Voting While Trans: Charles’ Story

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Anal Sex: Science’s Last Taboo

Prior to having surgery anal sex was one of my main ways of having sex.

Unlike so many TS/TG sisters today I was initially attracted predominantly to men.

Allowing my boyfriend to fuck me anally was being as much a woman for him as I could be with the body I had.

After sex reassignment surgery anal intercourse became just another way of having sex, one of several that I commonly practiced.

I never saw it as being all that painful or messy if done correctly.

I never felt horribly degraded by letting someone I cared about penetrate me there.

One of the nice things about not believing in god or religious taboos is not being as sexually hung up about certain acts.

Safe and pleasurable takes precedence over religiously ordained.

I lived in New York State when I first started having sex.  Before I came out as transsexual I was considered a sissy gay boy, a princess in training really and  the ways I had sex were a crime.

Prior to having SRS all the ways I had of making love with a man were a crime.

I moved to California in 1967 and prior to 1976 it was a crime for me to perform oral sex on either a man or a woman and definitely a crime for me to let a man fuck me anally.

We had to get rid of Ronnie the Nazi Rat Reagan before we could enjoy sexual freedom in California.

History of Sodomy Laws

California’s sodomy repeal effort began in 1969 with urging from Morris Kight, Rev. Troy Perry and others. The repeal bill was introduced to the California legislature starting in 1969 by Assemblyman Willie Brown, and every year afterwards until its passage in 1975. In 1975, the liberal Democratic state Senate Majority Leader, George Moscone — running for Mayor of San Francisco — twisted many arms for its passage. The Senate deadlocked on a 20-20 vote, Moscone locked the chamber doors, until Lieutenant Governor Mervin Dymally could fly back from Denver and cast the tie-breaking vote. It was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The rise of AIDS 1980s made anal sex (or for that matter oral sex with men and heterosexual vaginal intercourse with men) a risky behavior that mandated the use of condoms.

Still many women and men continue to enjoy guilt free anal intercourse as one of the dishes available  at the banquet of coercion free feast of human sexuality.

From Alternet:

A new — and almost entirely unreported — study about anal sex and pain shows how little we really know about it.

By Debby Herbenick
October 6, 2012

That anal sex remains taboo may explain why  a study  about anodyspareunia – that is, pain during anal penetration – received little attention when it was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. The study should have turned heads: It was the first research on anodyspareunia among women; it was conducted by a well-respected scientist (Dr. Aleksander Stulhofer from the University of Zagreb); and it was centered on young women and sex. That’s often the kind of research that attracts media attention (Young women sext! They get pregnant! They give oral sex! You get the picture …). However, anal sex remains such a strong taboo that this otherwise important study barely turned a head.

Except it did turn mine. Here’s why. In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives. As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young women and men in the U.S. had tried anal sex at least once. Less than 20 years later, my research team’s  2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior  found that as many as 40-45 percent of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex. With its rising prevalence, I felt it was important to devote a chapter of my first book, “Because It Feels Good,” to anal health and pleasure — only to find that a magazine editor wouldn’t review it because the topic of anal sex was “not in the best interest of our readership.” Even though nearly half of American women in some age groups have done it! She added, “In the correct circles, I personally will be suggesting the book to those with whom I can share such a resource.”

Hmm. The correct circles.  Which ones would those be? The ones where scores and scores of women openly sit around talking about anal sex between glasses of wine?

So taboos persist and anal sex remains hush-hush even though more people are doing it. What changed to make it more common, anyway? It’s not entirely clear – after all, rates of masturbation, vaginal sex, oral sex and other sexual practices don’t seem to have changed too much. However,  it’s commonly thought that the widespread access to porn played a role.  Some research  has found that anal sex was shown in 56 percent of sex scenes studied even though  national data  of real people’s sex lives show that fewer than 5 percent of Americans had anal sex during their most recent sexual experience.

