Friday, September 22, 2017

We Can Have All The Laws, But… (Part 2)

Even with all the laws and regulations can’t stop hate.

It seems like all the bigots are crawling out from under the rocks now that the current administration has rescinded the protections of Title IX in schools.
Transgender students told to leave South Glens Falls school bus
Post Star
By Michael Gott
September 21, 2017

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Two transgender high school students were told to get off a South Glens Falls school bus on Wednesday after they say the driver became upset because they wanted to sit on the side of the bus with the boys.

A school official said the district regretted the incident, which was recorded on video and posted on Facebook, and said it never should have happened.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton called the matter “unfortunate” and said it was not handled appropriately at all. The students should not be segregated by sex on a bus, he said.
For some reason the bus driver segregated the students by gender on the bus and that is when the trouble began.
Leo Washington, 16, and 15-year-old (Aaren) Layla Sweenor both identify as neither male nor female, which is referred to as trans nonbinary. (Sweenor said people know her by both names and it was how her email was signed.) They wanted to sit on the boys side.

“Before he started the bus, (the bus driver) gave us this weird look and he told us to get to the girls side of the bus and we didn’t move because we felt more comfortable where we were sitting. When we tried to explain it to him, he started yelling at us to move to the other side of the bus,” Washington said.
The bus driver said that he segregated the students by gender to keep the peace on the bus; the school system’s superintendent said “wanted to create some type of order on the bus” But the driver sure went at it the wrong way and he probably violated Title IX in the process.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Politic is a lose, lose proposition, no matter what you do you lose and that is especially true at the state level. Connecticut is caught between a rock and a hard place, it all boils down to whom do you want to squeeze, the rich, or the workers, or education, or the towns & cities?

The Republican and Democratic budgets suck!

The three proposed budgets do not balance, the Connecticut Mirror says…
Despite their many disagreements over how the next state budget should look, Republican and Democratic legislators have one key element in common
Neither of their respective plans would spare Connecticut from grappling with another massive budget deficit two years from now.

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis says the two-year budget crafted by Republican legislators and passed in the House and Senate late last week would balance the state’s books this fiscal year and next — wiping out a $3.5 billion deficit in the process
But that same plan, unless adjusted, would run $3.31 billion in the red between 2019 and 2021.

And the alternative budget developed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democratic legislative leadership would fare even worse, with a potential shortfall of $3.58 billion.

In other words, when Connecticut’s next governor arrives at the Capitol in January 2019, that person and the General Assembly effectively would face the same challenge that has confounded Malloy and legislators for the past eight months. And that’s after taking into account the wide array of spending cuts and tax hikes both sides have built into their latest budget plans.
You just cannot balance the budget without some type on new sources of revenue.
Malloy has said he will veto the Republican plan, citing several problems. The governor says that budget would:
  • Unilaterally reduce employee pension benefits after mid-2027 and reap some of the savings now, reducing pension contributions by $321 million across this fiscal year and next.
  • Impose excessive cuts on public colleges and universities.
  • Cut income tax relief for the working poor by $150 million.
  • Provide insufficient aid to Hartford to avert insolvency.
  • And require the governor to find $260 million more in undefined savings after the budget is in force than the Democratic plan would demand.
So when the Republicans say there budget doesn’t have any tax increase they are full of… well baloney. According to the Hartford Courant some of the things that the Republican budget does away with are.
While the Republicans rejected Democrats’ proposals to institute new or higher taxes on cellphone plans, Uber and Lyft rides, restaurant meals, cigarettes and vacation homes, the GOP is calling for other changes that could result in less money in people’s pockets.

For instance, proposed changes to the earned income tax credit would result in less money for the working poor. An increase in the fee for criminal background checks could cost businesses more. And the elimination of an exemption to the admissions tax at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the XL Center and other venues would cost concert-goers and minor league baseball fans a collective $2 million in fiscal 2019 and another $2 million the following year.

The Republican plan calls for $20 million in unspecified fee increases in fiscal 2019 to cover administrative expenses. It also would generate millions by raising the state’s hospital tax in a complicated maneuver that is designed to bring in more federal funding, with the promise that some of that money would be sent back to the hospitals.
So how do you define tax increase? Me, I define it by having to pay more to the government. Increased usage fees I define as tax increases, losing earned income tax credit is a tax increase.

So where do you get new funding sources?

Personally I would like to see an increase in usage fees such as hunting & fishing licenses, professional fees and increases in cigarette and liquor taxes. I would like to see tolls (but the locations of the tolls would have to be made so it didn’t pick any locations. i.e. just at the borders), and I would like to see marijuana legalized and taxed.

I also think part of the problem is in Washington as they cut grants to states. The Republican rush to cut the taxes on millionaires and billionaires is causing federal budget deficits to increase and plus the drastic increase in military spending is going squeeze the states even more as the Congressional Republicans move to cut spending and funds to the states to pay for the tax breaks on the rich and increase in military spending.

