Oil from leaking well ‘washes ashore’ in Louisiana

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 30th, 2010 — 8:17 am

Oil from a leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico began washing ashore in the southern US state of Louisiana, threatening an ecological disaster, a local official told AFP.

Blown by strong southeast winds, a sheen of oil reached the fragile coastal wetlands of South Pass late Thursday near the mouth of the Mississippi river, said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, where the oil first hit the shoreline.

It marks the beginning of what environmentalists fear could be one of the worst US ecological disasters in years, with experts still unable to cap the ruptured underwater well which federal officials estimate is spewing about 200,000 gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.

Continue reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0430/oil-leaking-washes-ashore-louisiana/

Hey Sarah.  How’s that “Drill, Baby, Drill” thingie working out for y’all?

Friday Night Fun and Culture

Let’s Name The Gulf Oil Spill “The Sarah Palin Oil Disaster”

Now I can just hear some people say, “That’s just unfair to Caribou Barbie aka Sarah Palin, drilling for oil any where and every where is just good energy policy?

I say, “How’s that drilly-spilly thing working out for ya?”  Wink Wink…  Ya betcha.

Just try putting some hockey mom lipstick on this pig.

Actually in the name of smaller government and all as well as free market capitalism I think British Petroleum should be out there cleaning up every single drop of their spill on their dime or Euro or what ever they trade in.  Perhaps it is time for some CEOs to experience life in the working class getting up close and personal cleaning their oil off of a bunch of sea birds, beaches and wet lands.

Maybe their share holders would like to actually earn the money they make on their investments by undoing the damage they did.

Maybe just maybe everyone involved with British Petroleum should be forced to pay for the clean up and damages.

Are Prozac and Other Psychiatric Drugs Causing the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America?

One of the things I have been saying about the invention of GID, besides the fact that a large number of the people behind its invention seem more religion based than science based as well as seeming to belong to the same crew that refused to accept that homosexuality is not a mental illness, is that there are way too many psychiatric professionals all trying to earn a living.  They have a vested interest in inventing mental illnesses.

By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet
Posted on April 28, 2010, Printed on April 29, 2010

http://www.alternet.org/story/146659/

In 1987, prior to Prozac hitting the market and the current ubiquitous use of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, the U.S. mental illness disability rate was 1 in every 184 Americans, but by 2007 the mental illness disability rate had more than doubled to 1 in every 76 Americans. Robert Whitaker was curious as to what was causing this dramatic increase in mental illness disability. The answers are in his new book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (Crown Publishers, April 2010).

Whitaker’s findings will create a problem for both Big Pharma and establishment psychiatry, but his credentials and his craftsmanship will make it difficult to marginalize him. Whitaker is the author of four books including Mad in America, about the mistreatment of the mentally ill. As a reporter for the Boston Globe, he won a George Polk Award for medical writing, a National Association of Science Writers Award for best magazine article, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Bruce Levine: So mental illness disability rates have doubled since 1987 and increased six-fold since 1955. And at the same time, psychiatric drug use greatly increased in the 1950s and 1960s, then skyrocketed after 1988 when Prozac hit the market, so now antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs alone gross more than $25 billion annually in the U.S. But as you know, correlation isn’t causation. What makes you feel that the increase in psychiatric drug use is a big part of the reason for the increase in mental illness?

Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/story/146659/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Really, What IS Wrong With Being……………………………………………..

By Tina S.

Perhaps you can “draw a neat line” between the experience of pre and post-op women.  My experience tells me you can.  It is, in part, because PERCEPTIONS change when our reality changes.

I know every post-op was once a pre-op.

I know most pre-ops are (at least initially) known to those around them as such. I know most pre-ops are (at least initially) concerned somewhat about “passing” in their everyday life.

Most pre-ops experience transphobia.

It seems that misogyny is recognized after folks make that transition to being seen as women by the “outside world”.

It is then many understand that quite a bit of what they saw as “transphobia” is actually misogyny. You really do not get the full import of misogyny in society until you live as, are seen as, experience every day BEING the woman you have believed yourself to be all, or almost all, your life.

Embrace of a “transgender umbrella” is, I think, a rejection of your reality as “just another woman”. It is a way to remain “outside”, a way to continue being “special”.

If some folks need that, more power to them. That’s just not me, or most (if not all) WBT’s.

The “transgender umbrella” concept also tends to calm some of the more rabid anti-trans lesbian and gay folks. They can look at the concept of “transgender” and say (think?) “Well, those folks are not REALLY women or men — they have their own community. THANK G*D.”

It makes it easier to shunt us aside. It does not require them to be open and accepting. It means they do not have to look at their core beliefs, do not have to THINK.

After all, just look at how much trouble the CONCEPT of bi-sexuality brought to the L&G folks over the years.

O.K., pre-ops are usually known as such.

As I’ve said before, that, in many ways, makes them “special” in their various circles. Quite often pre-ops meet other pre-ops — conversation often revolves around hormones, when, where and how to get SRS, whether or not to have an “orchie”, and when. There are times pre-ops join a T-mailing-list and get upset if post-ops do not have all the answers about hormones, surgeons, clothing, hair, foundation garments, etc., etc., etc.

Most of those “interests” die away after being “just a woman” for a while. Some pre-ops cannot accept that as an answer. Of course, if they go on and have SRS, they find the very same things happening to them. I vividly remember a pre-op on a list who cursed all the post-ops for “abandoning the community” — then she had SRS, kept up a brave “community face” for a while, said her needs and interests had changed and disappeared forever.