Honest, evidence-based answers to questions about anal sex are difficult to come by. You’d think we would know more about a behavior that’s become a common part of Americans’ sex lives – one that, for all its potential pleasures, remains among the riskiest sex acts when it comes to spreading sexually transmissible infections (STI) including HIV. Yet there is strikingly little scientific research on anal sex. The list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do. This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions.

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George Takei: “We’ve got to be actively involved in the electoral process.”

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Rethinking Columbus: Towards a True People’s History

From Common Dreams:

by Bill Bigelow
Published on Saturday, October 6, 2012 by Common Dreams

This past January, almost exactly 20 years after its publication, Tucson schools banned the book I co-edited with Bob Peterson, Rethinking Columbus. It was one of a number of books adopted by Tucson’s celebrated Mexican American Studies program—a program long targeted by conservative Arizona politicians.

The school district sought to crush the Mexican American Studies program; our book itself was not the target, it just got caught in the crushing. Nonetheless, Tucson’s—and Arizona’s—attack on Mexican American Studies and Rethinking Columbus shares a common root: the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements.

For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.

“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”


In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” So I ask them to think about that fact. “How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?”

This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples. It’s what educators began addressing in earnest 20 years ago, during plans for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, which at the time the Chicago Tribune boasted would be “the most stupendous international celebration in the history of notable celebrations.” Native American and social justice activists, along with educators of conscience, pledged to interrupt the festivities.

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Congressman opens voting rights probe of tea party group

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,3351653.story

By Michael Finnegan
October 5, 2012

A Maryland congressman has opened an investigation of a group that has tried to remove thousands of voters from registration rolls across the nation in advance of the presidential election.

The inquiry by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings , a Democrat, is being started a week after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) urged the Justice Department to enforce voting rights laws, citing a Los Angeles Times article detailing attempts by an Ohio offshoot of the group, True the Vote, to strike hundreds of students and others from voting rolls.

“At some point, an effort to challenge voter registrations by the thousands without any legitimate basis may be evidence of illegal voter suppression,” Cummings told True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht in a letter on Thursday. “If these efforts are intentional, politically motivated and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”

Cummings is the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Engelbrecht, a Texas tea party leader, has described True the Vote as an effort to prevent election fraud and clean up voter registration rolls. The group recruits volunteers, largely through tea party networks, to scour voter lists, challenge the registration of those they believe are dead or do not live at their listed address, and monitor the polls on election day.

“True The Vote has forwarded Congressman Cummings’ letter to its legal team and is more than happy to avail itself” to the congressional committee, the group’s spokesman, Logan Churchwell, said by email. “In the interim, True The Vote invites Congressman Cummings, or any other interested parties, to participate in any training sessions in the weeks ahead.”

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NOM ‘Laundered A Quarter Of A Million Dollars’ Equality Group Charges

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on October 5, 2012

Mainers United For Marriage, a group working to support legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine, is charging NOM with having “laundered a quarter of a million dollars” into the Maine marriage campaign, in continued violation of Maine’s state ethics laws. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even hear a case NOM tried to file, after losing several appeals that are requiring NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, to do what every other non-profit is required to do: make their list of donors public once it reaches a certain threshold.

“In 2009, NOM raised and spent $1.9 million to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry,” Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, said via a statement. “This year, the organization has already laundered a quarter of a million dollars into the anti-marriage campaign – with more to come – and once again it refuses to disclose where the money comes from. Our campaign is proud of the nearly 14,000 donors who have contributed to the campaign to win the freedom to marry in Maine. NOM continues to hide in the shadows.”

“Maine voters deserve to know who is trying to influence this election,” McTighe said. “Maine law is clear, and NOM refuses to follow the same rules that every other campaign in the state must abide by. How can voters trust anything they say when they refuse to follow the law?”

