Minestrone

12:16 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
Minestrone
1 can tomato paste or sauce
Half cup olive oil
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Bay
Pepper
Cumin
Red pepper
Garlic
Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage, corn, carrots, celery, mushrooms, etc.
Beans such as pinto, northern, lima, green, kidney, etc.
Pasta such as spaghetti, bow tie, tortellini, etc.
I don't tend to use pasta as I'd rather have a slice of warm bread, but since minestrone's "supposed" to have it... I add cumin and red pepper because I like a little bit of kick. Heat until warm through and pasta is cooked. Or toss in a crockpot for several hours. As I discovered with my last batch, DO NOT OVERCOOK! It still tastes great, it's just really mushy.

Pagan Solstice Carols

12:04 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
In case you haven't noticed, the Holiday Season is emminent. The songs are already on the radio. And it bugs me every time I hear the word "Christmas" in the music, which I actually do like. I feel like I'm being beaten over the head with it: "You are the weird one for not following a holiday which has been twisted and commercialized from its original meaning on another holiday that has been plagiarized from your religion." Yeah, I gots issues. And Pagan versions of songs will most likely never be played on the radio, at least, not in my lifetime.
But I did realize in my singing along to the radio (don't worry, no one was present for the audial atrocity committed) that "Solstice" and "Christmas" rhyme. So I substitued Solstice accordingly. It's only taken me six years to figure that one out. Yes, I are teh genius.
This website has some good Pagan-friendly versions of carols. Such as using "Yuletide" in "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas." I figure it's only fair to use Christian carols since they did co-opt our holiday first.

Just when you thought...

10:38 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
commercials couldn't get any dumber.

WWJD? Have sex.

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This has me utterly speechless.

Why bike?

9:40 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Last night was D'n'D night, and the DM's house is about a mile away from mine, two at the most. I pulled on three sweaters, gloves, scarf, bag full of gaming gear, and a headlamp and hopped on my bike.
Now the Green Machine had been sitting in a barn for a year, not through any choice of my own, but she seemed ok. The light kit I picked up the other day didn't work. Going to pick up yet another set of new batteries to see if the ones I used were bad right out of the packaging since they were a couple of years old. About halfway there I noticed the front tire was going flat. Add a bicycle pump to my shopping list, and perhaps a fix-a-flat or even a new tire. The kickstand was loose, and I had no tools immediately available to fix it. The front handlebars squeaked horribly every time they moved. No idea how to fix/oil that. I think the chain was having issues, will have to ride some more to determine if there is a problem.
Everyone at game asked if my car was ok. A perfectly understandable question as she was recently incapacitated, but no, Lilith is fine. The next question was: Why did you bike?
A: It's cheaper.
B: It's better for the environment.
C: It's healthier for me.
All the technical problems didn't even occur to me at the time. But if you think about it, it's really not so different from a car. Check the pressure in the tires. Check the fluids, refill or change as necessary. Fuel. Burnt out lights. Brake checks.

Christian policeman fired for anti-gay emails

9:27 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 4 Comments »
"A Christian policeman who circulated emails at work suggesting homosexuality was sinful has been sacked for misconduct.
Constable Graham Cogman, who had previously threatened to take Norfolk Police to an employment tribunal, claims the force has been "bombarded" by posters advertising gay events.
"The blatant support for homosexual rights in Norfolk Police makes being a Christian officer extremely difficult," he told the Mail on Sunday in July.
The complaints against PC Cogman stem back to 1995 when a gay colleague sent emails round to staff encouraging them to support Gay History Month by wearing a pink ribbon.
In response to this the Constable circulated emails quoting the Bible, suggesting homosexual sex was sinful.
He was sent to a disciplinary tribunal who fined him 13 days pay and barred him from using the internal messaging system.
Despite the ban, PC Cogman posted a link to an American Christian helpline.
When he was interviewed by bosses about it he said he had posted the link as he was trying to help people struggling with their sexuality."
Somehow, I think the only people who would be "struggling with their sexuality" are the ones he might have convinced are wrong and evil.

Just in time...

3:57 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »

"A British man was jailed Tuesday for raping two of his daughters and fathering nine children over 27 years, a case with echoes of Austria's Josef Fritzl.
The two daughters were made pregnant 19 times; there were nine births, five miscarriages and five terminations. Seven of the children are alive but suffer genetic deformities.
The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons banning the identification of his victims and the surviving children, pleaded guilty Tuesday at Sheffield Crown Court, northern England, and was sentenced to serve 25 life sentences to run concurrently.
The judge said the minimum term the 56-year-old rapist should serve in jail should be 19½ years.
South Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Simon Torr said, "The victims of these terrible crimes have asked me to state the following: 'His detention in prison brings us only the knowledge that he cannot physically touch us again. The suffering he has caused will continue for many years, and we must now concentrate our thoughts on finding the strength to rebuild our lives.'
Speaking for the police, Torr added, "The main concern ... is for those who have been so badly affected: the victims who have suffered a terrible ordeal. We will continue to offer them our full support to try and help them get on with their lives.
"As far as the sentence goes, we are satisfied that this offender has received the strongest possible punishment for his heinous crimes. Now we need to ensure continuing support for those who have suffered as a result of his actions.""

Oh, I would not say that it's the strongest possible punishment. Not unless he was raped and beaten on a daily basis while in prison. And not even then, because he would not be forced to give birth.

Burundi Criminalizes Homosexuality

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"The lower house in the central African nation of Burundi has passed legislation making homosexuality a federal crime.
The legislation, which must first be approved by Burundi’s senate, is part of a sweeping reform of the country’s legal system that for the first time abolishes the death penalty and creates laws on genocide.
The new law[s] also protect women and children from all forms of violence - especially sexual violence.
Burundi is struggling to emerge from a civil war that has resulted in more than 300,000 deaths since 1993. The provisions on genocide and the abolition of the death
penalty are considered part of the healing process, but increasingly, hardliners have blamed many of the country’s problems on gays."
Good job on protecting women and children from violence, major fail on outlawing gays. In case you have never heard of Burundi...

Florida judge strikes down ban on gay adoptions.

1:09 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Today, a Florida judge ruled that the state’s strict law banning the adoption of children by same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman rejected the state’s arguments that there is “a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children.” She noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents, adding, “There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting.” Florida was the only state with an outright ban, although Utah “bans any unmarried straight or gay couples from adopting or fostering children. Mississippi bans gay couples, but not single gays, from adopting.”"

Save Coal River Mountain

11:21 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Coal River Mountain in West Virginia is a beautiful forested area surrounded by communities with long experience with coal mining as been practiced for decades. How long have these folks been settled around the mountain? Many are descendants of those who moved to the area on land grants given soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Now the mountain itself is threatened by coal mining as it's been practiced under the Bush administration -- mountaintop removal."
Article and petition here.