After SRS, things change, and you cannot know how much UNTIL you have SRS. It’s more for some than for others — but, stuff changes.

Some pre-ops continue to use their male organs when having sex. Orgasms are still possible.

Some of us avoid all sex during that period.

Others have to constantly “remind” some of the “tranny chasers” we might go out with — “now, remember, I’m the girl”.

It’s amazing how many “tranny chasers” want us to be “tops”. It’s also amazing how many “full out”, totally “done”, except for SRS, “T-girls” ARE “tops”.

In other words, there are so many different WAYS of BEING “pre-op”, or, for that matter, “non-op”. Folks rarely talk about all this “stuff”. Many want us to just be pure, little “whitebread”, girls/pre-ops/transsexuals.

The fact some of this stuff is not within YOUR experience does not mean it does not exist. It does not negate the reality of our varied experience, history. We come from different backgrounds, different classes, have different expectations, different dreams. ALL of that has to be factored in if you want to CLAIM you speak for “the community”. In truth there are many communities.

Post-SRS women, no matter their previous history, are usually interested in getting on with their life. I remember, very distinctly, standing in front of a full length mirror, soon after all the packing, drains, catheter, etc. were removed and saying (to myself) “Finally, all the ‘trans-this’, and ‘trans-that’ is over. It’s done. I’m finally a woman.”. My way of seeing myself changed with SRS.

Later that summer, after I healed (it took me a while), I was playing softball with the dykes at a picnic, and one of the women said, “You are so comfortable with your body – I wish I felt that way.”

That’s one of the rarely realized, ignored, results of SRS — being so comfortable in your own skin. You don’t realize it until after it happens — after all, you can’t miss what you’ve never known.

No pre-op or non-op can experience that feeling. No non-op or pre-op can experience being in a women’s locker room, or some “women’s space” without a measure of fear, no matter how slight, of being “found out”. Physically, there is nothing to “find”after SRS.

I do not speak for non-ops. Nor do I speak for pre-ops. I can speak for myself. I can speak for the portion of WBT’s who agree with me.

I do know that SRS make a huge difference. I know that many who claimed, “It (SRS) makes no difference if you do your transition correctly” (usually as judged by them), will admit, after the passage of time, “Well, it made more of a difference than I thought it would — BUT — what I said before still stands — sort of.”.

Statements like that just make me laugh. Once again, it’s about people making definitive statements about things they know nothing about. It’s also about the inability to say, “I was wrong”.

I cannot abide others who know nothing about me attempting to speak for me. It really does not make sense for those who have not walked my path to speak for me. It makes no sense for those who are not post-op, or those who accept the “transgender umbrella” to speak FOR me, telling the world what I think, how I feel, who I am — without even bothering to ask.

As far as speaking for women who have not had, or cannot have SRS for years. I do not speak for them. I do not tell them what their experience is.

I have found some who claim to speak for me. I have found some who tell me what I’ve experienced. I’ve found some who tell me my experiences are “wrong”, that they are not “respectful” of their lives.

How can MY experience be disrespectful of YOUR life?

Other folks want to negate what they call the “standard transsexual narrative”. They call us “liars”. They say we “copy” other stories. They want to deny our truth. Then they want us to deny our truth. They tell us what to think, what we “really” went through. Some even break us down into totally false, insane, limited, categories — and say we are ALL “just like A or B”. They deny our own narratives, they deny our experience, they call us liars — then they put us into little boxes THEY constructed – with no real input from us. Very strange.

” I tend to think that the constructive conversations around this topic are more about how to make surgery more accessible for everyone who needs it, and not focus on what everyone’s crotch looks like.” — Lisa Harney

O.K. — let us say that would be a very positive conversation. How does that relate to what you said in the prior sentence?

You said: “I also think that referring to trans women (before or after having surgery) as male is reductive and essentialist, and probably doesn’t help make any points to women who can’t access that surgery. That is, I think by using that language you’re actually excluding women who haven’t had surgery from the conversation. Not just that language, but talking about how womanhood is itself inaccessible to those women.”

Given how many of those folks want to subsume us within the “transgender umbrella”. Given how many want to claim “SRS is not necessary” (usually to further their agenda). Given how many want to say our PERSONAL EXPERIENCE is somehow “elitist”, or “racist”, or even “classist” perhaps your prior statement needs some further looking at.  TALKING about anything is never excluded.  Speaking of your experience is always positive.  Attempting to deny MY experience is not positive.  Saying it’s “all the same”, when that does not fit what I have experienced is not a positive.  Telling me I’m wrong about that is not a positive  –  especially when you have not yet experienced what I have.  Perhaps telling me what you think might just work better.

The folks who are placing us within some “umbrella” or other do not want to go there themselves. Those who still have their “male bits” are attempting to REDEFINE “woman”.

The very folks who INVENTED the current concept of “transgender”, seem to be rejecting it for themselves, and are now attempting to redefine what constitutes a WOMAN.

In doing that, the focus HAS to be on gender, gender roles, being SEEN as woman.

Once again, it’s as if men are telling women who, what, how THEY are — and WHO can be one (a woman).

Please remember, it’s not about “womanhood” — it’s about BEING a woman.

Now, if you wish to turn the conversation to access of surgery. If you want to turn the conversation to human rights, T rights, equal opportunity, etc., etc., etc. — that’s great.

