Friday Night Fun and Culture: Songs from Occupy

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Marriage Equality Is In Many Ways a More Important Issue For Me Than ENDA

Call me cynical if you will, but I don’t think an inclusive ENDA will do jack shit for anyone, except perhaps a few already privileged professionals, who are LGBT/T.

Mainly because the structure that is fucking all working class people over will still be in place.

It is illegal to discriminate based on religion yet companies such as Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil-A are alleged to demand to know job applicants religious affiliation.

This leads be to believe an Atheist, Muslim or Jew would have a snow ball’s chance in hell of getting hired or keeping a job there.

Twenty-three states have anti-union “right to work” laws which basically are hire and fire on the whim of the employer laws.

When I hear transsexual and transgender people pissing and moaning about gay and lesbian people continuing to work towards marriage equality instead of dropping every thing to work on ENDA I find myself thinking two things.

  1. Many people in the transgender movement are so monofocused or caught up in the idea of pure identity politics they fail to realize that the Gay and Lesbian Movements have never been monofocused.  Gay and Lesbian people have a history of working on a whole slew of different issues at the same time with some people focusing their activism on one issue while others focus on a different issue.  For example many lesbians divide their focus between the lesbian movement and the feminist movement.
  2. Too many TS/TG people enjoy heterosexual privilege when it comes to marriage.  Whether this privilege comes from being able to marry an opposite sex partner after SRS or prior.  Many lesbian transgender and a few post-op transsexual people use their original sex for purposes of marriage.  Too many heterosexual post-ops expect lesbian and gay sisters and brothers to support their marriage but actually oppose marriage equality on the grounds that it will some how make their marriage a “gay marriage”.

I’ve never had all that much trouble supporting a number of causes.  I can support both marriage equality and ENDA.  Hell, I supported the ending of DADT and I’m anti-war/anti-militarism.

As I said at this point in my life marriage equality is more pressing than an ineffectual ENDA, which will do nothing to end violence because the people working the streets will still be working the streets.

ENDA does nothing to advance the idea of a Living Wage.  Nor does it offer job training or assistance in leaving prostitution.  It doesn’t establish one treatment center that will help sex workers deal with their generally accompanying substance abuse issues.

I went to my first demonstration for same sex marriage in late 1970 or early 1971.  That was twenty years before there was a real transgender movement.

Gay and lesbian people have grown old waging the struggle for marriage equality.  There are couples who have been together for ten, twenty, thirty, forty and even fifty years who have never been able to marry their life partners.

We are old and have a hard time guaranteeing we will be able to take care of each other or stay together during our final years.

Because of DOMA even those of us who have been able to marry and live in those states where marriage equality is the law still face having our lives destroyed when our life partner dies.  As far as the Feds are concerned we are legal strangers and have to pay huge taxes on our shared assets upon the death of one partner.

This can result in the surviving partner being faced with homelessness or suicide.

The assumption that marriage equality is less worthy of our efforts than ENDA smacks of both heterosexual privilege and ageism.

Especially when such a big fucking deal is made when a heterosexual sister has a court void her marriage.

Why should I care about her?  Why should I defend her heterosexual marriage since defending her marriage does nothing to stop the violence against transgender sex workers?

Over the years I have listened to way too many sisters who are still married to women they married prior to surgery.  In the UK some grouse about the Gender Recognition requiring them to divorce their spouses because the UK still doesn’t have marriage equality.

Now I understand how long time marriages shouldn’t be voided.  I personally see that as a major reason to support marriage equality.

I have another bone to pick with TS/TG objections to L/G focus on marriage equality.

The TS/TG Movements have been serous language police when it comes to jumping on language infractions by gay and lesbian people, however I often hear TS/TG people referring to same sex marriage and marriage equality in the same gay marriage sort of terms I hear from groups like NOM.

I personally see too many TS/TG people spending too much time fighting each other or their allies and think our movements would be better off devoting that energy to targeting certain legislative enemies for replacement with people who would support our cause.

I also think if we were to stop the fighting among ourselves and were to start allying with other movements including the union and workers rights movements we might get further.

Sarah Silverman | Let My People Vote 2012 – Get Nana A Gun

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Jesus Peddler and Infomercial Actor: Joel Osteen: ‘I Have Not Chosen To Be Straight,’ But Gay Still A Sin

It doesn’t matter how snaky you are or how hypocritical you might be you can always haul in the big buck peddling Jesus to the rubes.

Religion, the best product of all cost nothing to manufacture and never has to live up to its claims.

Its amazing how people who are born straight aren’t willing to grant the same born that way naturalness to gay, lesbian and TS/TG folks.

Yet they still don’t get how fucking privileged that attitude is.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash on
September 20, 2012

Joel Osteen, the popular megachurch pastor, talked with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning and admitted that he had never “chosen to be straight,” and acknowledged he just “feels” he is. Regardless, as LGBT activist and Clinton White House adviser Richard Socarides asked him, how can he still view being gay as a sin? Osteen, as you can see in the video below, says “I try to stay in my lane,” and stick to what has made him “successful,” namely, trying to lift people up.

