Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And yet more! House passes bill targeting "Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act;" What Does It All Mean, Dear?

These guys think: nothing good..

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.

First let’s take a look at the definitions of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as defined in Section 899A of the bill.

The definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn’t specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government. Considering how much the government has done to destroy the Constitution they could even define Ron Paul supporters as promoting an extremist belief system. Literally, the government according to this definition can define whatever they want as an extremist belief system. Essentially they have defined violent radicalization as thought crime. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

The definition of homegrown terrorism uses equally vague language to further define thought crime. The bill includes the planned use of force or violence as homegrown terrorism which could be interpreted as thinking about using force or violence. Not only that but the definition is so vaguely defined, that petty crimes could even fall into the category of homegrown terrorism. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to homegrown terrorism. Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda...


The bill, btw, was sponsored by a "rank and file" Democrat, Jane Harman. Apparently this is the first of the 38 bills she's sponsored which has made it out of committee. The one before this was a bill to get the President to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo.

I dunno what she/they were thinking. One wonders if perhaps someone finally took the "hey, all this focus on the evil Islamofascists and no one's doing jack about groups like Operation Rescue" seriously and, things being what they are, this is what became of it in committee. One ponders that something this vague could, like so much else thrown at us by Fearless Leaders recently, be dangerously unConstitutional and target a number of undeserving innocents and be completely toothless toward finding and stopping actual dangerous groups at the same time; or if indeed the whole thing mostly translates to "put in circular file, needs further study," or what.

One then considers that technically, HUAC was a "committee."

One is feeling sort of overwhelmed by information/panic overload alternating with everyone's apparent apathy/cluelessness at the moment. One has misplaced one's tinfoil hat and has an eye on one's passport. One wants to go home. Wherever that is.

h/t Lisa Harney.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Oh for FUCK's sake, that's IT.

Via Oh No a WoC PhD: guess who's coming to SoCal and playing Savior? that's wight, wabbit: Blackwater! Yes, THAT Blackwater!

Amidst the burning wild fires, devistated California residents sit in FEMA - State coordinated evacuation facilities and drink water and eat food without fear of it running out or being shot trying to get to higher ground. Though the blaze has hit million dollar homes and modest homes alike, the power of race and class in California as a whole has always insured that the state is well cared for in times of disaster. (This does not mean that supplies are well or fairly distributed, as anyone who lived through some of the crisis in the 80s will well remember.)

One thing that California and New Orleans do have in common however, is that Blackwater is ready to “rescue.” In fact, Blackwater has been lobbying to get into San Diego to start their own “border training camp” to privatize border patrolling for years in Congress. All though they have the go ahead from the company from whom they bought the land and the support of many conservative Californians, the fires in the same region may usher in the perfect way to circumvent the opposition.

Using their “credentials” as established “peace keepers” in New Orleans during and after the disaster, they can enter SoCal as aid workers and then, just like NOLA, never leave.

That's just too fucking close to home for me. I grew up in SoCal, I went to college in San Diego, I'm way too familiar with the various numbnuts who want to "seal the border." Bad enough worrying about if my family's in the way of the actual fires (they weren't this time, thankfully). Now you're talking about bringing a fucking fundie neocon mercenary armed compound for the purposes of institutionalized xenophobia and incipient fascism? Oh bitch NO. That's it. Time to wake up. I don't know exactly what that means at this point, but that's IT. NO.

update: oh! it just keeps getting better! via brownfemipower,

Chicago Public Schools is allowing the military to run four of its public schools.

This is apparently "drawing a mixed reaction." According to NPR.

What the fuck does it take?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feminism: it's not just for breakfast -or- women ("born women" and otherwise)

Kim has a modest proposal.

When your politics or theory hurt other people they are wrong.
When your beliefs cement labels onto others, they are wrong.
When you refuse to let individuals express themselves in ways that harm none, you are wrong.