Please do not redefine woman. Please do not redefine female.

Please do not do the old “male woman” thing again.

Y’all are the folks who defined us all as “transgender”. Y’all are the folks who said we (post-ops/WBT’s/etc.) are not revolutionary enough. Y’all told us we are “essentialist”.

Now you want to abandon transgender (at least for yourselves), want to eliminate (or so it sreems) SEX, and join some mythic “female gender”.

Basically, it’s essentialist. You want to join the “club” — but one you have defined, invented, and (it seems) control.

As I was told after SRS — “You’re the same person — it just fits better.”.

The differences, for me, before and after were rather great. I do not think I can say that enough.

People who tell me it’s not so, tend to anger me. Folks who call me “elitist” and other names with their left hand, while demanding I support their right to redefine female and woman with the right, are just being foolish.

I support all human rights. I support the rights of ALL transgendered folks — even the ones many transgendered folks do not want to accept as such.

I FULLY support women’s rights. I support women as equal. I support the rights of women to be treated as equals. Equal pay, equal access to health care, equality before the law, control of their bodies, control of their future.  I am “woman identified”.

I oppose patriarchal restrictions, and their remnants.

I understand many non-ops do not accept this. They do not see what they are doing as anti-woman. I suspect it’s all about being conditioned, taught, by the patriarchy.

I also think it’s grounded in the concept of “gender”, and the current desire for sharply delineated “masculine” and “feminine” “genders” that sometimes seems to exist only to sell stuff to insecure people.

This totally ignores the reality of male and female. It refuses to admit we are all a mix of “masculine” and “feminine” genders.

It is the direct opposite of “free to be you and me” — a “dangerous” concept if there ever was one.

Embrace transgender. Accept transgender. Accept pre-op. Let’s talk about access to SRS. Let’s talk about health care. Let’s talk about co-operative communities. Let’s talk about human rights. Let’s support each other. Let’s accept and support our differences.

Please do not attempt to redefine woman. Please do not call this imposition upon women as “revolutionary”. It really seems to be just another act of patriarchal power.

What Is Wrong With Being Transsexual?

Or in the case of people who have been post-op for a number of years, what is wrong with having been transsexual?

Why did you get a sex change operation?

Because I was transsexual. Does this mean you are still transsexual? Nope. Since the operation I have never again felt a deep seated need to change my sex nor have I felt trapped in a body of the wrong sex.

But you can’t really change your sex.

Arguably you can and that is what the operation does.  At least if one considers the standard criteria of determining the sex of an individual.  Not some philosophical test or test over and above the test non-transsexual people are subjected to.  If one uses the common test of sex determination, a visual examination based on hole or pole I am indeed female just as I was male prior to surgery.  This means that no matter what weasel words one uses as an euphemism for the operation it does by common criteria change the sex of the individual it is performed upon.  Hence it is a sex change operation.

So are you a transgender?

No I am not.

They hadn’t even invented the word or the social construct when I had my sex change operation By the time they had the transsexual part of me was part of my life history. I doubt would have embraced it even if I had heard it far earlier given the term’s source, Virginia Prince. Virginia Prince was a thoroughly unlikeable pig who managed to combine both homophobia and misogyny in a package that exuded both male privilege and an air of arrogant condescension.  I liked those founders of the pre-Stonewall Gay Liberation Movement that I met over the years far more.

You mentioned that you viewed being transsexual as a part of life history and not as an identity…

Maybe it is a little of both. Transsexuals get sex change operations and then get on with their lives. Yet it is very difficult to escape history although it is possible for many to deny it.  Some go as far as to create a false history and while that may work with the outside world I would have a hard time with extending that exercise to my interior world as it would mean denying so much that shaped me into the person I am today.  Part of that is my activist involvement  in all sorts of political campaigns to save the world before I transitioned, that is still a part of who I am.

Why do you hate transgender? You are part of the transgender umbrella.

I don’t hate transgender. I am quite willing to carry a picket sign or collect petition as part of campaigns to insure the civil rights protections of transgender people. Perhaps the umbrella is like a peculiar religious sect that requires every one who support its right to exist in a non-discriminatory society where rights and equality are respected even if your beliefs are ridiculed to adhere to its complex theology of half baked and often misogynistic beliefs. Thank you but while I support your rights I think the whole ideology is sketchy at best. Perhaps it would be good for those espousing transgender as umbrella to study the history of the gay and lesbian movements of the 1960s and 70s.

Its all about gender…

Gender… I have a hard time with that much abused concept that seems to reify both sexism and sex roles. None seem to dare call all the gender babble for what it is, i.e. more misogynistic bullshit that divide the sexes by roles and require women to only show their abilities in certain fields, only be interested in certain things and adhere to oppressive standards of appearance and behavior. Gender seems like the repackaging of oppressive sex roles that those of us who were second wave feminists critiqued way back in the 1970s.

Are you intersexed?

How should I know and why should I care? Will it erase one bit of the history of child abuse that I went through? Perhaps if more people who claim intersex were to get up close and personal with a variety of dicks on a variety of men there would be far fewer claims of being intersex. The dark line down the scrotum is where the developing sex organs fused prior to your birth and is not the result of doctors operating on you. Transsexualism or transgenderism probably has pre-natal roots, may even be an intersex condition. What difference does it make?

Focus on the Family and all those other right wing hate groups hate us because we use a word with sex in it.

