Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sad News

Yesterday was a sad day for trans people in these troubling times, the state of Idaho passes two horrible laws against us.
Idaho governor signs two anti-transgender bills into law
By Andy Rose and Hollie Silverman, CNN
March 31, 2020

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed two anti-transgender bills into law Monday.

One measure bans transgender girls from playing on girls' and women's sports teams, while the other prohibits transgender people from changing their gender on Idaho birth certificates.
Little's office did not comment on the laws.

House Bill 500, also known as the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, says "athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex." The measure says that a "dispute" about an athlete's gender can only be resolved by examining "the student's reproductive anatomy, genetic makeup, or normal endogenously 19 produced testosterone levels."

Little also signed into law Monday House Bill 509, which prohibits transgender people from obtaining a new birth certificate with their gender identity on it.
This is atrocious.

The Republicans have tried hundreds of time to pass and they finally found a state to pass it, hopefully this does open up a flood of new bills in other Republican states.

Southern Poverty Law Center just came out with their new list of hate groups and there is an increase in their numbers, they attribute it to the Trump administration… no big surprise.
Anti-LGBTQ hate groups on the rise in U.S., report warns
In its annual report, the Southern Poverty Law Center largely attributes this 43 percent increase to the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.
NBC News
By Julie Moreau
March 30, 2020

The number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups soared 43 percent last year, rising from 49 groups in 2018 to 70 in 2019, according to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Groups that vilify the LGBTQ community, in fact, represented the fastest-growing sector among hate groups in 2019,” the report states. The SPLC found the surge in anti-LGBTQ groups occurred amid an overall decrease in hate groups last year, which dropped to 940 from an all-time high of 1,020 in 2018.

The report said the surge was “possibly fueled by continued anti-LGBTQ sentiment and policy emanating from government officials,” largely attributing it to the Trump administration.

“Anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with the Trump administration, and — after years of civil rights progress and growing acceptance among the broader American public — anti-LGBTQ sentiment within the Republican Party is rising,” the report states. “Though Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of dismantling federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people.”
The Republican party should be labeled as a “hate group.”

The SPLC defines a “hate group” as…
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as “an organization that — based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities — has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Most of the growth in new anti-LGBTQ hate groups, SPLC’s report found, comes from grassroots churches.
One of the best known is the Family Research Council, which was founded in 1983 and hosts the annual Value Voters Summit for conservative politicians and thousands of participants each year. At last year's summit, President Donald Trump repeated his opposition to the Equality Act, a bill passed by the House that would extend federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
FRC and the Heritage Foundation have been picking the federal judges for Trump, their common trait is that the nominees all were anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and pro-Bible. And these judges are appointed   for life!

And of course we are being blamed for COVID-19
Amid COVID-19 Spread, Influential D.C. Pastor Says ‘God’s Wrath’ Caused By LGBTQ People
Ralph Drollinger, who leads a Bible study for Trump’s cabinet members, claims homosexuality, environmentalism and atheism are signs of God’s wrath.
Huffington Post
By Carol Kuruvilla
March 27, 2020

An evangelical pastor who holds regular Bible studies on Capitol Hill for members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet is suggesting that the crisis America is now experiencing is proof of God’s disapproval of LGBTQ Americans.

In a Bible study he published last weekend, Ralph Drollinger pointed to several signs he believes are evidence of God’s displeasure ― including “a proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality” and the “religion of environmentalism.” Ultimately, he says, these groups are “largely responsible” for God’s wrath on America today.

“Whenever an individual or corporate group of individuals violate the inviolate precepts of God’s Word, he, she, they or the institution will suffer the respective consequences,” Drollinger wrote last Saturday. “Most assuredly America is facing this form of God’s judgment.”

In New York City Central Park they have erected field hospitals to help with Mt. Sinai Hospital… sounds good right?

But not so fast see who donated the field hospitals.
Be a good Samaritan: N.Y. lawmaker calls out minister for anti-LGBTQ remarks
New York Daily News
By Denis Slattery
March 30, 2020

Sen. Brad Hoylman wants to make sure Franklin Graham practices what he preaches: tolerance and acceptance.

Hoylman (D-Manhattan) put the evangelical Christian preacher on notice Monday, warning the notoriously anti-LGBTQ pastor that his Samaritan’s Purse charity’s coronavirus field hospital operation in Central Park better be open to all New Yorkers.

“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should Franklin Graham," said Hoylman, who is gay. “It’s unacceptable that a New Yorker infected with COVID-19 could be subjected to discriminatory treatment from an organization whose leader calls us ‘immoral’ and ‘detestable.’ ”
The site will be run in conjunction with the Mount Sinai Health System and take overflow patients dealing with the deadly COVID-19 disease.
This bears watching to see if they adhere to nondiscrimination policy or if we will have to put up with preaching by the staff.

It also bears watching because Mt. Sinai is the home of “Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery.”

It is a jungle out there for us so beware,
Fenway Health report: LGBTQ community and COVID-19
By Sean Cahill
March 27, 2020

Everyone is at risk of infection in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But history shows that people who are marginalized, including LGBTQ people and people living with HIV, will suffer more than the general population.

Due to the impact of stigma and minority stress on overall health, LGBTQ people are more likely to have some of the underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes that could increase their vulnerability if they are exposed to the novel coronavirus. They’re also more likely to engage in some of the behaviors, such as smoking and vaping, that increase the risk of infection by increasing the possibility of transmitting the virus from hand to mouth.
It is a scary time we live in and being trans exposes us to even more dangers.

We now have a greater chance of needing our healthcare system and the question is how will we be treated.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Too Depressed

Today I am not in much mood to write anything.

The past 18 days I have only been off my property one three times and well it is getting to me. Each day I tried to do something different but I have run out of different things to do.

Right now I am in a comment war with someone on the forum for my health problem. This individual is a Trump fan.

He lives in Texas probably out in the middle of no place and he sees this as all hype…

The thing if you look at the polls something 80 percent of the Republicans think that it is a news media and Democrat plot to get a Democrat elected this fall. The comments on the forum this guy is making contradicts even what he is saying a couple of sentences earlier. The states west of the Mississippi River and east of California have very little infections, COVID-19 is mostly a coastal phenomenon and large cities in the mid-west. People in rural Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Idaho are going what virus?

So those who are Trump fans see it like he is saying, it is all a hoax. These Democrat governors are all making it up to make Trump look bad. When Trump says that the eastern Democrat governors don’t need all of those ventilators, he is playing to his base and they believe him. Some Republicans are even holding COVID-19 parties.

I am depressed over all those who look but don’t see.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Privilege In The Age Of COVID-19

I have privilege, I have a lot of privilege. I am white, was AMAB, and I am educated.

All of those add in my favor for surviving the plague. If you look though history you will find that it is true throughout history.
‘White-Collar Quarantine’ Over Virus Spotlights Class Divide
Child care options, internet access and extra living space leave a gulf between rich and poor in coping with disruptions to school and work.
The New York Times
By Noam Scheiber, Nelson D. Schwartz and Tiffany Hsu
March 27, 2020

For about $80,000, an individual can purchase a six-month plan with Private Health Management, which helps people with serious medical issues navigate the health care system.