Get your labels off other's bodies, why can't you?
You, who insist a woman should not be hurt or devalued or treated as inferior because of her body, why -- no really, why -- can't you allow others this same courtesy?

I am one feminist who accepts transfolk completely.

Therefore, feminism does accept transfolk -- no matter what anyone else says to the contrary.

Who's with me?

On a related note, Sudy observes:

Feminism is not only considering the social construction of womyn, but also of male and transgender, transexual individuals. Sexuality, power, gender are all forces we must examine. To unravel the sexism, we must not just limit our scope to grrls. We must look at what else is happening in the identity informing years.

along with a link to an alternet article: "Fag" Is Turning into a High School Insult for Any Guy Who Doesn't Play Football

...my only comment to the above being, I think 'twas ever thus, really.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"P" is for Patriarchy, Pornstitution, and PENGUIN

(i KNEW it!! selfish hedonistic bastards, never once gave a thought to the penguins suffering in Antarctica, now see what you've done?)

via Jill Brenneman:

Penguins are turning to prostitution

Monday, October 22, 2007

Unclear on the construct

This is coming off an offblog conversation, but let's just say someone was trying to figure out what the hell people meant by "gender is a construct" or "race is a construct," looked up definitions like this,

The central concept of Berger and Luckmann's Social Construction of Reality was that actors interacting together form, over time, typifications or mental representations of each other's actions, and that these typifications eventually become habitualised into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. When these reciprocal roles become routinized, the typified reciprocal interactions are said to be institutionalised. In the process of this institutionalisation, meaning is embedded and institutionalised into individuals and society - knowledge and people's conception of (and therefore belief regarding) what reality 'is' becomes embedded into the institutional fabric and structure of society, and social reality is therefore said to be socially constructed.

...and went, *blink* *blink* "...right, I'm gonna go have a beer and then maybe it'll make more sense."

Basically, to me, it's like this:

The problem is that people have this idea that either something is "real" or it's not. And "construct" seems to suggest that it's not. It's in our heads; we made it up; therefore, it doesn't exist! Poof! What the hell are we talking about, then?

All "construct" means that it's not fixed and fated and outside human control in the way that say your eventual death is, but that doesn't make it any less "real" for a that and a that.

I mean, look at it this way: a building is a "construct." Humans created it. If no person had had the idea for a large rectangular thingie, if no group of people had drawn up plans and built it, it wouldn't exist. Does that mean it doesn't actually exist?

The key point here is that it's a -social- construction: race, gender, whatever. That means, "large group of people of which you are only one member has collectively designed and built this thing out of whatever materials were already lying around." You can have -input- on the construct, sure, same as anyone else (give or take some influence). That awning's got to go; maybe with some effort you and some likeminded pals can pull it down. Maybe add some shutters instead. Or, you can talk about trying to blow the whole edifice to kingdom come, I suppose. Many have tried. It's big, the edifice, see, and pretty solid. Also it's not really clear what would go there instead, if anything. Nature abhors a vacuum; society abhors vacant lots. Something like that.

So, anyway, back to "reality:" sometimes, you'll get an individual who declares something like, "Hey! This is only a construct! Just because a bunch of other people painted it this particular color and call it "fuschia" doesn't mean I have to BELIEVE in it! I SEE NO COLOR!"

Which is all very well, or could be, depending on where you're situated.

On the other hand, well, now say you're in a (human-made, hence not real) car, headed toward the nonexistent nongendered colorless construct at 70 miles an hour.

And now you know why, in certain kinds of discussions that take a particular turn, you get that "screeeeee SPLAT" effect.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ENDA: the continuing saga; or, the politics of "I got mine, Jack, or at least I would if you didn't keep messing it up for me, you embarrassment"

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that is.

...the bill provides employment protections similar to those of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (also known as "Title VII"), but specifically directed to gay, lesbian, bisexual (and under HR 2015, transgender) employees. The bill is different from Title VII in that it contains exemptions for religious organizations and specific provisions about employer dress codes.