No they hate us because they are hate groups. See The Southern Poverty Law Center.  It is part of their job as hate groups to target other groups for scapegoating.  Get over it.  You do not want to be part of their group any more than they want to be part of ours, or at least most of ours as transsexual and transgender people are more likely to be on the progressive side of the aisle. They hate us for obscure passages in their book of religious mythology and because they can use us to scam their sheeple.

It is not my goal in life to be friendly with bigots.

But isn’t it about gender and gender identity?

I sometime have the feeling that gender is more like a religion than something real.  Much of this goes back to Virginia Prince’s conversations with Dr. Robert Stoller than it does to anything coming from transsexuals during that same time frame.  Virgina Prince according to her biographer Richard Docter was in the closet regarding having sex with men.  Thus it seems there as a lot of internalized homophobia and subsequent projection.

Even in the early 1970s WBTs were seeing “gender identity” as problematic and were using the slightly more precise “core gender identity” to describe that inner sense of maleness or femaleness as opposed to adherence to gender roles.  Julia Serano even dispenses with with “core gender identity” in favor of “core sex identity”.

We have been ridiculed for using the metaphoric expression “women trapped in male bodies” even though that describes our feelings.

Non-op transsexuals and transgender people say they are just as much women as you are.  Isn’t it essentialist to claim that you have to have a vagina to be a woman?  Isn’t woman simply a social construct?

It infuriates post-SRS women with a transsexual history to no end to have their life experiences dismissed by people who have not gone through the same process and claim to be women although male.  I am no longer into playing name calling games. Being human is the basis for having human rights and equality. The thing is that post-ops were once pre-ops and pre-ops were never post-op.  We know what it is like to have been in the position pre-ops are in, they do not know what it is like to be a person with a vagina and that reality.

That physical reality separates us and makes misogyny more a factor in our lives than transphobia, especially for those of us who blend into the world where people are mostly the same sex they were assigned at birth.  This is also why many of us say it takes at least 10 years after SRS to really become women and others to say it is a lifelong process.

I think it is more an existentialist matter than an essentialist matter in that having a vagina between ones legs results in qualitatively different life experience than does living as a woman though male (a Virginia Prince statement describing the lives of transgender people). It is harder to measure qualitative than quantitative as there is no yard stick to measure quality.

What about people like you who can’t take hormones, get SRS or even live as women due to medical conditions, aren’t they transsexuals and as much women as you are since they identify as women?

That is a hard question.  If one has any sort of heart then one does not go around abusing people, especially those who are differently-abled.  The main problem is transsexuality is tied in with process rather than with some sort of definitive diagnosis. It is not like they draw blood, run tests and offer up a diagnosis of transsexual.  People are transsexual because they change their physical sex characteristics to accommodate their internal feelings not simply because they have those feelings.  That is what makes transsexualism an existential action based thing rather than simply an identity.  I have no doubt that some may feel the same motivation I felt and yet be unable to act on it for a variety of reasons and yet thinking or wanting is not the same as doing even if that phrase sounds as though it is coming from a harsh place.  I can recognize that I was able to get SRS in 1972 in part because those were far better economic times when one could live on next to nothing.

Today there is a certain level of class difference between the inability and the ability to access the care that allows the process of changing sex to go forward.  That same class structure makes it harder yet for people of color or people with compromised immigrant status. Yet if anything these problematic questions of status clarify how sharp a distinction there is between pre-op and post-op life.

To be continued….

Human Rights Campaign Submits Official Comment on APA’s DSM Review

Human Rights Campaign, DC, USA

Addresses issues related to transgender people in American Psychiatric Association’s Review of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

4/21/2010

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, submitted comment yesterday on the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, pressing the APA to do more to eliminate the stigma transgender Americans face. The public comment phase of the review process ended April 20.

“Upon reviewing the APA’s proposed revisions, it appears that they no longer consider gender identity that differs from birth sex to be a basis for psychiatric diagnosis,” said HRC Associate Director of Diversity Allyson Robinson. “By focusing instead on the experience of incongruence, an often distressing conflict between a person’s
physical characteristics and their sense of gender identity, the APA has made an important step toward the destigmatization of transgender lives.”

While affirming this shift, HRC President Joe Solmonese pressed the APA to do more. “These diagnostic categories are frequently used by opponents of equality to deny basic civil rights to transgender Americans, and in that way become a significant source of emotional distress themselves,” said Solmonese. “The APA must address this
heinous practice and do more to empower mental health professionals as they seek to heal the damage caused by stigma, bias, and prejudice.”

HRC also called in its commentary for the complete removal of “transvestic disorder,” which pathologizes male-to-female cross-dressing, from the final DSM-5 document. “The persistence of this archaic category contradicts the positive shift the APA made with gender incongruence and tacitly affirms an understanding of gender
based in sexism, not science,” said Solmonese.

The proposed changes are slated to go into effect in 2013.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights
organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end
discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that
achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

© 2010 The Human Rights Campaign. All rights reserved

http://www.hrc.org/14322.htm

Friday Night Fun and Culture

We have tickets to see Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in a couple of week.  I confess Not only am I a hippie commie left wing dyke but I’m a folkie from way back.

Not to mention an anarchist and a tree hugging nerd.  Remember, “It’s all Pete Seeger’s fault.”

Support the Democrat!