Such a plan proved to be a literal lifesaver as the coronavirus pandemic descended. The firm has helped clients arrange tests in Los Angeles for the coronavirus and obtained oxygen concentrators for high-risk patients.
In some respects, the pandemic is an equalizer: It can afflict princes and paupers alike, and no one who hopes to stay healthy is exempt from the strictures of social distancing. But the American response to the virus is laying bare class divides that are often camouflaged — in access to health care, child care, education, living space, even internet bandwidth.
If you look at a map of the infection you will notice something… the virus is attacking high density populations.
Coronavirus COVID-19
The rural areas have very little exposure, they’re lacking the population density needed to sustain the spread of the virus.
Counties without coronavirus are mostly rural, poor
Associated Press By Morgan Lee and Nicky Forster
March 29, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As the coronavirus rages across the United States, mainly in large urban areas, more than a third of U.S. counties have yet to report a single positive test result for COVID-19 infections, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.

Data compiled by John Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Of the counties without positive tests, 85% are in rural areas — from predominantly white communities in Appalachia and the Great Plains to majority Hispanic and Native American stretches of the American Southwest — that generally have less everyday contact between people that can help transmit the virus.
When it comes to housing the suburbs and rural areas mostly are single family housing and in the city it is mostly multifamily housing. When I take out the garbage or get the mail I just walk down to the curb alone but in the city just getting the mail you have to walk down a common area.

The Times article list some other factors also determine the likelihood of getting the virus.
“This is a white-collar quarantine,” said Howard Barbanel, a Miami-based entrepreneur who owns a wine company. “Average working people are bagging and delivering goods, driving trucks, working for local government.”
Still, a kind of pandemic caste system is rapidly developing: the rich holed up in vacation properties; the middle class marooned at home with restless children; the working class on the front lines of the economy, stretched to the limit by the demands of work and parenting, if there is even work to be had.
Then there is also this…
Long before the new coronavirus, another kind of equalizer was being promoted: the internet. For decades, tech evangelists cited the democratizing power of the World Wide Web, which they said would bring high-quality services to strata of society that had previously gone without them.
Still, the technology that makes these services accessible remains out of reach for many Americans. While data on internet access is inexact, the most recent Federal Communications Commission figures, from 2017, showed that 30 percent of households did not have even a slow broadband connection.
I read that in Connecticut some of the internet providers open up their WiFi Hotspots to the public and in Hartford K-12 but if you are lucky to live in Hartford I heard that they are giving out Chromebooks to students.

Then there is food insecurity. Many students counted on the school lunch program for their main meal and now with the schools closed they finding it hard to get enough food. Some towns and cities are distributing the food to students at pickup points in various locations around the cities or towns.
In other cases, the rich aren’t going east or west, but down. Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S, a Texas maker of safe rooms and bunkers that range in price from $40,000 to several million dollars, said he had added a second shift of 15 workers to handle the flood of new orders, mostly for underground bunkers.
It give a different meaning to hunkering down… bunkering down.

Another inequality is health insurance, the have and have nots when it comes to health insurance is the difference between going bankrupt or not.

Most people get their health insurance through work and with the numbers of unemployed growing beyond sight they will no longer have health insurance when they need it the most. Even though they will have COBRA they will now have to pick up the insurance premiums and the “Catch 22” is that it comes at the time when they lost their job and cannot afford the premiums.

I will continue fighting for a living wage, universal health insurance, and our human rights.

I have privilege and I hope that I don’t abuse it.

Update 4/2/20 3:30 PM

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday 9: Everybody's Somebody's Fool

Sam’s Saturday 9: Everybody's Somebody's Fool (1960)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

None of this week's questions mention the corona virus. However, if you want to share how you're feeling about Covid-19 at this extraordinary time, please feel free to do so.

1) Next Wednesday is April Fool's Day. Do you have any pranks planned? Do you expect to fall victim to any April Fool's Day mischief?
Not this April 1st I will be in “social distancing.”
Hopefully we are all hunkered down.

2) When she was a kid, Crazy Sam would fool her mom by putting bubble wrap under the bath map so there would be a POP! when her mother stepped on it. When you encounter bubble wrap, do you always indulge in a pop or two?
I can’t stop popping the bubbles.
One time at work I put a strip of bubble wrap down on the floor and I sat in my chair and went zipping over the bubble wrap and it sounded like a machine gun… pop, pop, pop, pop...

3) While we're using this song to celebrate April Fool's Day, it was written about another subject entirely: heartbreak. The lyrics tell us that at some point, we each get our hearts broken by someone who doesn't love us as much as we love them. Do you think that's true?
Yes. It has happened to me.

4) In 1962, this week's featured Connie Francis published a book aimed at teens called For Every Young Heart. It addressed topics like going steady and schoolwork vs. social life. Do you ever read advice columns or self-help books?
Well I think most people I do glace at Dear Abby every morning. More for entertainment than for advice.

5) Connie Francis can play the accordion. Sam has never met anyone adept at this complicated instrument -- not even in her high school band. What about you? Do you play the accordion, or do you know anyone who can?
Thank goodness no.
There is a big Polish community here and at weddings there usually a group of accordion playing polkas.

6) In 1960, when this record was popular, Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Have you read it?
Yes, in school and I didn’t like it and I didn’t like the movie.

7) Also in 1960, one of Life magazine's best-selling issues had Sophia Loren on the cover. At that time, she was an international film star and considered one of the world's most beautiful women. Who do you consider one of 2020's most beautiful women?
Who knows, if my mother was still alive I would say that tit was her.

8) A 1960 issue of Vogue acknowledged how expensive it had become to maintain a fashionable wardrobe and asked, "If you were to buy only one thing, what would it be?" If it's good enough for Vogue, it's good enough for Saturday 9: If you could purchase only one new article of clothing for spring 2020, what would you buy?
A bathing suit with a wrap-around skirt.

9) Random question: When someone makes you really angry, are you more likely to respond with stony silence or a big noise?
Silence as my blood pressure rises.

In the town in Connecticut where I live the virus just got a foot hold, we just had our first cases... 9, it doesn't sound like many but we are a small suburb town and New York City is only about 60 miles away with 26,697 confirmed cases. I'm nervous.

I have been hibernating, I only been to the grocery store, and I have been walking the park. This weekend I want get take-out pizza tonight and seafood tomorrow night. The weather was nice yesterday and I read out on the deck.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Support Groups

Everywhere you look you see events canceled including peer support groups,but there are other types of places where we go for companionship.
How the disappearance of Cambridge pubs threatened the city's only transgender support group
The Diamonds are the only transgender support group in the city and their story parallels that of Cambridge's disappearing pubs. Learn its history through newcomer Gem, as she explains why these lost venues were so important
Cambridge News
ByDebbie Luxon
25 MAR 2020

The Diamonds are Cambridge's only transgender support group and they've been quietly making history in the corner of pubs across the city for the last 20 years.

It's still running today, however they first met up at a time when transgender people weren't met with the acceptance that is more common today.

It was a time before reliable information and support was readily available online, and before many had access to language that would help them understand their identites.

Coming to terms with a new gender can be an incredibly isolating experience, but for those in Cambridge the Diamonds were there for vital and life saving solidarity.
The article is about losing the pub they used to meet at as a result of bigotry in the community.
The impact of these pubs disappearing may not be obvious, but for the Diamonds, it meant whether or not they felt safe. Transphobic attacks have risen every year since 2015 in Cambridge, and as one of the most vulnerable groups in our community, having pub owners on their side is vital.
The number of places where trans people can meet socially is deceasing and I notice also that the LGBTQ+ community centers hold a number of drag show annually but they don’t have many events for the woman.

