Friday, September 30, 2011

No Taxes

A little too busy to be doing a whole lot of blogging these days, but I loved this picture and thought you might, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pres Candidates on LGBT Rights

Interesting little chart found at The Society Pages:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DHS Waiting to Move Into Insane Asylum

This is delicious…

From the LA Times:
Five miles southeast of the gleaming Capitol dome, on a scenic bluff overlooking the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, the future office of the secretary of Homeland Security sits boarded up and abandoned.

Four years ago, U.S. officials announced plans to renovate the dilapidated, castle-like structure —opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane — to anchor Washington's largest construction project since the Pentagon was built 70 years ago.

The goal was to unite on a single campus the 22 agencies that were stitched together to form the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But the $3.4-billion headquarters project stalled as Congress tried to cut the federal deficit. Lawmakers debated this month whether the nation could afford such a massive home-improvement project, and the House has voted to eliminate the funding in next year's budget. Homeland Security operating without a real home

Someone forwarded this with some comments from an email list that has been discussing it. I don't know who said this or what list they were writing on, but they captured the essence of the situation perfectly:
"The Dept of Homeland Security has plans to make former Government Hospital for the Insane its new headquarters. This is proof that either: a) Somewhere deep inside the utterly humorless DHS, someone actually has a sense of humor, or b) the DHS bureaucracy is so utterly devoid of humor that the irony utterly escapes them."

I'm afraid b) is the only plausible answer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On the Killing of Troy Davis

Last night the state of Georgia executed a man who was almost certainly innocent. It didn't matter whether he had committed the crime, it only mattered that the rules had been followed. Troy Davis lay on a gurney with an IV in his arm, ready for the poison to pump into his body, for two and half hours before the Supreme Court sent word that it was okay with them to go ahead.

A black man accused of killing a Georgia cop. Man, talk about the deck stacked against you. He waited on Death Row for twenty two years, and finally the time came when all hope was exhausted, and at 11:08 last night, the state of Georgia put an end to his life.

I don't think anybody believed he was guilty of the crime. He was trapped by a kind of illogic that says that the death of a policeman must be avenged, in a state where the lynching of black men, not that long ago, didn't require a trial at all, not much more than a rumor. I have not heard anyone, even Michele Bachmann, say that Troy Davis was guilty. His case was based on eyewitness testimony and nearly all the witnesses recanted.

There is some irony in that fact that another man was executed yesterday, in Texas, in a situation complementary to Davis'. White supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer was put to death for killing a black man by chaining him to the back of his pickup truck and dragging him around. Those who found the body in the morning could not tell if it was human or not, body parts were scattered, the head had been torn off. There might have been a time when this crime would have gone unpunished in Texas, the sheriff would have looked the other way. I guess we can call this progress.

A Sad One

A friend once pointed out a fact about the English language. We have a word for the surviving spouse when a husband or wife dies -- widow, or widower -- and we have a word for a child who survives when their parents die -- an orphan -- but we have no word for parents who survive after their child dies. My friend believed that this was because the situation was so sad nobody wanted to give it a name.

Monday a family in Buffalo, New York, found themselves in that state. The Post will tell it.
Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old high school freshman in Buffalo, N.Y., was bullied. A lot. After years of being called gay slurs at school and being told by anonymous people online that he should die, he killed himself Monday.

Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told the Buffalo News that her son had questioned his sexuality and that his classmates began to tease and bully him. His parents were supportive of their son, and Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist. But that didn’t stop the bullying, and it didn’t ease Jamey’s pain, which spilled onto his Tumblr account.

“No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down,” he wrote on Sept. 8. He said the next day: “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. ... What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

Despite their son’s numerous cries for help online, Jamey’s parents thought he was doing well. His father Tim told WGRZ that Jamey said that he was happy.

Last May, Jamey told his friends that he was bisexual and created his own “It Gets Better” video. He thanked Lady Gaga for supporting the gay community and told the viewers, “Love yourself and you’re set.”

Indeed, he received an outpouring of support online from Gaga’s fans, who call themselves “little monsters,” as well as from his friends.