Oh yeah, about that parenthetical.

Currently, there are two versions of the bill:

* H.R. 2015, introduced on 24 April 2007 by Representatives Barney Frank, ChrisShays, Tammy Baldwin, and Deborah Pryce, does includes gender identity within its protections; and
* H.R. 3685, introduced by Representative Frank on 27 September 2007 and passed by the Education and Labor Committee on 18 October, does not include gender identity within its scope. Representative Baldwin has said she would attempt to introduce an amendment to the bill that would return gender identity protections to the bill but it is not yet clear if her amendment will be made in order. Having been favorably reported by Committee, H.R. 3685 is currently awaiting consideration by the Committee on Rules, which would set the rules for the debate and consideration of any amendments to the bill.

...The most recent version of the bill, introduced by Representative Frank, no longer includes language regarding protections for transgender people and has been protested by many LGBT rights organizations -- with the notable exception of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT organization in the United States.[2]

Now, I'd been aware of HRC's previous rather dismal track record wrt trans rights. Stupid me, I'd been under the impression that was at this point a thing of the past, sort of like NOW's erstwhile issues with the "Lavender Menace." Apparently not so much:

HRC stood virtually alone among LGBT rights groups in not pledging to oppose any version of ENDA that is not trans-inclusive.

Well, they didn't call it the "Human Rights Champagne" for nothing.

They're far from alone in the "let's pitch the transfolk over the side" sentiment, though. There's Frank himself, of course, who introduced the "two bills" in the first place. There's dear John "Mattachine" Aravosis,
who thinks we oughtn't to be mucking up perfectly sensible gay rights with other peoples' wacky special interests. Susan Stryker's response is rather on-point and worth reading:

Transgender people have become this political season's version of the unisex-toilet issue that helped scuttle passage of the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 1970s, of Willie Horton's role in bringing the first Bush presidency to the White House in the 1980s, and of the "Don't bend over to pick up the soap in the barracks shower room" argument against gays in the military in the 1990s -- a false issue that panders to the basest and most ignorant of fears. This is unfortunate because protecting the rights of transgender people specifically is just one welcome byproduct of the version of ENDA that forbids discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender expression or identity. This full version of ENDA, rather than the nearly introduced one that stripped away previously agreed-upon protections against gender-based discrimination and would protect only sexual orientation, is the one that is of potential benefit to all Americans, and not just to a narrow demographic slice of straight-looking, straight-acting gays and lesbians. It doesn't really even do that much good for this group, as Lambda Legal points out, because of a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.

That loophole being, in LL's nutshell:

'You can't be fired for being lesbian, gay or bisexual, but you can be fired if your boss thinks you fit their stereotype of one.'

to wit:

In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on the job, this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee, including lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who may not conform to their employer's idea of how a man or woman should look and act. This is a huge loophole through which employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim that their conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type of discrimination that the new bill does not prohibit.

Funnily enough, that would also tend to leave straight non-trans folk who present just a little too butch or femmey for an employer's liking out in the cold, too. Sort of related to the phenomenon of fag and dyke-bashing in the streets and schools sometimes including among its victims hetero folk who looked too gender non-conforming--and, hence, "gay"--for the bashers' liking.

Stryker continues:

Transgender people have their own history of civil rights activism in the United States, one that is in fact older, though smaller and less consequential, than the gay civil rights movement. In 1895, a group of self-described "androgynes" in New York organized a "little club" called the Cercle Hermaphroditos, based on their self-perceived need "to unite for defense against the world's bitter persecution." Half a century later, at the same time some gay and lesbian people were forming the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, transgender people were forming the Society for Equality in Dress. When gay and lesbian people were fighting for social justice in the militant heyday of the 1960s, transgender people were conducting sit-in protests at Dewey's lunch c There was a vibrant history of transgender activism and movement building through the 1970s, when it suddenly became fashionable on the left to think of transgender people as antigay and antifeminist. Gay people were seen as freeing themselves from the straitjacket of psychopathology, while transgender people were clamoring to get into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association; feminists were seen as freeing themselves from the oppressiveness of patriarchal gender, while transgender people were perpetuating worn-out stereotypes of men and women. It's a familiar refrain, even now. Transgender arguments for access to appropriate healthcare, or observations that no one is ever free from being gendered, fell on deaf ears...