Women's Priorities for Obama

11:15 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"The YWCA released a new survey today entitled: "What Women Want: A National Survey of Priorities and Concerns." According to their press release, the survey (see PDF) interviewed 1,000 women between 18 and 70 years old by phone nationwide.The findings indicate generational differences between younger women (18-29) and older women, namely that younger women are more concerned than older women about discrimination based on race or religion.
Seventy-seven percent of women under 30 name civil rights and racial justice as top priorities for the Obama administration compared to a little over half of the older women surveyed. However, the survey indicated agreement across generations on naming violence against women as another top priority. Close to 75 percent of women want Obama to address violence against women in his first-year in office.
Lorraine Cole, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA USA, explained the generation gap on racial issues to the Associated Press: "Older women have seen more progress and are therefore more optimistic about racial status, race relations and racial justice issues in this country, so that may be part of the explanation." She added, "Young women do not have that firsthand knowledge, but only go on their personal experiences and experiences of women like them." "
Just because progress has been made, does not mean that the war is won.

Congo report

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"Congolese state security forces have killed an estimated 500 people and detained about 1,000 more, many of whom have been tortured, in the two years since elections that were meant to bring democracy, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The brutal repression against perceived opponents began during the 2006 elections that carried President Joseph Kabila to power, and has continued to the present.
The 96-page report, "‘We Will Crush You': The Restriction of Political Space in the Democratic Republic of Congo," documents the Kabila government's use of violence and intimidation to eliminate political opponents. Human Rights Watch found that Kabila himself set the tone and direction by giving orders to "crush" or "neutralize" the "enemies of democracy," implying it was acceptable to use unlawful force against them.
"While everyone focuses on the violence in eastern Congo, government abuses against political opponents attract little attention," said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "Efforts to build a democratic Congo are being stifled not just by rebellion but also by the Kabila government's repression."
On the second anniversary of Kabila's November 28, 2006 election victory, the Congo remains impoverished and in conflict. Those in western Congo who might challenge government policies face brutal repression, while in the east the armed conflict with renegade general Laurent Nkunda's forces has resulted in horrific atrocities by all sides.
The report is based on months of extensive field research including interviews with more than 250 victims, witnesses, and officials. Human Rights Watch documented how Kabila's subordinates worked through several state security forces - including the paramilitary Republican Guards, a "secret commission," the special Simba battalion of the police, and the intelligence services - to crack down on perceived opponents in the capital Kinshasa and in Bas Congo province.
Following the 2006 elections, which were largely financed by international donors, foreign governments focused on winning favor with Kabila's new government and kept silent about human rights abuses and the government's increasingly repressive rule. United Nations reports documenting government involvement in politically motivated crimes were deliberately buried or published too late to have any significant impact on events, Human Rights Watch found.
The report says that state agents particularly targeted persons from Equateur province and others thought to support the defeated presidential candidate, Jean-Pierre Bemba, as well as adherents of Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK), a political-religious group based in Bas Congo that promotes greater provincial autonomy and had considerable support in legislative elections.
At least 500 perceived opponents of the government were deliberately killed or summarily executed. In some of the most violent episodes, state agents tried to cover up the crimes by dumping bodies in the Congo River or by secretly burying them in mass graves. Government officials blocked efforts to investigate by UN human rights staff, Congolese and international human rights monitors, and family members of victims.
The detentions came in waves of arrests during the past two years. Detainees and former detainees described torture, including beatings, whippings, mock executions, and the use of electric batons on their genitals and other parts of their bodies. Some were kept chained for days or weeks and many were forced to sign confessions saying they had been involved in coup plots against Kabila.
In mid-October 2008, state agents arbitrarily arrested at least 20 people in Kinshasa, the majority from Equateur province, including a woman and her 3-month-old baby. Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 200 people detained in politically related cases continue to be held without trial in prisons in Bas Congo and Kinshasa.
Armed groups associated with Bemba and BDK adherents also were responsible for killing state agents and ordinary people, including in incidents in Bas Congo in February 2007 and in Kinshasa in March 2007. In these cases, the police and army had a duty to restore order, but often did so with excessive force.
Congolese officials have refused to acknowledge abuses committed by state agents despite inquiries by the National Assembly, the media, and other citizens or groups. The officials claimed that the victims were plotting coup attempts or otherwise threatening state authority, but they provided no convincing evidence of such charges and brought only a handful of cases to court.
Journalists who were linked to the political opposition or who protested abuses were threatened, arbitrarily arrested, and in some cases tortured by government agents. The government closed down radio stations and television networks that were linked to the opposition or broadcast their views. Several of these stations were later permitted to operate again.
The National Assembly has tried to scrutinize the conduct of the government. Opposition members sometimes boycotted sessions in protest of the abuses, with some limited impact. However, these efforts have not been enough to stop the killings or the wide-scale arbitrary arrests.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to establish a high-level task force under the authority of the Ministry of Justice with input from human rights experts to document the abuses by state agents and release those held illegally. It also called on Congo's National Assembly to conduct a public inquiry into the abuses by state security agents and to prosecute those responsible.
"The Congolese people deserve a government which will uphold their democratic rights, not one that represses opponents," said Van Woudenberg. "An important first step would be to bring to justice those officials responsible for killings and torture."
Selected accounts from the report:
"As they beat me with sticks and whips, the soldiers repeatedly shouted, ‘We will crush you! We will crush you!' Then they threatened to kill me and others who opposed Kabila."

- A political party activist detained and tortured in Kinshasa in March 2007 by President Kabila's Republican Guards.
"At 3 in the morning seven Republican Guards came into the prison. They took 10 of the prisoners, tied their hands, blindfolded them, and taped pieces of cardboard over their mouths so they couldn't scream. The captain who did this said he had received orders. He said he would drink the blood of Equateurians that night. They took them away.... I knew one of the guards and asked what had happened. He said the others had been taken to the [Congo] river near Kinsuka and killed."

- A Congolese army officer from the Ngwaka ethnic group, arrested by the Republican Guard on March 23, 2007 and detained at Camp Tshatshi.
"They started to hit me. They stripped off my clothes. They took four sets of handcuffs and tied my hands behind me and then to my feet. I was thrown on the ground in this position... They gave me electric shocks all over my body. They put the electric baton in my anus and on my genitals.... I cried so much that I could hardly see any more. I shouted I would sign whatever they wanted me to."
- A former detainee held at Kin-Mazière prison on the orders of the "secret commission."
"Kabila took a decision to beat-up on Bemba and to teach him a lesson."
- A member of Kabila's inner circle just before violence in Kinshasa in August 2006 following the inconclusive first election round.

"We all saw this coming, but again we did not do enough to avert the crisis."

- A European military advisor with close links to the Congolese army about the March 2007 violence in Kinshasa that left hundreds dead.

"You JED who do you think you are? If you don't agree with the regime, go into exile and wait until your champion takes power. If you don't leave we'll help to shut you up for good. We won't miss. Too much is too much. You have been warned."
- A threat received by the local organization Journalists in Danger (JED) in June 2007 after they raised concerns about repression against members of the media."