But others online did not embrace him. “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” an anonymous commenter said on Formspring. “I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” said another. Jamey Rodemeyer, bullied teen who made ‘It Gets Better’ video, commits suicide

Jamey had put a video up on the "It Gets Better" channel of YouTube. See if you can watch this.

Columnist Dan Savage, who created the “It Gets Better” project, said on his blog that the people who bullied Jamey should be held accountable “for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused.”

“They should be asked if they’re “WAY more happier” now, if they’re pleased with themselves, and if they have anything to say to the mother of the child they succeeded in bullying to death,” he wrote.

Teen suicide is not a new or uncommon problem. Of the more than 35,000 suicides reported in the United States in 2008, 4,513 of the cases were youths between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Savage said the high number of teenagers who are gay, bisexual or transsexual who have taken their own lives prompted him to found “It Gets Better,” a platform where adults could tell bullied kids that someday their lives will be brighter. But, as he wrote on his blog, the negativity is sometimes louder than the love:

“The point of the ‘It Gets Better’ project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.”

I don't know if there will ever be a time when people can accept these kinds of differences, I'm afraid the general tendency is to flock toward the middle rather than fly free, people are motivated to conform and to punish nonconformists, whether the nonconformity is by choice or design. But the norm is shifting, slowly the harassment of LGBT people is being seen as the deviant act.

We thank people like Lady Gaga and Dan Savage for using their visibility to further the effort. And we grieve for the young ones, like Jamey Rodemeyer, who decide that it is better not to live at all than to live in a world where they are hated for who they are.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bye Bye DADT

Today the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, where gays and lesbians can join the military as long as they stay in the closet, is ended. The policy, started in 1994 under Bill Clinton, has been controversial since the start. It was regarded at the time as an advance for LGBT rights, allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military, though of course they were not permitted the same self-expression as their straight colleagues.

The bill was repealed by Congress in July of this year, with the repeal to take effect September 20th. Today.

It seems reasonable to quote Stars and Stripes on this one:
The military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law ends Tuesday, allowing openly gay troops to serve for the first time and marking one of the most dramatic personnel changes in U.S. military history.

But despite the significance, defense officials have spent weeks downplaying the actual impact of the change, insisting that for gay and straight troops the repeal will still mean business as usual.

Pentagon leaders and the White House on Tuesday will acknowledge the end of the 18-year-old law — the basis for the dismissal of roughly 14,000 gay servicemembers — and last year’s contentious debate repealing it.

But, other than a few news conferences, no formal military events or instructions are planned. Pentagon officials said Monday that 2.25 million troops have completed training briefings on the rule changes since last spring, and no new sessions or advisories are expected after repeal.

In July, when the Sept. 20 repeal date was announced, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson said that he expected the changeover to be “as smooth as possible. What we believe we’ve done here is create a sexual-orientation-neutral environment in which all members can operate, do their jobs, serve in their units with dignity, professionalism and respect.” On eve of DADT repeal, it's business as usual for military

A "sexual-orientation-neutral environment." That seems ideal, doesn't it?

A person's sexual orientation only matters if you are thinking of getting involved in a romantic relationship with them. And in that case, you might ask them out and find they are not interested in you for a surprising reason. At least you don't have to take it personally. The only other way it would make a difference would be if you held some stereotyped beliefs that LGBT people are somehow different from you in an important way, and that bothered you. And that, when you get down to it, is your own problem.

It seems like the easiest thing in the world to implement this transition. You don't need training, or special policies, in fact all the special policies can be shredded now. All they have to do is stop firing people.

Today let's congratulate all those who worked so hard for equality in the military.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ron Paul Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

I think all decent people realized the train had gone off the tracks when the crowd at the Republican debate began cheering the idea of letting uninsured people die when they get sick. Yahoo News has the story:
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a doctor, was asked a hypothetical question by CNN host Wolf Blitzer about how society should respond if a healthy 30-year-old man who decided against buying health insurance suddenly goes into a coma and requires intensive care for six months. Paul--a fierce limited-government advocate-- said it shouldn't be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks," Paul said and was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody ..."

"Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Blitzer pressed Paul. And that's when the audience got involved.

Several loud cheers of "yeah!" followed by laughter could be heard in the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in response to Blitzer's question. Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die

I'll let Gawker pick up the story from there.
So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that "society should just let him die," which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man. So basically, yeah. He'd let him die.

As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul's former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer's example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder's surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations. Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured

The asterisk goes to a statement: "*The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that a 'a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive.'"

According to all reports, Snyder was the one who convinced Paul to run in the first place, he worked tirelessly to run the campaign, and Ron Paul, a physician, did not see it necessary as an employer to provide health insurance to his employees.

Wolf Blitzer must have known about this when he asked the question. It was not a purely impersonal hypothetical situation for Ron Paul, this was really something that happened, he failed to provide health insurance to his employees and his campaign manager got sick and died.

After Snyder's death, Paul put out a statement that said:
"Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family."

Ron Paul doesn't just talk about letting uninsured people die, he makes it happen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Palin Drug Use, Sexual Adventures Reported

It is going to be interesting to see how people take this. Sarah Palin has had quite the colorful past, it turns out, doing marijuana and cocaine, extramarital affairs, even a tryst with a black NBA basketball star, at least according to a well-researched book that is coming out soon.

Here're the first few paragraphs of The Guardian's report:
A highly anticipated biography of Sarah Palin, the Tea Party politician and former Republican vice presidential candidate, alleges the former Republican vice presidential candidate used cocaine and marijuana, and had a long affair with her husband's business partner.

The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin by the respected if controversial author, Joe McGinniss, claims Palin was seen snorting cocaine off the top of a 55-gallon drum while snowmobiling with friends. It also alleges she smoked marijuana with a professor while at Mat-Su College in Alaska.

The book, scheduled for release in the US next week, quotes a Palin family friend as alleging that Palin's husband, Todd, also used cocaine and that he was "on the end of the straw plenty". Sarah Palin alleged to have used cocaine and marijuana

I would think the moralizing religious right would abandon her in droves once they learn these things about her. I mean, I would have thought that, back when I thought there was a shred of rationality to their thinking.

But I learned a lesson from the Bristol Palin situation. Remember when Bristol, an unmarried teenager, got pregnant? The Nutty Ones loved her! It was the best thing that could have happened.

So now we have Sarah Palin herself acting like a regular trailer-trash chick, getting loaded and fooling around with guys, who knows, the teabaggers might start pushing to make this country a monarchy so they can pronounce her Queen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MoCo Opposes Anti-Muslim Bigotry

It must be weird being a Montgomery County Republican. I saw their booth at the Takoma Folk Festival this past weekend -- it was an island of emptiness in a sea of happy humanity, a dead zone. It was as if someone had put a barbed-wire fence around the plot of land extending ten feet out from the booth, with "Beware of Dog" signs. No one wanted to go near them.

The only time they make the news is when get into fistfights over debts they owe one another. One leader of the county's Republican Party made the papers when the gender identity nondiscrimination bill passed into law, shouting, "Wait until little girls start showing up dead all over the county because of freaks of nature." That was 2007. Tell us, Adol. how long are we supposed to wait?

There have been rumblings since the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club invited an anti-Muslim bigot to speak at their meeting in a couple of weeks. As Maryland Juice noted:
Fred Grandy is a former member of the U.S. House from Iowa, but he is better known as "Gopher" from the television series the Love Boat. He recently gained notoriety after being fired from his most recent gig as a morning radio personality on WMAL. Grandy's increasingly anti-Muslim show was pushed off the air after on-air comments his wife made…

I admit, I never watched "The Love Boat" and wouldn't know Gopher if he stuck his head up out of a hole in my yard.

Some of our elected leaders signed a letter to the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club, asking them to reconsider this speaker. It will be in the Gazette tomorrow but Maryland Juice scooped them online. Here it is:
We have learned that the Montgomery County Republican Party is hosting an event in Chevy Chase on September 24 featuring former actor and former Congressman Fred Grandy as the featured speaker. Grandy will ostensibly be speaking about the topic of “Islamic Extremism”.