O’Brien, who recently has become a much more through, hard core journalist, pressed Osteen, asking him what message is he sending to the 45,000 people who attend his megachurch weekly.

Osteen repeatedly attempted to both sidestep the issue, and claim that he just deals with the parts of the Bible he likes. But he also listed a litany of sins, like being prideful and lying, to which O’Brien responded, “Those are all things you can change.”

Socarides point-blank asked Osteen, “You think you can choose to be gay or not gay? You think you choose to be straight?”

“I know I have not chosen to be straight” Osteen replied. “I just feel like that’s who I am.”

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WA Archbishop Latest Catholic Prelate to Engage in Hysterical Anti-Gay Fear Mongering

From Truth Wins Out:

John M. Becker
September 20th, 2012

Whether it’s New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan comparing the passage of New York’s marriage equality law with North Korean-style communist dictatorship, Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt ordering priests in his diocese who disagree with marriage discrimination to keep their mouths shut, Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien characterizing marriage equality as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right,” or Pope Benedict XVI ominously warning that allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry leads to “grave social problems bearing an immense human and economic cost,” the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is obsessively focused these days on perpetuating the oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons — and on stopping the spread of marriage equality in particular — by any possible means, even if it entails stoking the fires of bigotry and spreading malicious lies about LGBT people.

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GOP Rep.: The Pa. Voter ID Law Would Only Disenfranchise ‘Lazy’ People

From AFL-CIO Blog:

Jackie Tortora

Just in case you were concerned about the more than 750,000 Pennsylvania voters who would be disenfranchised this November—thanks to the state’s new voter ID law—Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Pa.), who sponsored the law, assured Pennsylvania residents during a radio interview that the law would only disenfranchise “lazy” individuals.

Astonishingly, Metcalfe took a cue from Mitt Romney and claimed these individuals who are “lazy” are also the 47% “living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work.”

Actually, the “lazy” 47% are the working poor, senior citizens (who paid into Social Security and Medicare throughout their working lives), active military personnel, students and people with disabilities. How dare these people want to vote?

Think Progress provided a transcript of Metcalfe’s remarks:

HOST: Are you absolutely convinced…that the methods to implement this law are effective and will in fact make sure no legitimate voter will be disenfranchised?

METCALFE: I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsiblity that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised. As Mitt Romney said, 47% of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.

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See Also:  Think Progress:  Sponsor Of Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Defends Romney, Says ‘Lazy’ People Also Shouldn’t Vote

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Are There Republicans in Your Bedroom?

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Mitt Romney: A Corporation Masquerading as a Person for President

From Common Dreams:

Recently released video shows not a series of gaffes, but the real Romney

Published on Thursday, September 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

There was something missing from the release of a tape showing Mitt Romney pandering to fat cats in Boca Raton, Florida with these very inflammatory words: “There are 47 percent who are with him, (Obama) who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” Romney said his job “is not to worry about those people.”

Hey, Mitt, why start with the 47 percent? Fully 100 percent of the nation’s 500 biggest corporations are dependent on various kinds of corporate welfare – subsidies, giveaways, bailouts, waivers, and other dazzling preferences – while many pay no tax at all on very substantial profits (see their familiar names – General Electric, Pepco, Verizon etc. – here).

Are the corporations that receive this corporate welfare going to vote for President Obama? (Mr. Romney has declared that corporations are people.) Of course they’re not. Nor are all of the 47 percent of people who are “dependent upon government.”

Mr. Romney doesn’t understand the double standard where government checks, whether already paid for or not, to people are called “entitlements” while far bigger checks to corporations are called “incentives.” Romney has lost control of his self-consciousness. Here is a man who talks about 47 percent of American households paying no income taxes (more on this later) while he has refused, unlike his father, to release back years of tax returns because they’ll show he has parked much of his wealth and income in foreign tax havens like the Bahamas precisely in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Indeed, as tax expert and former New York Times Pulitzer prize-winner David Cay Johnston said on Democracy Now, Romney has maneuvered the tax laws so that his five sons will continue to receive millions of tax-free dollars from their parents’ enormous pot of wealth.

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A Latina Responds to Mitt Romney

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Mitt’s Snake-Bit Season

From The New York Times:

Published: September 19, 2012

Our topic for today is: When Bad Things Happen to Mitt Romney.

Really, it’s been the worst run of disasters this side of the Mayan calendar. The Republicans’ woes started last Friday, when Ann and Mitt filmed a TV interview in which they entertained the kind of personal questions that most candidates learned to avoid after Bill Clinton did that boxers-versus-briefs thing. Asked what he wears to bed, Mitt said: “I think the best answer is: as little as possible.”