Violence Against Women Remains Widespread And Largely Unpunished

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"Violence against women is the least punished crime in the world, United Nations officials said today, urging governments to end the widespread impunity and to take measures to ensure that the laws and policies that aim to protect women and girls are enforced.
In separate messages to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed today, the heads of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) called on policymakers to harness the momentum generated by recent global efforts against the scourge.
UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid described the battle to end violence against women as “a major challenge of our time,” alongside climate change and the global financial crisis.
Violence against women is the most prevalent and least punished crime in the world. It is also a grave threat to health and well-being
“Violence against women is the most prevalent and least punished crime in the world. It is also a grave threat to health and well-being,” Ms. Obaid said in a statement, adding that it was disturbing that it still persisted 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted."

I am incredibly jealous

10:34 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
My brother's girlfriend went to a conference where she got to meet Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters. And she got to go to a Q and A session with them.

Criminalization of abortion

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This is horrifying.

The MRA Mirror

10:14 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
"When MRA-types can be bothered to acknowledge rape as a problem at all, they inevitably claim false accusations of rape as a comparable problem, one that happens at least as often, and one that is—unlike rape, they claim—ignored and belittled. For the record, that is not true. But I thought I'd look through that MRA mirror and see what would happen if false rape accusations were really "taken as seriously" as rape."
Go read it. It really puts into words why I never reported my rape.

Justice!

10:00 AM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Afghan authorities have arrested 10 Taliban militants in connection with this month's acid attack on schoolgirls, a provincial governor said Tuesday.
The militants confessed and said they were paid 100,000 Pakistani rupees ($1,265) to carry out the acts, said Rahmatullah Raufi, governor of Kandahar, where the November 12 attack occurred.
The men said high-ranking Taliban officials in Pakistan paid them to cross the porous border to carry out the attack, Raufi said.
The attackers used water pistols to spray acid on girls walking to school in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, blinding at least two of them, U.S. military officials said at the time.
Kandahar government spokesman Parwaz Ayoubi gave different figures on the number of girls injured, saying that six were burned, including one severely. He called the attackers "enemies of education."
Girls were forbidden to attend school under the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when U.S.-led forces removed them."
Good. Now how about they dunk the fuckers in acid?

Outrage of the Day- White Supremacy

9:50 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Barely three weeks since America elected its first black president, noose hangings, racist graffiti and death threats have struck dozens of towns across the country.
More than 200 such incidents - including cross burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama - have been reported, according to law enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups."
The Quaker Agitator has the rest of the article. And as QuakerDave says, don't stand for this. Zero tolerance for hatred and violence.

Why churches fear gay marriage

9:37 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
"You said recently the real issue behind the anti-gay marriage movement is the crisis in the family. What do you mean?
American families are under a great deal of stress. The divorce rate isn't declining, it's increasing. And the majority of American women are now living alone. We are raising children in America without fathers. I think of Michael Phelps at the Olympics with his mother in the stands. His father was completely absent. He was negligible; no one refers to him, no one noticed his absence.
The possibility that a whole new generation of American males is being raised by women without men is very challenging for the churches. I think they want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things. I think the pro-Proposition 8 movement was really galvanized by an insecurity that churches are feeling now with the rise of women.
Monotheistic religions feel threatened by the rise of feminism and the insistence, in many communities, that women take a bigger role in the church. At the same time that women are claiming more responsibility for their religious life, they are also moving out of traditional roles as wife and mother. This is why abortion is so threatening to many religious people -- it represents some rejection of the traditional role of mother.
In such a world, we need to identify the relationship between feminism and homosexuality. These movements began, in some sense, to achieve visibility alongside one another. I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women's movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually -- even form our sense of what a sex is -- sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers."
It reminds me of another article, can't remmber where, that argued that male homosexuals are seen as particularly "evil" because the "dominant male" is seen as "demeaning" himself and his role as a man by performing what is seen as the traditionally female role during sex. In other words, it messes with the religious and cultural mindset that the man should be in charge and the woman should be subservient to him. Although it didn't get quite so much into how lesbians twisted this alleged hierarchy.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

4:43 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
"As women around the world come together to celebrate the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, violence against women remains endemic in many forms, in all societies.
Just last month, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was stoned to death by a group of 50 men in Somalia. The thirteen year-old was accused of adultery, though according to her father she was raped and had tried to report it. None of those accused of her rape nor murder have been arrested."
"Many women live with indescribable fear when walking out their front door each morning. Fears of being raped or becoming the victim of a violent crime plague their lives. Women are experiencing these fears in countries throughout the world.
Every year for 16 days, from November 25 through Human Rights Day - December 10 - we ask you to stand with us as we call for an end to violence against women.
The focus of this year's 16 days action is the International Violence against Women Act (IVAWA). Amnesty International, the ENOUGH Project and several other partner organizations are standing in support of this legislation aimed at ending violence against women worldwide.
Take action:
» Ask your Representative to support I-VAWA»
Ask your Senator to support I-VAWA
Learn more:
Here's what the International Violence against Women Act would mean to women around the world:
Increased efforts to prevent violence against women during conflict and in humanitarian settings
Increased pressure to find perpetrators and bring them to justice
Strengthened capacity of women's organizations working to bring such perpetrators of violence to justice
Increased opportunities for women, free from violence, to seek testing or treatment for HIV/AIDS or disclose their HIV status without fear
Increased economic and educational opportunities that would reduce the vulnerability of women at risk of violence "

Buying for Equality Consumer Guide

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"Human Rights Campaign provides consumers direction on where to spend their dollars to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality during tough economic times."

Outrage of the Day- Religion and custody battles

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"The state Court of Appeals on Wednesday declined to reconsider its decision in a child custody case in which the child's father claimed the child's mother practiced Wicca.Two judges dissented, accusing the majority of embarking on "a grand inquisition."
In a per curiam order, the appeals court denied without explanation a petition for rehearing filed by the child's mother, who claimed a Chicot County circuit judge's decision granting custody of her child to the child's father was based in large part on the judge's finding that the mother was involved in a "cult." "
Religion, as long as the child is not being harmed by the practice thereof, should not play any factor in custody battles. I can't believe this shit is still happening.
By the way, Wicca = not a cult.

Critiques of religion should not be criminalized.

2:12 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"A draft resolution scheduled for consideration by a committee of the United Nations General Assembly threatens to criminalize criticism of religion.
In its current form, the resolution would declare defamation of religion to be a violation of international law. The resolution’s drafters hope to circumvent free-speech statutes in other countries, including the United States’ own First Amendment."
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Yes, that was meant to be an understatement.

Tillamook man shot by dog

1:55 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
And this is why I believe that an IQ test should be required for gun ownership. It's a little thing called a safety. I do understand that this was an accident, and am glad that no one was seriously injured. But if I were out hunting with a dog that's likely to clamber around in the boat, I would sure as hell make sure the safety was on at all times that the shotgun was not in my hands.

