Texas bill would strip away transgender marriage rights

I must admit I am rather indifferent regarding this.  I have a hard time caring about straight privilege when I am denied marriage equality.

I find those in Transgender Inc who are arguing that the Gay and Lesbian community should support the rights of heterosexual transsexuals to have marriage privileges that are denied them to be  heterosexist.

In many instances these are the same people who have been chastising gay and lesbian people for focusing their energies on marriage equality rather than on a Trans-inclusive ENDA.  They also complain that the gay and lesbian communities which have been working together for some 25 years prior to the grafting on of the T for Transgender should put aside their fight for laws that would make this case irrelevant.

Worse yet are the heterosexist sisters who tell me they do not want me to have marriage equality because it would make their marriage a “same-sex marriage” and that I should be content with a separate and unequal “civil union”.

I have heard there is to be a May day Rally at the Capital in Austin.  That same day SDS and other Left organizations are holding a rally for workers rights here in Dallas.

Want to guess which rally my partner and I will be attending.

These last few months Transgender Inc has been making numerous threats to go its own way.  I sort of wish they would.  And while they are at it I wish they would stop claiming post-transsexuals who do not share their “transgender identity”.

I never needed a T to feel part of the Gay and Lesbian Community, since coming out I’ve been perfectly happy with the L as a descriptor.

If you miss me at the rally for heterosexual privilege and you can’t find me no where.  I’ll be over working for Marriage equality… You can find me right there.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/25/texas-bill-would-strip-away-transgender-marriage-rights/

By David Edwards
Monday, April 25th, 2011

Republicans in Texas want to roll back the clock on marriage rights for transgender people.

SB 723, sponsored by state Sen. Tommy Williams (R), would bar district clerks from accepting a court order recognizing a sex change as legal documentation for a marriage license. In effect, the bill would force clerks to recognize a 1999 appeals court ruling that said a person’s gender at birth sticks with them for the rest of their life even if they have a sex change.

“If SB 723 gets a favorable vote it will enshrine Littleton vs Prange (1999) logic — you are what the doctor put on your birth certificate — into Texas State law,” according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Meghan Stabler, who is also a transgender woman from Texas.

Advocates worry that if the law is enacted, it could even nullify existing marriages.

“It appears the goal is to try to enshrine a really horrifying ruling and making it law in the state of Texas,” Houston attorney John Nechman told The Associated Press.

“This bill is unprecedented anywhere in the country,” Shannon Price Minter, an attorney with the Transgender Law & Policy Institute, told Raw Story. “No state has ever passed a law recognizing the existence of transgender people, then tried to take it back.”

In 2009, Texas Democrats reportedly threatened to kill a bill authored by state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R) if it did not include language that allowed for a “court order of sex change” to be accepted for getting a marriage license. A spokesman for Kolkhorst told Raw Story that the congresswoman was now sponsoring legislation that would reverse those rights but denied she was targeting transgender people.

Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/25/texas-bill-would-strip-away-transgender-marriage-rights/

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The McDonald’s Restroom Incident Has Happened Before

From TransBlog: http://transblog.grieve-smith.com/?p=59

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Christina Sforza’s experience

Blogger RachelPhilPa linked both to my post about Ian Harvie’s bathroom experience and a YouTube video of Christina Sforza describing her assault by the manager of the McDonalds on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street (which I also reported). The video was taken a year later and nothing has been done. Sforza’s story is very disturbing. I admire her courage for pursuing justice after that kind of treatment.

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Washington on the Rocks: An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/25

by Alfred W. McCoy and Brett Reilly
Published on Monday, April 25, 2011 by TomDispatch.com

In one of history’s lucky accidents, the juxtaposition of two extraordinary events has stripped the architecture of American global power bare for all to see. Last November, WikiLeaks splashed snippets from U.S. embassy cables, loaded with scurrilous comments about national leaders from Argentina to Zimbabwe, on the front pages of newspapers worldwide. Then just a few weeks later, the Middle East erupted in pro-democracy protests against the region’s autocratic leaders, many of whom were close U.S. allies whose foibles had been so conveniently detailed in those same diplomatic cables.

Suddenly, it was possible to see the foundations of a U.S. world order that rested significantly on national leaders who serve Washington as loyal “subordinate elites” and who are, in reality, a motley collection of autocrats, aristocrats, and uniformed thugs. Visible as well was the larger logic of otherwise inexplicable U.S. foreign policy choices over the past half-century.

