Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Return of the Shower-Nuts

In 2008, the shower-nuts of Montgomery County tried to tell people that if they weren't allowed to discriminate against transgender people, perverted predatory men would lurk and leer in women's shower-rooms and bathrooms. All they'd have to do is say, I feel like a female gender identity today, and there's nothing you can do. It will be horrible. They had a petition, trying to get a referendum on the ballot to recall the law, but so many of the names were forged and invalid that they could not get the issue voted on. They called it "the bathroom bill," and pretended that the issue was the safety of women and children, and not bigotry.

This is 2014. Montgomery County has had a gender-identity nondiscrimination law for six years. No lurking, leering men have turned up in any ladies' rooms in the county, or anywhere else that has this kind of law. In fact, there hasn't been any difference at all, except that transgender people know they can expect to have the same rights as everyone else. Baltimore City and County, Howard County, and Hyattsville also have gender-identity nondiscrimination laws in place. No men in the ladies room in any of those places, or in any of the nearly 200 jurisdictions around the country that prohibit this kind of discrimination.

Now the state of Maryland has passed a similar bill, the governor has said he will sign it, and it is like a big, bizarre, deja vu all over again. The shower-nuts are coming out of the woodwork again, talking about "the bathroom bill," demanding a referendum at the state level. Men lurking and leering, and so on. Exactly the same stuff.

It is a prediction that is already proven wrong. And the people of Maryland know that.

I'll get the news from CBS Baltimore:
Critics of Maryland’s newly passed transgender rights bill kick off a new effort to get the law overturned.

Monique Griego reports several delegates announced a petition drive against the so called “bathroom bill.”

The group is hoping to get enough signatures to bring the law before voters in November.

But supporters of the bill say this is just another attempt to mislead the public about what the law really allows.

The fight over transgender rights in Maryland reignites in Annapolis.

“This has just gone too far. It’s too extreme,” said Del. Kathy Szeliga, (R) Maryland.

Tuesday critics announced a petition drive to have the law overturned. is hoping to gain enough signatures to put the bill on the November ballot.

“It’s even kind of unbelievable that it did pass,” said Del. Neil Parrott, (R) Maryland.

The bill, which passed in March, updates Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include gender identity, protecting transgendered people from discrimination at work, housing or in public places.

But many delegates, including Parrot, didn’t want public restrooms included.

“That’s the most harmful part of this bill. For parents, they want to send their little girls into the bathroom and there could be a man in there hiding. It allows for that to happen,” Parrot said.

That’s something supporters of the bill say simply isn’t true.

“There’s always a concern when someone launches an effort like this to mislead the public in such an intense way,” said Keith Thirion, Equality Maryland.

Thirion from Equality Maryland says this latest push is just another attempt to confuse people about who the bill protects.

“A man who puts on a dress to commit illegal acts is not covered by the bill and illegal acts remain illegal,” he said.
Thirion is hopeful Marylanders will see it’s about fairness.

“No one should be denied the opportunity to work for a living and provide for their families to have a roof over their head or to eat lunch at a restaurant, be denied those basic rights just because of who they are,” Thirion said. has two deadlines to meet: one in May and one in June.

Overall they need just under 56,000 signatures to bring the bill to a vote in November.

In 2012, the group successfully forced the Marriage Equality Act and Dream Act on the ballot, but voters upheld both. Group Seeks Referendum On Transgender Rights Law
They do not mention in this story that Neil Parrott is It's his site. He had a petition there to stop the bill when it was in the legislature and he has a bill now to repeal it. You ought to see the graphic he uses:

I guess this is a bathroom stall, and a blue guy is climbing over the barrier to leer at a fully dressed, standing red woman. This is it, this is what they have?

I suppose you have to expect this sort of thing, but jeez, come on, there is simply no way the people of Maryland are going to vote to un-pass this law.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Conservatives Ditch Their Hero

Cliven Bundy, out in Nevada, owed the federal government more than a million dollars for decades of grazing his cattle on restricted federal land. The problem was easily solved: he simply refused to recognize the federal government. So the actually existing federal government came in to move his cows off their land. When Mr. Bundy and a couple hundred like-minded non-government-recognizing individuals went to the property in jeans and cowboy hats and a whole bunch of guns, the government left the cattle to graze and went back to their bureaucratic desks, with their suits and ties and everything. The rightwing militia movement declared a great victory and looked forward to even more revolting opportunities.

Conservatives including U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Hopeful Herman Cain, and more than anyone, Fox News threw their support behind Bundy, arguing that Obama's federal government was trampling individuals' rights etcetera etcetera.

The anti-American Bundy, an amateur, did not understand the importance of sticking to the talking points.
Cliven Bundy: “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side

Before Bundy's comments about "the Negro," Fox News had mentioned him 469 times, including five hours of primetime coverage. But on Thursday, as of noon they had mentioned Bundy twice -- neither time mentioned his racist views. One of the mentions was a suggestion that we turn our attention away from Nevada and focus on something else.

Tell me: who is surprised by any of this?

The satirical Borowitz Report had the last laugh with a faux-news article titled REPUBLICANS BLAST NEVADA RANCHER FOR FAILING TO USE COMMONLY ACCEPTED RACIAL CODE WORDS. A few zingers in there...
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.

“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.”

Fox News also blasted the rancher, saying in a statement, “Cliven Bundy’s outrageous racist remarks undermine decades of progress in our effort to come up with cleverer ways of saying the same thing.”