More NRA'ers panicking

1:39 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
At least it's stimulating the economy?

The article has details and references as to why most of the "Get yer guns" hype is untrue. And while I'm not currently edumucated on the finer points of gun categories, my current belief is that hunting weapons should not be curtailed beyond registration and whatnot. Handguns and the like are purely for killing humans, and I personally believe they should be banned. That is not likely to change any time soon, but I am sure that someone will come along and try to dissuage me of this view.

'Sexism's Coming Out Party'

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Excellent article by Hannah Seligson on the Wall Street Journal's website.

Duanna Johnson

12:35 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »

The following is from.

Shelby County Sheriff's media inquiries: steve.shular@shelby-sheriff.org

Memphis Police Dept.: mpd@memphispolice.org

District Attorney's media inquiries: jennifer.donnals@scdag.com

"...now we must remember why Duanna Johnson was so important. She stood up and said she wasn't going to take abuse and brutality by the MPD anymore. She shone a light into the darkness that is the MPD's practice of profiling trans women of color as prostitutes as well as their treatment of trans women in their custody. In the wake of that, the local progressive organizations have been trying to have a responsive dialogue with the Memphis City Council, the MPD, and the Shelby County Sheriffs Department, largely to no avail.

This is what we demand:

* An LGB and T liaison within the MPD and Sheriff's department.

* An end to police profiling and harassment of trans women of color.

* A TBI (TN Bureau of Investigation) investigation of the MPD and Duanna's murder. The FBI was already investigating the MPD when Duanna was killed; she had signed the paperwork to go ahead with the lawsuit against MPD shortly before being killed. While I am not suggesting that the MPD or anyone associated with the department killed her, it is a gross conflict of interest for the MPD to be investigating her death. The DA, Bill Gibbons, has not yet requested an investigation and until he does, the TBI does not have jurisdiction.

* An actual investigation of Ebony Whitaker's murder.

What you can do:

* Call DA Gibbons at (901) 545-5900 to ask why his office is not pursuing a TBI investigation of the MPD given the fact that Duanna was suing them and the glaring conflict of interest that an investigation by them into her death would be. Also remind him of the murders of Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker and let him know that though he may want to forget, we have not forgotten.

* Call Police Director Larry Godwin at (901) 545-5700 to ask why, given the problems Memphis has had recently with transphobic hate crimes, there is no LGBT liaison within the MPD. Mention that many, if not most, major cities have one. And ask whether or not Bridges McRae and James Swain will face any criminal charges, or will Director Godwin will continue his witch hunt for who leaked the video. Ask why it took over 4 months and some bad publicity (after trying to recruit at Mid-South Pride, of all places) for them to be fired. Ask what kind of training in dealing with TS/TG people in custody are officers given? And while you're at it, remind him of Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker, too.

* Call Sheriff Mark Luttrell at (901) 545-5500 and ask why there is no LGBT liaison. Ask what kind of training in dealing with TG/TS people in custody is done.

* Finally, email and write mainstream publications that purport to serve the LGBT community and strongly encourage them to give this story more exposure. While The Advocate did post a short news piece on its website, a publication with this much clout that claims to represent LGB and T people can do better. Same for Southern Voice and others."

More information here and here.

Quote of the Day

12:20 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"You should be more afraid of the new political climate in America, because, there is no place for you in it. In other words, stop being a hater, big bro." - Candace Gingrich, responding in the Huffington Post to her brother's appearance on Fox News.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the Gingrich's Thanksgiving dinner.

God Hates Fags, 4; PSU Queers & Allies, 100+

12:00 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
"Blue-eyed Libby Phelps, grinning ear to ear, has a special message for Just Out readers: “God hates you and you’re going to hell.”Phelps, granddaughter of notorious Westboro Baptist Church scion Fred Phelps, was greeted by raucous laughter and a thick throng of counter-protesters just outside the Portland State University campus about 7:30 am this morning, as WBC made a stop on their “fag-bashing” Oregon tour in gay-friendly Portland, ostensibly to ridicule PSU for implementing “gender-neutral” bathrooms on campus."
I wish I could have gone.

Congo Update

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"Soldiers went on an overnight looting and shooting spree in a sprawling Congolese refugee camp, stealing from hungry and traumatized people who have fled fighting in the country's east, witnesses said Monday.
They said one woman was killed by a stray bullet Sunday night in Kibati, a village north of the eastern provincial capital of Goma that has been overrun by about 70,000 refugees.
Patrice Sebahunde, 60, said he was awakened at 10 p.m. by four soldiers pointing guns in his face. They took his family's food, clothes and their plastic water bucket.
"They came up, pointed a gun at me, and said, 'Wake up, wake up, give us money and everything you have,"' Sebahunde said.
Bernard Udafuye said his house also was looted by soldiers Sunday night who stole food and a bucket but he did not blame them.
"It was just an accident, that they stole from us," he said. "They are hungry."
Witnesses said the soldiers shot in the air, and that one stray bullet hit a 45-year-old woman in the head, killing her instantly. A 20-year-old woman was killed at Kibati on Thursday night when a bullet pierced her tent and hit her in the head.
U.N. refugee officials who had reported Thursday's shooting said they had no information about any violence Sunday.
"Shooting is not something you can easily hide," said spokesman David Nthegwe, who added that a 2-year-old girl died of sickness, possibly malaria, at the camp on Sunday night. "Our information on the ground last night says there was no looting and nobody was killed."
But at least 10 witnesses who spoke separately to The Associated Press told the same story.
"Last night soldiers came here to the camp to cause trouble," said Maria Mukawera, 47. "They came to steal. They started shooting in the air. I saw it with my own eyes."
Sunday's rampage followed an afternoon showdown between soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers outside the camp.
Soldiers stopped the peacekeepers' convoy at an impromptu roadblock and dragged 23 Congolese men off the trucks, accusing them of being rebels. U.N. officials said the men were rebels who had surrendered as well as national policemen and civilians.
During the incident, people hurled stones at the peacekeepers' vehicles, angry at the organization's failure to protect them. One peacekeeper was injured, U.N. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said.
Dietrich said Sunday there were 10 surrendered rebels among the 23 and that they were to have been turned over to the military Monday. "But because of this incident, it was agreed on the spot to hand them over."
On Monday, Dietrich said he did not know where those detained had been taken. He said the U.N. was still gathering information.
"I think this is the first time a normal convoy carrying former rebels and militia has been stopped," he said. "We are not happy about what happened. There is a lot of anger, frustration and so forth."
Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda accuses the peacekeepers of siding with the soldiers.
The U.N. mandate orders the peacekeepers to give support to Congo's army — a ragtag, poorly paid collection of the defeated army of ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and several of the rebel groups that helped overthrow him, including fighters of current President Joseph Kabila.
A quarter of a million people have been displaced in eastern Congo since August, when the latest round of fighting between the rebels and the government began.
Nkunda says he is protecting Congo's minorities, especially ethnic Tutsis he says are threatened by Hutu militias from Rwanda, many of whom fled to Congo's forests after participating in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Critics accuse Nkunda of exploiting the instability to gain power, and say his attacks have increased resentment against Tutsis.
The government is refusing Nkunda's demand for direct negotiations."

