Autumn Sandeen and the HBS Vigilantes

I’m not a fan of Autumn Sandeen.

I don’t like her position on most issues.  I’m rather glad she lives some 1500 miles away from me and we share a space as large as the Southwest rather than a work space or class room.

I gave up reading her stuff a long time ago because I can’t stand the Borg like newspeak of her writing.

I think her writing about some of the stuff she writes about is almost asking people to beat up on her.

But… and you had to know there would be a but after that build up…

There is something I hate even worse and that is self-righteous vigilantism.

I hate the beer bellied white power nut jobs who form vigilante organizations to patrol the border with Mexico and I abhor the members of the Classic Transsexual/HBS set, who appoint themselves as a vigilante committee to police transgender people.

I get it.  You aren’t transgender.  Neither am I.

I just don’t feel I have to constantly go around proving it by beating up on transgender people.

For one thing I remember how much it really sucked to be bullied as a kid. I’m not about to go down that road and turn into a bully.

The very idea that I should join in that sort of crap offends me as an ethical human being.

I am personally happy when anyone who is a part of an oppressed minority group has their life made easier by having their basic rights protected.

Autumn Sandeen getting her ID changed falls in that category.

It isn’t any skin off my ass if her papers say female.  As for her body?

Why should I care what she has between her legs?  I have no desire to sleep with her. She is the one who has to live with her body, not me.

As for poking fun at TG sisters for using pet names for their pre-op genitals, are you actually pretending this is something new?

Anyone who pretends this one either led an extremely sheltered life or is a liar.

Myth has it doctors set all sorts of rigid standards as to who was or wasn’t really TS.  The reality is that it always tended to be the transsexual sisters of purity who set the standards on matters such as stealth, or sexuality.

It seems to me that too many trans-prefixed people think that if they are mean to some other trans-prefixed group then society will accept them as straight.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that it doesn’t much matter what what trans-prefixed word impacted our lives the bigots find an excuse to abuse us.

I use transsexual or post-transsexual to describe myself.  As long as someone else respects my choice of words, for myself why should I care if they use transgender to describe themselves?

California has very lenient laws regarding changing birth certificates and the like. Autumn was born there and was able to do something not even post-SRS women and men can do in Ohio.

Lucky her.

Get the fuck over it.

Unfortunately for a couple of my friends on line Ohio is run by A–holes and so they are condemned to having the birth certificates they were assigned at birth.

Because I Choose It

I love Zinnia Jones for her Atheist video raps. I regularly read her blog and look forward to her videos.

From Zinnia Jones:

Zinnia Jones
July 12, 2012

The most common understanding of transgender people which actually bears some resemblance to reality is that we felt we had the incorrect body from a very young age, we experience significant and debilitating distress because of our physical sex, and we need to transition in order to avoid serious long-term consequences to our well-being. For some trans people, this is certainly true: the pain of gender dysphoria can be so severe that without the necessary treatment, it can lead to depression, self-harm, drug abuse, and even suicide. And during their childhood, many trans people did have a sense that they were really the opposite sex to the one they were assigned at birth.

It’s completely understandable that many people would explain being trans in this way: as an inborn characteristic, not a matter of choice, and a cause of perpetual suffering that can only be alleviated by transitioning. For plenty of us, this really is the case, and the claim that we had no choice in this is a strong rebuttal to the people who believe we’re only trans so that we can rape people in restrooms, confuse everyone’s children and destroy the fabric of society. It’s a way of making it clear that this is a real condition, in a world that largely refuses to recognize it. But this general model of what it’s like to be trans isn’t entirely reflective of what every trans person experiences. These various elements aren’t always present in trans people’s lives in the same combination and to the same degree. It’s not always a burning red arrow of constant agony pointing you directly to another gender. I spent a long time doubting that I could really be trans, because for me, it wasn’t like this at all. And I’ve had a lot of choices about it, too.

For most of my childhood, I didn’t feel like I had a meaningful identity of any kind, gender or otherwise. Sure, I could look back and dig up any early signs of who I am today, like how I was the only boy in the local tap-dancing group when I was 4, or how I happily volunteered when our school needed someone in the 6th grade to dress as a girl and run through the gym during an assembly, or how I dreaded growing hair on my legs. But these experiences could be shared by plenty of cis people as well, and they don’t necessarily mean anything. At the time, they didn’t mean much to me at all in terms of how I viewed my gender, and I definitely didn’t “always know” I was trans. As a kid, my identity was defined by one word: “smart”.

