Nude Ride Video: Cyclists strip for safety in Peru

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Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers

Bad Way to Phrase an Argument.

“So as a trans* womyn of color and academic.”

Oh yeah that really means I have to take everything you say as absolute truth because you just played a shit load of power cards.

Epic Fail!

No I don’t.  The second you chose to open your argument with that statement I became free to evaluate your arguments in terms of it possibly coming from an area of study with as much or as little validity as say new age medicine like aroma therapy, crystal therapy or  homeopathy.

The use of “womyn” in a non-ironic form of usage informs my evaluation of you in a negative manner and leads me to think you are probably a grad student in post-modern gender studies.

As for woman of color, welcome to the 99% I know it don’t thrill you but that card doesn’t mandate my giving you extra points for credibility either.

As way of introduction I’m working class with a hard won education amassed in bits and pieces.

Cut the privileged bullshit and give me a credible argument and then I will try giving you the same as a fellow member of the 99% and we can go from there.

I expect no less from any academic I respect and I give no less out of that respect.

Credential waving is a privileged way of not having to present information and argue a position based on the information at hand.

It is the sort of trick preachers, pundits and politicians pull all the time when they make claims but fail to back those claims up with information that might invalidate or validate those claims.

One particularly galling argument that is stuck out there in the air by those in cultural studies or gender studies is the idea that modern western society has a rigid gender binary unlike Eastern cultures when what is more the case is that some cultures have a niche for queer folks while having far more rigid gender binaries for “normal” men and women.

Simply hanging a cliche that is popular in certain circles  out there as though it is an agreed upon fact is not an argument.  Especially if you are not prepared to defend it from reality based challenges.

Transgender doesn’t challenge any sort of artificial gender binary construct.  It embraces the construct, demands the construct be real, otherwise clothes are just clothes and not markers of sex.

Without the construct of gender or if you wish sex roles the embracing of a particular role becomes disconnected from being either a male role or a female role.  Sort of the way jeans without ornamentation or special marketing are just jeans that fit a certain sized body.  Or perhaps a better analogy would be the ordinary crew neck cut t-shirt.  Difference is measured in size not linked to sex.

Western societies where more professions are open to both men and women and codes of dress are not rigidly defined to the point of women getting attacked in the streets for dressing as they wish are less binary than those cultures, which tend to be non-western where women are only  permitted to enter a few professions outside the home and get arrested if they aren’t wearing the proper hajib etc.

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Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

By Cordelia Fine

From Amazon page:

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a methodical and devastatingly effective manner, Fine eviscerates the recent trend in attributing society’s gender-based differences to biology. The sheer girth of her analysis is staggering as she addresses everything from scientific studies going back more than a century to the latest assertions of “Mars and Venus” author John Gray. Fine pivots from studies on gender-based clothing and toys to a discussion of education, and reviews recent Caldecott Award-winning children’s books, noting that one gender is consistently described as “beautiful, frightened, worthy, sweet, weak and scared.” (Guess which one.) Fine also explains how experiments are manipulated to provide desirable results and how results are presented without necessary caveats (such as the fact that men were not part of the study). This is social science at its hard-working best as Fine uses solid references to refute the notion that biology trumps pervasive stereotyping, and offers a sterling rebuttal to agenda research and the lure of pseudo-science. –Colleen Mondor –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Fine turns the popular science book formula on its head. Chapter-by-chapter, she introduces ideas about innate differences between the sexes… and then tartly smacks around studies supposedly supporting them.” (Dan Vergano – USA Today )

“Cordelia Fine’s thorough (and funny!) Delusions of Gender punches a giant hole in the idea that women’s brains are somehow ‘hardwired’ for nurturing and domesticity.” (Anna North – )

“Forceful, funny. . . . These are the right questions to be asking.” (Boston Globe )

“[Fine] effectively blows the lid off of old tropes… Weaving together anecdotes, dense research and quotes from numerous experts, she offers a well-balanced testament to the many ways in which cultural rules inform behaviors often mistaken as organic to our brains, as opposed to learned… [An] informative and often surprising study.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“Starred Review, Pick of the Week. A fabulous combination of wit, passion, and scholarship. . . . This marvelous and important book will change the way readers view the gendered world.” (Publishers Weekly )

