Lily Lilac Died Today

Today Tina and I lost a member of our family.

Her name was Lily Lilac and she was an elderly lilac point Siamese.

We rescued her nearly four years ago from the local shelter.  We took her knowing she was a special needs cat even though North Texas Siamese Rescue had said they would take her.

In the months before we adopted her we had just lost Jules an elderly apple head seal point who was also a special needs cat.

When Tina told me about her I said, “No, no more special needs cats.”

I was so tough, until I picked her up. She was nothing but skin and bones, wheezing like a two pack a day smoker with breath to match.  The woman at the shelter said, “Siamese Rescue said they would take her.”

I started crying because I knew she was pretty much unadoptable and the way she clung to me she needed that contact with humans. That is something Tonja just can’t give all the individual cats at the Rescue Center even though she does a truly heroic job of saving lives and finding homes.

Jules and Lily were complete opposites when it came to accepting our giving them their veterinarian prescribed care.  Jules took his pills and accepted our giving him subcutaneous fluid when he needed it to help his failing kidneys.  Lily would have none of it she fought taking pills so hard she dislocated one of her hind legs.  Forget about extra fluids.

So we decided to let her share our home on her own terms.

I was working and grumpy when I got home and she was needy and clinging.  While we both gave her affection she spent most of her time attached to Tina.

In time her wheezing abated somewhat and she gained a small amount of weight but like Jules remained a bony feeble older cat.

The last couple of weeks we have had horribly cold and icy weather here in D/FW and she seemed rather inactive.  Then we noticed she seemed very ill with the same symptoms Jules had when his kidneys finally failed.

She passed away today, we were discussing taking her to the vet to have her put down.  But instead she died on her own terms, which is some how fitting.

GOP Backs Massive Tax Increase To Phase Out Abortion Coverage By Private Insurers

From Talking Points Memo:

Brian Beutler

February 9, 2011

The House GOP continues to place its heaviest emphasis on fighting abortion rights, and they’ve taken a lot of heat for it. Progressives, Democrats, pro-choice groups, and others have spared little criticism, but they’ve focused most heavily on three distinct lines: the fact that Republicans are ignoring job-creation as a priority; the fact that one of their pieces of legislation would allow hospitals to refuse to perform an abortion on a dying woman; and the fact that, until recently at least, the GOP wanted to limit tax-payer support for abortion to exclude incidences of non-forcible rape.

Here’s another one: The GOP’s plan to ban tax-payer money from funding abortions includes giant tax hikes for businesses.

More specifically, it would eliminate tax incentives on employer-provided health care benefits if those benefits cover abortion as a medical procedure.

Supporters of the bill say those incentives essentially constitute federal spending on abortion.

“We want to live up to our commitment to make sure that there is no government funding of abortion,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “And the provision that you speak to does have some connect with a government’s support and funding of abortion.”

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Obama seeks longer PATRIOT Act extension than Republicans

Is it too much to ask that Democrats actually run a real Democrat for President instead of this Republican in everything but name that we have now?

Obama is nothing more than a yes man for ultra right wing corporate interests, a more articulate George W. Bush.

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Faced with a looming vote on a planned one-year extension of special powers authorized in the USA PATRIOT Act, the Obama White House did not object or propose reforms, as the president vowed to do as a candidate.

The Obama administration instead asked Congress to grant those powers for an additional three years.

As a US Senator and candidate for the presidency, Barack Obama never actually argued for a repeal of the Bush administration’s security initiatives. Instead, he’s consistently argued for enhanced judicial oversight and a pullback on the most extreme elements of the bill, such as the use of National Security Letters to search people’s personal records without a court-issued warrant.

While many in his own party opposed the PATRIOT Act outright, as president Obama has said repeatedly that the emergency measures remain a valuable tool for law enforcement engaged in national security prerogatives.

On Tuesday, ahead of a House vote to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act for another year, the White House did something unexpected: they asked for even more.

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‘Forcible Rape’ Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding

From The Huffington Post:

Amanda Terkel

02/ 9/11

WASHINGTON — After significant public blowback, House Republicans last week promised to drop a controversial provision in their high-priority No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape. But almost a week later, that language is still in the bill.

