If You Had the Power to Change Three Things About the World, What Would They Be?

I’ve got a guest from out-of-country, so I haven’t got much time for posting today. Instead of throwing a link and a promise at you, I thought we might do some thinking on how to change the world. What if it were in your power to make three major changes to the world as it is? What would those changes be?

Image shows two calico cats sitting in chairs at a table, looking toward each other with rather the attitude of people who believe they are completely in charge. On the table is a board game with soldiers of various colors set up on a map. Caption says, "Our plan for world domination is complete."

Continue reading “If You Had the Power to Change Three Things About the World, What Would They Be?”

If You Had the Power to Change Three Things About the World, What Would They Be?

South Dakota Blazes a Trail of Bigotry

America’s despicable right wing, having failed to prevent same sex couples from getting hitched, has now opened a new front in the culture wars. Their newest campaign is focused on denying transgender folk the right to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender. We’re seeing legislation spring up everywhere trying to force people to pee in the bathroom corresponding to their genitals or their chromosomes rather than their actual gender. It’s fucking ridiculous, and dangerous, and a horrible waste of taxpayer time and money on top of being horrifically bigoted.

South Dakota has the dubious distinction of being the first state to actually pass one of these noxious bills.

Washington isn’t the only place where conservative legislators are figuratively burning transgender people at the stake during an election year. South Dakota has become the first state to pass a terrifying new anti-transgender discrimination law out of its state legislature.

From Stranger alum Dominic Holden at Buzzfeed:

House Bill 1008 states that “every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.”

The bill defines “biological sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.”

So how the hell would schools and gyms check that people using restrooms and lockers have—in their minds—the correct genitalia? What about intersex people? HB 1008 sounds very, very similar to Washington State’s SB 6548, a bill that trans rights activists have dubbed the “Genital Check” bill for the same reasons. SB 6548 would allow businesses, gyms, individuals, whomever, to adopt the same policy. In South Dakota, however, it’s specifically for kids.

So yeah, it’s not bad enough that it targets transgender folk, it has to go after trans kids in particular. Kids who aren’t harming a single soul by being themselves. The only danger is in the poisonous minds of the people who have decided that genitalia is the only thing a person has that matters, and if your naughty bits happen to be the type generally assigned to the gender opposite yours, too bad. I can’t even understand this obsession.

The bill hasn’t been signed yet, so please do add your name to the petition asking Governor Daugaard to veto the damned thing. And while you’re at it, let him know he needs to get acquainted with a few trans folk. Ignorance is literally getting people killed. We can’t accept this.

Gear up, my darlings. It’s going to be a long, hard fight for equality.

Image shows the capitol building in Olympia, Washington. A trans flag flies with the Washington State and US flags. The trans flag colors have been transposed across the entire image.
We’re going to be fighting for trans rights in state capitols all over the country. Let’s not stop until every state in the union allows trans people to live their lives free from oppression. Image courtesy Daisy Western.

 

South Dakota Blazes a Trail of Bigotry

Washington State Peeps: We’ve Got Republican Bigotry to Defeat

Trans people in Washington State are staring down the barrel of a bill that will strip vital protections from them.

A bill that would eliminate Washington’s new rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity passed out of a Senate committee 4-3 Wednesday.

Our Republican menaces are using the same exhausted arguments as those in other states, pretending they care about the safety of women, while ignoring the fact that literally no transgender person has ever attacked a woman in a restroom. On the other hand, plenty of trans folks have been assaulted just trying to pee. They need laws that allow them to pee in peace.

So first thing: we need to shut this shit down. You can send this letter to Washington state legislators for a start.

If you can make it to the hearing in Olympia on Monday at 1:30, please do go. If you are in the Seattle area and need a ride, I can take up to three people. I would only need you to chip in for gas. Let me know by end of day today if you want to carpool with me.

If you live in Washington state, you can comment on the bill here.