...and, sure as shit rolls downhill from a privy, one can (if one cares to go look, i'm not bothering this time) still find various personalities on and off the Internets mouthing that warmed over Janice Raymond crap, too, which mentality has informed such dubious milestones as the recent Vancouver Rape Relief vs. Kimberly Nixon decision. Nonetheless:

[In the early 1990's], a new generation of queer kids, the post-baby boomers whose political sensibilities had been forged in the context of the AIDS crisis, started coming into adulthood. They were receptive to transgender issues in a new way -- and that more-inclusive understanding has been steadily building for nearly two decades.

Aravosis and those who agree with him think that the "trans revolution" has come from outside, or from above, the rank-and-file gay movement. No -- it comes from below, and from within.

Now, it is true that there is a certain...oh, what's the word I'm looking for. Poignancy? Irony? Headdeskishness?...to these sort-of-internecine wars among the various strata of the oppressed when one considers that merely plugging the term "ENDA" into a google news search immediately brings up headlines like this:

"Bill On Special Rights for Homosexuals Advances"

and, more to the point, there is this:

Most ENDA United members have pointed out that President George W. Bush has not even dropped his opposition to hate crimes legislation and would certainly not sign ENDA, stripped down or otherwise.

(aside to Alon: now that he's gone ahead and vetoed expanding ffs childrens' health services, still think he won't keep his word on this?)

But of course it's the same damn story as it ever was. "Justice" and "united we stand" suddenly become a lot less interesting when it looks like you might have a shot at covering your own ass, just yours, mind you. Not true for everyone, of course, but for way too many people who goddam well ought to know better by now.

Monica Roberts, aka transgriot, has been covering ENDA extensively over a number of recent entries. A sample:

"Your GLB Movement is NOT Like Mine"

The 60's civil rights movement wasn't an 'incremental movement', so you can drop that spin line right now. Even if they had to take 'half a loaf' as they did with the 1957 Civil Rights Act (which by the way was just as controversial back in the day as the current furor over Frank's Folly), they made sure that no one was left out and that whatever compromises were made put them in a better position to get what we African-Americans needed the next time.

This is the first civil rights movement in history that has not only cut people out, but doesn't even want to pass legislation that will help all of the people in their OWN group.

So a memo to you GLB peeps who agree with Barney. Until you've waited 246 years to get your rights, start working to craft and pass legislation that considers other people worse off than you and make them an equal partner in writing that legislation, please refrain from comparing your selfish civil rights push to mine.

At minimum, Aravosis and his ilk might want to shut the fuck up about "practical politics" and take a good long hard look at this.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was "well timed," according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the words [sic]"Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Guide for the perplexed: if you can happily and easily substitute your own affinity group for "Negro," but not the one you're willing to sacrifice for the sake of "practical politics" because well that's DIFFERENT? Point: MISSED. Do not pass go, do not collect your civil rights, go directly to that jail cell and sit on your ass till you figure it the fuck out.

Or till the end of time, because They have the key and there's no one else left to speak up for you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

No, of course children's health has nothing to do with "pro-life." What's wrong with you, anyway?

Via Feministing:

Initially, [the National Right to Life Committee] wouldn't sign on to the legislation because it included coverage for pregnant women, not for fetuses specifically. (As if fetuses exist separately from pregnant women...) But with that provision stripped, NRLC still won't support S-CHIP. Anti-abortion Democrats aren't pleased, and sent a letter to the group telling them so. But the NRLC legislative director explained,

“There’s nothing there [in the SCHIP bill] for us to really grab onto.”

