Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995)

Miss ya, Jerry, miss ya…

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995)

Transphobia in the Academy: Feminist Edition

From Shakesville:  http://www.shakesville.com/2013/07/transphobia-in-academy-feminist-edition.html

[Content note: transphobia and transphobic hate speech, rape, death, violence.)

Last week, Liss sent me a link to this story at the Transadvocate; it details a chilling letter sent to trans* activist Dallas Denny from a group of anonymous radical feminist academics. She asked if I would try to address the matter as an academic, since I am more familiar with that environment than she is. Academic or no, this is pretty terrible.

The threatening letter was in response to a year-old letter that Ms. Denny and Dr. Jamison Green had penned to Routledge Press. In it, they had expressed their concerns regarding the publication of an upcoming book by Dr. Sheila Jeffreys and Dr. Lorene Gottschalk, Gender Hurts, which included transphobic material.

That was a year ago. On July 26, Denny received a letter “signed” by an anonymous group calling themselves “Women for Academic Freedom,” who are apparently Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs). In it, WFAF claimed that trans* activists were trying to silence women and feminists. They promised, as of fall 2013, to launch a wave of new classes that would indoctrinate teach an entire new generation of feminists to view trans* advocacy as a patriarchal silencing tool, and to distrust and denigrate trans* folk.

My first thought? WFAF’s letter is remarkably reminiscent of the comments left by asshats who show up at Shakesville in response to critiques of Penny Arcade or Fat Princess. Quite remarkably.

 

The classic hallmarks were all there: conflating critique with censorship (nope!), lots of projection, circular arguments, embarassingly inaccurate reference to Orwell and McCarthy, and threats made behind the mask of anonymity. It’s also reminiscent of right-wing concern trolls: references to a vast conspiracy, the promise to indoctrinate a generation of students into “right” thinking, mistaking criticism for hate speech, and a name invoking quite the opposite of what the group actually does. “Women for Academic Freedom”? Sure.

I’ve seen some pretty bad behavior in academe before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a group of feminists so perfectly mimic fanboy trolls and rightwing assholes. And lest anyone think that we get to hide behind the argument that they’re not “real” feminists, let me direct you to the link Liss Tweeted last week about “real Christians.” I hope you can see the parallel. I don’t get to dismiss transphobic radical feminists as not “real feminists,” but I sure as hell don’t have to let them speak for me. Nor do I have to let their bullshit go by unchallenged.

Continue reading at:  http://www.shakesville.com/2013/07/transphobia-in-academy-feminist-edition.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Transphobia in the Academy: Feminist Edition

Fewer Than Ten People Show Up For Ex-Gay Pride Event That Expected to Draw ‘Thousands’

From Right Wing Watch:  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fewer-ten-people-show-ex-gay-pride-event-expected-draw-thousands

by Brian Tashman
on Wednesday, 7/31/2013

Yesterday, American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios spoke to Ex-Gay Pride Month organizer Christopher Doyle about today’s ex-gay lobby day on Capitol Hill. Doyle, who was organizing the since-canceled Ex-Gay Pride banquet at the Family Research Council, complained in an interview with the Christian Post that “un-American” LGBT rights advocates have “shut us out,” explaining that “because of all this homo-fascism and indoctrination in the media, ex-gays aren’t given a fair shake.”

Rios confidently predicted that “thousands of ex-gays are descending” on Washington for a press conference planned for today at the Supreme Court. She lamented that when she led Concerned Women for America the media refused to hear “our ex-gay friends” because it “undermined the whole effort of the homosexual lobby.”

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Fewer Than Ten People Show Up For Ex-Gay Pride Event That Expected to Draw ‘Thousands’

Fox News’ Right Wing Radical Neil Cavuto: Workers should be grateful for whatever jobs they can find

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/31/fox-news-neil-cavuto-workers-should-be-grateful-for-whatever-jobs-they-can-find/

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On Wednesday afternoon’s edition of “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” host Neil Cavuto said that U.S. workers are spoiled and greedy because they want a higher minimum wage. He pointed to his own first job making two dollars an hour as an example of a job that Americans should be thankful to take.

“Get ready,” he said, “for me to sound like the old fart that I am.”

“It’s like jobs aren’t enough these days,” he opined. “They damn well better pay well or folks just really going to apply for them at all. Did I ever tell you that when I was a kid, you’d be grateful for any job you could find. Now a lot of kids are just the opposite, turning up their nose at fast food jobs that go begging at 11 bucks an hour. It’s true!”

“Only in America today,” he continued, “can our politicians bemoan a livable wage, forgetting a lot of folks would be grateful for any wage, any chance, any job, anytime. All I know is as soon as I turned 16 and heard a fast food chain called Arthur Treacher’s was opening a store in my town of Danbury, Connecticut, I stood in a line for a position — any position. I got the job, and soon rocketed to relief manager, then weekend manager, then by 16 and a half, full-time store manager! And it all started at two bucks an hour. And all the fish I could eat.”

Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy said, “That’s a good story. But the math makes the opposite point Cavuto intended.”

Adjusted for inflation, Cavuto’s two dollars an hour in 1974 would be about $9.47 today, which is 28 cents more than the highest minimum wage in the country, Washington state’s $9.19 per hour. In Connecticut, the minimum wage is only $7.25, meaning workers who start at that same Arthur Treacher’s restaurant now earn about $1.40 per hour in 1974 Cavuto-dollars.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/31/fox-news-neil-cavuto-workers-should-be-grateful-for-whatever-jobs-they-can-find/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Fox News’ Right Wing Radical Neil Cavuto: Workers should be grateful for whatever jobs they can find

Can anyone survive on $7.25?

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Can anyone survive on $7.25?

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data

• XKeyscore gives ‘widest-reaching’ collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history
NSA’s XKeyscore program – read one of the presentations


theguardian.com, Wednesday 31 July 2013

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA‘s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

The Madness of the Willful Destruction of Our Dependable Popular Way of Life

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/world/bye-bye-my-postal-service-march-privatization-continues

Ubiquitous cameras are normal. Subverted freedoms are normal. Effective public dissent is now controlled by police, whose intimidation is normal.

By John Pilger
July 30, 2013

London — I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humoured, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”

“New system,” he replied, “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”

“Why?”

“Ask him.”

Across the street was a solemn young man, clipboard in hand, whose job was to stalk postmen and see they abided by the new rules, no doubt in preparation for privatisation.  I told the stalker my postman was admirable. His face remained flat, except for a momentary flicker of confusion.

In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley describes a new class conditioned to a normality that is not normal “because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does”.

Surveillance is normal in the Age of Regression — as Edward Snowden revealed. Ubiquitous cameras are normal. Subverted freedoms are normal. Effective public dissent is now controlled by police, whose intimidation is normal.

The traducing of noble words like “democracy”, “reform”, “welfare” and “public service” is normal. Prime ministers who lie openly about lobbyists and war aims are normal. The export of $5.5 billion worth of British arms, including crowd control ammunition, to the medieval state of Saudi Arabia, where apostasy is a capital crime, is normal.

The willful destruction of efficient, popular public institutions like the Royal Mail is normal. A postman is no longer a postman, going about his decent work; he is an automaton to be watched, a box to be ticked.  Huxley described this regression as insane and our “perfect adjustment to that abnormal society” a sign of the madness.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/world/bye-bye-my-postal-service-march-privatization-continues

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Madness of the Willful Destruction of Our Dependable Popular Way of Life