10:58 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Opponents of a voter approved measure banning unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children in Arkansas are calling on lawmakers to overturn it.
About 300 people gathered at the Capitol to denounce the ban, known as Act 1 and approved Nov. 4 by voters. Act 1 does not have the power of a constitutional amendment, but does change state law to make fostering and adoption by unmarried people illegal.
A two-thirds vote by the legislature could overturn it.
Protesters carried signs saying “Kids need loving homes: Repeal Act 1.” The rally was organized by a number of LGBT rights groups.
Among the speakers was Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen who said Act 1 ties the hands of judges to the detriment of children in state care.
“In the name of justice I am here to ask you to say to legislatures please respect the judges that the people of Arkansas have elected to do their job,” he said.
Griffen, who also is a pastor, drew on Biblical references to criticize Act 1, referencing Jesus and Naomi and Ruth from the Old Testament, saying “[none of them] would be allowed to foster or adopt a child according to Act 1.”
Act 1 passed by 57 percent of votes. The voter initiative was organized by the socially conservative group behind the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Although it does not specifically mention same-sex couples, Act 1’s target was gay pairs and grew out of a controversial state supreme court ruling last year.
Arkansas’s Child Welfare Agency Review Board had established a policy in 1999 that banned gay people from serving as foster parents, and the Arkansas Supreme Court struck it down after a seven-year legal battle between the state and the ACLU."
The thought of children who need loving homes and are being denied families who will care for them is enough to drive me to anger and tears. Why should children have to suffer because of the fear and hatred of small-minded, hard-hearted people?

Male Privilege Checklist

10:05 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"An Unabashed Imitation of an article by Peggy McIntosh

In 1990, Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To illustrate these invisible systems, McIntosh wrote a list of 26 invisible privileges whites benefit from.

As McIntosh points out, men also tend to be unaware of their own privileges as men. In the spirit of McIntosh’s essay, I thought I’d compile a list similar to McIntosh’s, focusing on the invisible privileges benefiting men.

Due to my own limitations, this list is unavoidably U.S. centric. I hope that writers from other cultures will create new lists, or modify this one, to reflect their own experiences.

Since I first compiled it, the list has been posted many times on internet discussion groups. Very helpfully, many people have suggested additions to the checklist. More commonly, of course, critics (usually, but not exclusively, male) have pointed out men have disadvantages too - being drafted into the army, being expected to suppress emotions, and so on. These are indeed bad things - but I never claimed that life for men is all ice cream sundaes.

Obviously, there are individual exceptions to most problems discussed on the list. The existence of individual exceptions does not mean that general problems are not a concern.

Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases - from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war - the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.

In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.

Several critics have also argued that the list somehow victimizes women. I disagree; pointing out problems is not the same as perpetuating them. It is not a “victimizing” position to acknowledge that injustice exists; on the contrary, without that acknowledgment it isn’t possible to fight injustice.

An internet acquaintance of mine once wrote, “The first big privilege which whites, males, people in upper economic classes, the able bodied, the straight (I think one or two of those will cover most of us) can work to alleviate is the privilege to be oblivious to privilege.” This checklist is, I hope, a step towards helping men to give up the “first big privilege.” "
I have placed asterisks next to the ones I have personally been obviously affected by/experienced, as a woman.

The Male Privilege Checklist

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex - even though that might be true. (More).

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).

6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

* 7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).

* 8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.

* 14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.

* 15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.

* 16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).

* 17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.

18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often. (More).

* 19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.

* 20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented, every day, without exception.

21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.

* 22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.

* 24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).

* 25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity. (More).

* 26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).

* 27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).

28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).

* 29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

* 30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.

* 31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

* 32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

* 33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.

* 34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

* 35. The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

* 36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.

* 37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she’ll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.

40. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

* 41. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

* 42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).

43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover. (More).

44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.” (More: 1 2).

* 45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.

* 46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

(Compiled by Barry Deutsch, aka “Ampersand.” Permission is granted to reproduce this list in any way, for any purpose, so long as the acknowledgment of Peggy McIntosh’s work is not removed. If possible, I’d appreciate it if folks who use it would tell me how they used it; my email is barry-at-amptoons-dot-com.)

(This is a continually updated document; the most current version of The Male Privilege Checklist can always be found at amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-che… . To see posts discussing the Male Privilege Checklist and various items on it, please visit this archive page).

And in other news...

3:08 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
Jean Claude van Damme is an ass.

Anti-Gay Church in Portland on Monday the 24th

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"Fred Phelps and a group from Westboro Baptist Church have a slate of picketing events planned in Portland from 7:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24."
Counter-protests are planned, just as they counter-protested our Prop 8 protests. Via.

Greenhouse Gas Photography

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"GHG is the scientific shorthand for Greenhouse Gases, the gases whose build up in the upper
atmosphere is the cause of anthropogenic climate change. GHG Photos is a coalition of science,
environmental, nature, and documentary photographers who have spent the last several years
focused on the emissions and effects of those Greenhouse Gas emissions, as well as attempts to
mitigate their release and adapt to the changing climate."
Go check it out.

Outrage of the Day-Gay Marriage Supporter Death Threat

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"Police are investigating a death threat against Vermont Senate Majority Leader John Campbell, made a day after the Democrat announced he would introduce a marriage equality bill in the new session of the legislature.
The threat was made by an anonymous woman angry over the proposed bill who telephoned Campbell. Campbell said she threatened to blow up his home.
“It is disturbing,” Campbell told the Times Argus newspaper. “You never can tell if this is someone who is giving an emotional reaction or if there is some seriousness to it.”
Campbell said the threat was not just directed at him but also at his family. “They should not be exposed to threats of this type,” Campbell said. “You don’t expect that in Vermont.”
Campbell already has drafted the same-sex marriage bill. It would amend Vermont’s landmark civil union law to allow gay and lesbian couples full marriage.
Vermont was the first state in the country to legalize civil unions in 2000."
I wonder, does this make the media liberal for reporting this? And if the woman in question is a pro-"lifer."
"His bill, which has already been drafted, would specifically exempt religious organizations from having to recognize such marriages, Campbell added. Campbell said it is one thing to have someone react with a threat against a lawmaker, however distasteful and worrisome. However, his family was also threatened by Wednesday's phone call, which police are investigating, he said."

Teh gays are coming! Teh gays are coming!

