Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 6th, 2021

There are many theories out there about what happened on January 6th I believe that it was in the making since he lost the election, Trump plotted a coup d'etat.

Trump actions brought up a lot questions at the time.

When he lost the election do you remember the Pentagon firings?
More Top Pentagon Officials Out After Trump Sacks Esper
“It’s embarrassing for the United States,” a former senior intelligence officer who served under Trump said of the recent spate of firings.
Foreign Policy
By Jack Detsch, Robbie Gramer
November 10, 2020

Anthony Tata, a Trump loyalist, conspiracy theorist, and former Fox News contributor was appointed to serve in an interim role as the No. 2 official in the Pentagon’s powerful policy shop after his nomination to the undersecretary role was withdrawn over conspiratorial and Islamophobic comments. With Anderson’s ouster, Tata is now performing the duties of the top policy job, current and former officials said. Officials feared Tata’s elevation could put him in a position to demand more resignations across the department.

The rapid-fire personnel changes at the Pentagon are emblematic of overall confusion and unease at the president’s refusal to accept the election results, officials said. Trump insists the election results are not final, alleging baseless claims of voter fraud. Even as President-elect Joe Biden fields congratulatory calls and messages from foreign leaders around the world, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stuck by the president’s claims, saying in a press conference on Tuesday: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
Then there is this…

Do you remember during the Portland riots, uprisings in other cities around the country and then for Washington DC that Trump threated to declare martial law?
Trump's talk of martial law sends White House staffers rushing to the press
CNN Business
By Jazmin Goodwin
December 21, 2020

New York (CNN Business) A meeting President Donald Trump held to discuss overturning the election result alarmed some White House staffers -- people who are used to Trump's inflammatory and anti-democratic rhetoric.

With only a month remaining until President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office, Trump has been ramping up his efforts to remain president, while also trying to convince millions of Americans that election fraud is to blame for his presidential loss.

That's nothing new. But a heated Oval Office meeting Friday in which Trump heard arguments about invoking martial law to stay in office had some Trump officials sounding the alarm to the press.
Michael Flynn, Trump's pardoned former national security adviser, discussed the martial law plan on right-wing television network Newsmax last week and was invited to the White House Friday.
So there is talk going around in the White House about martial law and now he is stirring up his rabble.
Trump's desire for 'wild' protest sparks fear among US officials
One observer noted that Trump will fail in Congress, but the greater danger "is on the streets, where pro-Trump forces are already threatening chaos."
By Steve Benen
December 28, 2020

It was nine days ago when Donald Trump announced via Twitter that there would be a "wild" protest in the nation's capital on Jan. 6, the day Congress will formally certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The Republican has referenced the gathering while insisting he won the election he lost, and Trump has returned to the subject several times since, including in a weekend tweet in which the outgoing president declared, "Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th."

And what, pray tell, does Trump expect to happen on Jan. 6, as lawmakers certify his successor's victory? He hasn't said, but the Washington Post's David Ignatius' latest column noted that even some Republican officials are concerned the outgoing president may try to "overstep the constitutional limits on his power."
Trump's last-ditch campaign will almost certainly fail in Congress. The greater danger is on the streets, where pro-Trump forces are already threatening chaos.... Government officials fear that if violence spreads, Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military. Then Trump might use "military capabilities" to rerun the Nov. 3 election in swing states, as suggested by Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser. Trump "could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election," Flynn told Newsmax in a Dec. 17 interview.
If I'd seen this on a random person's blog or Twitter feed, I'd be inclined to dismiss it as an alarmist and unrealistic nightmare. But David Ignatius isn't some obscure observer or a columnist with a reputation for hysterics. On the contrary, he's an accomplished and award-winning journalist with sources at the highest levels of government.
The stage was set for the Capitol insurrection.

And here is where the Trump loyalists the he placed in the Pentagon come in.
Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot
Washington Post
By Paul Sonne
January 26, 2021

The commander of the D.C. National Guard said the Pentagon restricted his authority ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, requiring higher-level sign-off to respond that cost time as the events that day spiraled out of control.

Local commanders typically have the power to take military action on their own to save lives or prevent significant property damage in an urgent situation when there isn’t enough time to obtain approval from headquarters.

But Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, said the Pentagon essentially took that power and other authorities away from him ahead of a pro-Trump protest on Jan. 6. That meant he couldn’t immediately roll out troops when he received a panicked phone call from the Capitol Police chief warning that rioters were about to enter the U.S. Capitol.

“All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life,” Walker said in an interview. “But in this instance I did not have that authority.”
But not that day could the guard take immediate action, I believe that Trump wanted the riot to get out of hand so that he could declare martial law. He hamstrung the National Guard, fired up the mob on the National Mall and then sent them off to the Capitol to take away the will of the voters by seizing it so that he could still be president.

All because he couldn’t stand to be a loser, his narcissism wouldn’t let him do otherwise. Do you remember on his reality TV show the glee he took in calling someone a “Loser” he just couldn’t become one.

Then there are the unanswered question… why wasn’t the Capitol police prepared for the violence?
By Annie Grayer
January 26, 2021

Members of Congress were left stunned during a briefing from law enforcement about their failure to prepare for the insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month, two members who attended a House Appropriations Committee briefing told CNN on Tuesday, with one saying it was "dumb luck" more people didn't die.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a phone call with CNN that members were "shaking their heads in disbelief" throughout the briefing about the security breakdown in the lead up to January 6. During that briefing, acting US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman admitted her department knew there was a "strong potential for violence" targeting Congress, but did not take appropriate steps to prevent it.

DeLauro said the revelation left her stunned and multiple federal law enforcement agencies failed by not acting on the intelligence they had.

"They had the information. They did not act on it. And a question that I have, and one that I think we need to get to the bottom of, is who made the decision not to act?" DeLauro told CNN.
My question is why?

The backgrounds of those who sat on their hands should be looked into to see if there was any political motivations behind their decision not to act.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Sam's Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (1973)

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

Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.
(I like the Andrews Sisters version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy better.)

1) Bette Midler sings that the bugle boy wakes up Company B every morning by playing reveille. What awakened you this morning (phone, alarm clock, sunrise, etc.)? Or did you wake up on your own?
Being retired I keep my own crazy sleep schedule.

2) This single was produced by Bette's arranger/piano player, who went on to have a successful singing career of his own. Do you have a favorite Barry Manilow song?
Ops... I speed read the question and didn't notice that the question was about Barry Manilow... no I don't have a favorite song of his. 

It is a tie: From A Distance and The Rose.

3) Bette was named after Bette Davis. Her sisters, Susan and Judy, were named for Susan Hayward and Judy Garland. So now we know who Mother Midler's favorite actresses were. Who are yours?
Wow I hate these type of questions… There are so many great actresses but some of the ones that I can think of off the top of my head are;
Katharine Hepburn
Meryl Streep
Audrey Hepburn
Cloris Leachman

4) Bette has been married since 1984 to artist Martin von Haselberg. She was 39 years old, already a star, and had never married before. Yet within six weeks of meeting him, she was so sure Martin was "the one" that they tied the knot. Have you found that love takes time, or, like Bette, have you fallen in love quickly?
Another difficult question. Being single I haven’t been bitten by the love bug yet.

5) When their daughter Sophie was growing up, it was Martin who taught her to cook. What was the last thing you prepared in your kitchen? Did you use the microwave, stovetop, convection oven, blender, coffee maker ...?
The microwave, I made a cup of tea.

6) Bette says that listening and compromise have been the key to their happy marriage but adds, "Compromise is hardest of all." On what have you compromised recently?
Being single and retired I don’t really need to compromise.

7) Bette and Martin have a farmhouse in upstate New York. She enjoys feeding the chickens (whom she has jokingly named The Kardashians) and puttering in her garden. Do you have a green thumb?
I have a black thumb.

8) In 1973, the year this song was popular, actor Neil Patrick-Harris was born. He's best known as Barney on How I Met Your Mother, which ran from 2005-2014. Were you a fan?
Nope. But I did see Neil Patrick-Harris on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch the night he won they Tony for the play. (Boy that was seven years ago!)

