

“Although everyone has a right to practice their religion as they see fit, religion cannot be used to harm others, which is what is happening here,” said Brooke Tucker, attorney at the ACLU of Michigan. “Jessica Mann and every person who goes into the hospital seeking medical care should not have to worry that religious beliefs rather than medical judgment will dictate what care they receive.”

Genesys Hospital is part of Ascension Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in the country. The facility is governed by religious rules called the Ethical and Religious Directives, which are written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and that classify common reproductive health procedures as “intrinsically evil.”

“I should be able to focus on getting ready for my baby, not having to fight a hospital for treatment in my last trimester of pregnancy,” said Jessica Mann. “I want to make sure that not only myself but that other women are able to get the medical treatment that they need.”

Tubal ligation, known familiarly as “getting one’s tubes tied,” is the contraception method of choice for more than 30 percent of U.S. married women of reproductive age. An estimated 600,000 women undergo this procedure each year. For women who want a tubal ligation, performing it at the time of a C-Section is recommended practice and is the standard of care.

Ten of the 25 largest hospital systems in the United States are Catholic-sponsored, and nearly one of nine hospital beds in the country is in a Catholic facility.

Milwaukee police take 3 hours to respond to sex assault

An 82-year-old woman waited three hours for Milwaukee police to respond to her call for help after she was sexually assaulted, according to police department records.

The department has been criticized for long response times in the past, and a spokesman acknowledged this one was “excessive.”

Earlier this month, the woman was knocked to the ground by a stranger and sexually assaulted after she got off a bus near her home in Milwaukee, according to records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After walking home, the woman called 911. The call was initially given top priority, but after the woman refused to have paramedics come to her home for medical care her call was downgraded, according to the records.

The victim at one point told a dispatcher she had refused medical treatment because she was worried about paying an ambulance bill. The woman, who has difficulty with her sight, then called police again and asked if she could take a shower. The dispatcher advised her not to in order to preserve evidence.

Ninety minutes after the first call, a dispatcher notified the supervisor that no squad car had been sent to the woman’s house. The sergeant said that squads were busy with other calls, according to the records obtained by the newspaper. Another hour and 20 minutes passed and the victim called again, asking if a squad car was coming.

After three hours and six minutes, a squad responded and the woman was taken to a sexual assault treatment center.

Police spokesman Lt. Mark Stanmeyer said the case is under review.

“The Milwaukee Police Department is reviewing both our dispatch prioritization protocol and the handling of this specific call for service to ensure policy was followed and determine whether policy revision is needed, as the time from the initial call to the police and the dispatch of a squad was excessive,” he said.

About a year ago, Police Chief Edward Flynn vowed to improve response times after it took officers 22 minutes to respond to the report of a fatal stabbing. At the time, police said they were investigating a separate stabbing in which the response also was delayed.

Stephen Ray Robinson, a 28-year-old from Milwaukee, was charged Friday with two counts of sexual assault and one count of aggravated battery. The complaint says he admitted to attacking the woman and told police he walked away when she started yelling for God. Online court records don’t list an attorney for Robinson.

Bruce Jenner: ‘I am a woman’

Former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner told the world that “for all intents and purposes, I am a woman” in an extraordinary television interview aired Friday about gender confusion he first felt as a youngster trying on his mother’s and sister’s dresses.

The 1976 decathlon champion, known better to a new generation as the patriarch of television’s omnipresent Kardashian clan, took out his ponytail to let his long hair flow past his shoulders.

“I’m not this bad person,” said Jenner, who hoped the two-hour interview could help others struggling with gender identity issues. “I’m just doing what I have to do.”

The E! Entertainment network announced that Jenner would be part of a documentary series about the transition that would begin on July 26.

The two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer was filmed in February in Los Angeles and New York, before a fatal car accident in which Jenner was involved.

Jenner said he self-identifies as “her,” not a specific name. But he told Sawyer he felt comfortable using the pronouns “he” and “him,” a designation that is an important issue for many in the transgender community, which believes that transgender people should be referred to by the pronouns with which they choose to identify.

Jenner said his “brain is more female than it is male.” He said he began gender reassignment therapy in the 1980s — taking hormones, having surgery to make his nose smaller and having hair removed from his face and chest — but gave it up. As Jenner, 65, got older, he realized that if he got sick and faced death without facing up to this issue, “I’d be so mad that I didn’t explore that side of my life.”

