Richard Dawkins: Romney a ‘massively gullible fool’ for practicing Mormonism

From Raw Story:

By David Edwards
Monday, September 10, 2012

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on Sunday asked how anyone could vote for a “massively gullible fool” like Mitt Romney who could not see that Mormonism’s founder was a “fraud.”

“Romney’s prophet Joseph Smith a fraud,” Dawkins said in an hours-long Twitter rant, quoting from the Book of Mormon and adding, “Romney falls for it.”

“No matter how much you agree with Romney’s economic policy, can you really vote for such a massively gullible fool?” Dawkins  asked. “He is a Mormon BISHOP!”

“Bible & Koran genuinely old, written in the language of their time. Book of Mormon written by 19thC charlatan. Romney too stupid to see it,” he continued, snarking, “And it came to pass that the lot was cast for Mitt and Mitt did verily reign in the land and there was rejoicing in the corridors of Mammon.”

According to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, Mormons differ from most Christians in that they see no conflict in serving God and mammon — or material wealth that many mainstream believers view as diminishing religion.

“Could you really vote for a man who thinks the Garden of Eden was in Missouri?” he asked again three hours after the tirade began.

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The importance of new data on anti-trans violence and suicidality

Jos over at Feministing has a good one…

From Feministing:

By Jos
Published: September 10, 2012

The people behind research studies usually only get mentioned in the feminist internets when the research was framed poorly in the press, or when the study asks a question that packs sexist assumptions.

Which is too bad, because there are some bomb researchers out there doing really vital work. I was reminded of this when Vanessa posted last week about a new study on the links between anti-trans violence and suicidality. I wrote about trans folks and suicide back in 2009, and this was the best I could do for a data citation at the time:

The number of trans folks who have attempted suicide ranges from about 30 percent to over 50 percent in studies. One study found that 83 percent of trans folks have considered suicide.

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STUDY: Anti-Transgender Violence Exacerbates Suicidal Thinking And Substance Abuse

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
on Sep 4, 2012

A new study of transgender people in Virginia has found that experiencing physical or sexual violence significantly contributes to individuals’ suicidal thinking and substance abuse. The study, conducted by the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research, found that over 70 percent of respondents had a history of suicidal ideation, with about 28 percent having reported a past suicidal attempt. (The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which had a sample of over 6,000, found that as many as 41 percent of trans people had attempted suicide, whereas only 1.6 percent of the general population has ever done so.) The likelihood and frequency of those attempts significantly related to whether or not they had experienced physical or sexual violence:

Among trans people in our sample, both physical and sexual violence were related to having a history of suicidal ideation, history of suicide attempts, higher number of attempts, and to substance abuse. This is consistent with distress and negative coping responses seen in the general population as a result of physical and sexual violence. […]

Factors specific to trans victims of violence were identified, including high reported prevalence of violence related to gender identity or expression, varied sources of this violence, and low rate of reporting these incidents to police. As increased attention is devoted to the trans community in popular culture and research, psychologists have a clear opportunity to act by increasing understanding of the impact of violence on trans individuals’ mental health, and by responding with appropriate prevention and treatment efforts.

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Right Wing Republican and Dead Beat Dad Joe Walsh Tells Women’s Health Advocate To ‘Get A Job’

Hey Joe…   Stop being a douche nozzle and pay your child support…

From Think Progress:

By Annie-Rose Strasser
on Sep 10, 2012

Rep. Joe Walsh, the ornery Republican Congressman from Illinois, is known for trying to diminish his opponents’ their accomplishments. Earlier this year he said of Tammy Duckworth, the woman running against him for his Congressional seat, “Female, wounded veteran … ehhh.”

Walsh is now attacking women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, joining a long list of Republicans in denigrating Fluke after her speech at the Democratic National Convention.. Over the weekend, Walsh complained that Fluke should “get a job” and stop talking about affordable contraception because “we’ve got parents in this country who are struggling”:

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Why (and for Whom) I Am Defensive

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 09/06/2012

Over the past several months I have been venturesome (or perhaps stupid?) enough to publicly share my interpretation and personal feelings from my front row seat as the parent of a child who has identified as transgender. (You can find them here on HuffPost… they may be helpful in grasping the back story.) I have been equally supported and vilified by readers far and wide. I have been told that I am an “incredible parent” only to be corrected by a different reader that I am actually a horrible parent and that G-d does not make mistakes, just I do. Compliments for my honesty and style of writing are usurped by bashing for “rambling” and being a “horrible writer.” I have been called “wonderful” and “self-centered” in the same thread written (sometimes viciously) from the comfort of computers around the world that I will neither find nor seek to find. And it all makes me wonder.