M2F transsexual Republican Donna Milo running against Democrat incumbent Wasserman Shultz for Congress… [2010-04-21 NBC Miami]

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Transgender-Running-Against-Wasserman-Shultz-for-Congress-91744109.html

Transgender Running Against Wasserman Shultz for Congress.

I would never ever vote for a Republi-Nazi

Sisterhood ain’t that freaking powerful.  Not a penny of support, not even a kind or positive word.  In fact I’m considering sending a few bucks to Wasserman Schultz.

Happy Earth Day

Forty-one years ago  I was living in Berkeley.  I had started hormones and not yet full time.  My radical friends were already treating me like one of the women and were protective of me.

In Berkeley we were staging something that was so audaciously cool and in a way so Earth Liberation Front except without the eco-sabotage that I sometime view it as the Battle of Lexington in the cultural revolution that brought us to Earth Day 40.

The University had condemned a block that was filled with older Craftsman style buildings that had provided off campus housing to many of the students and non-students who made Berkeley one of the most liberated cities in the world. They tore those buildings down and left an ugly barren gash of muddy field in their place.  They claimed they were going to build various different structures on the land including dorms and a sports facility.

Then in late April an announcement appeared in the Berkeley Barb calling on people to come together and reclaim this land that had been appropriated by the University. In many ways we were influenced by the Levelers, a British movement of the mid 17th century that among other things wore green ribbons and forcibly reclaimed the commons for the usage of everyone and not just the wealth land owners.

Over the next two months we built “People’s Park” and fought the police, sheriffs and National Guard to keep it.  We were beaten, arrested, tear gassed and fired upon. One man was murdered by the police another was blinded.  It has been claimed that over 150 demonstrators received gun shot wounds, mainly bird shot fired at us by the police.  All of us at one point or another were faced with the naked steel of the Guard’s bayonets.

Over the years many of us have been horrified to watch as baby seals are clubbed to death so that the rich elite can have fancy expensive boots.  We have watched in horror the murder of whales,large brained mammals of beauty and grace so that some oily drunken business man can eat them as exotic sushi.

Some of us have hiked and seen the clear cutting of the old growth redwood forests.  Some have engaged in eco-sabotage and others have been moved to take the small but vital steps of recycling, fuel efficient cars. Others contribute to the Sierra Club, Green Peace and the like.

As an atheist I am sometimes asked if I have any spiritual beliefs and there is one,  I believe in Gaia.  Not a god but a principle that says the universe and all that live in it are part of an organism, mutually dependent on the other parts of that organism.  Avatar comes out today and the Gaia Principle is the way of the Na-vi.

The most important act I have taken in defense of Gaia was to transition and become sterile before reproducing.  By never having children I did my part to lessen the destruction of the ecosphere.

But there are other things that can be done.  We can make these small choices each and every day.  Eating locally is one.  Protesting the use of coal, a dirty source of energy that carries far more environmental costs than nuclear and costs many more lives than nuclear energy has.  What? 29 miners in just the last month died in a coal mine in West Virginia.

So think about our planet.  Go watch Avatar or Al Gore”s “An Inconvenient Truth”

Here are some sites:

http://www.climatecrisis.net/
http://www.sierraclub.org/
http://www.greenpeace.org/
http://www.seashepherd.org/
http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/

For fun reads I suggest anything by Edward Abbey but especially The Monkey Wrench Gang. I also suggest anything by Stewart Brand, Dave Foreman or James Lovelock.

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Britain – Number of NHS sex change operations triples… [2010-04-21 The Telegraph]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7613567/Number-of-NHS-sex-change-operations-triples.html

Wednesday 21 April 2010

HEALTH NEWS

Number of NHS sex change operations triples

The number of sex change operations carried out on the NHS has almost tripled in the last eight years.

Since 2000 a total of 853 men have gone under the knife to become women while in the same time span 12 women have had an operation to become a man.

Back in 2000 there were just 54 sex change operations carried out in the country while last year the figure stood at 143.

The average age for a man having a sex change operation is 42 with only one procedure in the last nine years being carried out on somebody under 21.

Only one operation has so far been carried out on a teenager and that was Angel Paris-Jordan, from Cumbria, who was known as Oliver Wheadon, who had the operation just before her 18th birthday in 2002.

However, earlier this year 16-year-old hairdresser Bradley Cooper, of East Yorkshire, announced that he had been approved for sex change surgery and was on the waiting list.

Sex changes on the NHS, which cost around £10,000 each, became a right in 1999 after the Appeal Court recognised that those who believed they were born into the wrong body were suffering from a legitimate illness.

For a man wanting to become a woman, surgery involves the removal of male genitalia and the creation of female genitalia.

For a woman to become a man, the breasts, uterus and ovaries are removed and male genitalia is created.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010

Equal Pay Day Study: Women Earn Less Than Men

From Women’s E-News

A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds there are only four occupations, out of the 108 occupations with enough men and women to estimate earnings for both groups, where women earn more than men. In the 104 others, women’s median earnings are less, according to an April 20 press release from the organization.

The occupation where women have the highest earnings compared to men is ‘dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers’ (the female/male earnings ratio is 111.1 percent, based on median weekly earnings in 2009 that were $400 for women, $360 for men). The pay gap is widest for ‘physicians and surgeons;’ the female/male earnings ratio is 64.2 percent, based on median weekly earnings of $1,182 for women, and $1,914 for men.