As a young boy, Jenner felt an urge to try on his mother’s and sister’s dresses.

“I didn’t know why I was doing it,” he said. “It just made me feel good.”

Jenner said he has never been sexually attracted to men, and he wanted to make clear to viewers that gender identity and sexuality were separate things.

“I am not gay,” he said. “I am, as far as I know, heterosexual. I’ve always been with a woman, raising kids.”

Jenner said he has not decided whether he will undergo sexual reassignment surgery.

“These are all things that are out there in the future for me to explore,” he said. “There’s no rush for that. And I would do it so quietly that nobody in the world would know.”

Jenner’s four oldest children appeared on the interview special to support their father, but not the two girls he had with Kris Kardashian. He said his stepdaughter Kim has been a big supporter, urged on by husband Kanye West, but that his stepdaughter Khloe was taking it the hardest.

Jenner’s first two wives offered messages of support; Kris Kardashian told ABC she had no comment but tweeted after the interview aired, “Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero.”

Jenner told Sawyer that Kris was having a difficult time with it, and that if she better understood it, the couple would probably still be together.

Jenner’s 89-year-old mother also was interviewed, saying she was more proud of Bruce than when he stood as an Olympic champion in Montreal.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund offered a statement of congratulations to Jenner.

“We hope that Jenner inspires others to find the courage to be open about who they are,” said Michael Silverman, the fund’s executive director. “And we hope that Jenner’s message of authenticity and openness will shine a light on the unique challenges that transgender people face and help further equality.”

Jenner showed Sawyer a closet filled with dresses and men’s clothes. Sawyer said she had a private dinner with Jenner where he wore a dress, but the former Olympian did not appear in one in the ABC special.

Jenner said his two youngest daughters, suspecting that each other was secretly using her clothes, set up a computer to catch the other in the act — only to find out it was their father raiding their closets.

“I would like to think that we can save some lives here,” said Jenner, who admitted he once considered suicide at a low point when seen by paparazzi heading to a surgery to have his Adam’s apple shaved back. “I have a feeling this is my cause in life. This is why God put me on this Earth, to deal with this issue.”

Photo may offer clue in Amelia Earhart mystery

The photo is, mostly, unremarkable. It shows an airplane looming darkly on a runway at Miami Municipal Airport in the spectral shadows just before dawn — probably a test as the photographer waited for the money shot moments later, when the aircraft would lift off with famed aviator Amelia Earhart at its controls, unknowingly headed to a mysterious appointment with fate.

Yet the picture — shot by a now-forgotten Miami Herald photographer just before Earhart departed the United States on her doomed flight around the world on June 1, 1937 — contains an odd detail visible on none of the other thousands of photos of her plane.

There on the fuselage, about two-thirds of the way from the plane’s nose to its tail, is a rectangular patch that shines a peculiar silver on the aircraft’s dusky skin. Could it be a clue — the clue — to what happened when Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished somewhere over the trackless Pacific Ocean three months later?

Long-time Earhart investigator Ric Gillespie thinks so. He believes that the silvery patch reveals an unrecorded repair performed on Earhart’s plane during her stopover in Miami. And he hopes that modern computer enhancements of that part of the photo will link it to a piece of possible airplane wreckage discovered a quarter century ago on a tiny Pacific island in the area where Earhart disappeared.

“If we can match a rivet pattern from the repair in the photograph to a rivet pattern on the wreckage, I think it would be beyond dispute that Noonan and Earhart weren’t lost at sea, but made it to the island,” said Gillespie, the executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

That would bring an indisputable forensic conclusion to one of the greatest and most contentious mysteries in aviation history. It would also mean, possibly, that the tale of Amelia Earhart had an even more tragic end than we have thought all these years — that she died not in a single terrifying instant as her plane crashed into the sea, but in a long torturous spiral of starvation, thirst and disease.

***

Earhart was one of the world’s most famous and admired women when she and Noonan set off from Oakland, California, to fly around the globe. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and the first person to fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland. She competed successfully with men in the popular airplane races of the day. And she was a feminist before the word was invented, advocating tirelessly for women to be allowed to pursue careers in aviation or anything else they wanted.