9) Random question -- How often do you put crackers in your soup: Always, often, seldom or never?
Well it depends upon the soup, I don’t want to put crackers in a soup with noodles or rice but they do go good in clam chowder.

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, January 29, 2021

One At A Time

That is how we do it, change one person’s mind at a time. How does that proverb go about a journey begins with one step, so does blocking legislation.
How activists changed Republican lawmakers’ minds & killed an anti-transgender bill
Four Republican lawmakers in Montana changed their minds at the last minute and killed a bill to ban health care for transgender youth.
LGBTQ Nation
By Alex Bollinger
January 27, 2021

A bill attacking transgender youth in Montana was stopped yesterday after equality advocates were able to change the minds of four Republican lawmakers at the last minute.

“The trans and nonbinary community is strong and so are our families, friends and supporters,” trans advocate SK Rossi told the Montana Free Press.

Monday morning, H.B. 113 was approved by the state House with a narrow, partisan 53-47 vote. The bill would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors, including puberty blockers, which have to be administered during puberty in order to be effective.

But in the third reading of the bill on Tuesday got a vote of 49-51 as several Republicans changed their votes.

Montana House Majority Leader Sue Vinton (R) said that she changed her mind – and her vote – after meeting with the parents of transgender youth.
Our stories are powerful! They change minds.

We don’t have to change everyone’s minds just enough. There are some who you will never change, go after the ones you can change.


When it comes to legislation sometimes we can’t do it alone we need help from the medical profession. Especially when the legislators are stepping between us and our doctors.
Endocrine groups: Evidence-based policies needed to support transgender health care access
Regina Schaffer
January 28, 2021

Two professional endocrine societies are formally opposing legislative efforts to block transgender people from accessing gender-affirming medical and surgical care, after dozens of state bills threatened to criminalize such therapies.

Legislators across 17 states have proposed more than two dozen bills barring medical and surgical treatments for transgender and gender-diverse youths and adults in the past 3 years, according to a recent count from the Endocrine Society. Many of these bills reflect widespread misinformation about the nature of evidence-based gender-affirming medical care, according to experts. The consequences of such legislation are already being felt in the transgender community, where fear of accessing care remains high.
We need their help to counter the lie the Republicans and the right-wingers are spreading, they lie about the treatment that trans children saying it is irreversible which it is not. When puberty blockers are stopped puberty returns to normal, the Republicans make it sound like puberty blockers are new but they have been around since 1977 and is used for children with precocious puberty.

Education is the key, one person at a time. Educating them to our stories, educating them to when the real treatment for trans children is.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

I Am Going To Avoid It.

But sometimes you can’t, sometimes you do need to go in to a long term care facility and then you at the mercy of their staff.
Many LGBTQ Seniors Don’t Get The Health And End-Of-Life Care They Need. Some Coloradans Are Working To Change That
By Claire Cleveland
January 22, 2021

On one of her many days in the hospital in 2017, Cathy asked her partner not to tell the nursing staff they were married. She’d been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and Cathy feared the care she got would suffer if the staff knew she was a lesbian.

“She says, ‘Don't tell the nurses that we're married,’” said Cathy’s wife, Esther Lucero. “And I said, ‘Why?’ And she says, ‘Because they're treating you differently. They're treating me differently.’”

According to a study recently published in The Gerontologist, older people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer often face discrimination during end-of-life care. They’re also more likely to have their health care wishes ignored or disregarded.

Many LGBTQ seniors go back into the closet because of a lack of family or social support in health care, assisted living and hospice facilities.
It is not just nursing homes, and long term care (LTC) facilities that are a problem sometimes it is homecare that’s the problem, those that you invite into your home to take care of you is the problem.
One study, from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, found living in highly stigmatized environments can result in a shorter life expectancy of around 12 years for LGBTQ people.

Candrian said the challenges these seniors face fall into three categories: economic insecurity, lack of family or social support, and a lifetime of enduring stigma. But there’s also a lack of data. Hospice and senior care facilities often don’t ask about specific demographic information like sexual orientation or gender identity, known as SOGI data.
“We're not going to stay in the closet,” he said. “I want people to really know that they matter and that those closet doors need to be wide open and left wide open.”