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America is not a Christian Theocracy

From God is for Suckers

20 April 2010

by

Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

Many, if not most Christian Republicans don’t want the government and their tax money used to help the general public with things like health care and other social programs. They claim to want as little government interference as possible, but they hypocritically and constantly push for “faith based” programs which promote their own version of god delusions onto the general population. They have gotten their way with interjecting “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance long after it was written, and the placement of “in God We Trust” on our country’s currency. We are forced to swear in court on their mythology book, to say it when taking the oath for public office and when joining the military (unless we make a fuss about it, which can have negative outcomes when we do). In many places their Ten Commandments from their book of woo is on display in government buildings and even schools (until someone makes an issue of it). They want to force our children to pray along with them in public schools, even though they are free to pray to themselves any time they want without bothering anyone else. They feel the need to drag everyone forcefully into their “faith”.

Continue Reading at: http://gods4suckers.net/archives/2010/04/20/palin-distorts-founders-intent/

Why I Do Not Use “Gender Variant”

If one views “gender” as a social construct that has varied a great deal across time and in various cultures rather than as some form of unvarying absolute truth, a binary of one or zero, black or white then the very idea of “gender variant” is patently absurd.

It has become a force of faith based reactionary thinking to assert that there is such a thing as an essentialist based gender binary that one can be a variant of.

I’m an atheist and a secular humanist, and a whole hearted skeptic  when it comes to ideas that seem to have as a core the reificattion of women as members of the second sex, inferior and less human than men.

It seems as though the bulk of bullshit about gender does just that and is in fact an end run around much of second wave feminist theory that attacked the validity of sex roles in the early 1970s.

I read a recent post on on Transgender News, one of the mailing lists I am on that feeds me articles and ideas that I use to develop posts for this blog.  Meryl Sizemore posted the following, “[Style] [USA] Long Hair on Little Boys: Right or Wrong?”  To read article go to:  http://www.stylelist.com/2010/04/19/long-haired-boys/.

Naturally this article started me sputtering like an impression of Lewis Black, “What the Fuck? What the Fuck?” What ever happened to the feminist idea behind, “Free to be You,  Free to be Me”?

It is as though the George Rekers with their perverted religiosity and homophobia have started dictating a program of indoctrination of absolutes of masculinity and absolutes of femininity as a homophobic and transphobic method to prevent the development of LGBT/T folks.

The abject failure of this indoctrination should be obvious.  Leading reaparative therapist Charles Socarides and one of the founding fathers of groups like NARTH had a gay son that he was unable to cure.  Phyllis Schlafly, ultra right wing traitor to women and embracer of the idea that women should love the roles she so obviousl did not embrace for herself raised a gay son who is alleged to be a leather queen.  Tim and Beverly LaHaye, right wing religious con artists and peddlers of schlocky apocalyptic rapture bunny fiction have a gay son.

Schlafly’s gay boy and LaHaye’s gay boy are leaders of Concerned Women of America.  A supposed institute of women that doesn’t trust women enough to run it, part of the vast right wing corporations that peddle their neo-Nazi crap along with their Ayn Rand bullshit.

All these organization believe that gender defines who is a “real man” and who is a “real woman”.

But the reality is that the “gender binary” exists mainly as a tool of sexist indoctrination in the ideal of male superiority and female as object.

Hence the childhood indoctrination into strict sex roles and the panic regarding same sex marriage.

Yes same sex marriage is a threat to the idea of marriage that consists of a male head of the household and his wife as same sex marriage makes a case for marriage of equals.

In truth gender is not an absolute set of traits that one can be a variant of.  We abuse the very idea of what transsexualism is when we speak in terms of gender identity.  What we actually mean is core sex identity.  That which tells us what sex we are.  It is not a new concepts although Julia Serano named it that.

To me gender identity seems more about the various shades of masculinity and femininity than about being male or female.  When one starts analyzing oneself and one’s traits we find most people are shades of masculinity and femininity, which is to say that no one actually fits into any sort of gender binary.  If the very idea of there being a 100% masculine or 100% femenine is a fiction then how can there be a gender binary?

And if there is no gender binary how can one be a variant?  Doesn’t that make everyone a variant?

Style Guide Note

I heard that as per GLAAD guidelines CNN banished the word transsexual and replaced it with transgender.

On this blog anyone caught using “GG” for natal female will be ridiculed unmercifully as being a clueless heterosexual cross dresser and misogynist.

Suggested alternatives “assigned female at birth” or “natal female”.

Have a nice day

Securing Fair Access to Credit for All

From the National Center for Transgender Equality
http://transgenderequality.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/securing-fair-access-to-credit-for-all/

This week the Senate is gearing up to tackle legislation that would seek to protect consumers from the bad financial practices of recent years–from hidden fees and outrageous penalties to risky loans and securities that undermine the financial system. It’s a fitting moment for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to throw its support behind one consumer protection that isn’t in the House or Senate financial reform packages – prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in credit and lending.

CUNA, which represents 90% of the nation’s credit unions, announced its support this week for the Israel-Frank Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (H.R.4376), a 2-page bill that would add these categories to existing federal protections based on race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status and age.

CUNA isn’t waiting for the bill to pass; it’s also making nondiscrimination against LGBT consumers part of its organizational policy. We applaud CUNA for recognizing that no one should be denied a loan because a bank officer thinks they don’t look sufficiently “masculine” or “feminine,” or because a credit card company thinks being transgender means you’re an unreliable borrower. Transgender people, like everyone else, should have access to credit and lending on fair terms, based on objective financial qualifications, not prejudice or stereotypes.  We hope CUNA’s leadership will help advance this common-sense legislation.