Her aviation career, however, was not without its share of near-misses. On her transatlantic flight, she was trying to land in Paris but got lost and wound up in Ireland instead. Her first try at flying around the world (heading west rather than east) ended abruptly after the first leg when she crashed on takeoff in Hawaii.

Her second attempt, this time east-bound, also had problems right from the start. She landed at the wrong airport in Miami, in what was then known as the 36th Street Airport (now part of Miami International) rather than the bigger Miami Municipal Airport just south of Opa-locka (now a park named for Earhart). Her landing on May 24, 1937 was rough and she stayed in Miami for a week while the plane underwent repairs.

One of them, it appears, was the removal of a specially installed window in the rear of the airplane that navigator Noonan used to take sightings on the sun and stars, the method by which pilots found their way over unmapped oceans, jungles and desert in the days before radar and GPS. The window is clearly visible in photos of Earhart’s plane taken in California at the start of her trip, and even in some Herald photos shot after her arrival in Miami.

But in the photo shot just before her June 1, 1937, takeoff for Puerto Rico, the window is gone, replaced by that odd silvery plate.

“I think the window must have been broken or compromised by the hard landing in Miami,” Gillespie said. “It wasn’t standard equipment and they found out it would take a while to replace it, so they just took it out and patched the fuselage instead.”

From Puerto Rico, Earhart continued through South America, Africa and Asia. Her plane suffered occasional malfuctions, but the biggest problem was confusion over the tangle of different radio frequencies used by different civil and military aviation agencies around the world, which sometimes left Earhart out of touch. On July 2, 1937, as Earhart took off from Lae, New Guinea, and headed for Howland Island nearly 2,600 miles away, her communications suffered a blow. Photos and home movies of the takeoff show that as she taxied down the runway, a radio antenna on the bottom of her plane tore away.

That may be why Earhart was unable to hear Coast Guard crewmen who were trying to make contact with her as she neared Howland Island 19 hours later. “We are circling but cannot see island, cannot hear you,” she radioed as the crewmen listened helplessly. A series of increasingly distressed messages continued for another hour and a quarter before Earhart, in a distraught voice, gave her location: “We are on the line of position 157 dash 337. . We are now running north and south.”

The rest was silence.

***

Some Navy and Coast Guard ships began looking for Earhart right away, but the epicenter of the search, Howland Island, is in the middle of nowhere, 1,700 miles from Hawaii, so it took two weeks for the search to acquire much manpower. Search planes passed over a tiny, apostrophe-shaped patch of coral called Gardner Island, about 400 miles away, and spotted signs of recent habitation. But Navy records showed that tribes of Pacific Islanders had been living there, which seemed to explain that, and the planes moved on. The search continued several weeks, but turned up absolutely nothing.

In the 1960s, journalists began searching for Earhart — but their focus was 2,800 miles west of Howland Island, on Saipan, where U.S. Marines fought a vicious battle against Japanese occupational troops during World War II. In the aftermath of the fighting, it was said, American troops had made a grisly discovery that Washington had covered up: that the Japanese had captured Earhart and Noonan and, believing them spies, either executed them or mistreated them so badly they died in prison.

“There’s probably a dozen books and, who knows, hundreds of magazine and newspaper stories about this,” says Gillespie. “They have different casts of characters but they all follow the same template: Some American enlisted man on Saipan finds something associated with Earhart _ a briefcase, a flight log, a photo of her. Or a native shows him a grave and says, `White woman buried here.’

“Inevitably, he shows the evidence to an officer, who takes it and swears him to secrecy, and he hears nothing more about the case. Years later, he comes forward, but he handed over the evidence, and he has no receipt and doesn’t remember the officer’s name. And that’s where it ends.”

(The Japanese-capture-and-execution theory is actually a variant on a conspiracy theory that swept America during World War II. In that one, Earhart and Noonan were secret agents assigned by the U.S. government to fake their own disappearance, giving the U.S. Navy an excuse to search the Pacific gathering intelligence about Japanese military activity. There was even a Hollywood movie called Flight for Freedom starring Rosalind Russell as a thinly disguised version of a spy Earhart. Big problem with the theory: Earhart was a fervid pacifist who despised war after working in a military hospital during World War I.)

It wasn’t until the 1980s that modern technology — and perhaps even more importantly, modern fundraising techniques _ began making it feasible to mount private searches for Earhart in the area where she disappeared. Using sophisticated underwater radar and deep-sea diving vehicles, groups devoted to the case searched for her plane in the waters around Howland Island, by now deserted. But still no conclusive evidence emerged.