Last week, a spokesman for the bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said, “The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment.” The Hyde Amendment bans taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions, except in cases of incest and rape — not just “forcible rape,” as the Smith bill, H.R. 3, would have it.

But as The New York Times first noted on Wednesday, the “forcible rape” language remains. Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top-ranking Democrat on the House judiciary subcommittee focusing on constitutional issues, told The Huffington Post that while Nadler hopes the bill will soon be changed, they have been treating it as it’s written.

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Do Not Have Silicone Shot Into You

Having silicone injections is like playing Russian Roulette or having unprotected sex while doing street sex work.  It is extremely high risk behavior that eventually turns out badly.

I remember when the craze of getting pumped started in the mid-1970s and I am ever so thankful I was a feminist hippie at that point and quite satisfied with my appearance.  I was also naturally full hipped.

I had distanced myself from the Hollywood TS/TG crowd after coming out as lesbian due to the negative reactions I received from some sisters, who looked upon my lack of interest in men as some sort of negation of their rigid ideas of sex and gender roles.

I watched as my sisters who were more attracted to glamor and being sex objects got their faces and asses pumped full of what was supposedly medical grade silicone.

One day my girl friend and I ran into a sister I knew from San Francisco when I worked in the center.  She looked as though she had been severely beaten.  She was African-American of medium dark complexion which might have hid some of the bruising, nonetheless there were darker patches as well as open sores on her face and one eye was swollen shut.  She told us she hadn’t been beaten up, that it was the result of having had silicone injections and that if it migrated into her eye sockets she could be blinded.  I ran into her years later, fortunately she had received care that saved her vision as well as preventing major damage.

Another friend had massive amounts of silicone injections in her hips and buttocks.  Along with tissue necrosis over the years the silicone shifted downwards coming to rest in her ankles and leaving her with a deeply pitted ass where scarring and tissue necrosis had done its damage.

I have heard the arguments regarding how it is classist on my part to argue against a procedure used by those to poor to afford the extremely high prices charged by legitimate plastic surgeons.

To that I say, that  quacks and criminals should not be given license to exploit and maim people simply because they are poor.  Criminals who practice medicine without license or who abuse their license in order to pump industrial silicone and other questionable substances into people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and if found guilty should be subjected to the longest and harshest penalties permitted.  They should also face the maximum penalties permitted in civil courts.

Further the dangers of silicone injections should merit the same level of concern within the various TS and TG communities as is shown to crimes of violence and unprotected sex.

While this article is not specifically about the dangers to TS/TG folks it is about the dangers of silicone injections.


Woman dead after buttocks-enhancement procedure

Philadelphia Daily News

A British woman who came to Philadelphia to enhance her buttocks met an untimely end when the illegal injections she received at an airport hotel room this week caused complications that led to her death Tuesday, according to police.

Now, local and federal authorities are looking for the two young women who administered the injections at a room in the Hampton Inn on Bartram Avenue. Authorities don’t yet know who they are, let alone if they were licensed, said Southwest Detectives Lt. John Walker.

Felmont Eaves III, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, said it’s highly unlikely that they were.

“No physician that cared about being safe and providing care would do a procedure in a hotel room,” he said. “That is just a huge red flag.”

The victim, identified by a source as Claudia Adusei, traveled to America Saturday with three friends from England, all of whom are in their early 20s, Walker said.

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Still No Freedom Rainbow for Transgender People of Color

From Color Lines:

Reposted with permission

by Mandy Carter
Monday, February 7 2011

It was the morning of Aug. 7, 1995, and Tyra Hunter, a popular African-American hairdresser, was on her way to work in Washington, D.C. Suddenly, the car she was in was broadsided. In this situation, one would expect that Hunter would have promptly been taken to a hospital, where she would have received whatever medical care she needed. But tragically, and outrageously, that is not what happened.

When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, they helped the barely-conscious Hunter out of the car and began treating her, but only until one of them realized she was transgender after cutting open her clothing. At that point, they backed away from her, began laughing at her and taunting her with anti-transgender slurs. They stopped treating her in a life-threatening situation. In what world does someone sworn to help others in emergency situations stop treating them to attack them?

When she was finally transported to a hospital, her ordeal didn’t end. Doctors refused to treat her, and by the time she was finally granted medical care, it was too late. Hunter was pronounced dead the same day.