Why would the CIA risk controversy in 1965, at the height of the Cold War, by overthrowing an accepted leader like Sukarno in Indonesia or encouraging the assassination of the Catholic autocrat Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963? The answer — and thanks to WikiLeaks and the “Arab spring,” this is now so much clearer — is that both were Washington’s chosen subordinates until each became insubordinate and expendable.

Why, half a century later, would Washington betray its stated democratic principles by backing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak against millions of demonstrators and then, when he faltered, use its leverage to replace him, at least initially with his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, a man best known for running Cairo’s torture chambers (and lending them out to Washington)? The answer again: because both were reliable subordinates who had long served Washington’s interests well in this key Arab state.

Across the Greater Middle East from Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain and Yemen, democratic protests are threatening to sweep away subordinate elites crucial to the wielding of American power. Of course, all modern empires have relied on dependable surrogates to translate their global power into local control — and for most of them, the moment when those elites began to stir, talk back, and set their own agendas was also the moment when it became clear that imperial collapse was in the cards.

If the “velvet revolutions” that swept Eastern Europe in 1989 tolled the death knell for the Soviet empire, then the “jasmine revolutions” now spreading across the Middle East may well mark the beginning of the end for American global power.

Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/25

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Wisconsin: Walker: Too Many Recalls ‘Makes It Very Hard’ To Get Things Done

Did this Nazi Dipshit actually think people were going to let him get away with instituting full blown Nazi measures in this country?

From Talking Points Memo: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/walker-too-many-recalls-makes-it-very-hard-to-get-things-done.php?ref=fpblg

Eric Kleefeld
April 25, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is criticizing the wave of recalls in his state, which are taking place in the wake of the controversial passage of his anti-public employee union legislation.

Wisconsin Radio Network reported on Friday:

Walker says in the past lawmakers have faced recall elections after instances of misconduct in office and not over a single vote.

“At some point if you have a recall after every vote, you could have those continuously, one-after-another-after-another and it makes it very hard in a Republic for things to get done.”

In fact, as an article from the State Bar of Wisconsin indicates, the four legislative recall elections that taken have place in Wisconsin history were mostly motivated by politics. (Interestingly, one of the recalls was in 1990, against Democratic state Rep. Jim Holperin, who won the election and stayed in office — and who is now a state senator targeted for recall again.)

Democrats are hoping to gain three or more state Senate seats via recalls, and thus win a majority in the chamber. Republicans have responded in kind with recall petitions against the Democrats, targeting the Democrats who fled the state in an attempt to block a three-fifths budget quorum. In addition, under Wisconsin’s recall law requiring at least one year of a term to have been completed before a recall drive can commence, Democrats have openly declared their intention to recall Walker next year.

Thus far, Democrats have filed recall signatures against five Republicans: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Sheila Harsdorf and Alberta Darling. Republicans have filed recall signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch. More petitions could yet be filed in the next two weeks.

Continue reading at: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/walker-too-many-recalls-makes-it-very-hard-to-get-things-done.php?ref=fpblg

From The Progressive: http://www.progressive.org/wx042311.html

By Matthew Rothschild,
April 23, 2011

It’s been weeks since we’ve had a huge mass protest in Madison. The failure by the leadership of the labor movement to keep calling people out in historic numbers has given the impression that things are dying down here. This helps Scott Walker and his minions, and it discourages pro-labor people at the base. There is a latent demand for taking to the streets that is not being met, and the power that such a mobilization represents is being allowed to dissipate.

In this vacuum, some organizers have valiantly tried to rally people to the capitol. Groups like Wisconsin Wave have called several protests, but without the institutional support of the state AFL-CIO and its largest members, the crowds have been relatively—and depressingly—small.

To their credit, they did pour resources into these protests, and they got their members out in numbers that no one could have anticipated. Solidarity was real and palpable, as the entire house of labor was present—not only the public sector unions but all across the private trades, too.

And to its credit, the labor leadership saw the value of linking up with progressive organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War.

These were pluses that should not be discounted.

But then, just as the crowds were swelling, all of a sudden the labor leadership seemed to lose interest in mass action.

Continue reading at: http://www.progressive.org/wx042311.html

One Size Fits Nobody: Seeking a Steady 4 or a 10

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/business/25sizing.html?_r=1&ref=fashion
Published: April 24, 2011

In one store, you’re a Size 4, in another a Size 8, and in another a Size 10 — all without gaining an ounce.

It’s a familiar problem for many women, as standard sizing has never been very standard, ever since custom clothing gave way to ready-to-wear.

So, baffled women carry armfuls of the same garment in different sizes into the dressing room. They order several sizes of the same shirt online, just to get the right fit.