TIGHAR was not one of those groups. Though it was formed in 1985 by aviation fanatics interested in investigating old missing-plane cases and, if possible, recovering the aircraft, Gillespie steered TIGHAR clear of the Earhart mystery. Earhart had run out of gas somewhere on a very large ocean, he figured, and her plane could be anywhere in it, miles under the water.

But in 1988, two of his members came to him with a proposal. What if Earhart didn’t crash into the sea? What if she reached an uninhabited island?

“The key to it is her final message, where she says `line of position 157 dash 337,”’ Gillespie said. “That’s a line that Noonan calculated from the sunrise, running 337 degrees to the northwest and 157 degrees to the southeast. And if you follow it far enough, there are two deserted islands on it, McKeon Island and Gardner Island.”

It didn’t take long for TIGHAR investigators to find that somebody else had already mentioned the possibility of Earhart landing on Gardner Island. In 1960, a 68-year-old ex-Marine named Floyd Kilts gave an interview to a San Diego newspaper recounting his visit to Gardner Island in 1946, when he was sent there to dismantle a navigational device installed there during World War II.

Kilts said a Micronesian tribesman living on Gardner told him that when the Micronesians moved onto the island in 1938, they found a partial human skeleton, along with a woman’s shoe _ a sign that she was a foreigner, since the tribesmen all went barefoot. The remnants of a fire pit nearby contained burned bones of small birds and fish, which suggested the woman had lived there some time.

The bones had been given to a British colonial official, who thought they might be the remains of Earhart. The Micronesian didn’t know what happened after that, and neither did Kilts.

That story sounds straight from the captured-by-the-Japanese template — except in this case, British archives yielded a load of radio traffic about the discovery of the bones and detailed measurements by a British medical examiner. (The bones themselves had disappeared. The British doctor had concluded the bones belonged to a man of mixed Polynesian and European race, though forensic anthropologists who looked at the data in the 1990s thought it more likely they were those of a European woman.)

One other thing TIGHAR’s research turned up: The Navy’s belief that Micronesian tribesmen had recently been living on Gardner Island in 1937 when its pilots flew over it was wrong. The tribesmen arrived for the first time a year later. Those signs of habitation had been left by someone else.

***

Gillespie and his group made their first expedition to Gardner Island _ by now renamed Nikumaroro and part of the Republic of Kiribati _ in 1989. It was once again deserted; drought drove the population away in the mid-1960s. Some of their empty buildings, including a general store, survived. Otherwise, not much was found.

A second, better-funded expedition arrived in 1991. The past two years had been hard on the island; a major storm had knocked down what little remained of the Micronesian settlement. But as they poked through the rubble, investigators found a fascinating piece of junk: A scrap of aluminum, 19 inches wide by 23 inches long, with four precisely measured rows of rivet holes. It looked for all the world like the torn outer skin of an airplane.

Over the years, tests have shown that’s exactly what it was. The scrap is made from a substance Alcoa Aluminum called 24ST Alclad, which was used in the manufacture of nearly all American planes manufactured in the 1930s _ including Earhart’s Lockheed Electra.

But Gillespie got out well ahead of his forensic evidence in 1992 by holding a Washington, D.C., press conference where he declared that “every possibility has been checked, every alternative eliminated… There is only one possible conclusion: We found a piece of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft.”

In fact, as other Earhart-investigation groups (there are more of them than Justin Bieber fans clubs, and they can be just as temperamental) quickly pointed out, the rivet patterns on Gillespie’s scrap were very, very different than those on Lockheed’s Electra.

“It was soon apparent that the Earhart mystery was not solved,” Gillespie admitted ruefully.

For years, the metal scrap was like a thorn in TIGHAR’s paw. “We knew it was significant, we knew it was a piece of a plane, but we just couldn’t quite figure out where it fit,” Gillespie said. Three months ago, the group decided to come at the scrap from the opposite direction: If it wasn’t from a Lockheed Electra, then what plane was it from? Gillespie’s investigators spent a day with the reconstruction team in Dayton, Ohio, at the U.S. Air Force Museum, which rebuilds World War II-era planes for a living. The team scoured its vast store of blueprints and technical drawings. It didn’t fit anything.