I am not a fan of drag shows, it is not that I don’t like drag it just that my cup of tea are board game nights or maybe coffee shop with folk music.

The senior centers that hold a LGBTQ+ events find that mostly women show up for their events and one of the thing that we have been talking about was having a coffee shop with music at the senior centers. The younger set like their loud music and flashing lights while many of the older set like to relax and have good conversation with friends.

You know support groups can mean a formal peer supported groups or it can mean a quite evening out with friends to a drop-in center or a coffee shop.

There was a coffee shop on Capitol Ave, I forgot the name of the shop but it was where you could stop by have a coffee and talk to some friends. They had a shelf of games and some of the table tops had game board tops to play chess or checkers.

I go out once a month to a game night at “an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists and their work, facilitates the creation of new work and creatively engages, builds and informs audiences and communities.” and I would add a space to build communities. I go with about eight women, most of whom are lesbians, to play board games.

It is a relaxing evening out having fun with others and that is what we need more of.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Times, They Are A Changin’

Under the Obama administration we made great headway in gaining our rights. The courts ruled in our favor, the Department of Justice said that Title VII and Title IX covered us. To paraphrase one federal appeals court judge, he said just like being discriminated against for changing your religion is still religious discrimination so is changing your gender sex disdcrimination.

However, the Trump administration has taken an anti-LGBTQ+ stance.
DOJ Says Title IX Doesn't Cover Transgender Status of High School Athletes
The Justice Department has weighed in on a Connecticut case that addresses whether transgender students can take part in girl's sports.
By Robert Storace
March 25, 2020

Saying the federal government “has a significant interest in the proper interpretation of Title IX,” the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a case that could decide whether transgender athletes can compete in girl’s high school sports in Connecticut.

In its 13-page brief, the Justice Department on Tuesday took aim at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the primary defendant in a lawsuit in which three high school girls claim they are at a disadvantage in competing with transgender athletes in sports such as track and field.
This is an 180 degree turn from the Obama administration.
Nina Pirrotti, a partner with New Haven-based Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, said the Trump administration often gets involved in litigation across the country siding against the interest of the LGBTQ community.

“The broader issue is that they are using Title IX as a sword, rather than a shield. It’s about trying to marginalize one of the most vulnerable segments of our population, which are transgender people,” Pirrotti said,

Pirrotti continued: “Everything the Trump administration has done with respect to Title IX is consistent with this approach. It’s chipping away at Title IX protections and that includes transgender people. This narrows the class of people who can seek protection under Title IX.”
And Trump and the Republicans have packed the courts with judges who are anti-LGBTQ+. In the past  the amicus curiae briefs from the Obama administration were favorable, now they are all negative and relying on antiquated 1950s belief that only chromosomes determine gender.

And here is the kicker…
The Justice Department’s brief was signed by Matthew Donnelly, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division.
The  Civil Rights Division has become an anti-civil rights department narrowing the definition of civil rights to just “religious freedom.”

Justice Dept. Religious Freedom Training Spurs Concern Among Lawyers
Some department lawyers expressed worries that the workshops were held to teach ways to limit civil rights protections for gay and transgender people.
The New York Times
By Katie Benner
March 13, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department this week hosted training for its lawyers on religious liberty laws as part of Attorney General William P. Barr’s push to prioritize religious freedom cases, but the workshops prompted concern among some career lawyers that they were being educated on ways to blunt civil rights protections for gay and transgender people.

Lawyers who worked at the Justice Department during the past three administrations could not recall a similar week of training sessions on any topic that were open to all employees, regardless of which section they worked in.

The training week was part of an ongoing campaign at the department to bolster ​its work to​ protect religious freedom, which is regularly described by top leaders as the first right protected by the First Amendment​, a department official said in response to a request for comment.
This is just a tip of the iceberg.

Mark my words… you are going to see this so called “religious freedom” exemption not only applied against LGBTQ+ people, but also against race, religion, and marital status.
It is against my religion… to allow blacks in my store!
It is against my religion… to allow an unmarried couple to stay in my apartment building
It is against my religion… to hire a Jew.
You can justify all of those because somewhere in the Bible you can find something banning all those.
Defenders of slavery noted that in the Bible, Abraham had slaves. They point to the Ten Commandments, noting that "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, ... nor his manservant, nor his maidservant." In the New Testament, Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master, and, although slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, Jesus never spoke out against it.
The focus on us because we are the low fruit, we are easy picking.

The Supreme Court will issue a ruling in June on the cases they heard in October on Titles VII IX cases, my prediction is that Chief Justice Roberts will be the swing vote and he will vote in favor of an inclusive Civil Rights Act, not an exclusive law. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Being Counted.

I completed the Census yesterday and you should also fill out the Census questionnaire.

When we were trying to pass the non-discrimination bill for us the most common question was “Well how many trans people live in Connecticut?” and all we could do was shrug our shoulders.

There was no definitive answer to their question because there never was any accurate counting of trans people. When the first National Transgender Survey came out we now had some answers to the question about the needs of our community.

The 2020 Census originally had questions about us, but the questions were stripped out by the Trump administration.
2020 census: What LGBTQ Americans should know
The decennial survey won’t inquire about individuals’ sexual orientation and gender identity, but it will count cohabiting same-sex couples for the first time.
By Tim Fitzsimons
March 24, 2020

As households across the United States start to receive their 2020 census packets, LGBTQ advocacy groups are ramping up efforts to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people living in the country are counted and understand what’s at stake when it comes to the decennial survey.

“We want LGBTQ folks to know that census data are used to allocate political power,” said Meghan Maury, policy director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, which runs the Queer the Census campaign. The drive, formed just before the 2010 census, works to raise LGBTQ awareness and participation in the population count.
Under the Obama administration there were questions pertained to us such as sexual orientation and gender identity but they were removed from the questions. However, some questions about marriage remained.
The 2020 census asks respondents about their relationship to the person with whom they share their home, and now includes “‘opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse,” “same-sex husband/wife/spouse,” “opposite-sex unmarried partner” and “same-sex unmarried partner.” In previous surveys, the options were “husband and wife” or “unmarried partner.”
According to NBC News’ reporting from 2017, LGBTQ advocates pushed to add an explicit question about sexual orientation and gender identity, and they briefly rejoiced when a draft of the census was leaked in 2017 showing such a question. But soon after, the Census Bureau issued a statement saying that the question had been a “mistake.”
Why we need to be counted.

Mainly it boils down to money. But it also effects Congressional representation… how many House districts would represent Connecticut, we could lose a seat in the House. Funding for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Ryan White funding for those who have AIDS/HIV, and public housing.

The questions would also help to answer questions that we get from legislators when we try to pass needed legislation.

The Census form that I filled out yesterday was the short form, it just asked who lived at your address and a few demographic questions.

Please fill out your Census forms, it could mean a lot to you and Connecticut.

Day 14 of Social Isolation… er… Social Distancing

Same as all the other days except that I dropped off my bills at the post office and went grocery shopping. The only thing different at the grocery store was when I went to get my cart, there was a store clerk who handed me my cart after she wiped the cart with a disinfectant.

At night I had a NASW macro committee meeting (National Association of Social Workers) which was held via a conference call. It wasn’t very productive because everything we had planned was canceled. Workshops on macro social work… canceled. Macro social workers career panel... canceled. Social Workers meet and greet… canceled. The state NASW CT conference… canceled.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stepping Up To The Plate.