Now, a handful of companies are tackling the problem of sizes that are unreliable. Some are pushing more informative labels. Some are designing multiple versions of a garment to fit different body shapes. And one is offering full-body scans at shopping malls, telling a shopper what sizes she should try among the various brands.

“For the consumer to go out and navigate which one do I match with is a huge challenge, and causes frustration and returns,” said Tanya Shaw, an entrepreneur working on a fit system. “So many women tie their self-esteem to the size on the tag.”

As the American population has grown more diverse, sizes have become even less reliable. Over the years, many brands have changed measurements so that a woman who previously wore a 12 can now wear a 10 or an 8, a practice known as “vanity sizing.”

In men’s clothes, the dimensions are usually stated in inches; women’s clothing involves more guesswork.

Take a woman with a 27-inch waist. In Marc Jacobs’s high-end line, she is between an 8 and a 10. At Chico’s, she is a triple 0. And that does not consider whether the garment fits in the hips and bust. (Let’s not get into length; there is a reason most neighborhood dry cleaners also offer tailoring.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/business/25sizing.html?_r=1&ref=fashion

“Don’t Say Gay” Author Shows How Ignorant He Is

From Lezgetreal: http://lezgetreal.com/2011/04/dont-say-gay-author-shows-how-ignorant-he-is

04/23/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire

Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield believes that if you stop saying the word ‘gay’ we’ll all go away. The problem with that belief, of course, is that it is not true. He also holds some rather boring views on homosexuality. His views are not the usual rundown of hatemongering speech that we have come to expect out of, oh say, Maggie Gallagher. After all, Maggie can at least vary it up a little and lie a lot better than this guy.

Campfield believes that his little attempt to ban the speech of teachers in his state would allow teachers more time to focus on core subjects like arithmetic and reading. That is, of course, something that his state is failing abysmally at anyway, but it is doubtful that this will ever work as a means to actually get his teachers to teach their subjects properly.

Continue reading at: http://lezgetreal.com/2011/04/dont-say-gay-author-shows-how-ignorant-he-is

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/24/tennessee-dont-say-gay-bill-clears-senate-committee/

Author of ‘don’t say gay’ bill likened homosexuality to bestiality in 2009

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Legislation that prohibits teachers from discussing homosexuality and even saying the word “gay” in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms was approved by a key committee in the Tennessee State Senate on Friday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 49, would make it illegal for teachers to discuss any sexual orientation or behavior other than heterosexuality before the ninth grade. The bill has come to be known by its critics as the “don’t say gay” bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator Sen. Stacey Campfield, said he was not homophobic, but the progressive blog ThinkProgress recently dug up a 2009 radio interview in which he compares homosexuality to bestiality.

“You teach about the Civil Rights Movement,” the state senator was asked. “Why not teach about the Gay Rights Movement?”

“Because they’re different types of movements,” Campfield responded. “If I want to talk about the bestiality movement, do you think we should be teaching that?”

KnoxNews reported that Campfield unsuccessfully pushed for similar legislation for six years as a member of the state House.

An amendment to the “don’t say gay” bill requires the Board of Education to conduct a study to determine if any teaching about homosexuality is occurring, but the bill would ban the discussion of homosexuality regardless of the Boards findings. The Board of Education said it was not aware of any incidents in which homosexuality was discussed in a classroom.

Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/24/tennessee-dont-say-gay-bill-clears-senate-committee/

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The Public Overwhelmingly Wants It: Why Is Taxing the Rich So Hard?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/150715/the_public_overwhelmingly_wants_it%3A_why_is_taxing_the_rich_so_hard/

The obvious answer is that rich people have political clout—but can it really be so simple?

By Alyssa Battistoni
April 23, 2011

When even the New York Times, the supposed bleeding heart of the liberal media, is asking whether it’s more “perilous politically” to accept tax increases for 3 percent of households or benefit cuts for everyone, you’d assume that even Americans who aren’t rich are are opposed to raising taxes on those who are. But you’d be wrong: nearly three-quarters of Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy. So why is raising taxes on the wealthy so hard—or why do we think it is?

The obvious answer is that rich people have political clout—but can it really be so simple? A growing mound of evidence suggests that while wealthy people’s preferences may not be the only factor in political decision-making, it’s a worrisomely important one. In a recent study, Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels found that senators outright ignored the views of their least advantaged constituents while catering to the preferences of the wealthy. Princeton’s Martin Gilens has also found that policy changes reflect the preferences of the most affluent, while the preferences of poor and middle-income Americans have almost no bearing.