Tyra Hunter’s death outraged us—and launched us into action. It became a national symbol of the hate directed at transgender people. It led to a successful lawsuit filed by her mother against the city, and to the establishment of Transgender Health Empowerment, an organization that opened D.C.’s first drop-in center for the transgender community. Yet while transgender people have taken some steps forward in the past 15 years, too many continue to face the same grim reality of discrimination that killed Hunter.

The fact is that transgender people—in particular, transgender people of color—have simply not experienced the same strides forward as their lesbian, gay and bisexual brothers and sisters. A landmark new report, “Injustice at Every Turn,” presents undeniable proof. This report, released on Friday, is based on a comprehensive survey of over 6,000 transgender people and the findings are too shocking to ignore, especially when it comes to African-American transgender people.

Our transgender brothers and sisters are far more likely to lack proper medical care, to be unemployed, to live in extreme poverty, and to be HIV-positive—and that’s when compared to their white transgender counterparts, not just the general population. The survey’s respondents were four times more likely than the general population to live in extreme poverty. One in five reported having been refused a home or apartment, another one in five report having been refused health care. More than one in five, 22 percent, reported having been harassed by law enforcement, and nearly half reported fear of seeking assistance from police. African American respondents reported all of this in even higher numbers.

As an African-American lesbian, my feet are in both communities, yet I see and experience the constant divide between them. We need to build a bridge and “construction” needs to start on both banks and meet in the middle. To me, this says that there is timely and much needed work to do in our heterosexual African-American community to educate ourselves about and begin to include the LGBT community in our issues. Understanding that that “gay” doesn’t mean rich, white and male.

As importantly, the white LGBT community must come to grips with the impact of race and the economic disparity within our own ranks, and create the space for the very difficult conversations needed to address the reality of white privilege.

There is clearly an intersection between a broader, structural racism throughout our society and the pervasive prejudice against transgender people. For instance, because black transgender people tend to start out from a position of greater poverty than their white counterparts, they all too often have no strong safety net to support them if they come out and are rejected by their families. As a result, many black transgender people wind up on the streets, too often trading sex for physical, or emotional, survival. So no wonder that black transgender people in the survey reported a rate of HIV infection over 41 times higher than the national average (for comparison, the total respondent pool reported a rate of “only” four times the national average).

These findings, then, are a challenge to all of us. We cannot afford to simply bemoan these grim statistics; we must take action to lift up the T in “LGBT.”

As someone who has been out, visible, and active in the social, racial and lesbigaytrans movements for 43 years, I have long seen this need firsthand. We need to challenge the many establishment gay organizations who unfortunately have a history of neglecting the needs of those who are not white, male, or upper middle-class. Yet much of the time, our own black LGBT organizations similarly fail to give visibility to the black transgender community. This has to change—now.

I have high hopes for what we can accomplish if we address this problem not just as an LGBT issue, but also as a broader black civil rights issue. When Tyra Hunter died, it might have been unthinkable that the NAACP, at its 100th annual conference in 2009, would announce a partnership with the leading black LGBT civil rights organization, the National Black Justice Coalition, to form a first-ever task force on LGBT equality. Fifteen years ago, few could have imagined that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of faith would find an accepting home in LGBT-affirming black churches, but today they do.

This report is a much needed wake-up-call to all of us in the LGBT movement, and all of those committed to civil rights. The facts are clear: discrimination against black people and against transgender people is deeply intertwined. And we cannot truly be either for gay rights or for racial equality if we overlook an entire population.

I have long said prejudice is prejudice whether it is based on skin color or sexual orientation or gender identity. And maybe the best folks to be making this point are LGBT people of color who embody both. Tyra Hunter is no longer with us to carry that message, but for her and all those we have lost or who live in pain and silence, we must build that bridge, we must make those connections and we must push for change.

Mandy Carter, a nationally recognized black lesbian activist, has been an organizer in social, racial, and lesbigaytrans justice movements since 1968. A co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Also visit The National Black Justice Coalition

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WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

From The Guardian UK:

US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world’s biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

John Vidal, environment editor, Tuesday 8 February 2011

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.

However, Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco’s 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as “peak oil“.

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