There is not easy answer, with the move by Congress toward “state’s rights” states will be battling each other on a race to the bottom.

Many people say that government should be run like a business.

I say it is not a business. It is a government that have certain duties and responsibilities to the people.

How do you put food assistance in a profit/loss statement? Are there certain number of acceptable deaths due to starvation?

What about budgeting for hurricane relief? Or snow removing? How do you run that like a business?

You can only make so many cuts and then people start dying. What is an acceptable ratio for the Department of Social Service case workers to clients? How about the roads, how do you put them in a profit/loss statement?

Do we want parks? What about libraries, do we need them?

Government is not a business.

We Can Have All The Laws, But… (Part 1)

They cannot stop the heartless.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
However, when the president gives the green light to hate, laws are not enough. Washington state has laws to protect us…
Friend of transgender woman assaulted on Capitol Hill: "It's destroyed us a bit"
By KOMO News Staff
September 22nd 2017

SEATTLE -- Seattle police are trying to identify three men after a transgender woman was assaulted at a restaurant on Capitol Hill.

The assault happened early Sunday morning inside Rancho Bravo on East Pine Street, the victim reported to officers. The assault her bruised and in stitches.

"It was my birthday last week, so she wanted to take me out," said close friend Chris Ferrentino, who was with the victim at the time of the assault.
When they sat down at the restaurant she noticed a person taking photos of her,
His friend, who is a transgender woman, soon noticed some guys were taking photos of her on a cell phone for no reason and questioning her gender.

"And she politely asked them not to. And then it just escalated," Ferrentino said.

The victim told officers she confronted the men and they exchanged words, according to the police report.

The next thing Ferrentino knew, one of the men punched his friend so hard in the face that she fell to the ground, he said.
The police are looking for the suspects and are investigating it as a bias crime; they have a description of the suspects and their car. Hopefully there are surveillance videos of the car and can get the license plate numbers from the video. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Human Rights Should Never Be Put To A Vote

The founders of our Constitution realized that there are certain thing that should not be put to a vote, they saw that the majority should not be able to oppress minorities by a popular vote. They created protected classes such as religion and over time the states have also expanded the rights of their citizens.
Montana must rewrite transgender bathroom ballot description
SF Gate
By Amy Beth Hanson, Associated Press
September 20, 2017

 HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court ordered the state attorney general to rewrite ballot language for an initiative that would require people to use public restrooms and locker rooms designated for their gender at birth.

The court ruled Tuesday in a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, saying the language did not include the initiative's specific definition of "sex" and was otherwise vague.

The justices agreed with the ACLU that the ballot language does not specify that the law would apply to local government buildings and public education facilities and does not include how much it would cost them to comply.

It also isn't clear in the language that people could sue the state for emotional or mental distress if they encounter a transgender person in a public bathroom and the facility had not taken reasonable steps to prevent it, the court said.
And who is behind this attack on us?
The conservative Montana Family Foundation has until June to gather nearly 26,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. State lawmakers rejected a proposed referendum on the issue this year.

Foundation President Jeff Lazloffy said the organization is happy with the decision and that the issues raised by the ACLU were "fairly minor." But he said it may not be possible to determine the financial effects of the initiative.
Let’s hope that this ballot initiative will never get on the ballot.

Judges Interpret The Law Not The Bible

Under the Trump administration it is the other way around, the administration seems to be applying a religious test to its judicial appointments.
Report: Trump's judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of "Satan's plan"
Jeff Mateer, one of President Donald Trump's latest judicial nominees and a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office, said transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" in a May 2015 speech, CNN reported. 
Texas Tribune
By Cassandra Pollock
September 20, 2017

Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office whom President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" and argued same-sex marriage would open the floodgates for "disgusting" forms of marriage, according to CNN.

"In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she's a girl who thinks she's a boy or a boy who thinks she's a girl, it's probably that, a boy who thinks she's a girl," Mateer said in a May 2015 speech first reported by CNN, referencing a Colorado lawsuit that involved a transgender girl's parents suing her school for prohibiting her from using the restroom she preferred. "I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on."

In the same speech, Mateer also criticized the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage as taking the nation back to a time of "debauchery."
The Republicans stopped appointing federal judges under president Obama and as a result there are over a hundred federal judicial openings and now they the Republicans are in control of Congress and the presidency the juggernaut is in full gears to appoint judges that are anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights, and believe in special rights for religious bigots.
Mateer was one of five Texas judicial nominations Trump made last week and among two with ties to the First Liberty Institute. Trump's other Texas nominations were:
  • Matthew Kacsmaryk, a deputy general counsel to the First Liberty Institute, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Walter David Counts III, a United States Magistrate Judge, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
  • Fernando Rodriguez, who currently works as a field office director for International Justice Mission in the Dominican Republic, to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Karen Gren Scholer, a partner at Carter Scholer PLLC in Dallas, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Jeff Mateer, tapped by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2016 amid a staffing shakeup, has built his career as a tenacious champion of religious expression in the public square. [Full story]
  • Before his recent nominations, the Trump administration faced 17 legal vacancies in Texas. [Full story]
Be afraid, be very afraid!