“In Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine does a magnificent job debunking the so-called science, and especially the brain science, of gender. If you thought there were some inescapable facts about women’s minds—some hard wiring that explains poor science and maths performance, or the ability to remember to buy the milk and arrange the holidays—you can put these on the rubbish heap. Instead, Fine shows that there are almost no areas of performance that are not touched by cultural stereotypes. This scholarly book will make you itch to press the delete button on so much nonsense, while being pure fun to read.” (Uta Frith FBA, FMedSci, FRS; Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London )

“Cordelia Fine has a first-rate intellect and writing talent to burn. In her new book, Delusions of Gender, she takes aim at the idea that male brains and female brains are ‘wired differently,’ leading men and women to act in a manner consistent with decades-old gender stereotypes. Armed with penetrating insights, a rapier wit, and a slew of carefully researched facts, Fine lowers her visor, lifts her lance, and attacks this idea full-force. Whether her adversaries can rally their forces and mount a successful counter-attack remains to be seen. What’s certain at this point, however, is that in Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine has struck a terrific first blow against what she calls ‘neurosexism.’” (William Ickes, author of Everyday Mind Reading: Understanding What Other People Think and Feel )

As regular readers of this blog know I am not much of a believer in “Brain Sex” or for that matter the idea of gender being much of anything other than a cultural (social) construct.

I’m also extremely skeptical regarding claims of mysterious intersex conditions.

I don’t consider transgender people to be breaking down some sort of constructed gender binary, but rather reinforcing the idea that these gender differences are something other than social constructs.

The androgyny one saw in many 1970s feminists especially lesbian feminists who weren’t into roles was far more of an attack on the cultural construct of gender.

In her book Fine attacks the idea that male brains and female brains are innately different in their capabilities.

People, transgender women and post-transsexual women get bent out of shape when I discuss our having had male privilege. “Oh no, not I!” say they. “Oh yes,  say I.”

Even as we disappointed or failed to live up to those expectations, the treatment we received based on the expectations given all children born with penises, bestowed an expectation upon us that we would be better at things like math and science than girls would.

Evidence:  Look at how many of our parents overtly expressed disappointment in our failures to meet those expectations.

What if there aren’t differences of “Brain Sex”?  What if all these “differences” are just repackaged misogynistic bullshit in new drag aimed at justifying keeping women second class humans.

In the late 1940s, Simone de Beauvoir wrote “”The Second Sex”, a book that should be mandatory reading for every transgender woman and for every T to F woman. Nothing changes, the sexism just gets reimagined and repackaged.

What if transsexual and transgender exist not because of opposite sex brains or gender binaries but rather due to the nearly complete overlapping of both sex and gender?

What if doing the same things or having the same capacities is viewed differently based on whether one is perceived as being male or female?

I lived in a radical collective while I was first coming out.  I watched how I was perceived change abruptly after I started hormones and they started the almost immediate physical changes.

I think if we are honest with ourselves and others about what happens we will take into account how much treatment by others due to their different way of seeing us a physical beings plays a greater role in our sense of being feminine or masculine than we often admit.

Does this mean I think transsexual or transgender people are a result of child rearing and socialization practices gone awry?

Actually no.  I think both are innate but simply do not believe there is something called “Brain Sex” that is the answer.

But neither is gender: That pastiche of pink and blue, snips, snails and puppy dog tails or sugar, spice and everything nice.  Those are social constructs that help reinforce misogyny.

“Delusions of Gender” is a well thought out book that both transsexual and transgender people should read.

Study: Hate of Obama fuels 755% growth in extremist groups

From Raw Story:

By David Edwards
Friday, March 9, 2012

Fears that the nation’s first black president will be re-elected has fueled the dramatic growth extremists groups in the U.S. over the past year, according to a report from a civil rights organization that tracks these groups.

The number of groups in the anti-government “Patriot” movement have sky rocketed 755 percent since President Barack Obama has been elected, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) yearly report found.

“These groups are becoming more and more aware as they watch the primary season unfold that Obama is fairly likely to win and some of them are having meltdowns over this,” Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok told Raw Story. “They’re looking at four more years under a very hated black president — hated by them. So, we’re seeing signs of real anger over that. People saying we’re at war already, saying go out and buy AK-47s and hollow-point bullets, get tools to derail trains.”

Unlike traditional hate groups, “Patriot” groups subscribe to a set of conspiracy theories and see the government as their primary enemy.