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Mitt Romney: Protect Big Oil, Fire Big Bird

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Arkansas Republican: Slavery was ‘blessing in disguise’ that ‘rewarded’ blacks with U.S. citizenship

From Raw Story:

By David Ferguson
Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Republican member of the Arkansas state senate’s self-published memoir claims that for black people in America, slavery was a “blessing in disguise,” that, if they were physically hardy enough to survive it, “someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” According to the Arkansas Times, Rep. Jon Hubbard, of Jonesboro, included these thought and others in his book, Letters to the Editor, Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, which was initially written about and excerpted by writer Michael Cook at Talk Business.

“(T)he institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise,” Hubbard wrote. “The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.”

The Africans who were abducted from their homeland to be sold abroad as human chattel were the lucky ones, however. On page 189 of Letters to the Editor, Hubbard said, “Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?”

However, Hubbard also believes that black Americans’ lives would “be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education.”

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Republican congressman Paul Broun dismisses evolution and other theories

From  The Guardian UK:

Member of House science committee says evolution, Big Bang theory and embryology are ‘lies straight from the pit of hell’

in New York, Saturday 6 October 2012

A Republican congressman who sits on the science committee of the House of Representatives has dismissed evolution, the Big Bang theory and embryology as “lies straight from the pit of hell”.

Paul Broun, who is running for re-election as Georgia representative this November unopposed by Democrats, made the comments during a speech at a baptist church last month. A videoclip of the event was posted on YouTube on Friday.

In the clip, Broun, who is a doctor, says that “as a scientist” he has found data that shows the earth is no older than 9,000 years and was created in six days. Mainstream scientific thought holds that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, give or take the odd millennia.

Broun also says that theories regarding the origins of the universe and evolution represent “lies to try and keep me and all the folk that were taught that from understanding that they need a saviour”.

In a statement to the Athens Banner-Herald, Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for the Republican congressman, said: “Dr Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

But the comments may prove an embarrassment to some of his colleagues on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The congressional body was already subjected to scrutiny over remarks made by another member, the Missouri House representative Todd Akin.

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Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

From Market Watch:

It could become illegal to resell your iPhone 4, car or family antiques

By Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch
Oct. 4, 2012

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s busy agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale.

Put simply, though Apple has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen does on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

“It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Bland, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”

Another likely result is that it would hit you financially because the copyright holder would now want a piece of that sale.

It could be your personal electronic devices or the family jewels that have been passed down from your great-grandparents who immigrated from Spain. It could be a book that was written by an American writer but printed and bound overseas or an Italian painter’s artwork.

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Big Oil Pleads Immunity From Prosecution for Human Rights Crimes

From Huffington Post:


This fall the U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case that throws a spotlight on the oil industry’s toxic influence on our democracy — and why we need to move America beyond oil as quickly as possible.

In the 1990s, Shell Oil allegedly enlisted the Nigerian military dictatorship to suppress opposition to Shell’s oil operations. A 2002 lawsuit, Kiobel v. Shell, alleges that Shell “aided and abetted” the Nigerian military dictatorship in committing severe human rights abuses against members of the Ogoni people who were involved in a nonviolent movement to stop it from drilling for oil in their rich Niger River Delta homeland. But, in a challenge to a 200-year-old law, Shell is arguing that as a corporation it cannot be held responsible for human rights violations abroad.

The company isn’t denying the charges; it’s claiming that as a corporation it should be able to get away with murder.

Katie Redford, a human rights lawyer and cofounder and director of EarthRights International, explains the case this way:

Shell is asking the Court for a “Vegas” rule: that what happens in Nigeria stays in Nigeria. In the 1990s Shell funded and armed a violent military dictatorship. They used the Nigerian army and sham courts to torture and eliminate people standing in the corporation’s way. And now Shell, and the entire oil industry, wants a world in which human rights law does not apply to them.

Shell — and six oil companies who filed briefs in support of Shell — claim that as corporations, they enjoy immunity from prosecution under international human rights law because they are not a person, but a corporation. Forget that the Supreme Court ruled in the 2010 Citizens United case that corporations are people under the law. But somehow their “personhood” stops short of taking responsibility for their actions. And, in this case, we’re talking about some really despicable actions.