Federal judges are appointed for life!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finally, At Long Last

The medical profession is starting to come about and realizing that they have been wrong about intersex surgery on babies.

We are so hung up with the gender of a baby that the first question usually asked is “Is it a boy or a girl?” There is so much stigma in a babies gender that answering “We don’t know.” is not an option.
Why Intersex Patients Need the Truth and Doctors Need to Listen
As an intersex woman and a doctor, I’ve seen the dangerous stigma the US medical establishment attaches to our community.
The Nation
By Katharine B. Dalke
September 12, 2017

When I was 22, I sat in the kitchen and did something I never imagined I would do: discussed my medical history with my grandfather. Tears stung my eyes as we talked openly about a secret my parents had fiercely protected me from for years: I’m intersex.

“You must be mad as hell,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

In my case, “intersex” means that I am a woman with XY chromosomes. My condition, called Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, meant that my body did not respond to male hormones, and so I developed an externally typical female body. When I was 6, I had routine surgery for a hernia in my groin. During the procedure, instead of ovaries and a uterus, my surgeon found undescended testes.
This was the legacy of the now-discredited “blank-slate” theory of gender that gained traction in the 1960s. For intersex children, the thinking went, “If we make this child look and function like a ‘normal’ boy or girl, and never tell them otherwise, everything will be fine.” Although we now understand that gender identity and expression is informed by a combination of nurture and nature, the importance of an intersex child’s genitals’ being surgically altered remains the bedrock of an ongoing medical paradigm.
The problem is that gender is in the brain, no matter how much you change the body, the brain knows you true gender.

A liberal think tank, The Palm Center came out with this policy paper… Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants and in the paper they say,
Fortunately, a consensus is emerging that concludes that children born with atypical genitalia should not have genitoplasty performed on them absent a need to ensure physical functioning. Government agencies in Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Malta, as well as human rights groups, including the World Health Organization, have examined this issue and found that these irreversible medical procedures, which are performed before individuals can articulate whether they wish to undergo such surgery, are not necessary to ensure healthy physical functioning, and that such surgery is not justified when performed on infants. These bodies have called for a moratorium on cosmetic infant genitoplasty so as to allow individuals with a DSD to have substantive input into decisions affecting their own identity and appearance.
Surgery was not always done on intersex babies, it was like the doctors came up with a procedure and looked for areas where they can do the surgery and they found intersex babies and sold a bill of goods on parents when they were most vulnerable.
Performing cosmetic infant genitoplasty was not always the default practice. Before the middle of the twentieth century, most children born with genitalia that did not fit the male-female binary norm were not subjected to surgery. Beginning in the 1950s, however, an era when pressure to conform to social norms was often unyielding, the standard treatment protocol shifted. Infants born with atypical genitalia were subjected to surgical procedures such as clitoral reduction, vaginoplasty, gonadectomy, and hypospadias repair, primarily to “normalize” gendered appearance, not to improve function.
And we can also thank doctors like Dr. Money for pushing their pet theories that gender was a social construct and not an intrinsic part of our brains.

Hopefully, "corrective" surgeries will be delayed until intersex people can decide for themselves what they want.

Stand In Support

When we protest for trans rights we are thought of having an axe-to-grind but when an ally speaks up they do it from their heart.
When football players join in to mock transgender people, Kansas high school students protest with a sit-in
Washington Post
By Cindy Boren
September 20, 2017

Holding signs that said “trans rights = human rights” and “I shouldn’t have to be cis to be safe,” students at a Kansas high school cut classes and held a sit-in Monday, protesting an extracurricular text conversation that included slurs about transgender people and involved more than 200 students, including football players.

More than 100 students refused to budge in the Lawrence High rotunda, citing derogatory comments and slurs that compared transgender issues to mental disorders and asked, “if a [slur for transgender person] hits you, is it still hitting a woman or no?” Yet another stated that the gender listed on a person’s birth certificate should determine a person’s identity. One issue being protested: Football players who were in on the conversation were allowed to play in a game Friday night. That decision, sophomore Elliot Bradley told the Lawrence Journal-World, led students to believe that “LHS is valuing their players over their minority students.” So Etana Parks and Jonavon Shepard, co-presidents of Total Equality Alliance at the school, organized the sit-in.
Students decided to hold the sit-in because of what they perceived to be administrators’ reluctance to take action for something that happened outside school and was unaffiliated with clubs or staff. “The entire protest,” senior Rollin Love told the Kansan, “was purposed around the inaction we as students saw from the administration in dealing with transphobia and discrimination going beyond the groupchat.”

Administrators spent the day interviewing students, and the protests ended peacefully at the end of the school day.
Why does it seem like that if you are a football or basketball player you can get away with murder as long as you are good on the playing field? We have a new idol that we worship and put up on a pedestal, the athlete.

I want to thank all those who came out to protest for us.