...you know, the bill the House just failed to overturn Bush's veto.

According to the articles feministing cites, which were written before the final vote, some people were speculating that an endorsement by NRLC could've made the difference in sustaining the override. Oh well.

Here's a bit more background on SCHIP, via Wiki, in case you hadn't been following:

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a national program in the United States that provides health insurance for families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet cannot afford to buy private insurance. The program was created to address the growing number of children in the United States without health insurance. At its creation in 1997, SCHIP was the largest expansion of health insurance coverage for children in the United States since Medicaid began in the 1960s. The statutory authority for SCHIP is under title XXI of the Social Security Act. A proposal recently passed in the Congress to expand SCHIP from $5 billion yearly by $35 billion over five years was vetoed by George W. Bush.[1].[2] An attempted House override of the presidential veto on October 18, 2007 failed by a vote of 273 to 156 for a 13 vote shortage of the two-thirds majority needed for override.[3]

SCHIP covered 6.9 million children at some point during Federal fiscal year 2006, and every state has an approved plan.[4] States are given flexibility, and an enhanced match is paid to states. Some states have received Section 1115 demonstration authority to use SCHIP funds to cover the parents of children receiving benefits from both SCHIP and Medicaid, pregnant women, and other adults. However, the program is already facing funding shortfalls in several states.[5]

In 2007, researchers from Brigham Young University and Arizona State found that children who drop out of SCHIP cost states more money because they shift away from routine care to more frequent emergency care situations.[6] The conclusion of the study is that an attempt to cut the costs of a state program could create a false savings because other government organizations pick up the tab for the children who leave SCHIP and later need care. In a 2007 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, researchers determined that "for every 100 children who gain coverage as a result of SCHIP, there is a corresponding reduction in private coverage of between 25 and 50 children." The CBO speculates this is because the state programs offer better benefits and lower cost than the private alternatives.

...Despite SCHIP, the number of uninsured children continues to rise, particularly among families that cannot qualify for SCHIP. An October 2007 study by the Vimo Research Group found that 68.7 percent of newly uninsured children were from families 200 percent above the federal poverty level.

...On October 3, 2007, President Bush vetoed H.R. 976, a bipartisan bill passed by Congress that would have expanded the program by $35 billion.[10] The veto was the fourth of his administration.[2] This proposal would have increased coverage to over 4 million more participants by 2012, and also would have phased out most state expansions in the program that include any adults other than pregnant women...President Bush vetoed the bill because he believed the bill would "federalize health care", expanding the scope of SCHIP much farther than its original intent.

Also, twelve year olds with auto accident injuries and their suspiciously fed and roov'd families might have taken advantage of it, and that would be Wrong.

Two weeks ago, the Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address was delivered by a 12-year-old, Graeme Frost. Graeme, who along with his sister received severe brain injuries in a 2004 car crash and continues to need physical therapy, is a beneficiary of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Mr. Bush has vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have expanded that program to cover millions of children who would otherwise have been uninsured.

...First, some background. The Frosts and their four children are exactly the kind of people S-chip was intended to help: working Americans who can’t afford private health insurance.

The parents have a combined income of about $45,000, and don’t receive health insurance from employers. When they looked into buying insurance on their own before the accident, they found that it would cost $1,200 a month — a prohibitive sum given their income. After the accident, when their children needed expensive care, they couldn’t get insurance at any price.

Fortunately, they received help from Maryland’s S-chip program. The state has relatively restrictive rules for eligibility: children must come from a family with an income under 200 percent of the poverty line. For families with four children that’s $55,220, so the Frosts clearly qualified.

Graeme Frost, then, is exactly the kind of child the program is intended to help. But that didn’t stop the right from mounting an all-out smear campaign against him and his family.