Fred Grandy is a former actor and former Congressman who has been an active leader in the nationwide movement to incite bigotry against American Muslims. Usually this is done under the guise of "Anti-terrorism", "Counter-Jihad" or "Fighting Islamic Extremism". In reality, these labels are often thinly-veiled excuses to spread lies about American Muslims and incite mistrust against them by claiming they are a threat to America, they are trying to implement "Creeping Sharia" and they are seeking worldwide domination.

On their WMAL radio show, Fred Grandy & his wife Catherine have repeatedly referred to Muslim people as "Sharia Compliant" and found it necessary to "warn" others that Muslims work in Government. This radio show was recently cancelled allegedly because of their anti-Muslim prejudice.

So-called “Anti-Sharia” bills have been introduced in numerous state capitals. Such legislation and accompanying rhetoric have been criticized as attacks on religious liberties or attempts to stigmatize American Muslims by a broad spectrum of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Agudah, the Orthodox Union, American Jewish Committee, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Fighting terrorism of all kinds is an important endeavor. But this cannot be used as an excuse to vilify an entire religion. It is inappropriate for the Montgomery County Republican party to be hosting an anti-Muslim speaker. Montgomery County is home to thousands of people of all races and religions. Divisive rhetoric of the kind Fred Grandy is known for has no place in Montgomery County or in our civic discourse.


Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett
Maryland State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola
Maryland House of Delegates Majority Leader Kumar Barve

Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno
Maryland State Senator Roger Manno

Maryland State Delegate Sam Arora
Maryland State Delegate Alfred Carr
Maryland State Delegate Bill Frick
Maryland State Delegate James Gilchrist
Maryland State Delegate Benjamin Kramer
Maryland State Delegate Eric Luedtke
Maryland State Delegate Ana Gutierrez
Maryland State Delegate Tom Hucker
Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller
Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur
Maryland State Delegate Kirill Reznik
Maryland State Delegate Shane Robinson
Maryland State Delegate Craig Zucker

Montgomery County Councilman Craig Rice
Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer
Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal
Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich

Montgomery Democrats Issue Letter Condemning Local GOP Extremist Speaker

The last time I checked, there was not a single Republican elected to any position in the county. There might be one, let's just say that an "R" next to your name on the ballot is poison here in one of the bluest regions of the country. So it is hardly an act of courage to stand up to the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club. On the other hand, our county has a sizable Muslim population and they have to feel uncomfortable with all the stupid stuff about "Ground Zero Mosques" and communities banning Sharia law. There is a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country and it is good that our elected leaders stand up for these neighbors of ours.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Transgender Woman Shot in DC

Is anybody noticing a trend here?

Channel 9 News has the story:
6:29 AM, Sep 12, 2011 DC Police are investigating another violent crime involving a transgender person.

Police tell 9 NEWS NOW a transgender woman drove herself to the 7th District police station in the 2400 block of Alabama Avenue in Southeast around 2:00 a.m. after being shot in the neck. Police say investigators have determined the shooting actually occurred in the 2300 block of Savannah Street a short time earlier.

Officers say the victim was conscious and breathing when she was transported to a local hospital. Her current condition is unknown at this time.

Police are looking for a dark complected man known as "Tyrone". The suspect was last seen wearing dark pants and a tan shirt. Transgender Woman Shot In Southeast DC

There is video posted with this story but it looks like the wrong version, there is video of police cars and street scenes and background sounds but no narrator talking. Hopefully Channel 9 will figure this out and get the fully edited story published.

There have been a lot of recent shootings of transgender people in DC. It is impossible to theorize about any connections among the incidents, except to note that gender identity is something that some people get extremely upset about. One assailant was caught, a drunk DC cop, the others seem to leave little to go on.

One thing. These are shootings we are reading about, somebody fires a gun at another person -- that is some serious violence. The lesser assaults do not get reported in the media, but you know they happen; Crissy Polis' beating only came to light when it became a viral YouTube video, most of these things are never mentioned in the press. It is really alarming that these violent gun crimes have become so frequent.