And, also importantly: we need to vote these bigoted fuckers out. Here is the list of spons0rs: Continue reading “Washington State Peeps: We’ve Got Republican Bigotry to Defeat”

Washington State Peeps: We’ve Got Republican Bigotry to Defeat

Will We Be The Heroes or the Villains? History, Ideals, and Anti-Muslim Violence in America

We want to believe we’re good people. Most of us do. Most of us try. We fail, quite often, but we try. And we read our history books, and we think of ourselves as being on the side of the angels. Of course we would have been abolitionists and given anti-slavery speeches and helped people on the Underground Railroad. Of course we would have stood against Hitler and protected Jews and helped them escape the Nazis. Of course we would have marched for civil rights and dismantled segregation and condemned MLK’s assassin. Of course. Of course we would have been the Good Guys.

Would we? Are we? Are we really?

I’m seeing an awful lot of people in my country who would have been agreeing with slaveowners that of course they could keep humans as property, and anyone thinking differently should be shouted down, and any government trying to end the institution should be rebelled against. I’m seeing a horrifying number of people who would have agreed with Hitler that there was something evil about those Jews, and helped round them up on cattle cars, and considered themselves patriotic as they fought for Nazi Germany. Of course, we already knew a disturbing number of our citizens pretend to love MLK while they fight to uphold the white supremacy he and other activists struggled to dismantle.

This is one of those times when you discover what you’re made of. This is a time when the ideals of your country are tested. Right now is when we find out what kind of people we would have been. And it turns out that many Americans are exactly the people our history books tell us we should abhor. Continue reading “Will We Be The Heroes or the Villains? History, Ideals, and Anti-Muslim Violence in America”

Will We Be The Heroes or the Villains? History, Ideals, and Anti-Muslim Violence in America

One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

Here are stories from abortion doctors who have been doing abortions since before they were legal. They’ve seen what society is like with and without access to safe, legal abortion. They’ve seen how bad things were, how good they got, and how we’re backsliding toward a time when desperate women were willing to risk death to terminate their pregnancies. These are stories all of us need to listen to. Especially those who are uncomfortable with or opposed to abortion. Make sure you send this to every friend, acquaintance, and relation who is anti-abortion or who thinks that abortion is a necessary evil rather than a medical right. Send it to everyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but tightly restricted. Force them to confront this reality.

Make them deal with statistics like this: Continue reading “One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read”

One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

Would You Really Love Those 70 Million Babies, Pro-Lifers?

Two old white men whine about abortion. (Well, they also lie extravagantly, but I just want to address this more commonly-spouted bit):

“’It’s a pile of babies almost 70 million babies tall, mountains and mountains and mountains of babies,’ Jim Bakker said.”

Okay, Jim “Convicted Felon” Bakker. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about abolishing abortion so all those precious “babies” lived. Continue reading “Would You Really Love Those 70 Million Babies, Pro-Lifers?”

Would You Really Love Those 70 Million Babies, Pro-Lifers?

Why Bernie Sanders Could Lose – And How You Can Help Him Win

I get it, I do. A lot of people are super-excited to see a socialist like Bernie Sanders surging in the polls. You’re thrilled by the size of his crowds, and you love the fact he’s apparently not backed by megacorporations, unlike Hillary Clinton. I was pretty excited to see him run, too, because in primary season, it’s great to have someone who can pull the more mainstream candidates to the left.

And I get that a lot of you are upset by what you consider rude and unnecessary interruptions by black activists. But the way many of you have responded? You’re doing a lot of damage. Progressive candidates won’t win without black votes. And Sanders hasn’t done a good job of convincing people of color that he’s their candidate. Those of you berating the activists for not being soft-spoken and polite enough aren’t doing him a single favor. You’d be doing him a kindness if you stopped yelling at them and started asking him to step up more on racial justice.

I’d like him to win, you know. If I can’t have Elizabeth Warren, I’d like to have somebody who’s willing to take on the moneyed interests. I’d like to have someone who’s looking out for the middle class. At the very least, I want him to be so popular that, even if he’s unelectable, he still lights a fire under the conservaDems who’ve been too timid to buck the system. That would be awesome. But none of it’s going to happen if you and me and him don’t take black activists seriously.

So this week, I’m going to be sharing quite a few posts I’ve been reading that have helped me understand the situation, why things are happening, and what Bernie needs to do in order to win. I hope you’ll listen to these voices. They’re telling you how Bernie can win. And that’s what you want, right?