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‘Trans’ a look at a transgendered New Hope plastic surgeon


By Tirdad Derakhshani
Sat, Jul. 14, 2012

She’s one of the transgender community’s most passionate advocates. Yet New Hope plastic surgeon Christine McGinn has an equally intense suspicion of the news media even as she relies on them to get her message heard.

“There is so much ignorance out there about transgendered people,” says McGinn, one of half a dozen transgender men and women profiled in Trans, a documentary screening Sunday as part of Philadelphia QFest and one of an unusually large crop of transgender films at the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival.

“I’ve been on Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz, and Oprah Winfrey, and even these shows have a difficulty with transgender representation,” McGinn continues. “The most well-meaning hosts can end up making a circus of it all.”

Despite her reservations, McGinn agreed to take part in Trans after meeting its producer, Mark Schoen, who served with her on the board of the National Advisory Council on Sexual Health, formed by former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher.

“Basically we got to talking about … how there is a need for a well-made documentary that covers some of the social issues that affect transgendered people,” says McGinn, one of the few surgeons in America who specialize in sex-reassignment surgery.

Schoen, founder of the sex health-education company Sex Smart Films, says he and McGinn decided to approach the topic from a new angle.

McGinn, Schoen says, was disenchanted with media coverage that focused only on her personal story, which he allows is “a fantastic story.”

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That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker.

From The New York Times:

Published: July 13, 2012

THE device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again. It is a tracking device that happens to make calls. Let’s stop calling them phones. They are trackers.

Most doubts about the principal function of these devices were erased when it was recently disclosed that cellphone carriers responded 1.3 million times last year to law enforcement requests for call data. That’s not even a complete count, because T-Mobile, one of the largest carriers, refused to reveal its numbers. It appears that millions of cellphone users have been swept up in government surveillance of their calls and where they made them from. Many police agencies don’t obtain search warrants when requesting location data from carriers.

Thanks to the explosion of GPS technology and smartphone apps, these devices are also taking note of what we buy, where and when we buy it, how much money we have in the bank, whom we text and e-mail, what Web sites we visit, how and where we travel, what time we go to sleep and wake up — and more. Much of that data is shared with companies that use it to offer us services they think we want.

We have all heard about the wonders of frictionless sharing, whereby social networks automatically let our friends know what we are reading or listening to, but what we hear less about is frictionless surveillance. Though we invite some tracking — think of our mapping requests as we try to find a restaurant in a strange part of town — much of it is done without our awareness.

“Every year, private companies spend millions of dollars developing new services that track, store and share the words, movements and even the thoughts of their customers,” writes Paul Ohm, a law professor at the University of Colorado. “These invasive services have proved irresistible to consumers, and millions now own sophisticated tracking devices (smartphones) studded with sensors and always connected to the Internet.”

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OWS SWAT RAID: “Red Scare History Burst Through My Door”

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Voter ID Laws Are the Last Gasp of a Fading GOP Strategy

From Mother Jones:

Fri Jul. 13, 2012

Earlier this week I wrote about the long-standing hope of Democrats that demographic changes are working in their favor and will soon create a durable national Dem majority. There are several moving parts to this theory, but the two big ones are (a) young people are trending Democratic, and (b) the Dem-leaning nonwhite population is getting bigger and bigger. As far as I know, Republicans don’t really deny that these things are happening. After all, the trend in the youth vote jumps out in every poll, and the growing nonwhite share of the population is regularly front-page news. George Bush and Karl Rove, who desperately wanted to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in 2006 in order to stanch the flow of Hispanic votes into the Democratic column, knew perfectly well how important this was.

So what’s the Republican response to all this? They have two options:

  1. Start to move leftward on social issues, especially gay marriage, in order to win back their share of the youth vote; tone down the anti-immigration rhetoric from the tea partiers; and stop tolerating casual racism among their core supporters.or
  2. Double down on the demographic groups who already support them. This is basically the South, angry white men, the rich, and the elderly.

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No Apologies: Obama Campaign Continues Attacks on Romney

From The New York Times:

Published: July 14, 2012

CLIFTON, Va. — President Obama barnstormed through this swing state on Saturday as his campaign relentlessly hammered at Mitt Romney’s business record, releasing a mocking new ad that shows Mr. Romney singing “America the Beautiful” as it accuses his former firm of shipping American jobs overseas.