Soon after the radio address, right-wing bloggers began insisting that the Frosts must be affluent because Graeme and his sister attend private schools (they’re on scholarship), because they have a house in a neighborhood where some houses are now expensive (the Frosts bought their house for $55,000 in 1990 when the neighborhood was rundown and considered dangerous) and because Mr. Frost owns a business (it was dissolved in 1999).

You might be tempted to say that bloggers make unfounded accusations all the time. But we’re not talking about some obscure fringe. The charge was led by Michelle Malkin...

You know the rest by now, of course.

I do keep getting derailed with irrelevant shit like health care. Anyway! To get back to the main subject of "pro-life" and the Culture thereof, you'll be pleased to know that in the midst of all this,

Birth Control Foe To Head Family Planning

Bush Pick For Contraceptive Program Called Birth Control Part Of "Culture Of Death"

Family planning advocates denounced President Bush’s appointment of a contraceptive critic to be head of the federal program responsible for providing birth control and other family planning services to the poor.

Dr. Susan Orr**, an associate commissioner at the Department of Health and Human Services, was named by Mr. Bush to be the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DASPA). She would oversee Title X, the nation's family planning program.

Orr is currently on the board of directors of Teen Choice, a non-profit groups advocating for abstinence in lieu of contraception.

Before joining the Bush administration (where she has served in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at HHS), she was senior director for marriage and family care at the Family Research Council (a religious advocacy group founded by James Dobson of Focus on the Family), and director of the Center for Social Policy at the Reason Public Policy Institute...

Planned Parenthood has a petition
on this, by the by.

**, unfortunately, -not- the baton twirler. Different Susan Orr. This one:

In a 2001 article in The Washington Post, Orr applauded a Bush proposal to stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees to cover a broad range of birth control. “We’re quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease,” said Orr, then an official with the Family Research Council.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

For Rootie

(...and i do kind of get the feeling)

"I believe the children are our future." To wit: sick, uninsured, and who gives a shit?

Fuck the future and fuck the kids, say Bush and a bunch of (not all) Congressional Republicans! YEEHAW.

Republican opponents said the bill would encourage too many middle-income families to substitute government-subsidized insurance for their private insurance. The bill gives states financial incentives to cover families with incomes up to three times the federal poverty level — $61,950 for a family of four.

"That's not low-income. That's a majority of households in America," said Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif.

YES, you stupid fuck, that's the fucking POINT, because the majority of households in America can't afford decent isurance. DUH! Oh well; enjoy your fucking taxpayer-subsidzed health care, Mr. -government employee.- Send the rest of us a lozenge if you can spare it, will you?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

by the way,

to whom it may concern (and of course you -don't- know who you are, bless your giblets):

The fact that you feel you're the lone bright light in a sea of dim doesn't actually make it so. More to the point, even if it were so: smart's nice, but it isn't everything. It doesn't, for instance, excuse your being an insufferable prick. It also doesn't excuse apparently having all the heart and soul of a dessicated anchovy.

Yeah, this culture isn't a friendly one for smart cookies/asses. Yes, we all had a miserable time in high school. Some of us get past it eventually, or at least -try.-

dyspeptically yrs.,

etc. etc.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Uh, yes, some of us here on Earth have been saying this for YEARS; nice you're finally catching up, MAYBE?

Oh, it seems to have maybe dawned on some people in the mainstream media that Ann Coulter is a troll. Who knew, right? And that maybe they should -stop enabling her- and NOT keep inviting her on their show every time she excretes a new piece of troll-waste. Great fucking idea!!! Not holding my breath, though.

p.s. note to any brilliant TV producers or whatnot who might happen by: it's NOT good T.V. it's BORING. No, seriously. I'm Jewish, and I just don't even give a shit. It's like being offended by slime mold. She's a piece of crap, and it's OLD NEWS. If you can't muster up the energy or imagination to put on something besides the Argument Clinic/Abuse, at least get someone new already. It's not -just- that she's utterly without any reedeming qualities; she's a HAS-BEEN. Hell, she's almost -had- been by now, she's so over. Get it? There's a reason your numbers are plummeting. Well, more than one, but might as well start here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Never mind the paving stones. Do you know where you're going?