Sometime trans people are in the background, not attracting attention, just doing their job when suddenly they thrust into the spotlight.
Who is Rachel Levine? Pa. health secretary offers calm, reassurance amid pandemic
“She’s been exemplary in her public health approach and exemplary in her communication."
PA Post
By Ivey DeJesus
March 19, 2020

(Harrisburg) — Dr. Rachel Levine joined Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration amid a raging opioid epidemic, which up until now she had described as the worst public health crisis in the state.

Then came the coronavirus.

In the weeks since public health officials have scrambled to address and contain the potentially lethal public health crisis, Levine, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, has distinguished herself among medical professionals and peers, pre-emptively and proactively addressing the coronavirus and the state’s response to the virus.

“She has been exemplary in her approach,” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Capital BlueCross. “She’s been exemplary in her public health approach and exemplary in her communication. She’s been thoughtful and measured. She’s been very good providing calm, timely and accurate updates. Her voice of reassurance has been very helpful.”
And she’s trans!

But not all are happy with a trans woman leading the fight against COVID-19
Central Pa. restaurant owner apologizes for ‘hateful’ message on sign about Rachel Levine
PA Live
By Sue Gleiter
March 19, 2020

A Cumberland County restaurant/bar is under fire for posting a derogatory message directed at Pa. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on its business sign.

Trindle Inn Bar & Grill’s sign in Carlisle read “Dr. Levine or is it Uncle Fester in a wig?" and prompted hundreds of people to express outrage on Facebook.
“Well, if you frequent Trindle Inn, I hope you don’t anymore. This is absolutely disgusting. In a time where we should be banding together, this kind of [explicative] is even MORE appalling than it usually is,” wrote Bryden Farrell McCurdy.

Levine has been instrumental in leading Pennsylvania during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course with all the backlash over his comment he is now trying to back off of his comment. Sorry your true nature has shown through and the people don’t like it.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Still Kicking

Day 12:
It has been twelve days in self-isolation, except for grocery shopping, a walk in the park and a friend stopping by I have been in isolation… I read a couple of books, listen to a book, watched YouTube videos, listen to “Old Time Radio” shows, I’m on Facebook too much, and I talked to friends on the phone. For an introvert it is heaven.

No, not really. I like to be with friends just like everyone else. But I am in the high risk group… a senior and a diabetic. I am not worried or scared, I’m just taking sensible precautions and keeping away from idiots who think that they are immortal. Yeah, they probably won’t die of COVID-19 but someone they give it might.

The infected young people can pass it along to the “at risk” population to seniors like me, or to my friend who is undergoing chemo. And the younger generation are also getting infected and need hospitalization.
New analysis breaks down age-group risk for coronavirus — and shows millennials are not invincible
By Sharon Begley
March 18, 2020
In general, the U.S. experience largely mimics China’s, with the risk for serious disease and death from Covid-19 rising with age. But in an important qualification, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday underlines a message that infectious disease experts have been emphasizing: Millennials are not invincible. The new data show that up to one-fifth of infected people ages 20-44 have been hospitalized, including 2%-4% who required treatment in an intensive care unit.
In an alarming development, however, scientists in China are now reporting that the new coronavirus does not spare the very young. In the first retrospective study of Covid-19 among children in the country where the pandemic began, they count 2,143 cases in children. Of those, they report in the journal Pediatrics, more than 90% were mild or moderate, confirming earlier observations that children are at lower risk of severe disease. (That may be because the molecule that allows the virus to enter human cells seems to be less developed in children.)

But 6% of pediatric cases were severe and even critical, compared to 19% of adult cases. And in an unexplained finding, nearly 11% of the Covid-19 cases in infants were severe or critical, though no babies died. An important caveat, however, is that some of what doctors believed to be Covid-19 might have been another respiratory disease, including respiratory syncytial virus, which is known to cause severe illness in children.
The young people think that it is just like the flu but it isn’t, COVID-19 infects to lungs unlike the flu and can very easily turn into pneumonia. I had pneumonia back in the 70s when I was in my thirties and I can tell you that it is not fun. I still remember not being able to catch my breath and the feeling that you are drowning. The fever cause hallucination; I remember seeing people who were not there walking up and down in front of my bedroom door. After my doctor said that I could now go back to work after being out of work for eight weeks, I remember being out of breath just walking across the parking lot.

Just this morning I found out that a friend who already has breathing issues is hospitalized with the flu and the doctors are worried that she could also get the COVID-19 virus.

Please follow the CDC guidelines… keep your physical distance from people. The life you save might be a loved one.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Long Road Ahead

I wanted to write something positive today but it is very hard to find hopeful news, listening to the news all you hear about is COVID-19 and if you search for trans news all you find is conservatives trying to criminalize us or ban us from medically necessary treatments.

As Trump would say, “Sad, sad…”

In Idaho they passed a bill preventing us from changing our birth certificates. You know at one time it was the Republican states that passed some of the first laws allowing us to change our birth certificates. Back then they recognized the need to get a job or to marry so that we could become productive members of society… now their hate has blinded them.

Over in Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the same camp as Trump and doesn’t like us and Britain is looking to overturn the protections for us. Over across the pond bathrooms, locker rooms, and protecting the “children from being mutilated” are the rallying cries from the right.

To me it seems like as the world focuses on COVID-19 the conservatives are trying to sneak in all their legislation that they know will not pass under normal scrutiny but now is buried to the back page.

The Connecticut Legislature is closed and they are trying to figure out how to hold hearings, committee meetings, and pass bill under the quarantine. Many would say that the closure is great… no new laws, no new taxes but in reality it spells disaster. The budget has to be passed, funds have to be redirected to support public health initiatives to fight COVID-19, relief for the businesses that have been forced closed, and all the little things needed to keep the government running.

The legislative committee that I am on is meeting via conference call and all the training I was to do this spring have been canceled. The Trans Health and Law conference has been canceled for the year. The True Colors conference has been moved to the end of May, and the National Association of Social Workers conference was delayed until late May and those two conference are now in limbo.

One of the problems those cancellations or delays cause is that for social workers they need Continuing Education Credits to maintain their licenses so with conferences being canceled it could create licensing problems for them.

In times of crisis we see what our leaders are made of, how do they handle the crisis? With leadership or passing the buck.

Back when the Blizzard Of 1978 hit governor Ella Grasso stepped up to plate and was seen to take charge of the state in its time of crisis. Trump approval rate was dropping until he started to make daily press conference, people want leadership. In November people will be voting on what they see today.

My predictions:

  • By mid or late April we will see how well made out with our efforts to flatten the curve.
  • The virus will be with us forever jut like SARS and Ebola, and they will flare up form time to time.
  • The stock market will find its bottom in a couple of weeks, right now it is a shock and in a couple of weeks it will become the new normal.
  • Governments around the world will try to circumvent their constitutions and impose martial law. Attorney General Barr is asking to permanently detain an individual without trial during emergencies. We are entering a dangerous time for democracies around the world.

What makes it manageable is the fact that we are all in this together. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday 9: Complete Symphonies

Sam’s Saturday 9: Complete Symphonies (2019)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…

This week we're classing up the joint with a well-received box-set by the Danish Chamber Orchestra. You can listen to the orchestra here.