“It Ain’t Rocket Surgery!”*

Sometimes we need to apply Occam’s Razor and slash through the piles and piles of complexity.

The simple truth that many try to avoid is that transsexuals change their sex or at least as many of those physical characteristics that classify one as a member of one sex or the other as it is possible for them to change. Everything else is supposition.

There are some simple other basic realities.  One of which is that there is no certain, for sure, answer as to why people with transsexualism want to change their sex.  There is no carved in stone etiology although there are what appear to be common narratives that tend to fall in a couple of general categories.

In the struggle to find that carved in stone answer we tend to get into these huge sectarian fights over minutia that are really pretty meaningless in the overall scheme of things.

This often means we neglect to ask the really important questions.  Like:  Why does it really matter why we are transsexual or transgender? Why does it matter if one is lesbian, bisexual, straight or gay?  These are just forms of being that are common enough to be considered just something people are.

When male infants and small children adhere to the masculinity or female infants and small children adhere to the femininity we indoctrinate them to believe is vital to their being it is assumed that they are normal.  When these same children show a preference for things and behavior expected of the other sex we consider them abnormal.  In reality these different kids may be normal for what they were born.

Women born transsexual has had people try to use it as a separatist club.  It has had people make all sorts of claims about it but back when Tina and I coined it we meant it in part to be a simple statement of transsexual being something we were born. Being transsexual or transgender (or LGB for that matter) is intrinsic to our being.

Perhaps the question should be:  Who would choose at such a young age to be something that is the focus of so much abuse, discrimination and scapegoating?  The big three of the desert based mythologies declare LGBT/T people to be abominations and suggest that murdering us is an appropriate reaction to our being different.

Transsexuals and transgenders wound up aligning politically with the LGB movements in part because of facing common oppressors and the same type rationales for that oppression.

Over the last year or so I have found it increasingly hard to fathom the embrace by so many of the “I’m really intersex” line, particularly by those who fathered children.  My inclination is to say, “So what?”  Too much published by those making up the self identified intersex movement comes off as crazier than what one finds in the TS/TG groups.  A combination of baring stigmata and sharing of stories of one’s having been abducted by space aliens.  You are different and oppressed.  So what?  In many cultures until relatively recently actual intersex kids were abandoned on hillsides at birth.

Trading one form of oppression for another is of questionable value for anything other than possibly claiming innocence and distancing oneself from those evil transsexuals and transgenders. You know, the ones who aren’t so ashamed of what they are that they too make up improbable intersex conditions.

For what it is worth I have noticed that many of those who most proudly proclaim their intersex conditions often have excuses for not getting the same treatments transsexuals and transgenders get to make themselves more comfortable within their bodies.

Perhaps they are convinced that in a John Galt sort of way they as an individual can avoid the hatred and discrimination that falls on transsexual and transgender people, especially those in the lumpen prole class who are all too often employed in the sex industry.

It is true that many if not most people born with transsexualism, homosexuality, transgenderism and the like think science is our friend.  Science provides us with plausible answers as to why we are different from the cis-sexual/gendered, answers that do not stigmatize us as evil.

Some of us even think that embracing sickness models such as GID or AGP/AP is preferable to being “evil”.  This isn’t a liberating line of thought but is rather straight out of the 1950s gay as mental illness model that was embraced by gays and lesbians of that era.

I see a lot of magical thinking in the idea that if science were to conclusively prove innateness that some how that proof would end all the abuse and discrimination we suffer.

Racism and misogyny demonstrate the fallacy of that line of thought.

Likewise we live in a world where more people probably believe in astrology than astronomy.  Where people believe some sort of magical invisible sky daddy created the whole universe rather than the Big Bang.

Were researchers to discover a specific genetic string that cause transsexualism or transgenderism etc there would always be a Caribou Barbie, (Sarah Palin) to wave an M16 as we were loaded into the box cars asking us, “How’s that sciency thing working out for ya?”

Bigotry is rift among the researchers studying us.  Have you ever noticed how it is always “male to female” transsexuals who are stigmatized by this crew of psychiatric professionals?  How much of that is science and how much of it is castration anxiety on the part of male psych theorists cringing at the very thought that we seek out surgery that castrates us and removes the penis in the process of creating our vagina.

Indeed I think the whole root of questioning the motivations behind mate to female transsexualism is predicated upon male supremacy and wondering why one would trade that male supremacy for membership in the class, female, which is considered the lesser sex.

Perhaps the simple answer that we were born this way is unsatisfactory for those looking for the complex answer that satisfies all sorts of questions about sex, gender and identity but it should be enough for us.  Why is it our role in life to provide researchers with subjects to study or answers to complex philosophical questions?

I was born this way.  It ain’t rocket surgery.*

From the movie Boondock Saints II

The judeo-christian-islamic-satanist axis of irrationality and creationism.

By Andrea B.

This is my opinion on this issue.

Every atom in my body, apart from the hydrogen atoms were created in nuclear fusion reactions in first and second generation stars over the last fourteen billion or so years. The atoms were blasted across the galaxy by supernova explosions, eventually they came together to form the earth and eventually ended up in me, built into there present structure by my DNA/RNA.