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America Flunking Churchill’s ‘Test of Civilization’

From The New York Sun:

October 4, 2012

An article in the Wall Street Journal last week having pointed out that 97% of U.S. criminal prosecutions are now guilty-plea bargains, and that 85% of the remaining 3% are trials that return guilty verdicts, I return to the spavined bête noire of the justice system. These are totalitarian percentages. I have referred here before to an American “prosecutocracy.”

The United States has 5% of the world’s population, 25% of its incarcerated people, and almost 50% of the world’s lawyers. These figures hold, even if it is accepted that some undemocratic countries, probably including China, do not reveal the full numbers of detained people, and provided we exclude the countries where the practice of law is not a learned profession requiring serious academic formation.

India professes to have almost as many lawyers as the U.S. — which has over 1 million accredited lawyers, who have graduated from law schools and passed bar exams — but that includes a very large proportion of them who appear in courts of common pleas where anyone can saunter in and argue a case.

The Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments guarantee a grand jury (implicitly, though this is not expressly stated, to ensure against capricious prosecutions), just compensation for seized property, due process, access to counsel (of choice), prompt justice, an impartial jury, and reasonable bail. All of these guarantees have been sliced and pulverized to varying levels of granularity in the 50 states. Grand juries are rubber stamps that almost never withhold what is asked by prosecutors, and their proceedings are often unknown to suspects and targets as they occur.

The seizure of property, especially if that property is being relied on as a source for paying the legal bills of notoriously rapacious American lawyers, frequently occurs just before the prosecutors lay their charges, freezing the civil proceedings and rendering the defendant’s property unavailable as a source of sales or borrowing to pay for counsel, who almost always demand hefty retainers at the outset. The process — from identification of a target to the end of a trial — can often be several years, during which it is practically impossible for an accused person to function normally.

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Scandal Rocks Boston as City Realizes that Thousands of People Were Falsely Convicted for Drugs

From Alternet:

Court administrators in Mass. are scrambling.

By Phillip Smith
October 4, 2012

Court administrators in Massachusetts are scrambling to set up special court sessions to address the cases of more than a thousand people imprisoned after being convicted of drug crimes based on lab evidence submitted by Annie Dookhan, the now disgraced former state crime lab analyst. Dookhan herself was arrested last Friday for her fraudulent work at the lab, as the scandal continues to reverberate across the state’s criminal justice system.

According to State Police reports obtained by the Boston Globe , Dookhan has admitted not performing proper lab tests on drug samples for “two or three years,” forging colleagues’ signatures, and improperly removing evidence from storage. Citing the same reports, the Boston Herald reported that Dookhan had admitted to “intentionally turning a negative sample into a positive a few times” and to “dry-labbing” samples, where she classified samples as drugs without actually testing them.

“I messed up bad, it’s my fault,” Dookhan told police, explaining that “she did what she did in order to get more work done.”

Dookhan’s misconduct, which first came to light in June 2011, has already shaken the Dept. of Public Health, whose commissioner, John Auerbach, has resigned, as have two other managers at the Hinton Laboratories facility in Jamaica Plain where the lab was located. The crime lab was consolidated earlier this year into the Dept. of Public Safety as part of a budgetary move.

The incident has also raised the question of systemic issues affecting the crime lab. In internal emails leaked to the Globe , laboratory staff went on record as far back as 2008 describing “the situation in the evidence office [as] past the breaking point.” That was before some of the now former management at Hinton took those positions, though not before Dookhan. The Globe article describes “a staff drowning in work, instances of misplaced evidence in crime cases, and mounting frustrations over the Patrick administration’s seeming indifference.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley and the State Police charge that Dookhan’s mishandling of drug evidence is a crime under the state’s broadly written witness intimidation law. She is also charged with falsifying academic credentials for claiming a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, a degree which the school said it never issued.

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