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"Residents of the small Arkansas town of Eureka Springs noticed the homosexual community was growing. But they felt no threat. They went about their business as usual. Then, one day, they woke up to discover that their beloved Eureka Springs, a community which was known far and wide as a center for Christian entertainment--had changed. The City Council had been taken over by a small group of homosexual activists. The Eureka Springs they knew is gone. It is now a national hub for homosexuals. Eureka Springs is becoming the San Francisco of Arkansas. The story of how this happened is told in the new AFA DVD “They’re Coming To Your Town.”
One of the first actions of the homosexual controlled City Council was to offer a “registry” where homosexuals could register their unofficial “marriage.” City Council member Joyce Zeller said the city will now be promoted, not as a Christian resort, but a city “selling peace, relaxation, history and sex.”
AFA’s “They’re Coming ToYour Town” documents the story of how and why this happened. And how homosexual activists plan to do the same in other towns. Order a copy of “They’re Coming To Your Town.” Watch it. Then take the 28-minute DVD and share it with your Sunday School class and local church. This is a story the liberal media will never tell, but one you need to know." (Via Shakespeare's Sister)
Yes, because equality is a conspiracy. Letting your City Council know that you married the person you love is a conspiracy. And I really don't think that bringing children into the discussion is a good idea. I don't think that the children I teach in my Sunday school should be taught anything about sexual relationships. Nor is it the appropriate place to do so. That's the parent's job. As a Sunday School teacher, your job is to teach them good things about your faith and how to be a good person. Then again, I teach kindergartners.
In case you were wondering about the sex quote, according to the Eureka Springs website:
"ROMANCE -- The lure of romance keeps Eureka Springs at the top of the list for getaway destinations. On any given day, somewhere in this historic hamlet, a couple is beginning their wedded bliss together, an anniversary is being celebrated, a marriage proposal is being proffered, or a spark is being rekindled. Eureka Springs has long been a special place for lovers."
Marriage, love, romance = SEX! It's really the religious conservatives that need to get their minds out of the gutter. They're the ones decrying homosexual activities (and hetero vanilla sex) as bad, evil, and disgusting. In fact, they can't stop talking about it. We're just saying, "We want to marry the ones we love."
I couldn't find the original "sex" quote anywhere other than the AFA's website, which also makes me highly suspicious.

Hallmark Same-Sex Wedding Cards

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Since I'm still fairly new to this whole politcally aware/social activism thing, I'm not entirely certain how long Hallmark has been offering same-sex wedding cards. But PFLAG suggests calling Hallmark and letting them know our appreciation. I already did, and they're right when they say that expressing gratitude is good for the soul.

I can't come in to work today, I'm bisexual.

11:20 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
They're advocating to call in "gay," but that wouldn't quite be correct as I do swing both ways and am currently in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.
" "On December 10th, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in "gay"- and donate your time to service."
The idea of 'calling in gay' could be an issue in the 30 states where lesbian, gay and bisexual employees have no legal protection against discrimination at work.
The organisers have provided a list of other activities that may not involve coming out in the workplace."
Day Without a Gay via Pink.

Remember...

11:16 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
It's International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Offensive Language Ban

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"Students who make politically incorrect comments at Ontario’s Queen’s University, in Canada, can expect a lecture, whether they’re in or out of class.
The Kingston university has hired student facilitators to step in if they overhear students making homophobic or racial slurs, remarks bashing women or other offensive language.
The dean of student affairs at Queen’s says if students are making offensive comments loud enough for others to hear, it’s not a private conversation anymore. Jason Laker says the facilitators use a respectful, non-confrontational approach.
But Angela Hickman, who edits a campus newspaper, says having such a program could stifle public discussion."
(Via)
One of the primary concerns of any educational institute is the safety and well-being of their faculty and students. Protecting them from insults and verbal attacks is perfectly within their capacity. How on earth is prohibiting non-productive language and enlightening students as to the bigger picture that ultimately we are all equal human beings "stifling public discussion?" Forcing students in a classroom discussion to use words like "homosexual" or "gay" rather than the garbage terms used by homophobes "stifling public discussion"? Not only would it expand the student's vocabulary, but also encourages them to think before spewing out hatred. If anything, it would promote logic as opposed to emotional outbursts.
And if some students still feel the need to use derogatory terms, then they are well within their rights to do so in a non-public/non-educational setting.
As I read the article, I wondered how long before someone protested it as trashing free speech. I was disheartened to see that someone already had.

The Bible says you don't have to be a good person?

10:34 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Went out to dinner the other night with friends. One of whom wears a large pentacle, let's call him Jer. About 5 inches across, we call it the Hubcap. A fellow diner asked Jer what it was. He replied simply, "It's a Wiccan symbol."
Gentleman said, "Well we all make our own choices." Anyone who is a minority/alternative lifestyler is familiar with the sort of confused, condescending skepticism that is usually hidden behind polite wording with a dash of "it's the wrong choice."
Jer said, "I believe as long as we all do the right thing and try to be a good person, you're ok."
"That's not what the Bible says."
Luckily I happened to be in the ladies' room at the time or else I would have stared openmouthed, promptly followed by gales of laughter. Which is precisely what I did when this was relayed to me during dinner, until they pointed out that the gentleman in question was sitting within earshot and listening rather intently.
He must have forgotten the "do unto others," casting the first stone, or love your neighbour parts. Although he was rather polite about the whole thing.
When I told Jer I was going to blog about it, Bronn offered a notepad and pen to go and interview the gentleman. I must say I was sorely tempted, against my better judgment.

Does this mean I can fix my car now?

4:29 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
According to GenderAnalyzer.com, which I found via Womanist Musings, I am supposedly a man (68%).

Prop. 8 gay marriage ban goes to Supreme Court

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"The California Supreme Court agreed today to review legal challenges to Prop. 8, the voter initiative that restored a ban on same-sex marriage, but refused to permit gay weddings to resume pending a ruling.
Meeting in closed session, the state high court asked litigants on both sides for more written arguments and scheduled a hearing for next March. The court also signaled its intention to decide the fate of existing same-sex marriages, asking litigants to argue that question."
Let's hope they aren't assholes about it. It is a civil rights issue. But I am worried that they're going "to decide the fate of existing same-sex marriages" and putting those on the debate forum. They shouldn't even be up for discussion.
Via Feministe, who, as usual, has much more intelligent things to say than I do.

Outrage of the Day-Huckabee Part 2

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"HUCKABEE: The very people who voted for Barack Obama in California…also voted to sustain traditional marriage. I refuse to use the term, 'ban same-sex marriage.' That’s not what those efforts did. They affirmed what is. They did not prohibit something. They simply affirmed something that which has and forever has existed." via ThinkProgress.
"Proposition 8 eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry." Proposition 8
"\prō-ˈhi-bət, prə-\ to prevent from doing something."
"\ˈban\: to prohibit especially by legal means ; also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of " Merriam-Webster
According to Thesaurus.com, ban, prohibit, and eliminate are synonyms.
Since marriage between homosexual couples was previously recognized by the state, and this was then prohibited from continuing what does he think he is affirming? It reminds me when anti-marriage equality peoples got pissed off when Proposition 8's wording was changed by California's Attorney General to accurately reflect what it would do.

