Friday Night Fun and Culture: 1963

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Fifty Years Ago Today

I remember it clearly.

It was about 1:45pm Eastern Standard Time.

I was sitting in Miss Ross’ junior year  history class.  Someone came by from the office and called her out in the hall with the other teachers in that section of the school.

She came back in the class room and said we were to all gather in the gymnasium for an announcement.  She was pale and crying, she said, “President Kennedy has been shot.”

The all the junior and senior high students went to the gym and gathered there while a television and a PA were set up.

Then the school principle, Mr Beebe made the announcement that President Kennedy was dead.

We were told to gather any younger brothers and sisters we had at the school and take them home with us.

We were told we should turn on the news once we got home.

By the time I got my brother who was in a different school and got home Lyndon Johnson had been sworn in as President.

A police officer named James Tippit was dead and Lee Harvey Oswald was captured at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, a south Dallas neighborhood.

JFK’s assassination was the first of many during the turbulent years of the 1960s.  Medgar Evers,  Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy.

And finally even though his assassination was a decade after the 1960s ended John Lennon.

I can’t help but think the world would be a far better place if all those victims of assassin’s bullets had lived.

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Holding the Line on Transgender Student Protections

From Huffington Post:


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
–George Santayana

During the 1990s and 2000s the two biggest LGBT issues that the religious right flogged their faithful with were gay marriage and gays in the military. From 1998 until now, the religious right has used marriage as a wedge issue to put anti-LGBT laws and state constitutional amendments on the ballot. But with the demise of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), and the more or less inevitable end of Section 2 of DOMA, even the hard right has come to realize that they’ve lost on these issues. This doesn’t mean that they have given up and gone home, though. Not by a long shot.

They have effectively pivoted to two new arguments. The first is “religious freedom,” by which they really mean, “I don’t want anyone holding me accountable for being awful.” The second issue they have pivoted to is transgender people in public spaces. The attempt to repeal A.B. 1266 (a law ensuring equal access to activities and facilities for transgender students in California) has drawn a mob of hate groups, plus the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Given the staggering defeats that NOM has suffered in the past year, a search for a new raison d’être is imperative for their organization to survive.

As a result, I believe that the transgender community is facing an imminent wave of anti-transgender laws and amendments. Just as the religious right began learning in 1998 that legislating against marriage equality was a winning issue for them, the current attempt to repeal A.B. 1266 is effectively a test marketing of a new brand of anti-LGBT hate. If they win, you can expect a wave of bills targeting transgender people’s access to public accommodations, just like with marriage. The nature of the anti-transgender bills is bounded only by what few constitutional protections transgender people have (read: nearly zero) and the fertile imaginations of people like Tony Perkins.

The only way to stem this tsunami of anti-transgender legislation is a vigorous offense. The counteroffensive needs to hit fast, hit hard, and hit often. The problem within the LGBT community is that there is a tendency to want to go for defensive messages designed to stir empathy. These play well with progressives and other LGBT people, but not with wider audiences. We need to acknowledge upfront that these types of ads preach to an echo chamber and lack effectiveness. Marriage campaigns eventually got this. Supporters of A.B. 1266 and the transgender community as a whole must acknowledge it upfront.

We can’t afford a long learning curve. This has to be stopped now, or the next decade is going to see us going steadily backwards. Doing so requires the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense. Here are the messaging rules that I would use if it were up to me:

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Fallon Fox responds to Ashlee Evans-Smith, who says trans fighters should be barred from women’s MMA

From Out Sports:

Despite saying that Fox isn’t the better fighter and has disadvantages, Evans-Smith doesn’t think Fox should fight women

on Nov 20 2013

Ashlee Evans-Smith, the woman who handed me my first professional MMA loss, now says that I have unfair advantages that should bar me from competing against other women. Let me repeat: The fighter WHO BEAT ME says I have UNFAIR ADVANTAGES.

“I don’t feel like Fallon should fight dudes,” she said. “I don’t feel like she should fight women. I feel like there should be a unique organization for those needs. She did have an advantage. She definitely did.” [Check out the interview of Evans-Smith below]

Her interview was hard to watch. She started out by saying that I didn’t have a strength advantage or a cardio advantage, which is exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. Then she went on to say that I hit hard.

Damn right I hit hard! I’m a MMA fighter and that’s what we do! It’s not as if there are not other female MMA fighters who can hit as hard as or harder than me. Marciea Allen has trained with me before, and it’s been my experience that she hits harder than me. When I fought Allana Jones, both of us could tell that I hit harder than her. So, I fit pretty neatly in the variation of strength and punching power alongside my sister competitors.