“That’s when one of our investigators said, look, we know there’s one piece on that plane that wasn’t built or installed by Lockheed — the replacement for that missing window,” Gillespie recalled. “So maybe that’s the match.”

TIGHAR began reviewing its massive archive of photos of Earhart’s plane. But relatively few showed the right side of the aircraft, because photographers usually wanted to get Earhart herself in the shot, and her pilot’s seat was on the left side. Only one shot offered a really good view of the patch: that 1937 photo from the Miami Herald.

“The replacement of that window had to be done in Miami, at a Pan Am facility that was helping Earhart,” Gillespie said. “They may have used different materials than Lockheed … If we can match that rivet pattern in the photo, I don’t see how anybody can argue against this any more.”

In fact, it seems certain that they will argue. The Earhart bug, when it bites, takes hold like something akin to theology, and supporters of one theory delight in damning others. “I wouldn’t say we’re fighting about anything,” said Elgen Long, an 86-year-old veteran pilot and author of the 1999 book Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, widely regarded as the Bible of what’s known as the “crashed-and-sank” theory, which goes pretty much the way it sounds. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But everybody should have some facts to back up those opinions, and Mr. Gillespie, well, he doesn’t.”

Long says Gillespie’s metal scrap is obviously from a PBY seaplane (the “flying boat,” it was often called) like those flown by the U.S. Navy in the first half of the 20th century and is probably a remnant of some other crash that washed up on Gardner Island, unconnected to Earhart. (”Laughable!” retorts Gillespie.)

Equally scathing is Susan Butler, the Lake Wales writer who authored East To The Dawn, the definitive biography of Earhart and the basis for the 2009 Hillary Swank film Amelia. She regards Gillespie as a huckster, constantly devising new Earhart tall tales to raise money for his group.

“He’s very creative,” she said. “he’ll take it to the Nth degree. He can probably even prove it _ for six months, or a year.”

Gillespie, accustomed to the criticism (”this is a a field where people have definite views”) shrugs it off.

Gillespies’ theory is that Earhart landed her plane on a coral reef just off Gardner Island that becomes visible at low tide. For a time, she used the plane’s radio to send out distress signals, until rough weather washed the aircraft off the reef into a deep ocean trough below.

More than 100 shortwave radio listeners around the United States _ many of them with enhanced antennas intended to pick up distant signals _ reported hearing distress calls from a woman identifying herself as Earhart in the days after her disappearance. At the time, they were all dismissed as hoaxes or mistaken identities, but Gillespie believes some of them may have been genuine, the product of a signal leakage known as harmonics that was common on early radio transmitters.

***

Among the most haunting of the reports came from a St. Petersburg teenager named Betty Klenck, who died just last week at the age of 92. In 1937, she was a kid spending her summer afternoons trolling the shortwave radio her father had rigged with a 60-foot antenna, scribbling down in a notebook song lyrics and bits of news she heard.

Three days after the plane went down, Betty stumbled onto a call from someone who identified herself as Earhart. For three hours, the teenager listened, transfixed and jotting notes all the while, as the woman pleaded for help, comforted an apparently injured Fred Noonan, and sometimes cried. “Oh, if they could hear me,” she moaned in despair at one point.

Betty’s father came home from work about midway through the broadcast and joined her in listening to it. Later he showed her notebook to Coast Guard authorities, who weren’t interested, thinking it the fantasy of a bored teenager. Yet the notebook contains intriguing hints of things Betty couldn’t possibly have known, and which may support the idea that the woman on the radio was Earhart, calling from Gardner Island.

For instance: Earhart’s constant repetition of something that sounded like “New York City.” That wouldn’t have made much sense. But if the words were “Norwich City,” it’s another matter: The S.S. Norwich City was a freighter lost at sea in 1929 that washed up on the reef just off Gardner Island. Bits of the wreckage can still be seen there today. They say it looms darkly in the spectral shadows just before dawn.

‘Fastest Nun in the West’ on path for sainthood

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Wednesday it is exploring sainthood for an Italian-born nun who challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs and helped open New Mexico territory hospitals and schools.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan said he has received permission from the Vatican to open the “Sainthood Cause” for Sister Blandina Segale, an educator and social worker who worked in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico.

It’s the first time in New Mexico’s 400-year history with the Roman Catholic Church that a decree opening the cause of beatification and canonization has been declared, church officials said.