1) Beethoven is one of classical music's best known composers. Do you often listen to classical music?
Once in a great while, I do like Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite

2) Though a musical genius, Beethoven never learned to multiply or divide. When faced with a simple arithmetic problem, do you do it in your head? Or do you rely on the calculator in your phone or on your computer?
On a machine… my head makes errors.

3) Beethoven bathed often, which was considered "quirky" for a man of his time. (Understandable, since you had the heat the water, haul it to the tub, and then empty the tub bucket by bucket when you were done.) Do you bathe in the morning or in the evening?
Both,since I am retired showering is not tied to work so I can take a shower anytime that I want.

4) Adam Fischer conducts the Danish Chamber Orchestra for this 5-disc set. He began his musical career young, when he sang in the children's choir of Budapest's National Opera House. Have you ever sung in a choir or chorus?
In six grade there had the class children's choir to sing for our parents. I was told to shut-up and mouth the words. After that do you think that I ever sang again?

5) Mr. Fischer was awarded the Gold Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Tell us about a prize or award you have received. (Yes, that ribbon you earned for penmanship in second grade counts.)
Well my first award was in the ninth grade for a science project.
Since then I have received a number of awards, including first and second prizes in the photo contest at the local Ag fair.
My latest was from the Metropolitain Community Church in Hartford, I received their “Unsung Hero Award.
Photo by Dawn
6) The Danish Chamber Orchestra is beloved in Denmark. When, in 2014, the Danish Broadcasting Company announced it would no longer fund the Orchestra, citizens began a crowdfunding campaign and raised more than $1,000,000 to keep the music playing. Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding platform, like GoFundMe, Kickstarter or FundRazr?
Yes, I gave to a couple of “GoFundMe” causes.

7) The Orchestra's "home" is the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen. Where were you when you last heard music played live?
I think it was on my deck, during a party last fall a couple of friends brought their guitars.

8) In 2019, when this boxed set was released, China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Are you fascinated by stories about space?
Are you kidding everything about space fascinates me. I even have a scrapbook on news articles from the 50s, 60s and 70s that my brother started and I continued.

9) Random question: Tell us about your week. These are extraordinary times, and it might feel good to share.
Well Sunday I visited a friend
Monday grocery shopping and a walk in the park
Tuesday sat around and read or listened to an audiobook
Wednesday sat around and read or listened to an audiobook… oh an I helped a friend who is a professor learn how to do her classes online. I played the student while she figured out the software.
Thursday sat around and read or listened to an audiobook
Friday sat around and read or listened to an audiobook and went grocery shopping again
Saturday I plan on going for a walk again
And tomorrow… Shh! I plan on going to a friend’s house and having a spaghetti dinner with a couple of other senior shut-ins. (Update 6:30 PM: it has been canceled)

Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Here Comes The Judge

I know of one trans judge, Phyllis Frye, she is from Texas and I believe sits on the housing court but there are other trans judges in the country.
Trans Judge Candidate Wins, Anti-LGBTQ Congressman Loses in Illinois
Jill Rose Quinn is set to be the state's first trans judge, while LGBTQ ally Marie Newman bested one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
March 18 2020

Several LGBTQ and ally candidates had success in the Illinois primary Tuesday, with four out judicial candidates winning, including the state’s first transgender elected official, and a pro-LGBTQ progressive defeating one of Congress’s most conservative Democrats.

The judicial candidates all won races to serve on the Cook County Circuit Court; Cook, the state’s most populous county, includes Chicago.

Jill Rose Quinn, an attorney who is trans, won the Democratic primary to fill a vacant seat on the court, and there is no Republican candidate, so she is assured of election in November. “It’s not just a victory for me, it’s a victory for everybody out there who’s marginalized, everybody who’s different, everybody who’s trans,” Quinn told the Chicago Tribune.

She had the support of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and she was rated highly by bar associations. “Jill Rose Quinn has fought for fairness, equality and justice her entire life and her perspective and experience will be invaluable for our courts and our community,” Lightfoot said in her endorsement.
Marie Newman, a strong LGBTQ ally, won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House from the Third Congressional District, which includes parts of Chicago and some suburbs. She bested incumbent Dan Lipinski after having unsuccessfully challenged him in 2018.
In the Chicago Tribune article they reported,
For years, Chicago attorney Jill Rose Quinn has wanted to be a judge.

But for the longest time, Quinn said, she didn’t think she could land a seat on the bench.

“I didn’t think the people would accept a transgender judge,” Quinn told the Tribune.

But on Tuesday night, with most precincts reporting, Quinn declared victory after taking a large lead in her bid to become the Democratic nominee for a Cook County judicial vacancy. If she holds on, that likely would make her the fourth openly transgender judge across the country and the first transgender candidate in Illinois voted into public office.
To bad we cannot get trans judges in the federal court systems instead of Trump’s Christian anti-LGBTQ judges.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

War Of The Worlds

How many of you remember the original War of the World movie?

How did the martians die?

Yup. By a virus.

How many SiFi books, movies, and television shows that has for their theme lost civilizations that died out because of a virus? That is one of the common themes but why is it? I think it is because it is true, thorough out history we have seen civilizations here on earth die out and new ones form up in their vacuum.

Plague ships was one of the most dreaded ships on the high seas, in the days of sail ships were found drifting where the whole crew were dead of an infectious disease. Now with global travel we can cross the oceans in the matter of hours and transporting the contagions long before the symptoms begin to show.

Back in the Obama administration when the SARS and Ebola epidemics hit they realized that we needed to track future epidemics before they became an epidemic so departments in the CDC and the NSC were created. So why didn’t they detect the COVID 19 virus?

Well the simple answer is they were disbanded or their funding were cut by the current administration.

In 2018, Trump fired Homeland security advisor Tom Bossart, whose job was to coordinate a response to global pandemics. He was not replaced.

In 2018 Dr. Luciano Borio, the NSC director for medical and bio-defense preparedness left the job. Trump did not replace Dr. Borio.

In 2019 the NCS's senior director for global health security and bio-defense, Tim Ziemer, left the position and Trump did not replace the rear admiral.

Trump shut down the entire global Health Security and Bio-defense agency. Yes, he did.

Amid the explosive worldwide outbreak of the virus Trump proposed a 19% cut to the budget of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention plus a 10% cut to Public Health Services and a 7% cut to Global Health Services. Those happen to be the organizations that respond to public health threats.

In 2018, at Trump's direction, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries including China.

We knew.

We knew that the next virus would be coming, we didn’t know where it would come from and we didn’t know when it would come, but we knew it would come.

We knew it could be bad as early as the beginning of January when the WHO organization warned the world that this could be very bad. Nations around the world started to take precautions.

We all know what our president did… nothing.

This will not be the last global pandemic, every decade we will probably see a pandemic and with global travel we are going to see it spread fast and we need to be prepared.

However, Trump hasn’t seen the light. He cut the 2021 budgets for the CDC and medical research. He cut funding for HIV/AIDS testing and we are seeing an uptick in AIDS and STD cases because funding for testing has been cut.

Infectious diseases take no time off and we have to always be on top of future pandemics.

Next time you watch Stargate SG-1 remember the civilization that made the stargates was wiped out… we do not want to end up like them.

This is a TED Talk by Bill Gates in 2015,listen to him!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I Got Censored By Facebook!

So overnight one of my posts got ripped off of my Facebook page!
"Your post goes against our Community Standards"

So what horrible deed did I do?