In about four billion years from now, long after I have died and the human race is long forgotten, the atoms in my body will be ripped of the outer layer of this planet by our dying sun as it expands into a red giant. They will be reduced to plasma as they have there electrons stripped of them by the radiation in space and travel through the galaxy, until they take part in the next cycle of life several billion years from now.

Religion is a new phenomena. It was created by man. It appears to act as a social control mechanism, very similar to sociology, psychiatry and psychology, which appear to be the new religions to control people. The average species only lasts something like five million years. So religion and God as the religious refers to some human construct which has become an ideology, will die in the next few million years. However the atoms that make up my body will still exist and travel throughout this galaxy in the next cycle of life, long after the irrelevant stupidity of religious fundamentalists is no longer even a historical footnote.

To sum up, the fundamentalists are trying to stand against the reality of how irrelevant they really are. They are to be pitied due to there lack of education and inability to face up to the reality of life. All they are is a creation by a DNA molecule, which tricks them into believing certain things, so as to maintain its ability to reproduce itself.

The point of all life on Earth is to reproduce our DNA and to constantly evolve our DNA into forms which give it a better chance of survival. At present there appears to be no other point to the existence of life.

Basically what I am saying is that a complex chemical in out body called DNA which has as its entire aim to replicate itself, tricks us in all sorts of ways, such as love, hate, conquest, submission, etc. so as to create opportunities for the molecule to replicate.

The point of the universe is to me unknown and maybe it is just is, with no point. I do believe that in the eons to come we may possibly seed it with life, if there is not already life there.

I have sometimes wondered if life is the universe trying to make sense of its self.

What we have in present society is irrationality, idiotically deranged and professional imbecility. We have the irrational who blow themselves up to be with virgins and the irrational who drop bombs on third world regimes which they put there in the first place because there latest decision has negatively affected there control of oil. We have the idiotic ideas of religious leaders who believe that a concept called god speaks to them and through them, such as there idiotic idea of intelligent design. We have the psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists who are professional imbeciles who believe they can impose there deranged belief systems onto minority groups in society. Just take a look at the proposals in the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V, by the American Psychiatric Association.

Regarding intelligent design is at its very core, a recoiling in horror from the truth. It is a banner around which the ignorant gather. It is an excuse to be proud of their own ignorance.

Intelligent design comes from a view that the world is immovable, static, forever unchanging and a fear of change. That God made it this way, and filled out all the niches perfectly, and by God that will never ever change. Now, any intelligent person could look at this world for the dynamic and varied place that it is, see the beauty of Nature, and know that everything is changing all the time and realize that evolution makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, this view of a static universe is prevalent in Christianity and the entire judeo-christian-islamic-satanist axis of irrationality which is in turn prevalent in North America. You can witness this in the surprised faces of people in America when their trailer homes get ripped apart by a tornado when they live in Tornado Alley as they think that praying to a mythical social construct, such as god will protect them.

It is this attitude that has permeated the public consciousness, particularly in the United States and is now spreading out from the US due to cultural domination. It is this attitude that can have people seriously questioning whether evolution is taking place. This championing of ignorance, this vilification of learning, the learned, and the people whom are becoming learned.

Damn the entire creationist, judeo-christian-islamic-satanist axis of irrationality lot of them, I say.

————————————-

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.-Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

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President Obama Issues Memorandum Regarding Hospital Visitation Rights

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2010

Presidential Memorandum – Hospital Visitation

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

SUBJECT: Respecting the Rights of Hospital Patients to Receive Visitors and to Designate Surrogate Decision Makers for Medical Emergencies

There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean — a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.

Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides — whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay. Often, a widow or widower with no children is denied the support and comfort of a good friend. Members of religious orders are sometimes unable to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions on their behalf. Also uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.

For all of these Americans, the failure to have their wishes respected concerning who may visit them or make medical decisions on their behalf has real onsequences. It means that doctors and nurses do not always have the best information about patients’ medications and medical histories and that friends and certain family members are unable to serve as intermediaries to help communicate patients’ needs. It means that a stressful and at times terrifying experience for patients is senselessly compounded by indignity and unfairness. And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.

Many States have taken steps to try to put an end to these problems. North Carolina recently amended its Patients’ Bill of Rights to give each patient “the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient” — a right that applies in every hospital in the State. Delaware, Nebraska, and Minnesota have adopted similar laws.

My Administration can expand on these important steps to ensure that patients can receive compassionate care and equal treatment during their hospital stays. By this memorandum, I request that you take the following steps:

1. Initiate appropriate rule making, pursuant to your authority under 42 U.S.C. 1395x and other relevant provisions of law, to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors. It should be made clear that designated visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy. You should also provide that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The rule making should take into account the need for hospitals to restrict visitation in medically appropriate circumstances as well as the clinical decisions that medical professionals make about a patient’s care or treatment.

2. Ensure that all hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid are in full compliance with regulations, codified at 42 CFR 482.13 and 42 CFR 489.102(a), promulgated to guarantee that all patients’ advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies, are respected, and that patients’ representatives otherwise have the right to make informed decisions regarding patients’ care. Additionally, I request that you issue new guidelines, pursuant to your authority under 42 U.S.C. 1395cc and other relevant provisions of law, and provide technical assistance on how hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid can best comply with the regulations and take any additional appropriate measures to fully enforce the regulations.

3. Provide additional recommendations to me, within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, on actions the Department of Health and Human Services can take to address hospital visitation, medical decision making, or other health care issues that affect LGBT patients and their families.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

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