Some Religions are More Equal than Others

1:08 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Excellent article and update on the Summum's Aphorisms monument they want placed next to the 10 Commandments monument in a Salt Lake City park.

Outrage of the Day-Huckabee

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Transcript.
HUCKABEE: It’s a different set of rights. People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that’s not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we’re talking about a redefinition of an institution, that’s different than individual civil rights.

BEHAR: Well, segregation was an institution, too, in a way. It was right there on the books.

HUCKABEE: But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge.


I suppose that Matthew Shepherd doesn't count. Or these statistics. Or the dozens names of victims of hate crimes I can find without having to search hard. But because our protests, for the most part, go peacably then it's not really a civil rights issue. ThinkProgress has lots more to say about it.

"HUCKABEE: For us to stand there that day and to see Barack Obama taking the stage, to realize 50 years ago, he couldn’t have served coffee in the White House and now he’ll be the resident of the White House, we have to be happy as Americans.

BEHAR: You’re very passionate about that.

HUCKABEE: I am.

BEHAR: Do you feel that way about gay rights, too?

HUCKABEE: It’s a different set of rights. People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that’s not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we’re talking about a redefinition of an institution, that’s different than individual civil rights. We’re never going to convince each other.

BEHAR: Well, segregation was an institution, too, in a way. it was right there on the books.

HUCKABEE: But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge.

BEHAR: Gay bashing goes on, too.

HUCKABEE: And there is Christian bashing. A lady in california, 69 years old, holding a cross and people come up — violence is wrong no matter who is behind it."
And I love how that's the only instance he can come up with for attacks on Christians. By the way, this is the incident to which he referred.


Not that I can agree with what the man did, even though the video is hardly conclusive.

Why so many movies fail the Bechdel Test

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I couldn't remember if I'd posted about this before.
"It’s not a coincidence. It’s not that there aren’t enough women behind the camera (there aren’t, but that’s not the reason). Here’s what we’re up against (and for those who have requested a single post that summarizes my experiences in film for linking reference, now you’ve got it).

When I started taking film classes at UCLA, I was quickly informed I had what it took to go all the way in film. I was a damn good writer, but more importantly (yeah, you didn’t think good writing was a main prerequisite in this industry, did you?) I understood the process of rewriting to cope with budget (and other) limitations. I didn’t hesitate to rip out my most beloved scenes when necessary. I also did a lot of research and taught myself how to write well-paced action/adventure films that would be remarkably cheap to film - that was pure gold.

There was just one little problem.

I had to understand that the audience only wanted white, straight, male leads. I was assured that as long as I made the white, straight men in my scripts prominent, I could still offer groundbreaking characters of other descriptions (fascinating, significant women, men of color, etc.) - as long as they didn’t distract the audience from the white men they really paid their money to see."

The War on Christmas

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According to some, those of us who don't celebrate Christmas are actively against it. Fine. You want to declare war, go right ahead. But I will vote with my dollars and boycott any companies that say outright, "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." I never really cared before, but I never realized that perhaps some companies do so out of some weird spiteful "We only want Christians shopping here and if you don't like that then you're against Christmas" sort of attitude.
Actually, I do celebrate Christmas secularly with my family. (I'm still in the broom closet with them. Would that mean that I'm keeping them in the broom closet? Wouldn't that be elder abuse?) But I also celebrate Yule religiously. So I can't have two happy holidays? I can only have one? What about New Year's? Or because I don't drink and therefore won't spend my money on booze then you don't care and say, "Screw you, hippy." But I digress in my rantings.
As we wade into the holidays, I mean, battlefield I will list companies that use "Merry Christmas" in their advertising versus "Happy Holidays." I'm not telling you where to shop and who to boycott. I'm just letting you know in case you give a rat's arse.
Merry Christmas: K-Mart
Jerry's Home Improvement has "Christmas Trees"
Lowe's in one of their commercials, the employee says "Merry Christmas" but the announcer/flash of words at the end says "Happy Holidays"
Happy Holidays: Crest (while "I'll be home for Christmas" plays in the background)
Kohl's

More Bechdel Test Failures

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Wedding Crashers
Night Rider
Batman, all to my recollection
James Bond, all to my recollection

Proposition 8 Protest

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A ton of people showed up for the rally on Saturday, I would hazard a guess at 100-200 people. For what it's worth, I always sucked at the "guess how many marbles are in the jar" games. Lots of drivers honked their horns in support. Or what I assumed was support considering the lack of one-fingered salutes.
The rally passed by a few market booths, one of which belonged to Christian proselytizers. Fellow protestors left them pretty much alone, except for Bronn. He dropped back and relayed the following (paraphrased) conversation to me later.
Bronn: "So Jesus loves everyone?"
Christian: "Yes."
Bronn: "And your sign says you'll pray for me?"
Christian: "Yes."
Bronn: "Then will you pray for our cause?"
Christian: "No, because we believe in the Bible."
Bronn: "Then Jesus does not, in fact, love everyone."
Christian: "You know, confrontation is good because it makes us all... [avoiding an actual response]"
And this is why I love the man.
Afterwards, Bronn and I got burritos at the Saturday Market. The man in front of us read our sign, which said, "Can we vote on your marriage?" Bronn struck up a conversation with him, basically seeing how the man felt about gay marriage. I wasn't paying too much attention since I was ordering during most of it, but the next thing I heard from Bronn was "...your woman."
I interrupted with a sharp, "So when a marries she becomes the man's property?" They stopped and thought about it for a minute, made a quick joke and moved on. Bronn's beginning to rethink the language he uses.
On the other hand, I don't object when Bronn refers to me possessively. Shocking, I know. Because I do the same to him. It may not be politically correct, but then again, we don't feel the need to claim each other as property. We don't "stake our claim," as it were.

It's a conspiracy!

3:38 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
"The Boston-based group that won equal marriage rights in Massachusetts and Connecticut said Tuesday it intends to fight for gay marriage rights in the other four New England states and predicted success by 2012.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders announced the campaign on the fifth anniversary of the Massachusetts court ruling that opened up marriage to gays and lesbians. GLAD dubbed the campaign “Six by Twelve.”
“We can make New England a marriage equality zone by strategically combining existing legal, electoral, and on-the-ground know-how to fast-track marriage in every New England state,” said GLAD Executive Director Lee Swislow.
“By 2012, we not only can have marriage equality throughout New England, we can have a road map for the rest of the country.” "

Good Samaritan Saves Wild Mustangs

2:57 PM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"The unwanted horses seemed destined for death. The wheels had been set in motion to put down about 2,000 healthy mustangs, those in a federally maintained herd of wild horses and burros that no one wanted to adopt.
The Bureau of Land Management knew that euthanasia was a legal alternative, but officials were proceeding slowly, afraid of an intense public outcry. The wild horses had become too expensive to maintain, and cattlemen argued that turning them loose would be a drain on the already scarce grazing lands of the West.
Then yesterday, at a public hearing in Reno, Nev., to discuss the issue, a solution arrived on a white horse, so to speak.
Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. Lifelong animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years ago led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States.
Madeleine Pickens is looking for land in the West that would be an appropriate home for the horses."
*Doing a happy dance.*

This is hilarious.