The police are looking for a "dark complected man known as 'Tyrone'" somewhere in Washington DC. I am thinking they might need more of a lead than that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Terror, Ten Years later

Terrorism only works if it terrorizes someone. The attacks of ten years ago definitely did that. A new culture of fear caused us to abandon the values that made us unique and great as a nation -- we are not the country we were on September tenth, 2001.

Today everyone is thinking back to that sunny morning, remembering the panic, the uncertainty, the destruction. This week the ACLU issued a report detailing how much the US has changed as a result of the attacks that day. For more than thirty pages they detail the ways in which Americans have lost our freedom to the new surveillance state, ways that we have let fear overrule our respect for the principles that we have historically cherished.
Ten years ago, we could not have imagined our country would engage in systematic policies of torture and targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretaps, military com- missions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination. Not only were these policies completely at odds with our values, but by engaging in them, we strained relations with our allies, handed a propaganda tool to our enemies, undermined the trust of communities whose cooperation is essential in the fight against terrorism, and diverted scarce law enforcement resources. Some of these policies have been stopped. Torture and extraordinary rendition are no longer officially condoned. But most other policies—indefinite detention, targeted killing, trial by military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling—remain core elements of our national security strategy today.

We also could not have predicted that the unity and resolve of that September night would give way so quickly to the fear and fear-mongering of the next ten years. A decade after 9/11, our political leaders continue to permit the fear of terrorism to dominate our political and legal discourse. Terrorism has existed throughout history in various forms, and its threat persists today. But, by defining the struggle against terrorism in existential terms—as a “war” without geographical or temporal limits—our leaders are asking us to accept a permanent state of emergency in which core values must be subordinated to ever-expanding demands of “national security.” A Call To Courage:
Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11

It does take courage to remain free.

The last paragraph of the report is not what I would call optimistic, but it does offer some hope, with a warning:
It is not too late to strengthen our laws, to take back our data, and to ensure that government surveillance is conducted under effective and reasonable constraints, subject to meaningful oversight. But we have to speak up now, before our surveillance society is irrevocably entrenched and we find that we have permanently sacrificed our essential values. Otherwise, we risk changing our national character and surrendering one of the key freedoms we strive to protect—our right to privacy and our ability to speak, dissent, exchange ideas, and engage in political activity without the chilling fear of unwarranted government intrusion.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jack Becomes Jackie

When you are born the doctor looks at your plumbing and checks a box on the birth certificate, M/F, and that's what you are. Most of the time that's fine, boys have penises, girls have vulvas. Our society is ordered along gender lines, roles are determined by the gender of an individual, boys do this, girls do that, men do this, women do that. It matters, in other words, what box the doctor checks, it has a lot to do with who you are. But sometimes they get it wrong, there is not a hundred percent correspondence between gender and genitalia.

Unfortunately the little person is not in a position to say, Hey, doc, you put your checkmark in the wrong place. Gender roles are learned, as you grow up you are taught, directly or by implication, how you are supposed to behave, what you are supposed to like, how you are supposed to look -- there is a lot of supposing going on! But it turns out there is more to it than social learning, people have a real innate sense of who they are, we know personally whether we are boys or girls, and it does not always align with that pediatrician's first guess or with our visible physical apparatus.

This ABC News video follows a little girl in rural Ohio, originally thought to be a boy. The family has early video, and the news team spent, they say, months videotaping the family. This is an exceptionally good piece of video.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

( Originally on )

I find it easy to identify with that old hippie grandfather, who thinks it might be a little crazy for a kid to make such a decision, but the parents make even more sense. The dad was thinking they'd go fishing, play catch, well girls fish and play catch but it's not going to be like he thought. He seems like he can handle it, though. In fact, it looks like the whole town can handle it. Take twelve minutes, watch this, it will help you understand some things better.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Perry Likes FEMA When Texas is on Fire

I think everybody would like to pay the least taxes possible, and everybody would like to see the government stay out of our business. Government is big, inefficient, unresponsive, difficult to deal with, hard to change, government would like to know more about citizens and limit their freedom -- this isn't a partisan issue, I think everybody feels this way. Government tends to get out of control and the people need to keep it in line, Democrats and Republicans agree on that, the Founding Fathers understood it, there's no debate.

