Mom Jailed for Sending 9-Year-Old Daughter to the Park

WTF?  I grew up in 1950s small town Northeast USA.  At 8 and 9 I was free to run in the fields, go to movies or the library by myself, ride my bicycle all over town and go fishing and swimming by myself.

We are severely damaging our children with this hyper vigilance/ hyper protective smothering.

Of course the mother is black and our racist police/prison industrial state has criminalized that and does anything in its power to get people of color into the system.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/mom-jailed-sending-9-year-old-daughter-park

She’s being charged with a felony for letting her daughter play in the park alone while she was at work.

By Tana Ganeva
July 14, 2014

A South Carolina woman, who failed to use the income she makes working at McDonald’s to hire a nanny, let her 9-year-old daughter go to the park by herself while she was at work…in the middle of the day! To face, all alone, such dangers as the other children playing in the park and their parents.

Some of those parents reported her and now our criminal justice system is on it, making everything better by jailing the mother and putting her daughter in the custody of the Department of Social Services. According to Reason, Debra Harrell’s daughter spent part of the summer playing on a laptop at McDonald’s, but asked to go to the park when the laptop was stolen. Her mom apparently gave her a cell phone and sent her to a well-attended park and playground. A few days later, an adult noticed that she was there alone and called the police. Harrell was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct towards a child, a felony in South Carolina.

As  notes, local news reports of the incident are not friendly to Harrell, flashing her mugshot on the screen while the reporter intones, “It’s an afternoon of fun in the water at Summerfield Park in North Augusta… but investigators say it wasn’t enjoyable for one little girl.” (There doesn’t appear to be follow up coverage of how enjoyable it was for the girl to have her mom publicly shamed on TV for abandoning her). The news segment goes on to interview parents around the park who speculate about the horrors that could have befallen the girl. “what if a man would have came and just snatched her because you have all kinds of trucks that come up in here so you really don’t know.”
Skenazy, who runs the blog Free Range Kids and stirred up controversy a few years back for letting her 9-year-old son ride the New York subway alone, points out that anxieties about the dangers faced by children are not supported by actual crime rates.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/mom-jailed-sending-9-year-old-daughter-park

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You Are Triggering me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma

From BullyBloggers:  http://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/you-are-triggering-me-the-neo-liberal-rhetoric-of-harm-danger-and-trauma/

by Jack Halberstam
July 5, 2014

I was watching Monty Python’s The Life of Brian from 1979 recently, a hilarious rewriting of the life and death of Christ, and I realized how outrageous most of the jokes from the film would seem today. In fact, the film, with its religious satire and scenes of Christ and the thieves singing on the cross, would never make it into cinemas now. The Life of Brian was certainly received as controversial in its own day but when censors tried to repress the film in several different countries, The Monty Python crew used their florid sense of humor to their advantage. So, when the film was banned in a few places, they gave it a tagline of: “So funny it was banned in Norway!”

Humor, in fact, in general, depends upon the unexpected (“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”); repetition to the point of hilarity “you can have eggs, bacon and spam; spam, eggs, spam and sausage; or spam, spam, spam and spam!”); silliness, non-sequitors, caricature and an anarchic blend of the serious and the satirical. And, humor is something that feminists in particular, but radical politics in general, are accused of lacking. Recent controversies within queer communities around language, slang, satirical or ironic representation and perceptions of harm or offensive have created much controversy with very little humor recently, leading to demands for bans, censorship and name changes.

Debates among people who share utopian goals, in fact, are nothing new. I remember coming out in the 1970s and 1980s into a world of cultural feminism and lesbian separatism. Hardly an event would go by back then without someone feeling violated, hurt, traumatized by someone’s poorly phrased question, another person’s bad word choice or even just the hint of perfume in the room. People with various kinds of fatigue, easily activated allergies, poorly managed trauma were constantly holding up proceedings to shout in loud voices about how bad they felt because someone had said, smoked, or sprayed something near them that had fouled up their breathing room. Others made adjustments, curbed their use of deodorant, tried to avoid patriarchal language, thought before they spoke, held each other, cried, moped, and ultimately disintegrated into a messy, unappealing morass of weepy, hypo-allergic, psychosomatic, anti-sex, anti-fun, anti-porn, pro-drama, pro-processing post-political subjects.

