Friday Night Fun and Culture Raphael Saadiq

I have to thank one of my favorite TV Shows, Austin City Limits for turning me on to Raphael Saadiq last night.

Cece Mcdonald

As a blogger I sometimes  come come across a story that makes so sad and angry that I am at a loss for words.

Sometimes I am stuck watching the state grinding forward in such a brutal act of institutionalized injustice that words fail me.

I say the Serenity Prayer to myself, even though I am an atheist.  I say it to remind me not to obsess on things I can’t possibly change.

Yet I have a hard time turning from injustice.  Over the years I’ve come to support both Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier, in spite of both the government’s and the media’s campaigns to convince me of their guilt.

I view the Prison/Industrial Complex as a monstrous institutionalization of racism as well as class war that oppresses the poor and disenfranchised of all races.

But then the intersection of race enters the picture, for the wheels of injustice grind most heavily over the bodies and souls of people of color be they Black or Latino.

Stand your ground laws are written to protect the gun carrying proper white man.

Does anyone actually think a person of color invoking such “right of self-defense” would be treated with the deference that George Zimmerman has been treated.  That it would require a nationwide cry of outrage for the person of color, who stood his ground and killed a white person, to be arrested, jailed and charged with murder?

As a post-transsexual woman of many years I have read stories of the murders of many transsexual and transgender sisters.  I have also been aware of how the lives of most of these victims have been impacted by many layers of oppression.

Class, race, poverty, queerness, systematic denial of a legitimate means of survival, sex work, slut shaming.

Many years ago I heard the phrase, “Down by law.”  That came from the days when our merely living and being ourselves was reason for our being arrested.  Passing meant surviving without constant harassment and was a survival skill.

But here is where the intersects of oppression come in.  Many, not all but many, perhaps even the majority of transsexual and transgender people of color went to the meanest of schools, schools starved for money to pay teachers and buy supplies.  grew up in the most impoverished environment often dependent upon the government safety net and reviled by the smug rich Ayn Rand Objectivists for having that need, even when that need was created through structuralized racism and class war.

Society abuses all transkids, who aren’t able to hide their transness.  Very few have supportive parents.

The idea that we can be and should be beaten or killed is part of the macho ethos.

Being a martyr or perfect victim is part of our ethos.  We try to appeal to the sympathy of the dominant culture by showing our wounds, commemorating our dead.

I’m not going to argue the details of Cece Mcdonald’s case.  The overview is that she stood her ground and successfully defended herself against an attacker and the attacker wound up dead.

I don’t think she should be in jail or pending trial.  Yet I know that this isn’t just about the actions of the case, the merits of her claims to self defense or the merits of the prosecutions claims.  When so many layers of oppression enter into the equation it is never that simple.

It never has been when race is part of the picture in a world where people of color are treated as lesser human beings.

It never is in a world where transsexual and transgender people are seen as less than human.

When the wheels of injustice grind much heavier upon the bodies and souls of people of people the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall described as “the despised and the dispossessed.”

When we as demonstrators chant, “No Justice, No Peace!”, we need to remember it is up to us to put our shoulders against the wheels of injustice and try to stop those wheels of injustice from grinding up the “despised and the dispossessed.”

If speaking out or bearing witness is the only thing you can do then offer that.  If you can offer more then offer that.

Coming to the defense of one person may not change the entire system, but it may make things better for that one person.

Conservatives Attack Hilary Rosen For Raising Children As A Lesbian

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
Apr 12, 2012

No one is arguing that raising children isn’t work. Democratic strategist and CAP Action board member Hilary Rosen is a single mother of twins who had to go through the expensive and challenging process of adoption with her then partner Elizabeth Birch. Now, she’s trying to stick up for other mothers who don’t have the luxury of millionaire husbands to help fund their child-rearing duties, and the backlash is getting ugly. Catholic League president Bill Donohue attacked her family on Twitter this morning:

@CatholicLeague: Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.

Somehow, Rosen’s family is less valid, less worthy of respect because she adopted her children. This insults not just lesbian couples, but all non-birth mothers. In fact, it seems like few even recognize that Rosen is a mother at all, perhaps an inherent cultural consequence of her choice (or lack of choice) to not be a stay-at-home mom. Consider this Twitter quip from Alice Stewart, who until this week was Rick Santorum’s National Press Secretary:

@alicetweet: Being a mother is the most valuable work a woman can do, my heart goes out to @hilaryr children if she doesn’t believe that

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Why Hilary Rosen Is Right

From The Nation:

Jessica Valenti
on April 12, 2012

For most of today, the homepage of Fox News has featured a huge picture of the Romney family with the headline: “5 Kids, 16 Grandkids, and Dem Adviser Charges Ann Romney Has ‘Never Worked a Day in Her Life.’ ” The outrage, which has spanned across mainstream media, Twitter, Facebook and beyond, is over Hilary Rosen’s comments to Anderson Cooper yesterday that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, has “never worked a day in her life.”