“Basically what ‘Patriot’ groups think is that the federal government is an evil cabal in the hands of bad people,” Potok explained. “The government is about to impose martial law on the country, very probably with the help of foreign troops, perhaps U.N. troops. They intend to confiscate all guns from Americans. Those liberty-loving Americans who resisted will be thrown into concentration camps that have secretly constructed by FEMA. And ultimately the government will force us all into a socialistic kind of one-world government, the so-called New World Order.”

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Andrew Breitbart, Derrick Bell and the Attack on Black Intellectuals

From The Nation:

March 8, 2012  

Some political operatives work hard to drive wedges between us. And since this nation elected its first black president, these operatives have worked feverishly to stoke fear in the hearts of white Americans. One way they have done this is by literally telling white America that black intellectuals want them dead.

I wish I were exaggerating.

In July 2010, Glenn Beck devoted a segment to Charles Ogletree, a black tenured Harvard professor whose many pupils included Obama. In the segment, Beck quoted Shamir Shabazz, a member of the New black Panther Party, who said that sometimes you have to “kill crackers.” Beck suggested that Ogletree, and by extension Obama, supported these views.

Any suggestion that killing someone because of their race, or even disliking them solely because of their race, is reprehensible. But neither Charles Ogletree nor any other prominent black intellectual I know would endorse any such statement.

In that same month, Andrew Breitbart, perhaps one of the most divisive figures in American political discourse, published a misleading video of Shirley Sherrod. Ms. Sherrod was forced to resign from her position at the Georgia State Rural Development Office of the US Department of Agriculture despite the fact that the allegations were untrue.

Last night, Andrew Breitbart (apparently from beyond the grave) was at it again. This time he and his cronies at released a video clip of a young Obama at Harvard law school hugging Professor Derrick Bell, a world renowned legal scholar and one of the foremost black intellectuals of his time, who passed away October 2011. Breitbart suggests that black people can’t be trusted to govern, by linking Obama to Bell.

This latest round of attack on black intellectuals should deeply trouble us all.

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The Most Powerful Hillary Clinton Speech Is One You Probably Never Saw

How America Is Making the Whole World Fat and Unhealthy

From Alternet:

We’ve exported the worst of our food to developing countries and we’ve imported the best of their food — making poorer countries even more worse off.

By Jill Richardson
March 7, 2012

It is hardly news that the United States faces epidemic health problems linked to poor diets. Nearly two out of every five Americans are obese. But according to a press release from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, “The West is now exporting diabetes and heart disease to developing countries, along with the processed foods that line the shelves of global supermarkets. By 2030, more than 5 million people will die each year before the age of 60 from non-communicable diseases linked to diets.”

De Schutter, whose work usually focuses on ending hunger, just published a new report saying, “The right to food cannot be reduced to a right not to starve. It is an inclusive right to an adequate diet providing all the nutritional elements an individual requires to live a healthy and active life, and the means to access them.” In other words, the right to a healthful diet must be included in the human right to food. And, as the unhealthy diets already common in the United States spread to poorer nations, so do the health problems associated with those diets. However, unlike wealthy nations, poorer nations are not equipped to deal with the health consequences via medicine, making preventable diet-related health problems more deadly.

While the poor around the world face hunger, for those who have enough to eat in non-industrialized nations, traditional diets are quite healthy. In Kenya, for example, peasant farmers subsist on a stiff corn porridge called ugali eaten with a variety of green vegetables, beans, and perhaps some pumpkin. Peasants in Bolivia may dine on potatoes, quinoa and other grains, corn, sweet potato, and other Andean roots and tubers. Mexicans combine corn tortillas and beans to provide complete protein. A Filipino family may eat pinakbet, a stew of local vegetables flavored with bagoong, a Filipino fish sauce.

In each and every case, traditional diets are made up of whole foods, including grains, beans, vegetables, fresh fruit, and perhaps some animal products. Wild plants that an American might dispose of as “weeds” are used to provide essential micronutrients, feed families during hard times, or serve as medicines. Often fermentation is used to preserve foods and increase their nutrition, as in the case of Kenya’s fermented porridge uji. Livestock enjoy diverse and natural diets, and meat is reserved for special occasions — perhaps a chicken to celebrate the arrival of a guest, a goat for Christmas, or a cow for a wedding.