That doesn't mean that a government isn't worth having, or that it can't provide necessary services. And in fact there are some things that only a government can do, things that require impartiality, projects that are so big and so unprofitable that no private company would undertake them. Interstate highways -- if private business built and maintained the highways we'd be paying tolls every time we went someplace. Emergency response, when there's a disaster somebody needs to take control, if it was a business they'd be trying to make a profit from it and the quality of services would suffer -- you can't charge people to rescue them from the rubble of a natural disaster.

Tea Party conservatives have maligned government and promised to keep it as small as possible. Lately they are talking about cutting back on FEMA, for instance. Not to say the FEMA is the most efficient organization in the world, but when you need help on a big scale they're the only ones who can provide it.

Rick Perry, as governor of Texas, tried to streamline his state government by, among other things, cutting the firefighters budget to less than a fourth of what it was. Now his state's on fire and he needs the federal government to come in and save home, property, lives.

He just wants them to do it, he doesn't want to talk about it. Raw Story has it:
Under Gov. Rick Perry (R) this year, Texas slashed state funding for the volunteer fire departments that protect most of the state from wildfires like the ones that have recently destroyed more than 700 homes.

Volunteer departments that were already facing financial strain were slated to have their funding cut from $30 million to $7 million, according to KVUE.

The majority of Texas is protected by volunteer fire departments. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas and only 114 paid fire departments. Another 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.

For that reason, aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could be more important than ever to the state where wildfires have recently been raging.

At a press conference Monday, Perry promised to seek federal disaster relief and said that FEMA would be in the state by Wednesday. Texas cut fire department funding by 75 percent this year

It wasn't so long ago that Perry was hinting that Texas might secede from the country. What was he going to do, call Mexico if his state started burning up?

Oh, and don't forget what his response was when the drought that has fed these fires became serious -- he issued an official proclamation calling for Days of Prayer for Rain. Cut the firefighting budget and tell people to start praying, yeah man, that'll work. That's the kind of thinking I'd like to see in a President, wouldn't you?
While the Texas governor has been highly critical of FEMA in the past, he told CBS’ Erica Hill Tuesday that now was not the time to worry about reforming the agency.

“The issue is taking care of these people right now,” Perry insisted. “We can work our way through any conversations about how to make agencies more efficient, how to make Department of Defense equipment, for instance, more available. There are a lot of issues we can talk about, but the fact of the matter is now is not the time to be trying to work out the details of how to make these agencies more efficient. Let’s get people out of harm’s way.”

He needs FEMA now, but at the same time he wants to get rid of it. He wants it when he needs it, but not when somebody else needs help.

And here's the thing. The contradiction, the hypocrisy here is so blatantly obvious, the short-sightedness, the self-servingness, the opportunism and the manipulativeness of it is right there on the tip of his nose for everyone to see, and you watch, his ratings won't slip an inch. The people who would vote for him -- and he is currently the GOP front-runner -- suffer from irony deprivation, they won't see any inconsistency in Perry's irresponsible and dangerous position.

Monday, September 05, 2011

New KY Ad Debuts Today

This new ad is scheduled to come out today for "KY Intense." Ideally it gets no reaction at all. Realistically, the ubiquitous prediction is: "expect heads to explode."

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Two Views of Chaz on TV and Kids

ABC News had a nice article about how to talk with your kids about Chaz Bono appearing on Dancing With the Stars. It was a concise and decent piece and I left it open in a browser tab, thinking about posting it but not quite sure -- until I saw what Fox News is saying on the same topic.

First, here's ABC:
Long before Chaz Bono joined the cast of “Dancing With the Stars,” his headline-grabbing female-to-male gender transition prompted parents to ask, “What do we say to our kids?” I reached out to gender expert Michelle Angello, who has a doctorate in human sexuality, and here was her advice.

