Friday Night Fun and Culture: Eliza Gilkyson

One of my New Years resolutions was that I would make an effort to try and find at least one new (to me) woman musical artist each month and feature her on Friday Night Fun and Culture.

I later amended that to stretching myself by reading new authors, etc.  Not just women or LGBT/T folks but new to me artists in general as well as some old and familiar favorites.

I first heard Eliza Gilkyson on the Village XM.  The first couple of times I heard her I liked her music but only caught that she was from Austin, then I searched on a lyric from one of her songs and became a Facebook Fan.

Rape is Rape!

There are a couple of positive signs regarding the up-dating of the FBI’s definition of forcible rape.  Some actually affect how the rape of TG people or male people is handled.  In years past rape of male bodied people was defined as sexual assault and police would try to label vaginal rape of post-SRS women the same way.

I’ve never understood the focus on the vagina in rape.  To me forced oral copulation or anal penetration is rape.  Rape if anything is the forced, or coerced non-consensual penetration of another persons body with penis or object used as a substitute for a penis.

From Ms. Magazine

Finally, Finally! FBI’s “Forcible Rape” Definition Is Officially History

January 6, 2012

Last month we were reported that victory was in sight in our months-long Rape is Rape campaign. At a December Senate hearing, FBI Director Robert Mueller let slip that “sometime this spring” the agency would update its archaic definition of “forcible rape.”

Mueller’s prediction gave us reason for optimism, but an official announcement today from the Obama administration gave us reason to celebrate!

The AP reports:

In a press briefing, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett called the change a “very, very important step” because it counts men and because it includes rapes of women other than by physical force.

In the FBI’s official statement, CJIS Assistant Director David Cuthbertson says that the update ensures that “the number of victims of this heinous crime will be more accurately reflected in national crime statistics.”

“This is a major policy change and will dramatically impact the way rape is tracked and reported nationwide,” says Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms. “With a modern, broader definition, FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics will finally show the true breadth of this violence that affects so many women’s lives.”

Complete article at:

From The Advocate:

FBI Changes Its Definition of Rape to Include Male Victims

By Neal Broverman
January 6, 2012

The FBI recently c
hanged its longstanding policy that only recognized rape as a crime affecting women, a change that will bring more accurate counts of male rape and provide better resources to victims.

In their crime reports and tallys, the FBI will now include men among rape victims. Their new provision describes rape as any kind of forced penetration against a person. Along with advocates for sexual crime victims, vice president Joseph Biden pushed for the change. He said that the new policy will reverse 80 years of not accounting for male rape victims.

The change has practical merit as well as symbolic — millions in federal aid goes to sexual abuse victims and the new accounting for male rape will help assist those victims.

Complete article at:

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‘Wild Old Women’ shut down Bank of America branch in Calif.

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, January 6, 2012

A group of senior citizen activists calling themselves “Wild Old Women” staged a protest at a San Francisco Bank of America branch this week and succeeded in causing the business to close its doors, albeit temporarily.

The Bank of America in Bernal Heights, a San Francisco suburb, was confronted by the activists on Thursday afternoon, according to KCBS radio reporter Doug Sovern, who was on the scene.

The women were ages 69 to 82, and they stood on a sidewalk holding signs that demanded lower fees, higher taxes for the wealthy and a freeze on foreclosures. The bank locked its doors as soon as they arrived, Sovern noted.

“We’re upset about what the banks are doing, particularly in our neighborhood and neighboring areas, in evicting people and foreclosing on their homes,” one of the activists was quoted as saying. “We’re upset because the banks are raising their rates because it really affects seniors who are on a fixed income.”

The protest is just the latest in a growing number of direct actions targeting major American financial institutions, which have become the target of the public’s ire since the 2008 financial collapse, triggered by predatory loan practices and the widespread selling of debt-backed securities.

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Press Conference Launches “March-4-Jobs & Justice Day”

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Medical marijuana works miracles, says smoking granny

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What to do when a transgender man needs his pap smear? More OB/GYNs become transgender friendly as awareness grows

From The Daily Mail UK:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published paper urging OB/GYNs to be more transgender friendly
  • Nearly 30 per cent of transgender community fears treatment

By Beth Stebner
6th January 2012

Transgendered men have been in a limbo of sorts for years, identifying with males and looking like them, but having the sexual organs of – and needing treatment for – the female reproductive system.