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive... those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience...

To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. ...

Or those who never will.

Hold that thought.

The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor...

Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic...

But because they are 'treatment, not punishment,' they can be criticized only by fellow-experts and on technical grounds, never...on grounds of justice...

But we ought long ago to have learned our lesson. We should be too old now to be deceived by those humane pretensions which have served to usher in every cruelty of the revolutionary period in which we live. These are the 'precious balms' which will 'break our heads'."

--C. S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment"

(as found here)

Via Feministe (among others): it's the new trend heard round the world!

Mother seeks girl's womb removal

A mother is seeking to have the womb of her severely disabled daughter removed to prevent the 15-year-old from feeling the pain and discomfort of menstruation.

Doctors in Britain are now taking legal advice to see if they are permitted to carry out the hysterectomy on Katie Thorpe, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

But a charity campaigning for the disabled said on Monday the move could infringe human rights and would set a "disturbing precedent."

Andy Rickell, executive director of disability charity Scope, told the Press Association: "It is very difficult to see how this kind of invasive surgery, which is not medically necessary and which will be very painful and traumatic, can be in Katie's best interests.

"This case raises fundamental ethical issues about the way our society treats disabled people and the respect we have for disabled people's human and reproductive rights.

"If this enforced sterilization is approved, it will have disturbing implications for young disabled girls across Britain."

Katie's mother Alison Thorpe, who lives in Billericay, southern England, said the operation was in her daughter's best interests.

"First of all, this is not about me. If it was about me, I would have given up caring for Katie a long, long while ago," she told GMTV.

"It is about quality of life and for Katie to not have the associated problems of menstruation adds to her quality of life. It means she can continue with the quality of life we can give her now.

"Katie wouldn't understand menstruation at all. She has no comprehension about what will be happening to her body. All she would feel is the discomfort, the stomach cramps and the headaches, the mood swings, the tears, and wonder what is going on."

Oh, okay. So, she will have -no comprehension- of why she feels the relatively mild pain of the monthlies. (and of course she can't be given the Pill or extra-strength Tylenol or anything like that). That would be bad.

A nonconsensual hysterectomy, though, well, that'll go down a treat, won't it? I mean, it's only major surgery involving total anaesthesia and removal of an organ and stitches and o i don't know, maybe just maybe some PAIN afterward? Oh, short-term, of course. Here's the very first commenter on feministe on that short term pain:

I was diagnosed with cancer at 26 and had a hysterectomy shortly thereafter. I would prefer another 20 years of periods to that. The recovery period was a minimum of 6 weeks. If the teenage girl’s disability impedes her ability to walk, her recovery may likely take even longer. On top of the 6 weeks, I also had to have a suprapubic catheter (i.e., a tube of pee coming out of my abdomen and into a bag on my leg) because of some complications during surgery. As a result of that, I kept getting recurring infections and was eventually re-hospitalized because of infection and dehydration.

And of course, with CP, nothing could -complicate- the recovery period, you know. But most of all, the -important- thing is, well, it's better for her in the long run, isn't it? It's not like she'll be in any terror or confusion or misery after this, and in any case with a major operation like this, well, Mom and everyone can keep her drugged to the gills so she -really- won't have a clue what's going on. Probably. And then, poof! All better! No lasting scars that anyone'll care about, and most of all, -no monthly mess.- Anyway, it's not like she can -say- anything about it, is there?

Yes, the IMPORTANT thing is, Katie won't be bleeding from her hoo hoo and won't thus reach physical womanhood. The "inconvenience" and "indignity" of it all, in her Mom's words. THAT would be VERY UPSETTING. For Katie. Of course. Who else?