Why it was so horrible what I posted... it was a debate about a bill before the CT legislature SB144.
That's right it was an opinion article in the CT Mirror the article by a doctor who wrote testimony for the Public Health Committee about a 17 patient of hers.

To prohibit deceptive advertising practices by limited services pregnancy centers.

And the CT Mirror reposted her testimony before the committee and that is what Facebook found against community standards.

I can see deleting posts about “fake news” and I can see deleting post with derogatory language or hate speech but a discussion on a bill before a state legislature?

I doubt very much if a human actually looked at the post, my guess is that it was an AI that decided on the fate of my post and that in lies the problem.

I wrote about AI last fall and how it will effect trans people and how it can be discriminatory and I imagine that Facebook AI saw keywords that triggered the censorship. I believe that is what happened to my post.

So the question is, is Facebook using a shotgun approach to censorship. If it contains certain keyword to delete a post? Are they using AI without human oversight?

What I don’t like is that they are stiffing debate on an important legislation.

Update 11:30AM

I had several people post on my Facebook page tell me that Facbook is having a problem with their AI… no kidding Sherlock.
Facebook was marking legitimate news articles about the coronavirus as spam due to a software bug
The company is fixing the posts and bringing them back
The Verge
By Jay Peters
March 17, 2020

Facebook started marking some posts linking to information and articles about the coronavirus and COVID-19 as spam, as observed by one Verge reporter and many users on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

The issue was due to a “bug in an anti-spam system,” according to Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity. Rosen said the company began working on a fix as soon as discovering the issue.
Following publication of The Verge’s report, Rosen said Facebook had resolved the issue and restored the affected posts. “We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics — not just those related to COVID-19,” Rosen explained. According to Facebook, the issue was with an automated moderation tool and was not related to any changes to its moderator workforce.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Gaze Into Your Crystal Ball

Everyone is in a tizzy over the novel coronavirus.

So here are my predictions (or rather hopes):

First spellcheckers will include the word “coronavirus.”

I think that the virus will peak in six to eight weeks and then it will be with us until around June, it will disappear and come back in milder form in the late fall or early winter and stick around for the winter months.

The “social distancing” will end sometime in April, people will get tired of it and start breaking quarantine.

I see the doubters “saying we told that this is all a hoax” while believers will say “see ‘social distancing’ worked.”

The Stock Market.

Now this is a whole other story.

I see it dropping for the next few weeks and sometime around there the investors will come around to the new reality. The market will then level off and slowly, very slowly start to climb back.

So what do you think?

Many of us are sheltering in-place and limited our excursions out in public or have children who are stuck inside so to avoid boredom so here is a list of this you can do at home with the kids


15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections


6 Beautiful Italian Museums to Visit for Free Online

Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (Video)

Some other sources are your local library you can borrow movies and books online, I am currently on an audiobook kick. I can get them from the library at 3 in the morning.

Another amazing source is the Internet Archives. You can download books, audiobooks, music, old time radio shows, movies, old video games (my favorite is the "Oregon Trail") and a whole lot of other “stuff.”

One word of warning... stop nibbling!

If you are like me you snack when you are bored.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Law Is The Law Or Is It?

In Iowa last week a group of trans and gender queer students we thrown out of the state capitol for using the bathroom.
LGBTQ students escorted out of Iowa Capitol
Radio Iowa
By O. Kay Henderson
March 13, 2020

A group of students was escorted out of the Iowa capitol by state troopers after some transgender students refused to leave a men’s restroom and use gender-neutral restrooms instead.

Iowa Safe Schools executive director Nate Monson says the LGBTQ students were at the capitol to lobby legislators. “Students were using the restrooms that they identify with and under the Iowa Civil Rights Act for the past 13 years, that’s been a protected class,” Monson says. “The state troopers at the capitol told our students that was not the case and they physically escorted about 150 students LGBTQ youth out the door.”

Someone had called capitol police to report an adult and minor females were in a men’s restroom. A video posted online shows a trooper telling the group his concern was about “some type of possible sexual activity” in the restroom. No one was arrested, but a couple of dozen students wound up waiting on the capitol steps for nearly three hours for a school bus to pick them up.
Another news article reports that…
One Iowa: LGBTQ+ youth ejected from Capitol for using bathroom of their gender identity
March 12, 2020

"Iowa law states that transgender Iowans have the right to access restrooms that match their gender identity," Reyes said. "For these troopers to violate these children’s rights is unconscionable. To double down and eject them from the Capitol for asserting their rights under the law is unimaginable. We call on the Iowa State Patrol to issue an apology to these students and commit to training to better inform them of the protections afforded to LGBTQ Iowans so that this never happens again. To the youth whose rights were violated today - we see you and we will not stop fighting for you to exist in spaces as your authentic self."
PinkNews reported…
All the teenagers did was use the bathroom. Yet a group of LGBT+ high school students were reduced to tears – some experiencing panic attacks – after four Iowa state troopers forcibly pushed them and forced them to leave.
Clashing with one of the troopers, Monson insists to the troops, his voice trembling, that the Iowa Civil Rights act voters public accommodations, including public restroom.

But the trooper, Underwood, squashes this: “That is not a gender-neutral restroom, it is a male restroom.”
The law is the law, right?
Civil Rights Commission

Public Accommodations
Unfair practices - accommodations or services.

It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any owner, lessee, sublessee, proprietor, manager or superintendent of any public accommodation or any agent or employee thereof:

a. To refuse or deny to any person because of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges thereof, or otherwise to discriminate against any person because of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability in the furnishing of such accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges.

b. To directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner indicate or publicize that the patronage of persons of any particular race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability is unwelcome, objectionable, not accepted or not solicited.

Iowa Code section 216.7(1).
Gee… I don’t see anything about using a gender-neutral bathroom.

I would assume that a state police officer would know the law, especially a state police officer who is working at the capitol. I know when I visit Connecticut's Capitol and Legislative Office Building the Capitol Police are very friendly and even joking sometimes.

So why were the students there? Well there was a number of pro and anti-trans bill introduced in the session and the students were there for their constitutional protected right to petition the government. The bills are;
  • Remove gender identity from civil rights protections (HF2164)
  • Require schools to notify parents of lessons on sexual orientation/gender identity (HF2201)
  • Bar conversion therapy regarding sexual orientation/gender identity (HSB698/SF2257)
  • Create study panel to evaluate inclusion of transgender in civil rights protections (HF2274)
  • Bar defense due to discovery, knowledge or disclosure of victim’s sexual orientation/gender ID (HSB693)
Just as across the nation the Republicans are going all out with their anti-trans bills while the Democrats introduced pro-trans bills. In Iowa the Republicans have a state government trifecta controlling all three branches.

This is probably what stirred up the hornet’s nest in Iowa, the last Transgender Day of Remembrance the trans flag was flown over the capitol.
Iowa GOP lawmaker calls flying of trans flag above Capitol an act of the 'Rainbow Jihad'
The Hill
By Morgan Gstalter
November 25, 2019

Iowa state Rep. Skyler Wheeler (R) spoke out against the transgender flag flying over the state Capitol for Transgender Day of Remembrance, calling it an act of “political aggression” from “the Rainbow Jihad.”

Wheeler said he was not notified that the transgender flag would fly over the Capitol building in Des Moines last week, according to an interview with conservative outlet The Iowa Standard published on Saturday.