“There are other holy people who have worked here,” said Allen Sanchez, president and CEO for CHI St. Joseph’s Children in Albuquerque, a social service agency Segale founded. “But this would be a saint (who) started institutions in New Mexico that are still in operation.”

Segale, a nun with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, came to Trinidad, Colorado, in 1877 to teach poor children and was later transferred to Santa Fe, where she co-founded public and Catholic schools. During her time in New Mexico, she worked with the poor, the sick and immigrants. She also advocated on behalf of Hispanics and Native Americans who were losing their land to swindlers.

Her encounters with Old West outlaws later became the stuff of legend and were the subject of an episode of the CBS series “Death Valley Days.” The episode, called “The Fastest Nun in the West,” focused on her efforts to save a man from a lynch mob.

But her encounters with Billy the Kid remain among her most popular and well-known Western frontier adventures.

According to one story, she received a tip that The Kid was coming to her town to scalp the four doctors who had refused to treat his friend’s gunshot wound. Segale nursed the friend to health, and when Billy came to Trinidad, Colorado, to thank her, she asked him to abandon his violent plan. He agreed.

Another story says The Kid and his gang attempted to rob a covered wagon traveling on the frontier. But when the famous outlaw looked inside, he saw Segale.

“He just tipped his hat,” said Sheehan, the archbishop. “And left.”

Many of the tales she wrote in letters to her sister later became the book, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail.”

“She was just amazing,” said Victoria Marie Forde of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. “It’s tough to live up to her example.”

Segale found St. Joseph’s Hospital in Albuquerque before returning to Cincinnati in 1897 to start Santa Maria Institute, which served recent immigrants.

Her work resonates today, with poverty, immigration and child care still high-profile issues, Sanchez said.

Officials say it could take years – possibly a century – before Segale becomes a saint. The Vatican has to investigate her work and monitor for any related “miracles.”

Those miracles could come in the form of healings, assistance to recent Central American immigrant children detained at the U.S. border or some other unexplained occurrences after devotees pray to her, Sanchez said.

“She’s going to have to keep working,” Sanchez said. “She’s not done.”

Joey’s story: With pride and determination, transgender man overcomes barriers to achieve goals

He would have been the first person in his family to graduate from high school, but an insurmountable barrier stood in his way: four credits of gym class.  The school would not give him a private place to change, and he couldn’t stand feeling like a “pervert” — a boy in the girls’ locker room. He gave up the diploma instead.

Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the Transgender Discrimination Study, a groundbreaking study of 6,450 transgender people was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Published in 2011, it still stands as our most comprehensive look at the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. 

Its scope is breathtaking. Examining health, employment, family life, housing, public accommodations, identification documents, police and incarceration, and much more, the study’s authors concluded: “Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn — in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers.”

The report’s findings about education shed light on many of the other health and income disparities transgender people face.  People who expressed a non-traditional gender in grades K-12 experienced very high rates of harassment (78 percent), physical assault (35 percent) and sexual violence (12 percent), from both student peers and staff.  Six percent were expelled because of their gender identity or expression, and 15 percent left school or college because of the harassment they experienced.

Those statistics are reflected in Joey Clark’s story. 

“I went to two different high schools and at each one I was picked on a lot. I was picked on verbally for being different, and other students would spread rumors about me.  A few would try to physically hurt me, but I was able to protect myself in that way. I did not know at all how to protect myself emotionally.  They called me a lesbian and a freak, and I didn’t even know how to explain what I was at that time in my life.”

The statistics show that trans kids who drop out of high school end up with high rates of homelessness (48 percent), more involvement in sex work or other work in the underground economy, and — probably because of that — they’re far more likely to experience incarceration.  Trans drop-outs also have higher rates of HIV, use more drugs and alcohol, and more often attempt suicide than do trans people who manage to get their high school diploma.

Probably because he was so committed to being “a good father,” Joey followed a different path.  “I never want my kids to use me not getting a diploma as an excuse,” he said, “so I started taking my tests and received my high school equivalency diploma the year after I would have graduated.”

He tried to go on to tech school, but many of his high school tormenters had moved there, too. “I was the talk of the school.  Lots of people could not wait to point and tell anyone they could that I was born with female parts, but they did not say it that nice.  I found myself not being able to stand up yet.”
Here’s where Joey’s story illustrates another finding of Injustice at Every Turn:  Despite their traumatic experiences in high school, many more transgender people end up returning to college.  Injustice notes,   “Respondents reported considerably higher rates of educational attainment than the general population, with 47 percent receiving a college or graduate degree, compared to only 27 percent of the general population.”