Because of these dilemmas, many female-to-male transgender have postponed going to the doctor to avoid being the subject of belittling, unprofessional conduct from both doctors and nurses, and in two per cent of cases, violence and physical harassment from staff.

But a board focusing on female health is hoping to change all that by advising OB/GYNs across the country to create a more accepting environment for the community.

The Sun-Sentinel has reported at the case of transgender couple S.F. Makalani-MaHee, who was born as a female but lives as a male, and his partner Rajee Narinesingh, a transgendered woman.

Mr Makalani-MaHee told the paper that he always felt a sense of dread when going to the gynaecologist, he still has a woman’s sexual organs, which brings a slew of uncomfortable emotions from many doctors.

‘The ignorance runs its course,’ he said. ‘A lot of us have avoided these types of experiences.’

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Go Away, Daddy! The Revolting Bob Parsons and His Toxic Internet Empire

I initially used Go Daddy for domain registration but I refuse to support a corporation that is most commonly known for its totally disgusting misogynistic advertising.

They weren’t any cheaper than alternatives such as Net Solutions or others.

From Alternet:!_the_revolting_bob_parsons_and_his_toxic_internet_empire_/

If unbridled capitalism is the plague, Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons and his horrible company are the infected boils on the body politic.

By Lynn Parramore
January 3, 2012

 In late December, domain registrar Go Daddy spat on the notion of the open society by announcing support for the widely-denounced Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Technology firms and human rights activists quickly cried foul, revealing that the “copyright-enforcing” bill, with its overly broad definitions, was less about stopping piracy and more about restricting the flow of information to citizens. The firm caved to public pressure and withdrew support for the bill, which the US House Judiciary Committee will be voting on soon. The furore caused many Web sites (including AlterNet) to decide to pull their registrations from Go Daddy. And it shined a light on the notorious Go Daddy founder, cheekily and rather fondly profiled just days ago in the New York Times Magazine.

I refer to the Big Daddy himself, Bob Parsons.

Recently, Parsons sold 65 percent of Go Daddy to a private group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (well-known GOP supporters) for $2.25 billion – a move that will expand Go Daddy’s resources, products and global growth. Parsons will now step down as CEO, but states that his job “will pretty much continue as it has been” with a focus on the company’s marketing strategy.

Parsons is one part P.T. Barnum and one part Howard Stern, so vulgar he makes Donald Trump seem refined by comparison. He first achieved notoriety with his Hooters approach to the erstwhile boring business of selling domain names. He threw taste to the wind and hired a porn actress as the first “Go Daddy Girl,” running ads featuring her “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl. Feminists howled; Parsons crowed. His business went gangbusters.

Continue reading at:!_the_revolting_bob_parsons_and_his_toxic_internet_empire_/

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Washington Governor announces support for gay marriage: ‘It’s time, it’s the right thing to do’

From LGBTQ Nation:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In an announcement before an audience of activists and supporters of marriage equality, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (D), on Wednesday announced she will introduce historic legislation that if passed, would allow same-sex marriages in Washington state.

The announcement represents a change for Gregoire — while she has supported gay and lesbian partners having the the same rights that married couples have, until today Gregoire has never specifically endorsed same-sex marriage publicly.

In fact, while running for governor in 2004, she said, “I do not believe that Washington state is ready to support gay marriage.”

“It’s time, it’s the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do it,” Gregoire said.

“I say that as a wife, a mother, a student of the law, and above all as a Washingtonian with a lifelong commitment to equality and freedom. Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage. That’s a version of the discriminatory ‘separate but equal’ argument.”

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The Decline of the Public Good

From Robert Reich:

By Robert Reich
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meryl Streep’s eery reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” brings to mind Thatcher’s most famous quip, “there is no such thing as ‘society.’” None of the dwindling herd of Republican candidates has quoted her yet but they might as well considering their unremitting bashing of everything public.

What defines a society is a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions — public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted from many of these same public institutions) help pay for everyone else.