Political times change and as the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, as weepy white lady feminism gave way to reveal a multi-racial, poststructuralist, intersectional feminism of much longer provenance, people began to laugh, loosened up, people got over themselves and began to talk and recognize that the enemy was not among us but embedded within new, rapacious economic systems. Needless to say, for women of color feminisms, the stakes have always been higher and identity politics always have played out differently. But, in the 1990s, books on neoliberalism, postmodernism, gender performativity and racial capital turned the focus away from the wounded self and we found our enemies and, as we spoke out and observed that neoliberal forms of capitalism were covering over economic exploitation with language of freedom and liberation, it seemed as if we had given up wounded selves for new formulations of multitudes, collectivities, collaborations, and projects less centered upon individuals and their woes. Of course, I am flattening out all kinds of historical and cultural variations within multiple histories of feminism, queerness and social movements. But I am willing to do so in order to make a point here about the re-emergence of a rhetoric of harm and trauma that casts all social difference in terms of hurt feelings and that divides up politically allied subjects into hierarchies of woundedness.

At this point, we should recall the “four Yorkshire men” skit from Monty Python where the four old friends reminisce about their deprived childhoods – one says “we used to live in a tiny old tumbledown house…” the next counters with “house!? You were lucky to live in a house. We used to live in a room…” And the third jumps in with: “room? You were lucky to have a room, we used to have to live in a corridor.” The fourth now completes the cycle: “A corridor! We dreamed of living in a corridor!” These hardship competitions, but without the humor, are set pieces among the triggered generation and indeed, I rarely go to a conference, festival or gathering anymore without a protest erupting about a mode of representation that triggered someone somewhere. And as people “call each other out” to a chorus of finger snapping, we seem to be rapidly losing all sense of perspective and instead of building alliances, we are dismantling hard fought for coalitions.

Much of the recent discourse of offense and harm has focused on language, slang and naming. For example, controversies erupted in the last few months over the name of a longstanding nightclub in San Francisco: “Trannyshack,” and arguments ensued about whether the word “tranny” should ever be used. These debates led some people to distraction, and legendary queer performer, Justin Vivian Bond, posted an open letter on her Facebook page telling readers and fans in no uncertain terms that she is “angered by this trifling bullshit.” Bond reminded readers that many people are “delighted to be trannies” and not delighted to be shamed into silence by the “word police.” Bond and others have also referred to the queer custom of re-appropriating terms of abuse and turning them into affectionate terms of endearment. When we obliterate terms like “tranny” in the quest for respectability and assimilation, we actually feed back into the very ideologies that produce the homo and trans phobia in the first place! In The Life of Brian, Brian finally refuses to participate in the anti-Semitism that causes his mother to call him a “roman.” In a brave “coming out” speech, he says: “I’m not a roman mum, I’m a kike, a yid, a heebie, a hook-nose, I’m kosher mum, I’m a Red Sea pedestrian, and proud of it!

And now for something completely different…The controversy about the term “tranny” is not a singular occurrence; such tussles have become a rather predictable and regular part of all kinds of conferences and meetings. Indeed, it is becoming difficult to speak, to perform, to offer up work nowadays without someone, somewhere claiming to feel hurt, or re-traumatized by a cultural event, a painting, a play, a speech, a casual use of slang, a characterization, a caricature and so on whether or not the “damaging” speech/characterization occurs within a complex aesthetic work. At one conference, a play that foregrounded the mutilation of the female body in the 17th century was cast as trans-phobic and became the occasion for multiple public meetings to discuss the damage it wreaked upon trans people present at the performance. Another piece at this performance conference that featured a “fortune teller” character was accused of orientalist stereotyping. At another event I attended that focused on queer masculinities, the organizers were accused of marginalizing queer femininities. And a class I was teaching recently featured a young person who reported feeling worried about potentially “triggering” a transgender student by using incorrect pronouns in relation to a third student who did not seem bothered by it! Another student told me recently that she had been “triggered” in a class on colonialism by the showing of The Battle of Algiers. In many of these cases offended groups demand apologies, and promises are made that future enactments of this or that theater piece will cut out the offensive parts; or, as in the case of “Trannyshack,” the name of the club was changed.