Tired of dead-end jobs and wanting to teach his two children the importance of education, Joey tried again.  With the help of what he calls an “amazing” counselor and his local transgender support group, he figured out “not only what I wanted in life, but also how to feel ‘safe and valuable.’” He not only re-enrolled in tech school, but took on leadership roles as well. He helped start the LGBT Club on campus, became its president, and then stepped up to preside over the student senate.  

On May 17, 2014, Joey graduated from Moraine Park Technical College with an associate degree in Criminal Justice/Corrections and a GPA of 3.25. Besides continuing to be a great dad to his kids, his goal is to continue on to get his bachelor’s degree and work in or run an LGBT center in the Fond du Lac/Oshkosh area. He is also deeply committed to “doing all I can to help my transgender family to be happy and achieve equal rights.”

This PrideFest, Joey will be FORGE’s chief “free hugger.” Come by FORGE’s booth to receive your free hug sticker and congratulate Joey on his achievements.

Loree Cook-Daniels is policy and program director of FORGE, a national resource for transgender and elderly LGBT people that’s headquartered in Milwaukee.

Clinton says she’s still considering future plans

Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is “very much concerned” about the direction of the U.S. but says she is still considering her future plans.

During a recent session of the Clinton Global Initiative University, a young woman asked Clinton whether she would consider running for president in 2016.

The student said if Clinton wouldn’t represent women in politics, “who will?”

That got a roar of approval from the 1,000-plus students attending the event.

The former secretary of state said she is concerned about the direction of the nation but added that “it’s not just who runs for office” but what they do once they get there.

Clinton smiled and told the crowd that she was “obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions.”

The annual university conference sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative is offering a window into the enthusiasm that Clinton might tap into if she runs for president again.

At universities, Clinton often appeals to young voters’ idealism and encourages civic participation. She also raises the kind of powerful symbolism — her potential breakthrough as the first female president of the United States — that helped propel Barack Obama’s history-making campaign in 2008 to become the nation’s first black president.

In 2008, Clinton wasn’t the first choice of college students during the Democratic primaries; young voters supported Obama by wide margins.

Clinton’s allies are setting up a voter outreach operation that could enable her to connect with young voters and build upon the Obama campaign’s success in courting women, African-Americans, Latinos, and gays and lesbians.

This time, they say, will be different.

“I don’t think you’re going to have this contrast in a Democratic primary that you had in 2008. I think there will be a ton of enthusiasm” for a potential Clinton candidacy, said Mitch Stewart, a former Obama campaign aide who now advises Ready for Hillary, a super political action committee that’s building support for a potential 2016 race.

“If she were decide to run, there would be an historic element to her candidacy as well that I think young people would want to be a part of,” he said.

Running in 2008, Obama had several advantages with young voters: his opposition to the war in Iraq; the historic nature of his candidacy; a hip, next-generation profile; and a team that aggressively organized college students.

Clinton was hampered by her 2002 vote in the Senate to authorize the Iraq war, which young Democrats vociferously opposed. While both campaigns offered the potential of a barrier-breaking presidency, Clinton often played up her experience and competency more than her gender.

This time, super PACs such as Ready for Hillary are trying to build on the voting coalition Obama put in place. The group’s website encourages activists to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter as an organizing tool, identifying potential Clinton supporters long before a campaign begins.

How young voters perceive Clinton could shape how Republicans would challenge her.

Some potential Republican candidates have hoped to paint a generational contrast between Clinton, 66, and a likely younger Republican field that could include senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Rep. Paul Ryan. All came of age during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Republicans also have signaled their interest of using Clinton’s post-White House life, in which she often travels by private jet, to portray her as far removed from the daily problems of most Americans.

When the former first lady told auto dealers in January that she hadn’t driven a car since 1996, Republicans pounced, offering it up as a sign of someone out of step with most voters.

“It’s hard to make the sale that Hillary has firsthand experience of the problems that young people are facing with the economy,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising, a Republican super PAC that has tracked Clinton’s every move.

On the Web …

http://new.livestream.com/CGI/CGIU2014