Mireles thinks a lot about what it will be like when he and his husband are older and looking for senior community or assisted living. And those places need to be welcoming to diverse communities, he said, which will take a nationwide effort to ensure better protections for LGBTQ people, especially seniors.

“We need to educate policy makers about LGBT aging issues,” he said.
Here in Connecticut we have been working on the issue for about 5 years now, a group of us joined together to educate LTC facilities and home healthcare providers of the issues facing their LGBTQ clients.

I used to do what I called “Sanitized the House” when my parents came over to my house. I used to take down all the LGBTQ magnets stuck to the refrigerator and all hide my LGBTQ books. Can you imagine doing that every time a home healthcare provider came to your house?

One of the things that we created via Community Care was…
What is LGBT Inclusivity and the Getting it Right program?

Getting it Right: Creating an LGBT Inclusive Organization is a program of Connecticut Community Care supported with funding from the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust. The program works with aging service providers such as home care and facility-based providers to create welcoming and intentionally inclusive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) clients and families. We provide an integrated set of resources to Getting it Right (GIR) providers. These include training and other best practice resources. GIR begins with the premise that intentional inclusion means proactive practices that go beyond current standards and policies of non-discrimination.

Getting it Right recognizes that program implementation is not a “one size fits all” matter. Content knowledge must be integrated into specific organizational practices to ensure new knowledge is sustained. Mechanisms for knowledge transfer must also be integrated into ongoing operations. Thus GIR resources are made available to organizations with the expectation of customization to fit their circumstances.

Getting it Right is a “train the trainer” model. We train organizational champions who are then charged with training other direct service staff. GIR provides these training resources to the provider agency.
Some of the facilities trained are; JFS Care at Home, Jewish Family Services, Brookdale Senior Living, McLean Home Care & Hospice, and Thrive at Home with Whitney Center. We have also been working with state agencies like the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

There is a lot of work still ahead of us here in Connecticut.

On another topic… Jennifer Finney Boylan.

She did an interview with GLAAD.
LGBTQ&A Podcast: Jennifer Finney Boylan talks about how much the trans experience has changed since her groundbreaking memoir, She’s Not There, was published
By Jeffrey Masters, Guest Contributor |
December 22, 2020

"What does it mean to be a middle-aged woman who had a boyhood?" Jennifer Finney Boylan asks in her new book, Good Boy.

The trans experience—both the experience itself and the way we talk about it — has changed dramatically since 2003 when Jennifer Finney Boylan published her game-changing memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders.

The book was one of the first best-sellers by a trans author and has since gone on to become a seminal piece of the trans literary canon. Now, almost 20 years later, Boylan’s latest memoir, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, asks, “What does it mean to be a middle-aged woman who had a boyhood?” She grapples with what that answer might look like with the help of Playboy, Sausage, Brown, Alex, Lucy, Ranger, and Matt the Mutt, each of the dogs who’ve been there with her through her life’s many transitions.

“Not every lesson that I took with me from boyhood was necessarily a bad one,” she says on the LGBTQ&A podcast. “How do I make sense of it? Through the dogs. I had all those experiences, and even though I can’t exactly remember what that life was like, I definitely remember the dogs.”

Boylan is careful to note that not every trans person agrees with the language she uses to talk about her life.
Here is here interview.

19:30 in to the interview she makes a comment about how we should respond to the threat to our existence and what we want from cisgender people.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Another Insurance Company Sees The Light

There good news on the insurance scene, Aetna insurance will now cover our healthcare!
Aetna agrees to expand gender-affirming surgeries for transgender women
Hartford Courant
By Eliza Fawcett
January 26, 2021

Hartford-based health insurer Aetna has agreed to expand its coverage of gender-affirming surgeries to include breast augmentation for qualifying transgender women.

The decision is a result of a collaboration between Aetna, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, a civil rights organization; Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, a national civil rights law firm; and four women who were denied coverage for the surgery, which Aetna previously viewed as cosmetic. The group first contacted Aetna in 2019, hoping to resolve the issue collaboratively, in lieu of filing a lawsuit.