Mr. Obama, speaking first to a drenched crowd during a downpour in the Richmond suburb of Glen Allen, and then at Centreville High School in Fairfax County, accused Mr. Romney of investing in “companies that have been called pioneers in outsourcing.” He ignored Mr. Romney’s demands for an apology about the campaign’s tone, which the Republican candidate had called for in interviews on Friday.

“My opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe in top-down economics,” Mr. Obama said. “If you cut through all the stuff, what they are really saying is tax cuts for the wealthy, roll back regulations. That is essentially their plan.”

The president’s campaign has spent more than a week harping on Mr. Romney’s personal wealth and calling on him to disclose information about his personal finances by releasing more years of his tax returns. It has also raised questions about Mr. Romney’s offshore investments and accounts.

The new ad reminds viewers of those issues as it shows a clip of Mr. Romney singing at a campaign event in Florida this year.

It says Mr. Romney shipped jobs to Mexico, China and India — accusations that Mr. Romney’s campaign vehemently denies. And it says Mr. Romney had “millions” in a Swiss bank account and “tax havens” in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

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America – the antidepressant nation?

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Heroes are putting their lives on the line in the fight to save tuna

From The Guardian UK:

When it comes to protecting our natural heritage, activists are stepping in where governments have failed

Friday 13 July 2012

One of the purposes of government is to protect public goods threatened by the self-interest of unscrupulous people or corporations. But what happens when governments fail? When they are either unwilling or unable to protect something valued by the many from the depredations of the few? What do you do, for example, to defend the bluefin tuna?

Thanks to the obstructionism of the Japanese government and the small states whose votes it has bought, international law is currently incapable of preventing what seems like the inevitable slide of this magnificent species towards extinction. Even the feeble measures which are supposed to protect them are widely and blatantly flouted. The governments – including several in Europe – that should be enforcing them don’t seem to give a damn. Tuna don’t vote and they are unlikely, in places facing economic turmoil, to become a major election issue.

So do we stand back and allow one of the world’s most impressive life forms, which also helps to sustain the ecology of the seas, to be driven to extinction? Would art lovers stand back and watch as the government allowed looters into the National Gallery to steal or smash whatever they wanted? Or would they try to act where the government had failed, and put themselves in the way of this vandalism?

The greatest threat to the bluefin tuna is the netting of small fish which are then transferred to crowded sea cages, where they are fattened up until they are large enough to be sold to Japan. Like any fishery which targets juveniles, the impact on the stock is devastating. Outrageously, the practice is legal in the Mediterranean, and these tuna farms – which harvest but don’t breed – are now springing up off many of its coasts.

Even when the boats supplying the cages are trapping more tuna than their quotas permit, even when they are catching smaller fish than the rules allow, even when they are fishing outside of their designated seasons, several Mediterranean governments do nothing. In other words, they collaborate in ecocide. So the purpose of this post is to celebrate the action taken by a group called the Black Fish off the coast of Croatia on Wednesday.

In this case they were releasing tuna which might have been caught legally, but under rules that permit the kind of fishing which will render the species extinct. The utterly hopeless International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) permits some states to catch bluefin tuna too young to have spawned even once. As the Black Fish points out:

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In Canada’s Tar Sands, a Dante’s Hell Threatens People Nearby and Across the Globe

From The NRDC:

Rocky Kistner’s Blog
July 12, 2012

In Canada’s western province of Alberta, Melina Laboucan-Massimo’s community—the Lubicon Lake Nation—has endured a withering toxic tar sands oil assault, an Armageddon against nature few Americans are fully aware of. Here in the once pristine sub-Arctic, tar sands mining operations level vast swaths of boreal forests near native lands, as pipelines burst and spew corrosive chemical-laced tar sands oil into rivers and lakes.

The Lubicon are used to living in harmony with nature. But tar sands mining has brought a deadly discordance to their environment. Melina has watched family and friends battle unheard of cancers and respiratory ailments; she’s listened to local fishermen and hunters complain about unusual lesions and tumors festering in their catches and prey. She’s reacted in disbelief as her government has sponsored airborne sharpshooters to gun down mighty Canadian wolf packs—a zero sum game that is killing one species to try to save another—as dwindling herds of caribou flee their disappearing forest homes and may be gone  forever in the not so distant future.

For members of the Lubicon Lake Nation, it is a nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions. Their verdant land of abundant wildlife is metastasizing into pock-marketed battlefields of a thousand Verduns. Melina and other community leaders have not sat idly by as the environmental carnage unfolds around them. She has testified before Congress, spearheaded Greenpeace protest actions, and worked tirelessly to get the word out about the devastation in her community.

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