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LA rally in solidarity to fight against crackdown on illegal immigration

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SPLC’s Expanded List of Anti-Gay Hate Groups is a Veritable Bigot Parade

From Truth Wins Out:

by John M. Becker
March 9th, 2012

As our regular readers will know, the Southern Poverty Law Center released an expanded list of anti-gay hate groups earlier this week as a part of a wide-ranging report on the state of hate groups across America. The report found an alarming increase of nearly 60 percent in the number of active anti-gay hate groups between 2010 and 2011.

Organizations joining the ranks of SPLC-certified hate groups include Mission America, founded by Linda Harvey, whom TWO has dubbed “the most homophobic woman in America;” Public Advocate of the United States, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and headed by Eugene Delgaudio, whose anti-LGBT bigotry is so extreme that he refers to the Student Non-Discrimination Act – which would protect LGBT students against bullying and discrimination in public schools – as the “Homosexual Classrooms Act;” and Minnesota’s notorious You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide ministry, fronted by radically anti-gay pastor Bradlee Dean, a hair-metal rocker who travels to public schools across the country delivering vitriolic “faith-based” anti-gay lectures to teenagers.

The latest edition of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report also contains an authoritative article detailing the hate and misinformation coming from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an “ex-gay” junk science group. This group is headed by radical extremist Joseph Nicolosi, whose theories on sexual orientation are so bizarre that he actually believes Bozo the Clown can turn people gay. NARTH has become the primary source for the faulty research and scientific distortions used by the religious right to justify their continued opposition to LGBT equality at a time when public opinion is swinging dramatically in the other direction. TWO’s Wayne Besen told the SPLC’s Ryan Lenz, “There’s no other play in the playbook except going back to the fire and brimstone.”

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Republican Jobs Plan – Help Hedge Funds

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Passion vs puritanism as America is gripped by a war over sexuality

From The Guardian UK:

US politics is overshadowed by bitter debates over sexual politics, from abortion to contraception and personal morality. But it is not just rightwingers who fear the increasing sexualisation of society

in New York, Saturday 10 March 2012

Dr Marty Klein pulled no punches when it came to what he thought of the ferocious debate in America over contraception. As the nation’s political classes veer between condemning government funding for birth control and defending it as a basic women’s right, the California sex therapist and author of America’s War on Sex bluntly said his country was on a perilous path.

“America has entered a new dark age where people are proud of their ignorance,” he told the Observer. “The US is careering towards a society that is reshaping women’s reproductive rights. It used to be abortion. Now it’s contraception. How can contraception be a battleground? It is crazy.”

That might be so, but the spat is white hot and part of a much larger argument. Only last week protests broke out in Texas, Arizona, Utah, Georgia and Alabama that all involved some aspects of sex and sexuality. In Utah, it was over the passing of a law that means the only sex education children will get in school will be about abstinence. In Texas, it was about cuts to health insurance that covers birth control. In Georgia, eight of the nine women in the state senate walked out over a bill that attacked abortion rights.

Barely a day has gone by in recent weeks without some fresh fight breaking out over sexual politics. The most fierce was over radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh‘s comments on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who had testified in Congress on the importance of government mandated funding for birth control. Limbaugh told millions of conservative listeners that this made Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute”.

He said: “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” The comments sparked outrage, triggered an advertiser boycott of Limbaugh’s show and dragged in all the Republican nomination candidates and Barack Obama.

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Ignorance Is Strength

From The New York Times:

Published: March 8, 2012

One way in which Americans have always been exceptional has been in our support for education. First we took the lead in universal primary education; then the “high school movement” made us the first nation to embrace widespread secondary education. And after World War II, public support, including the G.I. Bill and a huge expansion of public universities, helped large numbers of Americans to get college degrees.

But now one of our two major political parties has taken a hard right turn against education, or at least against education that working Americans can afford. Remarkably, this new hostility to education is shared by the social conservative and economic conservative wings of the Republican coalition, now embodied in the persons of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

And this comes at a time when American education is already in deep trouble.

About that hostility: Mr. Santorum made headlines by declaring that President Obama wants to expand college enrollment because colleges are “indoctrination mills” that destroy religious faith. But Mr. Romney’s response to a high school senior worried about college costs is arguably even more significant, because what he said points the way to actual policy choices that will further undermine American education.

Here’s what the candidate told the student: “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And, hopefully, you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”

Wow. So much for America’s tradition of providing student aid. And Mr. Romney’s remarks were even more callous and destructive than you may be aware, given what’s been happening lately to American higher education.

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