Friday Night fun and Culture John Gorka

He’s playing the WildFlower Festival here but global warming has made outdoors for extended periods of time unbearable and it is only May.

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Transgender Rights Are A Feminist Issue

From Care2:

May 17, 2012

A consistent, and exceedingly fair critique of the feminist movement is that it is grounded in a certain white, liberal privilege that offers very little social and cultural change for populations that need it most. And maybe nowhere is that critique most on-point than the issue of transgender rights.

Make no mistake about it. Transgender rights are feminist rights and transgender issues are feminist issues.

Take, for example, the landmark opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late April that said gender-identity discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This opinion was made possible thanks to legal precedents from the 1980s and 1990s were a woman was overlooked for a job opportunity because she didn’t act or look “feminine enough” and another where a man was sexually harassed and threatened by other men at work.

At the heart of these cases is the idea that forcing someone to conform to a privileged or preferred gender performance is discriminatory even if those decisions did not stem first from complaints by transgender employees but rather by professional, heterosexual women. The discrimination faced by those women is inextricably linked to the gender discrimination that other people face, including and especially transgender people.

And the reality is that protecting transgender rights in the workplace makes the workplace safer for everyone, just like protecting transgender rights everywhere makes the world safer for us all. Violent attacks against transgender people are motivated by the same dark impulses behind rape and domestic assault. These are not (usually) crimes motivated by passion but instead of power–of putting non-compliant persons in their place and by reinforcing, if by force, dominant gender norms.

Intelligence Report Article Provokes Fury Among Men’s Rights Activists

From Southern Poverty Law Center:

by Arthur Goldwag
May 15, 2012

The last issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report presented a scathing portrait of “a hard-line fringe” of the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM): “women haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations,” whose rage is “directed at all women, not only perceived feminists.”

The article, entitled “Leader’s Suicide Brings Attention to Men’s Rights Movement,” provoked a tremendous response among men’s rights activists (MRAs) and their sympathizers.

“Piggybacking on the two minutes’ hate against Limbaugh,” the National Review Online sarcastically declared, the “clueless commissars at the Southern Policy Law Center” have “found a new arena of hate groups, comparable to neo-Nazis and the skinheads: the ‘manosphere’ of misogynist web sites.” The website In Mala Fide was defiantly proud: “Before, our enemies ignored us. Now, they point their gnarled, disgusting fingers at us, sputtering syllables of disapproval.”

A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam tried on a collegial tone at first. “The goals of SPLC and AVfM are quite similar,” he averred in open letter to the SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen. “We both work to identify groups who seek to oppress others, and inform the public of the inequities they would perpetuate.” But just days later, in a post headlined “Southern Poverty Law Center Linked to Hate Activity,” he changed his tune.

It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we did call out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.

Thomas James Ball, for example, who was hailed as a martyr on so many men’s rights forums, called for arson attacks on courthouses and police stations. The Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik wrote extensively about the evils of feminism. We included as much as we did about because it is so intimidating to its targets, not all of whom are criminals. When Elam accused Vliet Tiptree, a pseudonymous contributor to RadFem Hub, of “calling for extermination of half the human race; the male half, that is,” he offered a cash reward for her real identity. The names and locations of several candidates were publically aired.

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Body Image: I Love How I Look — In a World that Doesn’t

From Huffington Post:


I love my body.

When I say this, I frequently hear lots of clapping and even cheers. I give talks across the country about my personal recovery from an eating disorder, and people in the audience are often fed up (no pun intended) with assaults against women’s bodies. It is not often that we actually hear someone say, “I love my body.”

Samantha Brick recently attempted such a thing and did not receive applause for it. Of course, her self-proclamation of being beautiful was tagged with her belief that women hate her for it. I don’t think women hate me because I love my body.

Like Samantha, I do think I’m beautiful. I also know that women don’t hate me for that. In fact, I am told that they respect me for it. But I would argue that Samantha and I have different definitions of beauty.

When I say “beautiful,” I don’t mean society’s picture-perfect face and body. I mean beautifully strong, healthy, and happy. In fact, after getting a massage a couple of weeks ago, my masseuse enthusiastically reported, “Your body is very happy!”