My child’s decision (yes, it was her decision) to socially transition from male to female is not one which my family and I approached lightly or with nonchalance. It was years in the making and included working closely with therapists, teachers and school administrators. Once she was finally able to “share her secret” with us, my husband and I did what came naturally and seemed right; we would support her in any way she needed. That is what parents are supposed to do. The look of indisputable relief on her face spoke volumes as to just how tortured she had been. Who am I to deny another living person the opportunity to seek out a situation that feels more tenable just because it is going to be hard on me, her father, brother and extended family? And to those who argue that I am being bamboozled by a 10-year-old, perhaps you can explain why said child would opt to “bully” me (yes, that has been suggested, too) into submission over something so socially and emotionally difficult? Believe me; there are plenty of other things that the average kid will choose to badger their parents over that are a hell of a lot easier for everyone involved. All that said, I avow to be equally supportive should she decide at any point that living as a girl is not the solution to her fundamental discomfort; it could happen and it won’t be easy, either.

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Just a girl, in the world

From Stock and Land Au:

09 Sep, 2012

For Riley’s parents, one of the first giveaways was the tea towel. At three years of age, Riley would shape it onto her head like a pair of pigtails and flick it from side to side. “She got into trouble with the person who ran her pre-school,” says Riley’s mother, Carol. “They said, ‘This boy has got to stop playing with the girls and getting the girls to dress him up and wear tea towels on his head.'”

Riley, 15, from Sydney’s north shore, is biologically male – but says being born a boy simply never made any sense. The high school student is one of an increasing number of teenagers who identify as transsexuals – those who feel they are trapped in the wrong body. Some are so sure that nature got it wrong that they are taking the bold step of “transitioning” – presenting themselves outwardly as the sex that they feel they are – during their teenage years or even earlier.

For Riley, 2012 has been a watershed year. After going to school with bras secreted under her school shirt and with minimal make-up, she started wearing the girls’ school uniform. She is also doing some schooling of her own, teaching the teachers in the correct use of transgender pronouns. “They were having a lot of trouble with calling me ‘she’, but they are getting better,” she says.

When I meet Riley at her suburban home on a Sunday morning, she’s dressed in jeans, knee-high boots, a cropped leather jacket and a T-shirt that boasts she’s an “Angel by Day, Devil by Night”. Her hair is styled perfectly, framing her prettily made-up face – as befitting for someone who is studying hairdressing part-time at TAFE along with her school subjects. We sit in the living room, where the table is scattered with photos of her as a young child. She seems to be constantly in fancy dress: vibrant-coloured outfits, make-up, glittery headbands. In one photo she’s dressed in a cowboy suit but still manages to look feminine.

“All my life I’ve never really been a boy, I’ve never liked boy things,” she says. “It was always Bratz dolls and Barbie dolls and everything.” Her current obsessions are roller derby, vintage fashion and rockabilly music.

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Without Planned Parenthood, What’s Left for Texas Women? Not Much.

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This is shaping up to be the most racially polarised US election ever

From The Guardian UK:

As their once core demographic diminishes, Republicans are going to any lengths to capture and keep the white vote, Sunday 9 September 2012

As Republicans were promoting themselves as a multiracial party from the platform in Tampa two weeks ago, an ugly incident on the convention floor suggested not everyone had got the memo. From the podium a range of speakers of Haitian, Mexican, Cuban and Indian descent spoke of how their parents had overcome huge barriers so they could succeed in the US. In the audience, a successful black woman who works for CNN was being pelted with peanuts by a convention-goer, who said: “This is how we feed the animals.”

The tension between the projection of a modern, inclusive, tolerant party and the reality of a sizeable racially intolerant element within its base pining for the restoration of white privilege is neither new nor accidental. Indeed, it in no small part explains the trajectory of the Republican party for almost the last half century. In his diary, Richard Nixon’s chief-of-staff, Bob Haldeman, described how his boss spelled out the racial contours of a new electoral game-plan to win southern and suburban whites over to the Republican party in the wake of the civil rights era. “You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks,” Nixon told him. “The key is to devise a system that recognises that while not appearing to.”

This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarised election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past – in 2004 George W Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate – white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.”

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