“Privatiize” means pay-for-it-yourself. The practical consequence of this in an economy whose wealth and income are now more concentrated than any time in 90 years is to make high-quality public goods available to fewer and fewer.

In fact, much of what’s called “public” is increasingly a private good paid for by users — ever-higher tolls on public highways and public bridges, higher tuitions at so-called public universities, higher admission fees at public parks and public museums.

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‘The Iron Lady’: The Margaret Thatcher Movie We Don’t Need

From The Nation:

Laura Flanders
on January 4, 2012

The Iron Lady just opened in London where, let’s hope, it generates some serious critique. The critical silence in the United States has been astounding, only made worse by the praise, not just for the film but for its subject, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, played in the movie by Meryl Streep.

Newsweek’s holiday double issue slapped Streep as Thatcher on its cover, hailing “The New Thatcher Era.” The feature story in summary reads: “Margaret Thatcher was the infamous Iron Lady the Brits love to hate. This month’s bio starring Meryl Streep proves she was right all along.”

Streep’s already winning awards and accolades, and Oscars are probably on the way. People are saying the film’s no whitewash because it shows the former Prime Minister in her dotage, fighting dementia—three decades after she came to power. Director Phyllida Lloyd has described the treatment as operatic. Streep’s called it revealing. The two collaborated before on the musical Mamma Mia! The truth is, in Lloyd’s hands Thatcher’s iron isn’t just rusty, it’s melted down and depoliticized, made feminist enough to root for and ultimately sad enough for some to sniffle at. The Iron Lady is Thatcher—The ABBA Version. It’s the last thing we need, ever, and especially at this point.

Think of Thatcher and I think of hungry people. Irish hunger strikers, first of all, ten of whom starved to death for status as political prisoners on her watch. Thatcher insisted anti-government rebels in Afghanistan were “resistance fighters,” not terrorists, but it was a different story for the Irish. Indeed, in Thatcher’s time, there was to be no story, no effort to understand the reasons for the conflict in Northern Ireland; certainly there was to be no discussion or consideration in public of why anyone might pick up a gun, or place a bomb or starve themselves to death.

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Fracking will poison New York’s drinking water, critics warn

From The Guardian UK:

Opponents of controversial gas drilling method condemn plan as environmental agency sounds alarm bells over staffing levels
, Thursday 5 January 2012

A former staffer at a state government agency responsible for regulating hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has warned that allowing the controversial gas drilling method in New York would lead to contamination of the state’s aquifers and would poison its drinking water.

These stark warnings, issued by Paul Hetzler in a letter to an upstate newspaper, came as a current employee and union representative at the Department for Environmental Conservation (DEC) sounded alarm bells over the under-staffed agency’s ability to monitor the industry and to deal with any emergencies if the plan goes ahead.

Fracking is the process of injecting a high-pressure mixture of sand, water and chemicals thousands of feet into hard shale rocks to shatter them and release the natural gas inside.

Plans to remove a statewide ban on fracking advanced by New York governor Andrew Cuomo and the DEC have sparked a wave of opposition from environmental, health and activist groups.

The New York state DEC released its recommendations in July, saying that proposals to remove the ban “struck the right balance between protecting our environment, watersheds and drinking water and promoting economic development.”

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OWS Global Revolution headquarters shutdown by NYPD

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Occupy Wall Street’s Livestream Operators Arrested

From Reader Supported News:

By Adam Martin, The Atlantic Wire
04 January 12

Occupy Wall Street is in the middle of one of its day-long marches in New York Tuesday, protesting the National Defense Authorization Act, but for those following along on the Global Revolution livestream, the real action is happening in the broadcast studio itself. That’s because police have apparently just raided the Brooklyn studio of and taken some of the project’s key volunteers into custody.

The raid Tuesday follows a notice to vacate that police delivered to the Bushwick studio on Monday night. Victoria Sobel, a Global Revolution volunteer, said Vlad Teichberg and a guy named Spike, both of whom maintain the live feed aggregator, had been taken into custody by police, along with four or five others.