See FRIDA for more.

FRIDA feels the core of the problem lies not only in the blatant sexism involved, but in the lack of community supports for families of children with severe disabilities. With only one or two parental caregivers, these families face enormous unrelieved stress without any recourse to professional, well-paid respite care. Cases such as Katie's continue to demonstrate that society must change to include the individual with a disability. Surgical intervention is not the answer.

International advocates for disability rights have long advocated for the right of disabled people to bodily integrity. The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which took two years to shape, specifically states that bodily integrity is a human right.


The language in the article is highly bothersome for activists who have worked for many years to make families aware of and able to utilize community supports for people with disabilities. Having bladder and bowel issues, undignified? Well, that's pretty much a human thing....but I guess when you're only one of two people cleaning up someone else, and you aren't being paid for it, yeah, it can suck. It might not be as stressful if there were people providing in-home service to help! Where are the in-home services for Katie Thorpe?

Beyond in-home supports, the cases of Ashley X and Katie Thorpe expose problems in our social expectations of families. We expect families to take care of their own, and we expect that at some point, kids are able to get out of the nest. However this assumes a lot of responsibility for independence on the part of the child. When a child needs a lot of dependent support, especially the 24/7 kind, the mold goes haywire. Families in this kind of situation NEED HELP. They NEED OPTIONS. But options are not really there, particularly in cases where the child is maturing physically into an adult and will not be covered by supports offered through public education. So people feel that solutions like hysterectomies make a lot of sense. Families say, "If you were in our situation, you'd do this too!" In effect, who are the rest of us to judge?

For a historical perspective, let's go back to 1962. I am thinking of Arthur and Daniel Miller. Arthur Miller's wife Inge Morath gave birth to Daniel that year. Turns out Daniel had Down syndrome. So Arthur had the baby sent to an institution, where he lived out his life. As far as we know Arthur never saw his son. Why did he do this? From social attitudes at the time, we can make a good guess that maybe he was ashamed, and that difference was disturbing. In those days Danny Miller would have been labeled a "mongoloid" and "retarded." Arthur Miller was freaking brilliant and had a reputation to preserve. So this is how people edit their lives.

And yet in the decades since, disabled people and families have seen a sea change. Geraldo exposed Willowbrook. Laws protect the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Forced sterilization was outed as a human rights violation. Elaine Wilson and Lois Curtis got the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize that unwanted, unnecessary institutionalization was illegal. Families saw that including and caring for disabled kids at home was possible and enriching. We are on a path towards embracing biodiversity, neurodiversity, all the children that are born to us.

The problem is, we are in mid-step on that path. Families who were the first to care for disabled people at home are aging out and dying, leaving our people with no one. Many are fighting hard to keep people with disabilities in institutions because there are no current community support systems that they trust. Young adults who were part of the first wave of children to have access to least restricted environments are finding that, after high school, supports are gone and we don't know how to advocate for ourselves. And the young people who have no way to communicate (that anyone can figure out) are stuck at the mercy of social systems and expectations that can't meet their needs. These are the folks at the absolute vortex of the disability rights movement discussion, the absolute tip of the wedge. If their rights can be violated, so can the rights of us all.

We are all stuck in this together, and we cannot forget it. If girls like Katie and Ashley are considered never to be really girls or women, then women with disabilities everywhere need to resist, both because those girls are our sisters and because it only takes a few to make change for many, both good and bad.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oh--very fucking funny. Ha, ha.

After about a hundred years a week and a half or so's worth of literal purgatory in the form of bronchitis and, well, more going out than coming in, it just suddenly occurred to me: well, it IS the season. Fasting and all. gargh.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm atoning for, but I am entirely sure there's gotta be something.

how spiritual.

p.s. anyone who'd like to take this opportunity to inform me as to what I might be atoning for, please feel free pre-emptively to go fuck yourself with something hard and sandpapery