Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

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S.A. transgender pioneer Christie Lee Littleton Van De Putte has died

From Q San Antonio:  http://www.qsanantonio.com/christie-lee.html

QSanAntonio, April 3, 2014

Christie Lee Littleton Van De Putte, a San Antonio transgender woman who in 1999 was denied the status of a surviving spouse after her husband’s death, died on March 15.

Van De Putte, a San Antonio native, was 61 years of age and worked as a hair stylist. No cause of death was made public. Her funeral mass was on March 25 at Holy Family Catholic Church. Interment was at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.

QSanAntonio has learned that the San Antonio Gender Association is planning a vigil for Van De Putte. Details about this event will be forthcoming.

The 1999 legal ruling that made Van De Putte’s story famous, was made by former Mayor Phil Hardberger when he was Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals. In that case Van De Putte (then Christie Lee Littleton) had been legally married to a man in Kentucky but denied widow’s benefits upon his death.

Hardberger agreed with 285th District Court Judge Frank Montalvo in his ruling that, because of chromosomal evidence, Littleton’s marriage to Jonathan Littleton was a same-sex marriage and therefore illegal.

“The male chromosomes do not change with either hormonal treatment or sex reassignment surgery,” Hardberger wrote in his ruling. “Biologically a post-operative female transsexual is still a male.”

Hardberger’s decision became law in the thirty-two counties located in South Texas and the Texas Hill Country that comprise the Fourth Court of Appeals.

In March of 2007, Hardberger addressed a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio and discussed the case during a question and answer session.

Continue reading at:  http://www.qsanantonio.com/christie-lee.html

All the President’s Bankers: Nomi Prins on Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

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Melissa Gira Grant: ‘I got into sex work to afford to be a writer’

Sex work is real work.  Most people in the anti-Trafficking Movement do a great deal of harm to those employed in the sex industry and virtually nothing that benefits sex workers.

Every thing they do makes life more dangerous for sex workers and it harder for people, particularly women to work in the sex industry or to leave the sex industry when they no longer wish to be employed in it.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

Melissa Gira Grant was one of the first webcam girls, before becoming a journalist. She talks to Liz Hoggard about the proposed changes to the UK’s prostitution laws

Read an extract from Melissa Gira Grant’s new book, Playing the Whore

Interview by
The Observer, Saturday 15 March 2014

American journalist Melissa Gira Grant wants to change the way we think about prostitution and sex work. Rather than dwelling on the “sex” part, Grant suggests we focus on “work”. By doing so, she argues, sex workers become neither corrupters, nor victims who need rescuing, but workers who need access to healthcare, a safe work environment and protection from abuse and exploitation.

A former sex worker herself (she was one of the first “webcam girls”), Gira Grant, 36, believes it’s possible to be anti-sex work but pro-sex workers’ rights. She has written extensively about sex, politics, labour and technology for the Guardian, Glamour, Wired, Jezebel and the Washington Post, and published Take This Book, an ebook on the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library, and Coming and Crying, an anthology of true stories about sex.

And now, just as prostitution is at the forefront of the news again with the proposed introduction to the UK of the Nordic model of criminalising clients and pimps instead of prostitutes, she is publishing her new book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.

Born in Boston, she studied comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts and is a graduate of the National Sexual Resource Centre’s Institute on Sexuality, Health, and Inequality at San Francisco State University. Today she lives and blogs in Brooklyn.

The sex industry is an endless source of fascination for the mainstream media. But rarely do dispatches come from sex workers themselves. What do you believe your new book adds to the debate?
When I first started looking for things to read about sex work in the late 1990s, most of the books that had been published were memoirs, though there were a couple of great anthologies of political essays written by sex workers that I just found so valuable. But in the past few years there haven’t been as many books like that, so I wanted to write something about sex work post-2000, to update that literature. Most of the stories about sex workers that I came across in the press focused on sex workers’ behaviour – or, even worse, treating sex workers as a problem to be solved. It made me think that what needed to be done was invert the question, and take the people who were shaping and controlling the lives of sex workers (police, press, policy makers) and to put the focus on them. And to ask questions about their motivations, beliefs and values, and also what they stood to gain from the kinds of stories they shared about sex work, and the kinds of policing and sex policy they were introducing around sex work – particularly with the absence of sex workers involved. These people I focus on are presumed to be the experts on sex work, even though in most cases they haven’t done sex work themselves. It happens all the time that politicians will convene and debate laws about sex work without actually having sex workers participate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

See Also:

Truth Out: The Work of Sex Work: Laura Flanders With Melissa Gira Grant

Rabble Ca: No, I will not stop having ‘feelings’ about women’s lives and human rights

The Nation: Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?