Politicial scientists Lawrence Jacobs and Benjamin Page have found that the preferences of foreign policymakers correspond more to the preferences of executives of multinational companies than to the general public. Page and Jeffrey Winters estimate that the top 10 percent of income earners hold about 90 percent of materially based political power, and that “each member of the top 1 percent averaged more than 100 times the power of a member of the bottom 90 percent; about 200 times if the index is calculated in terms of the more politically relevant non-home wealth.” These numbers are staggering, and should be seriously troubling to anyone who thinks political equality worth defending. Indeed, by Page and Winter’s definition of oligarchy as “the extreme political inequalities that necessarily accompany extreme material inequalities,” it’s pretty hard to argue that the United States isn’t an oligarchic society.

The simple fact of the matter is that the people who can afford to fund and engage in Beltway politics, from idea-generating to legislation-drafting, are disproportionately wealthy, so it’s difficult to suss out just how much of politicians’ deference to the preferences of the wealthy is responsiveness to the wealthy themselves as opposed to the general alignment of rich people’s interests with those of influential elites, organized special interest groups, business lobbies, and those of policymakers themselves.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/150715/the_public_overwhelmingly_wants_it%3A_why_is_taxing_the_rich_so_hard/

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Royal wedding: Anarchists planning to mar Prince William and Kate Middleton’s happy day

While the working class and underclasses are being subjected to austerity measures we are supposed to be cooing and gooing over the marriage of two way over privileged royal scum.

What part of “No Gods, No Masters” does the Spectacle producing propaganda machine just not get?

Why should the rich be allowed to enjoy their vast wealth and privilege when so many are being forced into misery by the policies that transfer the wealth upwards?

The French revolutionaries in 1789 had it right, so too did the Bolsheviks…

From The Telegraph UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8469617/Royal-wedding-Anarchists-planning-to-mar-Prince-William-and-Kate-Middletons-happy-day.html

Anarchists are planning to hijack peaceful protests against the royal wedding to launch violent attacks in central London.

By Patrick Sawer 9:00PM BST 23 Apr 2011

Police fear a repeat of the chaotic scenes witnessed during the 400,000 strong trade union march against spending cuts last month, when small groups of masked militants attacked shops and banks in London’s busiest shopping streets.

Individuals linked with UK Uncut – the protest group which carried out the invasion and occupation of Fortnum & Masons in Piccadilly, during the TUC march – are planning a headline-grabbing protest against the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton under the slogan “Reclaim the Royal Wedding”.

They want hundreds of disgruntled opponents of the monarchy to mingle with the crowds outside Westminster Abbey and in Parliament Square.

As the ceremony reaches its climax inside the abbey they plan to unveil banners and placards and shout anti-royal slogans.

The protesters, who were banned by police from staging an official protest outside Westminster Abbey, will gather in Trafalgar Square before joining the throngs heading for the celebrations.

Continue reading at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8469617/Royal-wedding-Anarchists-planning-to-mar-Prince-William-and-Kate-Middletons-happy-day.html

So Much For the Freedom to Travel: US Lowers Iron Curtain on Citizens

From Consumer Traveler: http://www.consumertraveler.com/today/state-dept-wants-to-make-it-harder-to-get-a-passport/

State Dept. wants to make it harder (virtually impossible for ordinary citizens) to get a passport

by Edward Hasbrouck
on April 22, 2011

If you don’t want it to get even harder for a U.S. citizen to get a passport — now required for travel even to Canada or Mexico — you only have until Monday to let the State Department know.

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories. So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete.

It’s not clear from the supporting statement, statement of legal authorities, or regulatory assessment submitted by the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) why declining to discuss one’s siblings or to provide the phone number of your first supervisor when you were a teenager working at McDonalds would be a legitimate basis for denial of a passport to a U.S. citizen.

There’s more information in the Federal Register notice (also available here as a PDF) and from the Identity Project.

You can submit comments to the State Dept. online at Regulations.gov until midnight Eastern time on Monday, April 25, 2011. Go here, then click the “Submit a Comment” button at the upper right of the page. If that link doesn’t work for you, it’s probably a problem with the javascript used on the Regulations.gov website. There are alternate instructions for submitting comments by email here.

(Note that the proposed form itself was not published in the Federal Register. The Identity Project was eventually provided with a copy after requesting it from the Department of State, and posted it here.)

Here’s a draft of the comments (PDF) being submitted by the Consumer Travel Alliance and other consumer, privacy, and civil liberties groups and individuals, if you would like to use it for ideas for comments of your own. (It’s also available in OpenOffice format for easier editing.)

Extra points to the person who gives the best answer in the comments to the question on the proposed form, “Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth.”