2:52 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
I so need this game.
"Forget Candyland. Would you play at spiritual warfare with a board game that has a tiny plastic Jesus bashing people with the cross or Buddha mowing them down with a machine gun?
Ben Radford, creator of Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination is banking that people will buy his new game online ($39.99) or at independent game store.
He pitches it as fun for all, like Bill Maher's faith-mocking movie Religulous, and a way to learn to value world peace through play-acting slaughter of folks who don't follow you. People just love inducing Old Testament wrath, he says."

Transgender Day of Remembrance

2:41 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Is this Thursday. The following is from Gender.org.

Nakia Ladelle Baker
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Blunt force trauma to the head
Date of Death: January 7, 2007

Keittirat Longnawa
Location: Rassada, Thailand
Cause of Death: Beaten by 9 Youths who then slit her throat
Date of Death: January 31, 2007

Moira Donaire
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
Cause of Death: Stabbed 5 times by a street vendor
Date of Death: March 5, 2007

Michelle Carrasco “Chela”
Location: Santiago, Chile
Cause of Death: She was found in a pit with her face completely disfigured.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

Ruby RodriguezL
ocation: San Francisco, California
Cause of Death: She had been strangled and was found naked in the street.
Date of Death: March 16, 2007

Erica Keel
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death: A car repeatedly struck her
Date of Death: March 23, 2007

Bret T. Turner
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds
Date of Death: April 2, 2007

Unidentified Male Clad in Female Attire
Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Cause of Death: Gunshot wounds to the chest and lower back
Date of Death: July 7, 2007

Victoria Arellano
Location: San Pedro, California
Cause of Death: Denied necessary medications to treat HIV-related side effects.
Date of Death: July 20, 2007

Oscar Mosqueda
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Cause of Death: Shot to death
Date of Death: July 29, 2007

Maribelle Reyes
Location: Houston, Texas
Cause of Death: AIDS; Reyes was turned away from several treatment centers due to her transgender status.
Date of Death: August 30, 2007

Segregating LGBTQ Students

1:42 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
"A proposed high school for LGBT students under intense criticism has been retooled in a bid to win approval. The Chicago Board of Education put off voting on the Social Justice High School—Pride Campus last month, following criticism by conservative religious groups that it was catering to “a special class” of students, and concerns by Mayor Richard Daley and some LGBT leaders that it would segregate gay students.
The new plan would see the school’s mission expanded to include all disenfranchised students and the name changed to Social Justice Solidarity High School.
The revised mission will be presented Wednesday to the Chicago Board of Education. If it is approved, it would open in 2010.
“While the school will be open to all students, its special mission will be to provide a haven where students can feel safe and valued for who they are,” the school’s new mission statement says."
While I can understand the sentiment behind the proposed school, I don't think it's a good idea and smacks too much of segregation. And do you think that the person who called me an "asshole" on this post would get upset by 365Gay.com referring to all potential students of this school as "gay" when it would allegedly include transgendered students? If so, then they should get to writing a scathing response to the article.

Good news and bad news

1:39 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has formally ratified results of Florida’s general election, including Amendment 2, which limits marriage to opposite-sex couples and bans civil unions.
But the final figures released by Browning show that the measure passed with less than a two percent plurality.
The official count was 4,890,883 to 3,008,026. That was 61.9 percent of the vote for the amendment. Florida requires that constitutional amendments must have more than 60 percent to be approved."

No surprise there

1:36 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"A study released Tuesday by a University of California - Los Angeles think tank has found workplace discrimination against LGBT employees is as widespread as that against women and visible minorities.
Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 13 of those states also prohibit gender identity discrimination."

Chinese woman ordered to abort.

12:49 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
"A STORM of international protest is building over a Chinese ruling that a Muslim Uighur woman who is six months pregnant must have an abortion or lose her home.
Chinese authorities have ordered Arzigul Tursun, who is 26 weeks pregnant, to abort her unborn child ... She is under watch at the Municipal Watergate Hospital in Yining in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which is populated heavily with Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. Supporters are concerned a forced abortion at such a late stage could threaten Arzigul's health."
From Womanist Musings, where she has more information.

Bush's last minute HHS regulations

12:22 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
"A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that enforces job discrimination laws.
The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and drugstores from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to “assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity” financed by the Department of Health and Human Services."
New York Times

Vanessa at Feministing has more details, and suggestions on how to take action.

I had a thought...

10:26 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Yes, it hurt. Shut up.
Remember how the religious rightwingers went off about how Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment? The logic behind that one was a bit of a stretch. And in that same fashion, how about the Californian wildfires are karmic punishment for Proposition 8? If anything, the timing of it would be more proof than the Katrina one.

Unitarian Universalists in Support of Marriage Equality

4:28 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

Unitarian Universalists

Focus on the Family Announces Major Layoffs

4:14 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
"Colorado Independent reports that Focus on the Family “is poised to announce major layoffs to its Colorado Springs-based ministry and media empire today.”
The layoffs come after the right-wing group spent more than $600,000 to defeat marriage equality in California. Praising the passage of Prop. 8, the group said that the measure “helps protect millions of children from radical indoctrination in the homosexual lifestyle.” The group also touted its involvement collecting signatures and gathering donations, patting itself on the back for being “integrally involved” in the fight against marriage equality."
But if they were truly doing God's work, wouldn't they be working for free? Part of me wants to laugh hysterically, the rest is sad for the actual families that are really being hurt by this.

Have a Green Period

2:56 PM Posted In , Edit This 2 Comments »
I couldn't resist the title and the imagery it invoked. It made me giggle. Why yes, I am 12, why do you ask? Since my Aunt Flo is in town, I thought I would break out the ole soapbox about girly bits, health, and the environment.
Long story short, regular feminine products are bad for you. They're bleached, made of non-biodegradable materials, and fill up our dumps.
Reusable:
The Keeper (rather graphic name, but whatever)
The above two you can only use if you do NOT have a bicornuate uterus.
Glad Rags (Oregon company)
Or if the reusable options are too much for you, even though they save money in the long run, go organic:
I took Pamprin last night for the first time, even though I normally drink water and/or raspberry leaf tea for my severe cramps. It was a regular dose: two pills. Halfway through game I wondered why I felt stoned, until I asked a friend if Pamprin is supposed to knock you out. She said yes.
For a non-Nyquil effect I recommend