Then, over the weekend, Romney aides began spilling their guts about how other staffers had screwed up the Republicans’ bounce-free convention. In an attempt to change the conversation, the campaign announced that it had just realized the nation wants Romney to say what he’d actually do as president. Voters “are eager to hear more details about policies to turn our economy around,” said an adviser, Ed Gillespie.

In search of just such specificity, the scoop-hungry Christian Broadcasting Network asked Paul Ryan if he would continue refusing to identify exactly what tax loopholes the Romney administration would close in order to turn our economy around.

“Yes,” said Ryan, who then veered into a disquisition about something that once happened to Tip O’Neill.

You may be wondering whatever became of Ryan, who was such a big sensation when Romney first picked him as a running mate. Since Tampa, he seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, resurfacing every now and then to put up another ad for re-election to his House seat in Wisconsin.

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Does Mitt Romney Even Want to Be President?

From The Nation:

Leslie Savan
on September 20, 2012

That’s not just a rhetorical question: In Mitt Romney’s heart of hearts, maybe all he really wanted was the Republican nomination.

Every time Romney gets an opportunity to reset the narrative of the election, he makes some psychologically revealing mistake. Giving Clint Eastwood his spotlight, rattling a rubber saber over a tweet from the US embassy in Cairo while it was under attack, writing off half of all American voters as moochers—you only have to tilt your head to see each of these “gaffes” as a cry for help. And Republicans themselves are grumbling about Romney’s skimpy schedule of public events, where real voters might take his measure and enthusiasm for a ground campaign could be generated.

“There’s not really a campaign here,” one Republican close to GOP fundraisers complained to Real Clear Politics. “He’s getting ready for the debates, and he’s out fundraising. You’ve got enough money!” Lindsey Graham and Peggy Noonan have also bemoaned his semi-AWOL schedule.

I can think of three good reasons Mitt might be psychologically satisfied with attaining the GOP nomination alone: avenging his father, legitimizing his religion and, well, winning the Republican nomination is generally very good for business.

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Obama Responds To Romney’s 47% Statement

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Waiter, There’s Arsenic in My Rice

From Mother Jones:

By Wed Sep. 19, 2012

As I’ve reported before, the US poultry industry has a disturbing habit of feeding arsenic to chickens. Arsenic, it turns out, helps control a common bug that infects chicken meat, and also gives chicken flesh a pink hue, which the industry thinks consumers want. Is all that arsenic making it into our food supply? It appears to be doing so—both in chicken meat and in, of all things, rice. In a just released report, Consumer Reports says it found significant levels of arsenic in a variety of US rice products—including in brown rice and organic rice, and in rice-based kids’ products like cereal and even baby formula. Driving the point home, CR‘s analysis of a major population study found that people who consume a serving of rice get a 44 percent spike in the arsenic level in their urine.

Rice is particularly effective at picking up arsenic from soil, CR reports, “in part because it is one of the only major crops grown in water-flooded conditions, which allow arsenic to be more easily taken up by its roots and stored in the grains.”

Arsenic, CR reports, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “group 1” carcinogen—meaning that it’s among the globe’s most potent cancer inducers. And getting regular exposure to even small amounts of it can be troubling. Here’s CR:

No federal limit exists for arsenic in most foods, but the standard for drinking water is 10 parts per billion. Keep in mind: That level is twice the 5 ppb that the EPA originally proposed and that New Jersey actually established. Using the 5 ppb standard in our study, we found that a single serving of some rices could give an average adult almost one and a half times the inorganic arsenic he or she would get from a whole day’s consumption of water, about 1 liter.

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Arctic ice shrinks 18% against record, sounding climate change alarm bells

From The Guardian UK:

Scientists and environment groups say the fall is unprecedented and the clearest signal yet of global warming

in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
The Guardian, Wednesday 19 September 2012

Sea ice in the Arctic shrank a dramatic 18% this year on the previous record set in 2007 to a record low of 3.41m sq km, according to the official US monitoring organisation the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado.

Scientists and environment groups last night said the fall was unprecedented and the clearest signal yet of climate change.

The data released showed the arctic sea beginning to refreeze again in the last few days after the most dramatic melt observed since satellite observations started in 1979.

This year’s sea ice extent was 700,000 sq km below the previous minimum of 4.17m sq km set in 2007.

“We are now in uncharted territory,” said Nsidc director Mark Serreze. “While we’ve long known that as the planet warms up, changes would be seen first and be most pronounced in the Arctic, few of us were prepared for how rapidly the changes would actually occur.”

Julienne Stroece, an Nsidc ice research scientist who has been monitoring ice conditions aboard the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, said the data suggested the Arctic sea ice cover was fundamentally changing and predicted more extreme weather.

“We can expect more summers like 2012 as the ice cover continues to thin. The loss of summer sea ice has led to unusual warming of the Arctic atmosphere, that in turn impacts weather patterns in the northern hemisphere, that can result in persistent extreme weather such as droughts, heatwaves and flooding,” she said.

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