“It’s another way that the Rainbow Jihad continues to give those of us who don’t agree with them a finger in the eye and push their beliefs on us,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s comments were echoed by state Rep. Dean Fisher (R), who told the outlet that he plans to file legislation next session to limit which flags could be flown at the Capitol.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


For many it is a day of worship, I was raised Catholic I don’t remember much from my Catholicism classes but what I do remember was that Jesus taught love and understanding and a new way, but somehow they seemed to have lost their way and now practice hate.
Amazon, Microsoft, Uber & more threaten states opposed to transgender agenda
By Calvin Freiburger
March 12, 2020
Well first off before I get into the article… the title “transgender agenda” this is how Catholics clergy see our struggle for dignity and human rights as an “agenda!”
March 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of major businesses has signed an open letter threatening to boycott states that enact legislation resisting the transgender agenda, on everything from “transitioning” minors to pitting female athletes against biological males.

Organized by the pro-LGBT groups Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, the letter claims its signatories are “deeply concerned” by various state laws that “would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms,” and “unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage” (what “disadvantage” that would be is unexplained).

Such bills “seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population,” it declares, also without explanation. This allegedly “directly affects our businesses” by making it “exceedingly difficult for us to recruit the most qualified candidates for jobs,” and placing “substantial burdens on the families of our employees.”
This “Christian” news site uses degrading language, misleading medical information, and inflammatory  statements against us.

There are religions that are affirming, there are religions that accept us, there are religions that speak up for us, but the media doesn’t cover them instead the media covers the haters because hate and wedge news stories sell ad space. It stirs controversy.

I saw the change in the sixties.

The Second Vatican Council or Vatican II under Pope John XXIII was bring about change to the church that the conservatives church leaders didn’t like, the Pope died in September of 1962 and they elected a  conservative Pope who ended Vatican II and ended the modernization of the church.

Since then the Catholic Church lost its way and is more interested in hate and oppression than in love.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Well that seems to be that attitude of Republicans, while the rest of the world have been fighting CONVID 19 and closing events both large and small the Republicans think it is all hype.
New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows Republicans largely dismiss threat of coronavirus
Yahoo News
By Andrew Romano
March 12, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States and authorities warn of mass disruptions to daily life, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that pluralities of Americans believe the threat has been exaggerated and that their peers have been overreacting to the actual risk posed by the disease — a result largely driven by skepticism among Republicans.

According to the survey, which was conducted on March 10 and 11 — before the NBA suspended its season and the president addressed the nation from the Oval Office Wednesday evening — only 16 percent of Americans said they are “very worried” about coronavirus. Another 41 percent said they are “somewhat worried,” while 43 percent said they are “not very worried” or “not worried at all.” Forty-four percent of Americans believe the threat is exaggerated; 38 percent said it’s not. And a larger percentage of respondents said that most Americans are “overreacting to the actual risks” (36 percent) than “behaving appropriately” (30 percent) or “underestimating the risks” (20 percent).

Overall, the poll found that Americans may not be adequately preparing for the upheavals of a coronavirus pandemic. The only behavior that a majority of respondents reported changing as a result of the virus was “washing their hands more frequently” (58 percent). Most Americans have not stopped shaking hands, purchased hand sanitizer, avoided crowded public places, worn a mask or stockpiled food and supplies. Of the 37 percent who had trips scheduled, 24 percent said they were continuing as planned; only 13 percent said they had canceled their travel.
Most Democrats echoed the authorities in saying that the U.S. death toll would top 1,000 fatalities (55 percent) and that no vaccine would be available this year (61 percent). Most Republicans said the opposite, with 66 percent predicting fewer than 1,000 fatalities and 57 percent saying a vaccine would arrive in 2020.
I like to to go by the idea that if you take precautions and it turns out that nothing happens then you end up no worst off. But if you don’t take precautions ad it turns out that something has happened then you are up the well known creek without a paddle.

Saturday 9: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen

Sam’s Saturday 9: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen (1975)

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Apologies for not replying to last week’s comments, but life got in the way. I got invited to a cookout last weekend and well…

Chosen because St. Patrick's Day is Tuesday.

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This week's song is widely considered a traditional Irish ballad. Are you of Irish descent?
Ha! I’m fifty percent Italian with a little Austrian, Germany, and British thrown in to the mix.

2) It's a song from a groom to his homesick bride. Who did you most recently serenade? (Yes, "Happy Birthday" counts.)
Someone from where I volunteer.

3) Kathleen considers "home" her mother's cottage. How about you? Is "home" where you live now, or is it where you grew up?
It is where I live now and it is only a mile from where I grew up.

4) St. Patrick is credited with driving snakes out of Ireland, and to this day the Irish report there are no snakes on their land. Ophiophobia is the fear of snakes. Do you suffer from ophiophobia?
I don’t have a phobia about snakes but I don’t like them.
Every once in a while I find a copperhead sunning itself on my front sidewalk.

5) Irish Americans held the first St. Patrick's Day parade on our shores in New York City in 1766. Does your town host a St. Patrick's Day parade?
Nope, and the St. Patrick's Day parades in the state have been canceled.

6) Leprechauns are a symbol of St. Patrick's Day. These small Irish fairies are said to live in the forest, guarding their gold. Do you more often wear silver or gold?
Neither, I don’t wear that much jewelry.

7) The signature color of St. Patrick's Day is green. Will you wear green next Tuesday?
Naw, I think I might just wear orange to liven things up.

8) This week's featured artist, Elvis, was the idol of millions. But not the Songfellows. In the early 1950s, a young Elvis auditioned for this gospel group and they refused him. Just as well, as the King of Rock 'n Roll did rather well for himself as a solo. Like Elvis, did you ever interview for a job that you didn't get?
A few but in the past I usually heard about a job opening. The job that I had for 28 years I got when my boss at the old job left and I gave him my resume.

9) Random question: Do you believe women are more emotional than men?
Nope. I think that it is just a generalization.

Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Idaho Anti-Trans Bills

Out in Idaho they are trying to pass two anti-trans bills.
Dozens spoke against bill to ban transgender therapy for youth. Chair won’t advance it
Idaho Statesman
By Ruth Brown
February 26, 2020

Caldwell Rep. Greg Chaney, the Republican chair of the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, announced Wednesday that he would hold a bill on therapy for transgender children in committee.

During emotional testimony in a Tuesday committee meeting about House Bill 465, more than 50 people expressed concerns about preventing transgender youths from seeking medical care.

Chaney said in a news release that he will not schedule a vote on the bill, which was initially pitched by Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett.

“Not all who signed up to testify were able to in the time available. Chairman Chaney announced that if he scheduled the bill for a vote, he would first schedule time for those who had signed up to testify to do so,” according to the release. “As a result of his announcement that H465 would advance no further, Chairman Chaney also announced that he wouldn’t schedule the remainder of the public testimony, either, as it would be moot.”
However, H465 is not the only anti-trans bill in the Idaho legislature.
Idaho House Committee Approves Ban On Transgender Birth Certificate Changes
Boise Public Radio
By James Dawson
February 24, 2020

A bill to bar transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identity is headed to the Idaho House after a party line vote.

The proposal from Rep. Julianne Young (R-Blackfoot) would implement a similar policy that’s already been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

Public testimony overwhelmingly opposed the bill, as has testimony for other bills working their way through the Idaho legislature that target the transgender community.