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Why do we work so hard? Cadillac and Ford have very different answers

The Cadillac Suit is a total dick.

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I hate my job, I hate my job, I hate my job – what many think but won’t tell the boss

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/i-hate-my-job-court-typist

A Manhattan court typist’s antics may have jeopardised many criminal convictions, but I can’t help feeling a pang of joy


theguardian.com, Friday 4 April 2014

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a wage slave typing: “I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job,” on a keyboard, for ever. That’s what a Manhattan court typist is accused of doing, having been fired from his post two years ago, after jeopardising upwards of 30 trials, according to the New York Post. Many of the court transcripts were “complete gibberish” as the stenographer was alledgedly suffering the effects of alcohol abuse, but the one that has caught public attention contains the phrase “I hate my job” over and over again. Officials are reportedly struggling to mitigate the damage, and the typist now says he’s in recovery, but it’s worth considering how long it took the court officials to realise he hadn’t been taking proper notes at all.

You can’t help but feel a small pang of joy at part of the story, though. Surely everyone, at some point, has longed, but perhaps not dared, to do the same. In a dreary Coventry bedsit in 2007, I read Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, the tale of a new employee who calmly refuses to do anything he is paid to do, to the complete bafflement of his boss, and found myself thinking in wonder: “This is the greatest story I have ever read.” No wonder it still resonates. Who hasn’t sat in their office, and felt like saying to their bosses: “I would prefer not to,” when asked to stuff envelopes or run to the post office?

For some bizarre reason, it’s still taboo to admit that most jobs are unspeakably dull. On application forms, it’s anathema to write: “Reason for leaving last job: hated it”, and “Reason for applying for this post: I like money.” The fact that so many people gleefully shared this story shows that many of us, deep down, harbour a suspicion that our jobs aren’t necessarily what we want to be doing for the rest of our lives. A lot of us aren’t always happy and fulfilled at work, and aren’t always completely productive.

Dreaming of turning to our boss and saying: “I would prefer not to,” or spending an afternoon typing “I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job” into Microsoft Word seems like a worthy way of spending the time. And, as with the court typist, maybe people wouldn’t even notice. In one of my workplaces, before a round of redundancies, on my last day my manager piled yet more work on to my desk and said yet again that she was far too busy to do her invoices. With nothing to lose, I pointed out that she had a large plate glass window behind her, so for the entire length of my temp job, I’d been able to see that she spent most of the day playing Spider Solitaire.

Howard Beale’s rant in Network, caricaturish as it is cathartic, strikes a nerve too: there’s something endlessly satisfying in fantasising about pushing your computer over, throwing your chair through the window and telling your most hated colleagues what you’ve always thought about them. But instead we keep it bottled up, go to the pub and grind our teeth. Still, here’s to the modern-day Bartlebys.

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Call climate change what it is: violence

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/07/climate-change-violence-occupy-earth

Social unrest and famine, superstorms and droughts. Places, species and human beings – none will be spared. Welcome to Occupy Earth


theguardian.com, Monday 7 April 2014

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Or so I thought when I received a press release last week from a climate group announcing that “scientists say there is a direct link between changing climate and an increase in violence“. What the scientists actually said, in a not-so-newsworthy article in Nature two and a half years ago, is that there is higher conflict in the tropics in El Nino years, and that perhaps this will scale up to make our age of climate change also an era of civil and international conflict.

The message is that ordinary people will behave badly in an era of intensified climate change.

All this makes sense, unless you go back to the premise and note that climate change is itself violence. Extreme, horrific, longterm, widespread violence.

Climate change is anthropogenic – caused by human beings, some much more than others. We know the consequences of that change: the acidification of oceans and decline of many species in them, the slow disappearance of island nations such as the Maldives, increased flooding, drought, crop failure leading to food-price increases and famine, increasingly turbulent weather. (Think Hurricane Sandy and the recent typhoon in the Philippines, and heat waves that kill elderly people by the tens of thousands.)

Climate change is violence.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/07/climate-change-violence-occupy-earth

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