There’s no doubt that Rosen, a CNN contributor and Democratic political consultant, made a gaffe in providing such a juicy sound bite. But her message—in context—was right on.

Rosen was responding to Mitt Romney’s constant trotting out of Ann when he gets a question on women’s issues:

What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.

Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we—why do we worry about their future?

There’s nothing there about stay-at-home moms, or the idea that that raising children isn’t work. Rosen was referring to the fact that Ann Romney—an incredibly rich and elite woman—likely does not understand the economic concerns of most American women. Again, it was unfortunate choice of words—but she wasn’t wrong.

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Vermont Yankee: A Nuclear Battle Over States’ Rights

From In These Times:

There’s no end in sight to Vermont’s long-running legal struggle to shutter an aging power plant.

BY John Raymond
April 10, 2012

It was a 40th birthday bash attended by more than 1,000 people in three states–but the attendees came to demonstrate, not celebrate. The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, a poster child for anti-nuclear protests throughout its four-decade history, was the target. Only the day before, on March 21, its state permit to operate expired and the legislature voted to shut it down. But the power plant was still operating.

The protest brought demonstrators (“Hell no, we won’t glow”) to Vermont Yankee’s owner, the Entergy Corporation, and its offices in Brattleboro, Vt., White Plains, N.Y., and corporate headquarters in New Orleans. There, they put up a yellow crime tape outside the building and went inside to demand an interview with CEO J. Wayne Leonard.

In a statement, Entergy said it was “business as usual for our employees, who are focused on providing safe, clean and affordable electricity.”

Vermont’s legal battle to shut down the Yankee power plant is on the radar screen in states throughout the country where local communities are fighting the relicensing of aging nuclear sites. Citizens are concerned by ongoing radioactive leaks that contaminate groundwater, shutdowns resulting from degrading systems and lax maintenance, and fears that corporate owners won’t pay the near $1 billion price tag to decommission plants.

Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant in Vernon, on the Connecticut River, its Indian Point plant on the Hudson River outside New York City, and its Pilgrim nuclear plant on Cape Cod Bay in Plymouth, Mass., are all at the center of fierce battles aimed at shutting the plants down. But in recent months, the Vermont Yankee battle has taken center stage.

In January, a federal district judge upheld Entergy’s challenge to Vermont laws adopted in 2006 (and agreed to by Yankee) that give the state legislature veto power over approving a federal license extension for the Yankee plant. In 2010, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly (26 to 4) rejected allowing the plant to operate beyond its 40-year federal operating license.

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Eurozone crisis to trim global trade, World Trade Organisation warns

Smash The WTO!

From The Guardian UK:

Europe’s debt crisis and the sluggish pace of global growth will see trade flows ease for a second successive year in 2012

, economics editor, Thursday 12 April 2012

Government hopes of an export-led recovery were dented on Thursday as the weakest trade figures for almost six months coincided with a warning from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that the turmoil in the eurozone would act as a major drag on international commerce during 2012.

Official data showed the sovereign debt crisis in the weaker countries of the monetary union already having an impact on UK firms, with exports to Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece all showing steep falls over the past year.

Labour seized on the figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that Britain’s trade gap widened from £2.5bn in January to £3.4bn in February, with officials citing lower exports of cars, capital goods and food, drink and tobacco as the main reason for the deterioration.

The WTO said growth in world trade would ease for a second successive year. It revised down its estimate of growth in global trade in 2011 to 5% and said it was pencilling in a figure of 3.7% this year.

Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the WTO, urged member states to resist the temptations of protectionism. “More than three years have passed since the trade collapse of 2008-09, but the world economy and trade remain fragile. The further slowing of trade expected in 2012 shows that the downside risks remain high. We are not yet out of the woods,” he said.

“The WTO has so far deterred economic nationalism, but the sluggish pace of recovery raises concerns that a steady trickle of restrictive trade measures could gradually undermine the benefits of trade openness,” he added. “It is time to do no harm. WTO members should turn their attention to revitalising the trading system and to ensuring such a scenario does not materialise.”

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US policy channeling undocumented immigrants through the deserts to die?

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