Continue reading at:  http://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/you-are-triggering-me-the-neo-liberal-rhetoric-of-harm-danger-and-trauma/

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Woman Enough

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2014/07/16/woman-enough

The attack by self-identified radical feminists on trans people’s participation in feminism and the LGBT movement has never been a response to any bad behavior by trans women or trans men.

BY Roz Kaveney
July 16 2014

As feminists, we’ve wasted so many years and so much energy, anger, and depression on the question of who gets to be considered a woman.

In 1973, some radical women called for trans woman Sylvia Riveira, one of the leaders of the Stonewall Riot, to be ejected from the platform at New York Pride. At the West Coast Lesbian Feminist conference in Los Angeles that year, poet Robin Morgan called for the expulsion of trans woman Beth Elliott, one of the conference organizers. She lost the vote but Elliott left to prevent further disruption.

The attack by self-identified radical feminists on trans people’s participation in feminism and the LGBT movement has never been a response to any bad behavior by trans women or trans men. Some of its highest-profile targets have been people who have worked hard for feminist and LGBT causes. Part of the paradox of trans-exclusionary radical feminism has always been that it is based so totally on applying a theoretical framework to lived experience; it is based on an idea, and yet manifests as extremely personal vindictiveness and vendettas.

The acronym TERF was devised by other radical feminists to distinguish their own politics from the antitrans variety; the claim that it was devised by trans people as a slur is untrue. It does sound kind of nasty, though, which is probably why it caught on. The TERF idea is that sex is entirely binary, that the oppression of women is entirely based on that binary difference; that gender is a malign fiction created by a patriarchy that exists wholly and solely to oppress women as a class. Accordingly, they think the existence of trans people is a delusion perpetuated as a new mode of oppression — trans women exist in order to give the idea of gender plausibility, and to divide women’s community by entering it, something TERF theorist Janice Raymond compared to rape in her 1979 book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. You might think the existence of trans men and genderqueer people would be a problem for this analysis, but no. The patriarchy has summoned them into existence to shore up its plan and legitimize the existence of trans women. None of this explains, of course, the existence of gender-variant people in most human cultures and the particular violence against them by patriarchal society. Figures are not collected everywhere, but we know that at least 200 trans people, primarily trans women of color from the global South, are murdered each year. TERF Bev Jo Von Dohre has said, “They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would all be dead.” Nor is Von Dohre an outlier — she is a regular contributor to Gallus Mag’s dedicated anti-trans site Gendertrender, recently cited by academic Sheila Jeffreys in her new book, Gender Hurts. There is a continuum of personal association and verbal support between academics like Jeffreys and Raymond on the one hand and TERF activists and bloggers on the other. Mag is notorious in the trans community for her personal attacks on individual trans people, doxing their online activities, but this personal vindictiveness is not restricted to anonymous bloggers.

Raymond called for a boycott of lesbian feminist record company Olivia for using trans woman Sandy Stone as a sound engineer, and Germaine Greer tried to prevent the appointment of a trans astrophysicist at her Cambridge college. (Greer threatened to boycott a major project of feminist scholarship if I was working on it.) Trans women who have contributed to feminism over the last half-century have done so knowing that their work might be attacked and discredited as the work of porn-sick perverts.