In Manhattan, about 100 Occupy protesters (according to Animal New York’s Twitter) marched to the offices of New York senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, where they told stories and made impassioned cases for the wrongness of the NDAA. They plan a final rally at Grand Central station at 5 p.m., which should make for some fun interactions with hurried commuters. Lots of people were watching the proceedings on live feeds operated by, but now that site has stopped broadcasting the New York protest and is showing footage of Occupy Maui.

If you were following along earlier today, you may have been startled at about 1:45 p.m. to see the live feed cut away from the street-level action and to the face of Vlad Teichberg, one of the main organizers of Global Revolution. The new shot showed a large, graffittied space where Teichberg and a couple of colleagues were confronting a man they identified as the landlord, who had apparently broken in their door. They put the camera on him, he threatened to call the police, they said he had no right to come into the space by force, and he eventually left.

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FDA Takes a Baby Step on Factory Farm Antibiotics

From Mother Jones:

By Tom Philpott
Wed Jan. 4, 2012

For a few months now, Obama’s FDA has been showing zero appetite for standing up to the meat industry on factory-farm livestock use. In two key decisions (here and here), the agency declined to impose real restrictions on farm drug use, promoting a “voluntary” approach instead.

But today, the FDA abruptly canned the lapdog schtick and growled like a real watchdog: It banned certain uses of the cephalosporin family of antibiotics. The FDA declared in a press release:

Cephalosporins are commonly used in humans to treat pneumonia as well as to treat skin and soft tissue infections. In addition, they are used in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, diabetic foot infections, and urinary tract infections. If cephalosporins are not effective in treating these diseases, doctors may have to use drugs that are not as effective or that have greater side effects.

Citing concern that routine use on factory farms will push pathogens to develop resistance to these antibiotics, the FDA has banned certain uses of them. Now before I show just how limited this move is in the grand scheme, I have to stress its historical significance. For 34 years, the agency has been wringing its hands over the dangers of farm antibiotic abuse, all the while doing precisely nothing about it (save for appointing committees and issuing polite requests for “judicious” use). Now it’s actually regulating. The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farms, which advocates a ban on routine antibiotic use, praised the move Wednesday as an “important first step” in addressing the problem.

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Word of the Day: Deposit Facility

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Yes! Obama announces major Pentagon cuts

From Daily Kos:!-Obama-announces-major-Pentagon-cuts

Thu Jan 05, 2012

Following Tuesday’s near-unanimous win among Iowa Democrats and yesterday’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray, our President has outdone himself today, announcing nearly half a trillion dollars in cuts to the Pentagon’s bloated budget.

The new military strategy includes $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be coming if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. The announcement comes weeks after the U.S. officially ended the Iraq War and after a decade of increased defense spending in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.Obama said that the military will indeed be leaner, but the U.S. will maintain a budget that is roughly larger than the next 10 countries’ military budgets combined.

“Some will no doubt say the spending reductions are too big; others will say they’re too small,” Obama said. “It will be easy to take issue with a particular change. But I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said — that ‘each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’ “

The plan also features a large-scale shift away from the failed policies that defined Bush-era foreign policy.

Continue reading at:!-Obama-announces-major-Pentagon-cuts

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Obama: the US can no longer fight the world’s battles

From The Independent UK:

President plans to cut half a million troops and says US can’t afford to wage two wars at once

Rupert Cornwell Washington
Friday 06 January 2012

The mighty American military machine that has for so long secured the country’s status as the world’s only superpower will have to be drastically reduced, Barack Obama warned yesterday as he set out a radical but more modest new set of priorities for the Pentagon over the next decade.

After the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined the first decade of the 21st century, Mr Obama’s blueprint for the military’s future acknowledged that America will no longer have the resources to conduct two such major operations simultaneously.

Instead, the US military will lose up to half a million troops and will focus on countering terrorism and meeting the new challenges of an emergent Asia dominated by China. America, the President said, was “turning the page on a decade of war” and now faced “a moment of transition”. The country’s armed forces would in future be leaner but, Mr Obama pointedly warned both friends and foes, sufficient to preserve US military superiority over any rival – “agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats”.

The wider significance of America’s landmark strategic change was underlined by British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who used a visit to Washington to warn that America must not delay the production of US warplanes bound for British aircraft carriers. The US strategy is expected to make a drawdown of some of the 80,000 troops based in Europe.

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