I’m not complaining about the advantages Ashlee had over me, and I lost. Her leg strength was stronger than mine for sure. It aided her technique when I took her down and she just sprang back up almost every time. It plays well into her fighting style.

And she admitted that her cardio was better for this fight. So, do I then go around complaining about her physical attributes or skill? Do I now say, “Hey, Ashley was taller than me, her legs were stronger, her cardio was better. She beat me, what the hell? I think that fighters with her characteristics should be in a separate category from all other female fighters!”

No, I won’t say that.  I realize that all female fighters come with different attributes and we compete with each other in order to see who is better at getting around them within the category of “woman.”  That is the whole point.

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What Straight People Think Lesbians Look Like

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Elizabeth Warren’s populist insurgency enters next phase

From Salon:

It’s about more than politics or 2016. First comes a new plan to restore the economy and blow up the finance sector

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013

If asked, Americans of all political persuasions will say overwhelmingly that they prefer “tougher rules” for Wall Street. But what does that actually mean?

You can frame this conventionally: supporting regulators, punishing rules violators, mopping up 2008-style disasters to limit the damage and attempting to prevent such chaos from happening again. But by “tougher rules,” maybe Americans are really signaling a vague but persistent dissatisfaction with an economy that has become dominated by the financial sector. And you can see within that how transforming banking back to its traditional purpose — as a conduit for putting capital in the hands of worthwhile business ventures and driving shared prosperity — would be one antidote to an unequal society full of financial titan gatekeepers, who confiscate a giant share of the money flowing through the system.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — in many ways the avatar of a new populist insurgency within the Democratic Party that seeks to combine financial reform and economic restoration — will speak later today in Washington at the launch of a new report that marks a key new phase in this movement. Released by Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute – and called “An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us” — the report is a revelation, because it finally invites fundamental discussions about these issues. Its 11 chapters from some of the leading thinkers on financial reform do look back at the successes and failures of the signal financial reform law of this generation, the Dodd-Frank Act. But the report also weaves in a story about how we can reorient finance as a complement to the real economy, rather than its overriding force. Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the co-editor of the report, tells Salon, “The financial sector is still eating up a lot of GDP [gross domestic product], and it’s not clear what we’re getting out of it. We want to get the conversation at that level.”

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See also:  Raw Story: Warren: We’re in this mess because Washington has ignored the middle class for a generation

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Ready for Hillary? Really?

From Truth Out:

By Pierre Guerlain
Sunday, 17 November 2013

Recently Nancy Fraser wrote an interesting article titled “How feminism became capitalism’s handmaiden – and how to reclaim it.” Her first paragraph stated the core idea: “As a feminist, I’ve always assumed that by fighting to emancipate women I was building a better world – more egalitarian, just and free. But lately I’ve begun to worry that ideals pioneered by feminists are serving quite different ends. I worry, specifically, that our critique of sexism is now supplying the justification for new forms of inequality and exploitation.”

Of course, it is quite common, not to say the rule, for ideas to be subverted or inverted and ideologies to change their meaning when invoked by different political groups. The young libertarian socialist Marx was claimed by the ugly Stalinist and Maoist régimes; Orwell is treated as a hero by the most reactionary thinkers like the neocons, and feminism was kidnapped by the Bush administration to justify its wars of choice.

Nancy Fraser’s key point applies now with the gearing up for the US presidential election in 2016. Feminism is mobilized by Hillary Clinton’s supporters to sell her presidential bid, but the key point is this: Would a Clinton presidency improve the lot of women in the United States and abroad, and would Clinton be a progressive president?

Because the United States, in spite of its shutdown follies and NSA surveillance bungling, remains the pivot of the world system, American presidential elections are of global interest. So even three years before the next presidential election, global media have started following the budding campaign. Although Clinton did fight for some feminist ideals in her youth, she famously declared she was not going to bake cookies while her husband ran for president before baking those cookies and kowtowing to the rules of the political game. In the Democratic primaries of 2008, Clinton ran against Obama as a war hawk and appealed to the right of the Democratic Party, which had itself already moved to the right of Eisenhower on many fronts. Her feminism was a thing of the past – or reduced to symbolic gestures merely.

Her web site “Ready for Hilary” is a sign that she has prepared the campaign in a thorough fashion. Already many famous people are praising her and calling for a woman to be elected president. This is predicated on the idea that a woman president would be a good sign for feminism and American women in general. The key question, though, is which woman and mostly which political platform – for, as everyone knows, any woman cannot be an improvement on past presidents (all men so far). Imagine a president Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann: Would feminism get a boost? Clearly the gender of candidates cannot be a valid reason to vote for or against them.

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