Dr. Jordan Pritzker, senior director of clinical solutions for Aetna, said in written a statement that the company’s decision to revise its policy “is consistent with many changes we have made over the years to better serve the needs of the LGBTQ community.”
Yea but… it took a threat of lawsuit for you to see the light.

Here in Connecticut Aetna and all insurance companies were required to cover us under the 2011 law banning discrimination against us but it still had to be dragged into compliance. The insurance commissioner issued a statement… Bulletin IC-37 and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity issued a declarative ruling about towns covering our healthcare, “regard to health insurance policies offered by the State of Connecticut and municipalities that preclude coverage for certain treatments related to gender dysphoria.”

So I applaud Aetna for now offering healthcare coverage for us nationwide.

Aetna, I'm Glad I Met Ya!'

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Today Is One Of Those Days

When all the trans news is about the Biden allowing us to serve in the military. But I did find some news other trans military news.

It is getting near the time to think about sunning ourselves on the beaches of Cape Cod and that means bathing suit weather! For me that means hiding something… no not that. But my big huge stomach.

I have a nice black and white floppy hat and I am looking for a one piece suit… Good grief me in a bikini! No thanks, I’ll leave that to the young at heart like…
Dad designs line of swimwear for trans girls named after his own daughter
These bikini bottoms could be a game-changer for transgender tweens and teens.
By Allison Slater Tate
January 21, 2021

After watching his own daughter Ruby, 12, struggle to find bikini bottoms that made her feel both comfortable and confident as a transgender girl, Toronto dad Jamie Alexander decided to solve the problem himself.

Alexander created a new clothing brand, Rubies, with the specific goal of producing form-fitting clothing for transgender children up to a size 20. His first product: the Ruby Shaping Bikini Bottom.
But as Ruby grew into adolescence, Alexander noticed that transgender girls have one specific issue when it comes to fashion: finding bikini bottoms they could confidently wear in public — that can "magically turn a pointy poker into a dainty dune, no tucking required," as the Rubies website explains.

"An item of clothing like Rubies swimwear can be a total game-changer for transgender and gender-creative children," said Jessica Herthel, co-author of children's book "I Am Jazz" with transgender activist Jazz Jennings.

"Being able to do something that most of us take for granted — namely, to go swimming without fear of being stared at or teased, or even targeted — can give a child a feeling of normalcy and belonging," said Herthel.

I take care of that by wearing skorts, or a wraparound skirt, or a pair of shorts that I can pull off when I go in the water and put them back on when I’m out of the water.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Is Today The Day?

Will President Biden repeal the Trump ban for us joining the military?

It is rumored that today Biden will lift the ban…
Biden to lift Pentagon's ban on transgender people serving in military
Trump put the ban in place that did not allow transgender people to serve.
ABC News
By Luis Martinez
January 24, 2021

Multiple people familiar with the matter confirm to ABC News that President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order on Monday that will lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

The controversial ban was announced by former President Donald Trump in 2017 through a tweet and reversed the Obama administration’s policy to allow open service by transgender people.

New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be on hand at the White House ceremony on Monday, where the executive order will be signed, said the individuals familiar with the matter.
The Military Times had this to say,
Aaron Belkin, a political science professor at San Francisco State University and director of the Palm Center, a public policy think tank that focuses on LGBT issues, said the fact that Biden did not have a confirmed defense secretary on his first day in office likely contributed to the absence of an announcement.

"I believe [Biden] was sincere and had every intention of [repealing the transgender ban] on Day One," Belkin said. "All the signals are pointing in the same direction, which is as soon as we have a secretary of defense, the military will move forward with an inclusive policy."

Biden's nominee for defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, said Tuesday in his confirmation hearing that he supports the president's plan to overturn the ban.

"I truly believe ... that if you're fit and you're qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve," Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The only problem that I see is that unless the Equality Act is passed the next president could reverse Biden’s Executive Order like Trump did with Obama’s EO and Biden did with Trump’s EO.

When I wrote this at 6:00 AM, the Executive Order has not been issued.