My body is happy even though I have cellulite on my legs and still get frequent pimples on my chin. It is happy despite the fact that I will never have chiseled calves or rock hard abs. My personal definition of beauty no longer includes these things. After being tortured for years by an incessant voice in my head saying, “You aren’t good enough,” I finally stopped listening.

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Elizabeth Warren | JPMorgan and Wall Street

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Skechers fined $40 million for false claims about its toning shoes

I bought a pair. I’ll be willing to bet more than a few women did.  Even though I kind of suspected their claims were bullshit.

I would have been better off putting the money into a pair of Birkenstocks or a sport shoe wit good arch support and no super star jocks on the payroll.

From The Telegraph UK:

Footwear label told to shape up its substantiations or tone down its claims as American Trade Commission orders it to reimburse customers.

17 May 2012

Footwear brand Skechers is to pay $40 million (£25 million) to settle claims that it deceived consumers by suggesting its sports shoes could help weight loss and bottom-toning.

In an agreement similar to one last year against Reebok, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in America said purchasers of the California-based firm’s Shape-up, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoe ranges can apply for refunds.

READ: Reebok fined $25 million for ‘toning shoes’ false claims

The Shape-ups adverts featured reality TV star Kim Kardashian getting rid of her personal trainer in favour of a pair of Shape-ups in a campaign aired during last year’s Super Bowl – the most watched American television broadcast of the year.

“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims,” he added.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris added: “Consumers shouldn’t be duped into paying more for products with false promises of weight loss and other benefits.”

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Congresswoman Lee Discussing Her Amendment to End the War in Afghanistan

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In Case You Need To Be Reminded That Anti-Gay Wingnuts Are Often Racists, Here’s Roger Schlafly

From Truth Wins Out:

by Evan Hurst
May 17th, 2012

Amanda wrote about this morning’s news that, for the first time in history, the majority of babies born in the United States are not white, anticipating that once conservatives start reacting to it, we’re going to see some blatant, undisguised racism. Well, here’s Roger Schlafly, son of Phyllis, and his screed reads like a lament. An uneducated, racist lament:

For decades, the NY Times has been promoting immigration policies that heavily favored a huge influx of non-whites. Today’s lead story brags:

WASHINGTON — After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.

The article goes on to quote experts who say that this is a wonderful thing, except for the facts that the Hispanic immigrants are uneducated and do not vote Democrat often enough.

It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

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“Congratulations Mitt Romney!” – War On Women

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G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama

From The New York Times:

By and
Published: May 17, 2012

WASHINGTON — A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as “black liberation theology.”

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

A copy of a detailed advertising plan was obtained by The New York Times through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”

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Congress selling out to defense contractors?

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Are JPMorgan’s Losses A Canary in a Coal Mine?

From Common Dreams:

by Bill Moyers and Simon Johnson
Published on Thursday, May 17, 2012 by Common Dreams

That sound of shattered glass you’ve been hearing is the iconic portrait of Jamie Dimon splintering as it hits the floor of JPMorgan Chase. As the Good Book says, “Pride goeth before a fall,” and the sleek silver-haired, too-smart-for-his-own-good CEO of America’s largest bank has been turning every television show within reach into a confessional booth. Barack Obama’s favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more – all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.

Once again, doing God’s work — that is, betting huge sums of money with depositor funds knowing that you are too big to fail and can count on taxpayers riding to your rescue if your avarice threatens to take the country down — has lost some of its luster. The jewels in Dimon’s crown sparkle with a little less grandiosity than a few days ago, when he ridiculed Paul Volcker’s ideas for keeping Wall Street honest as “infantile.”

To find out more about what this all means, I turned to Simon Johnson, once chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and now a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He and his colleague James Kwak founded the now-indispensable website They co-authored the bestselling book 13 Bankers and the most recent book, White House Burning, an account every citizen should read to understand how the national deficit affects our future.

Bill Moyers: If Chase began to collapse because of risky betting, would the government be forced to step in again?

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