The trouble with the acronym TERF is that it fundamentally ignores the extent to which Raymond, Jeffreys, and their followers despise most other women. They believe that all women who have sex with men are at best victims of Stockholm Syndrome and at worse quislings; that bisexual women are particularly reprehensible because they could choose to sleep only with women. They detest BDSM women — Jeffreys tried to have them thrown out of the London Lesbian and Gay Centre. She has also written that piercing and tattooing are unfeminist, a product of self-hatred under patriarchy. Their detestation of trans people is symptomatic of a more general sense that they are the saving remnant of a finer, purer feminism that was stabbed in the back by weaker sisters.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2014/07/16/woman-enough

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This is a religious civil war: Hobby Lobby only the beginning for new religious theocrats

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/07/08/this_is_a_religious_civil_war_hobby_lobby_only_the_beginning_for_new_religious_theocrats/

The Tea Party controls the House. Religious extremists run the Supreme Court. We’re approaching a very scary time


Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014

The United States is still a democratic republic, formally, but what that actually means in practice is increasingly in doubt — and the Hobby Lobby ruling, deeply disingenuous and sharply at odds with centuries of Anglo-American law, exemplifies how that formal reality is increasingly mocked in practice. It is a practice best described as neo-feudalism, taking power away from ordinary citizens, in all their pluralistic, idiosyncratic diversity, and handing it over to corporations and religious dictators in both the public and the private realm. The Supreme Court’s actions are not taking place in a vacuum — though they are filling one: As Tea Party Republicans in the House increasingly bring democratic self-government to a halt, contracting the power of we the people to act as a cohesive self-governing whole, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority shifts ever more everyday power into the hands of private dictatorships.

Hobby Lobby handed for-profit corporations religious rights for the first time in history — a radical break with all previous precedent, and yet a part of a recent pattern, as Norm Ornstein rightly pointed out:

[F]or the majority on the Roberts Court, through a series of rulings that favor corporations over labor or other interests, it is clear that corporations are king, superior to individual Americans—with all the special treatment in taxes and protection from legal liability that are unavailable to us individuals, and now all the extra benefits that come with individual citizenship. Call it the new Crony Capitalism.

The expansion of corporate power in Hobby Lobby has gotten too little attention, and I’ll return to discuss this further below. But the advancement of theocracy — religious dictatorship — is even less clearly seen through the fog of right-wing propaganda about “religious liberty.”

First, however, an important highlight of a neglected aspect of the Hobby Lobby case, the fact that Hobby Lobby’s self-professed belief appeared out of nowhere just in time for them to file suit, as Stephanie Mencimer noted in March:

The company admits in its complaint that until it considered filing the suit in 2012, its generous health insurance plan actually covered Plan B and Ella (though not IUDs). The burden of this coverage was apparently so insignificant that God, and Hobby Lobby executives, never noticed it until the mandate became a political issue.

In short, Hobby Lobby’s “deeply held beliefs” claims are transparently bogus — as well as being scientifically invalid, since none of the methods involved are abortifacients, as Hobby Lobby claims. These would not matter if they only guided individual private conduct; that’s precisely what religious freedom actually means. You’re free to be a religious hypocrite, because letting someone else judge your sincerity can lead too easily to real religious tyranny. But when you’re already in a position to tyrannize others — as Hobby Lobby is — that’s a whole different ballgame. The tyrant’s freedom is everyone else’s slavery.

Historically, theocracy meant top-down religiously sanctioned dictatorship, exemplified in Western history by the divine right of kings philosophy. No one reads John Locke’s “First Treatise on Civil Government” anymore, because it is a refutation of the divine right of kings — one might as well read a refutation of four element theory in physics class. Locke’s “Second Treatise” provided a sharply contrasted legitimate foundation for civil government — the social contract and the consent of the governed. This is the air we breathe, and have been breathing ever since America was born.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/07/08/this_is_a_religious_civil_war_hobby_lobby_only_the_beginning_for_new_religious_theocrats/

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“Weird Al” Yankovic – Word Crimes

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