Blaine Conzatti, who works for the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, was one of two supporters who spoke Friday morning. Conzatti said allowing these changes will let transgender women use female bathrooms and locker rooms.
After the federal court ruling in 2018, Idaho was forced to accept applications from transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. From April 6, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2020, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has received 176 such applications, according to a spokeswoman.
It doesn’t phase the Republicans that the public testimony was against the bill, it doesn’t bother the Republicans that similar bills have been struck down by the courts, it is a wedge bill designed to rally their base.

They also have a third anti-trans bill…
Idaho Transgender Athlete Ban Bill Bucks Growing Trend Of Inclusion
Boise Public Radio
By James Dawson
March 12, 2020

Transgender Idahoans have come under fire at the state capitol this year, and in particular, transgender athletes. The House has approved a bill banning transgender girls and women from competing on teams with which they identify. It’s currently awaiting action in the Senate.

But the move comes after years of sporting organizations in the U.S. and around the globe eventually growing more accepting of trans athletes.
Idaho legislators want to head in the opposite direction. A bill introduced this year that would ban trans girls and women from competing on teams that align with their gender identity has sparked multiple protests. It also brought Chris Mosier, the first transgender athlete to qualify for an Olympic trial, to Boise.
And he is a heavy weight player.
Nike-sponsored transgender athlete advocates against proposed anti-trans legislation in Idaho
Chris Mosier is one of the first transgender athletes to compete on the international level. Now, he's asking Idaho legislators to stop potential discrimination.
By KTVB7 Staff
March 3, 2020

BOISE, Idaho — He was the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition and first transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the gender in which they identify.

Chris Mosier is also the first transgender athlete to be sponsored by Nike.

Mosier didn't become the first transgender athlete to make the US Olympic team in racewalking. However, that hasn't slowed him down from trying to stop Idaho from becoming the first state to ban transgender women and girls from competing with other women and girls in athletic competition.
If you are wondering why all these anti-trans bills are popping up now well in the fall a conservative organization had workshops to train Republican legislators on these legislative topics.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Here She Comes…

How many trans girls dreamed of being a princess or walking down the ramp of a beauty contest? Well for one trans woman the dream became a reality.
Transgender Mexican wins international beauty contest
She hailed her coronation as a victory for all transgender women in Latin America
Mexico News Daily
March 11, 2020

Mexican contestant Valentina Fluchaire was crowned Miss International Queen in a beauty pageant for transgender women held in Pattaya, Thailand, on Saturday.

The native of Colima state received the crown from the previous year’s winner, Jazell Barbie Royale, from the United States.

“I have no words. … I have worked so hard to get here. I don’t want to get sentimental, I don’t want to cry,” said Fluchaire, who added that she will wear the crown with “much respect and responsibility” and that she will work to benefit transgender people and other social causes.
It was not the first trans beauty contest.

There was other trans beauty contests, one was in Northampton MA.
Northampton, Mass. Fourth Annual Miss Trans New England Pageant
Rainbow Times
July 31, 2012

NORTHAMPTON, Mass — On September 1st, 2012 the Northampton Center for the Arts will host the fourth annual Miss Trans New England Pageant from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Produced by Christa Hilfers the pageant allows transgender women to compete for a title that honors their beauty and their talents while recognizing them as both women and transgender.

“The Miss Trans New England Pageant empowers trans woman to achieve their personal and professional goals and provides a forum in which to express their opinion, talents and intelligence,” said Hilfers. “Many past winners of the Miss Trans New England Pageant have went on to achieve great things in their lives and continue to do activism in their communities.”
Sadly, the pageant organizer was murdered by her husband.

I think Trump hatred of trans people goes back to 2012 when he was forced to admit trans women to the Canadian Miss Universe pageant.
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Counter Punch
By David Rosen
February 12, 2016

One episode in his long and dubious career took place in 2012 when Trump, owner of the Miss Universe pageant, was forced to change the organizations’ official rules so that a 23 year-old transgender woman, Jenna Talackova, could compete.  This was not an easy defeat for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Talackova sought to compete in the Miss Universe Canada contest.  A 6-foot-1-inch blond from Vancouver, she had lived as a female since the age of 4 years, started hormone therapy at 14 and, at 19, underwent male-to-female sex reassignment surgery.
Faced with the unexpected bad publicity, Trump made a rapid retreat…
And when Trump makes a retreat he never forgets, he seeks revenge and I think that is the reason he has attacked us so hard. We are on his shit list.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

It Is All Our Fault.

Or at least that is what certain religious leaders are saying.
Religious figures blame LGBT+ people for coronavirus
By Hugo Greenhalgh
March 9, 2020

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hurricane Katrina. The New Zealand earthquake. Even the Spanish economy.

Over the years, LGBT+ people have been blamed for disasters both natural and man-made, and now they stand accused of being responsible for the coronavirus epidemic.

Several U.S. religious figures and an influential Israeli rabbi have suggested the emergence of the virus is divine retribution for same-sex activity, which they see as sinful.
“Harmful ideas like this only perpetuate stigma,” added Kate Dodson, vice-president for global health strategy at the U.N. Foundation, a charity that supports the United Nations’ work.
We are not alone in being blamed,
The coronavirus and the long history of using diseases to justify xenophobia
Washington Post
By Marian Liu Operations Editor
February 14, 2020

Dirty looks, deserted restaurants, bullied children — this is the reality for many Asian Americans after the outbreak of the coronavirus six weeks ago.

Although the epicenter of the illness is in China, where tens of thousands have been affected, there have been only 15 cases in the United States as of Thursday. Still, Asians in America have been subjected to suspicion and ridicule, and not for the first time in this country’s history.

Outbreaks often have been attributed to marginalized groups in society, or the “other,” experts say. Asian Americans are still seen as “forever foreigners,” no matter how long they’ve lived in this country. Time and again, they have been blamed for importing diseases.
“What you have over history and throughout modern-day outbreaks is people fixing blame on a contagious disease on outsiders,” she said, citing past instances. In 2009, H1N1, or swine flu, was associated with Mexican Americans; in 2003, SARS with Chinese Americans; and in the 1980s, HIV with Haitian Americans. That virus was also called the “the 4H disease,” a reference to the “perceived risk factors” of “Haitians, homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and heroin” users.
And where is the hate coming from?
Fox News And Donald Trump Are Embracing Xenophobia To Defend Against The Coronavirus
“The bigotry against actual or would-be immigrants kind of goes hand in hand with the scapegoating of those same groups at a time of medical crisis.”
By Miriam Elder
March 10, 2020

Trump’s allies in Washington and on Fox News have ramped up their rhetoric against China, as they are faced with a core dilemma: how to prepare the population for severe disruptions while ensuring no blowback on the man in the White House? At least part of the answer seems to be: xenophobia.

Fox News has shifted to nearly nonstop coverage of the coronavirus. During the day, viewers get largely straightforward information about the virus’s spread, the administration’s response, the danger of cruise ships, and general health advice. When the channel’s opinion powerhouses come out at night, it’s a different story.

On Monday night, two of the network’s three main opinion hosts — Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — leaned heavily into the fact that the virus originated in China and that any response should further isolate the US from the country. (The third, Sean Hannity, focused on combating criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis.)
The Republican party and the Trump administration have no problem with driving wedges through the country, dividing the country into ‘us vs. them.”

It energizes their base, it gets them out on to the streets with torches. It gets them to attack “foreigners” when they speak in restaurants. It gets them to vote Republican to prevent the “others” from “destroying” the country. It “Keeps America Great.”

The Republican party feeds on hate.