Start here, please, with a piece by Zoe Samudzi that should answer many of your questions and objections. Continue reading “Why Bernie Sanders Could Lose – And How You Can Help Him Win”

Why Bernie Sanders Could Lose – And How You Can Help Him Win

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To

Dear Bernie Sanders Fan Who is Outraged! Offended! by the Black Women Who Interrupted Him:

You’ve been all over my Facebook timeline with a wide variety of claims. As a fellow white person, I must beg you: please stop defending Bernie for a few minutes and listen to what people of color are saying. Look, I’ve even gone to the trouble of collecting a bunch of convenient links for you. And it’s important you listen up, because you know who’s going to make Bernie lose the Democratic nomination?

You.

Yes, you.

Okay, Bernie might fail to shut up and listen himself, and torpedo his own chances, but if all of you band together to make him understand he’d best be listening or else, we won’t have to worry about that. He’ll incorporate racial justice and excellent ideas on how to achieve it into his already awesome platform, he’ll make it a centerpoint of his campaign, and we’ll all be absolutely golden. (Look! He’s already started!)

But you’re the ones who will ensure he loses, if you keep trying to shush people whose lives depend on making this old white man understand what they need from him. You’re the ones who will sow division and disharmony in the ranks. I’ll tell you a secret about people of color I’ve learned by listening to them: They don’t need us, children. We have failed them time and time and time again. We need them to win. So I’ll appeal to that need to see another Democrat in office (a need I very much share), if I can’t appeal to your innate sense of justice and your progressive wish for the downtrodden to no longer be down and trodden: if you fail to listen to these voices that are telling you and your favorite candidate exactly what they need, you are the reason Bernie Sanders will lose.

It’s within your power to ensure we all become one big, happy progressive family.

So let’s lend an ear, shall we?* Even when – especially when – people are speaking in anger, let’s listen. Let’s listen like Seattle for Bernie Sanders’s admin did, right here. Continue reading “Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To”

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To

Maddow’s Mount St. Helens Metaphor for the Iraq War

A lot of you pointed me toward Rachel Maddow’s segment wherein she compares the aftermath of the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens with the aftermath of the Iraq War. Even if you hate politics and are sick to death of all mention of the war, watch the beginning. She did a marvelous job narrating the eruption. I tend to avoid talking heads on teevee, but Maddow is an artist as well as a kick-ass-take-names-and-pwn-them-all pundit, so she’s more than a bit of all right.

I love the way she begins the piece:

It started as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake, and a large earthquake is almost never a good thing. But when it happens one mile beneath a huge, active volcano, it can be the start of something that feels a little bit like the end of the world.

And really, it did. All of us who watched that ash cloud consume the sky and swallow the day, whether in person or on our television screens, felt that. There are few things more ominous than an eruption cloud.

Now, some of you speculated that she was getting her facts from my posts, but I can assure you she didn’t. Continue reading “Maddow’s Mount St. Helens Metaphor for the Iraq War”

Maddow’s Mount St. Helens Metaphor for the Iraq War

The Unstoppable Force of Huxley, Darwin, and Frances Power Cobbe

Reading this book on Victorian England’s marriage laws is slow going, because I keep running into fascinating women. Mary Lyndon Shanley quotes a snippet of their work, and then I end up haring off after the source and promptly getting immersed in that instead. I made it to Chapter Two, and I did intend to get all the way to Three, but then I ran into Frances Power Cobbe. And I had to read her article “Criminals, idiots, women and minors” in its entirety. It is so full of good things that I will probably quote from it even more. The woman was a caution. She may have been an anti-vivisectionist, but she completely eviscerates the laws against married women owning their own property. She impales her opponents’ arguments on their own logic before she finishes them off with several master strokes. It’s just amazeballs.

Since we’re just past Darwin Day, I figured I’d share this bit with you. It seems appropriate. Continue reading “The Unstoppable Force of Huxley, Darwin, and Frances Power Cobbe”

The Unstoppable Force of Huxley, Darwin, and Frances Power Cobbe