Gender identity issues, she said, can actually be less confusing for kids than for adults.

“Because we have this societal taboo of gender, if you’re born this way, you should be happy this way, and children don’t necessarily understand that,” she said.

“Children, in their concrete minds, can say, ‘So you have a girl inside, so I guess you should have a girl outside or vice versa.’ ”

For instance, when a man is transitioning to become a woman — as was the case with transgender mom Chloe Prince, whom I once profiled for “Primetime” — Angello recommended telling an 8-year-old that Prince “used to be a man on the outside and she had a woman on the inside and she needed to let the woman on the inside out.”

Most kids that age, she said, will say, “OK, that makes sense.” Talking to Your Kids About Chaz Bono

There is also video of the interview.

I wasn't going to blog about this because it all seemed so obvious. Kids don't care if boys turn into girls or girls turn into boys, they don't have dogmatic beliefs about gender, they may have stereotypes but they don't believe in them as laws of nature or authoritative commands about how to live. Chaz's story is well known and seems uncontroversial and this seemed like more of a helpful hint piece telling parents not to worry, enjoy the show, your kids will be able to handle it.

Then I saw how Fox addressed the same topic:
Chaz Bono, the “transsexual” woman who underwent plastic surgery and takes male hormones in an effort to appear to be a man, and who asserts she is a man, will appear on the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars", according to ABC, the network which airs the show. He will be partnered with a woman.

Casting Chaz Bono on "Dancing with the Stars" is part of Chaz’s victory tour, which has included appearances on talk shows and the release of a book called "Transition."

I advise parents to not allow their children to watch the episodes in which Chaz appears.

Here’s why: Many of the children who might be watching will be establishing a sense of self which includes, of course, a sexual/gender identity. Some will be girls becoming comfortable with dramatic changes in their bodies. Some will be boys coming to terms with integrating the dawn of manhood with exquisite feelings of vulnerability. Young viewers will include tomboyish girls and sensitive, less stereotypically “masculine” boys. They will also include children who have sustained the losses of loved ones and are wrestling with depression, perhaps wondering who they are absent their deceased mothers or fathers.

The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to watch a captive crowd in a studio audience applaud on cue for someone whose search for an identity culminated with the removal of her breasts, the injection of steroids and, perhaps one day soon, the fashioning of a make-shift phallus to replace her vagina. Don't Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On 'Dancing With the Stars'

There's a lot more there, this Dr. Keith Ablow is just getting started. Note that in the first paragraph he accidentally uses the pronoun "he" in referring to Chaz -- later in the article he regresses to feminine pronouns: "But Chaz Bono should not be applauded for asserting she is a man…"

It really is staggering. You realize that there are people who think like this and it's like hitting a brick wall.

The Culture Wars in a Nutshell

Just a little Sunday Silliness ...

( Source )

Thursday, September 01, 2011

EQCA Fights Back

California recently passed a law ensuring that state school lessons include the political, economic, and social contributions of persons who are disabled, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and not permit negative campaigns against such persons. The law, Senate Bill 48, extends and modifies the existing list in the California Education Code, which also includes "Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and European Americans."

Naturally there is a referendum effort underway to repeal the law, and naturally it is being misrepresented as "indoctrination" and something that undermines the good morals of straight people.

The Family Research Council released a video featuring their President, Tony Perkins, denouncing the bill and calling for action against it. Equality California did a little editing to it and released their own version of it. It's pretty good.

Here's a little background on Perkins from a 2005 article in The Nation:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke. Justice Sunday Preachers

Here is Equality California's video:

Pretty simple and smart, let the guy talk and then pause the video and point to the lies. People like Tony Perkins want to tell people what the bill says because they know that ordinary citizens won't bother to look it up and read it themselves. They want Californians to believe it is an outrage against good morals, but it's nothing more than an assurance that LGBT people are presented fairly in lessons, similar to other minorities. Nobody has to rewrite any textbooks, no one is going to be "indoctrinated," it is a simple and straightforward matter of showing respect for people.