Update 11:50 AM

The president has signed the order...
Biden campaigned on undoing the controversial policy that Trump enacted via Twitter.
NBC News
By Geoff Bennett and Adam Edelman
10 AM

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday signed an executive order repealing the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, a ban that former President Donald Trump had put in effect, the White House said.

In a statement, the White House said Biden's order "sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve."

"President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity," the White House said.

Biden's order "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity," the White House said

The order also directs the immediate "correction of" military records for any who had been affected by Trump's ban.
Notice, That the  "order also directs the immediate "correction of" military records for any who had been affected by Trump's ban."

Sunday, January 24, 2021

More Bad Legislation & Politicians

The Republicans are trying to get between us and our doctors. The conservatives over in Britain did it and they have given ideas to the Republicans.
Transgender restriction bills advance
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee have passed HB 112 and HB 113, largely along party lines.
Montana Free Press
By Mara Silvers
January 22, 2021

HELENA — Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee this week passed two bills that would restrict transgender youth and athletes in Montana by barring them from receiving gender-affirming medical care and prohibiting trans women and girls from participating on women’s sports teams.

House Bill 112, pertaining to athletics, and House Bill 113, which prohibits medical professionals from treating gender dysphoria, were the subject of intense debates before the committee Monday. Lawmakers voted Thursday to pass HB 112 and took action on HB 113 Friday morning, after accepting a substantial amendment to the bill that includes more detail on prohibited treatments and penalties for providers. The bills will now advance to a full vote on the House floor.
You remember that the Republican mantra was “Get Government Out of Our Lives!” well that seems to be true only if you are a white evangelical Christian cisgender straight person.

However, one Republican stood up for their old pre-Trump values.
In both instances, Rep. Mallerie Stromswold, R-Billings, was the only member of her caucus to vote against the measures. In an interview Friday after the vote on HB 113, she said she does not believe the Legislature should interfere with personal decisions in these instances.

“My whole political ideology lays with the fact that I don’t think we should control people’s lives,” she said. “I really just don’t understand why people are so threatened by other people’s decisions that they feel the need to control them. This decision isn’t hurting us in any way.”
Amen sister.

One of the first things that President Biden did was to block Trump’s last ditch attempt to further marginalize us.
Biden DOJ nixes last-minute Trump administration memo on LGBTQ rights
A Supreme Court ruling last June concluded that a half-century-old prohibition on sex discrimination in employment applies equally to discrimination against gay and lesbian workers as well as those who are transgender.
By Josh Gerstein
January 23, 2021

The Justice Department has taken its first major step under President Joe Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s resistance to expansion of rights accorded to LGBTQ Americans.

Greg Friel, the lawyer just named to oversee the Justice Department’s civil rights division on a temporary basis, issued a directive Friday revoking a 22-page memorandum a Trump appointee released earlier this week taking a cramped view of a major Supreme Court decision last year that longstanding federal law protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination at work.

“I have determined that this memorandum is inconsistent in many respects with the E.O.,” Friel wrote to civil rights division colleagues. “I plan to confer with Department leadership about issuing revised guidance that comports with the policy set forth in the E.O. As part of that process, we will seek the input of Division subject matter experts.”

The Executive Order that he is referring to is…
Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
JANUARY 20, 2021

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.
But what really stood out in the EO was,
Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation manifests differently for different individuals, and it often overlaps with other forms of prohibited discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race or disability. For example, transgender Black Americans face unconscionably high levels of workplace discrimination, homelessness, and violence, including fatal violence.
As far as I know this is the first time intersectionality has been mentioned when talking about discrimination.

Apology not accepted.

An apology after you got caught being a bigot is not an apology rather it is a hope to CYA.
PA state rep mocks transgender Biden nominee on Facebook, apologizes
WTVD ABC Ch 11 News
January 23, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania legislator shared on Facebook an image mocking the appearance of the state's recently departed health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who has been nominated to serve in the Biden administration, and then offered a general apology Saturday.

State Rep. Jeff Pyle, a Republican from Armstrong and Indiana counties in western Pennsylvania, said on Facebook that he "had no idea" the post mocking Levine "would be ... received as poorly as it was" but that "tens of thousands of heated emails assured me it was."
Pyle, who was first elected in 2004, cited a conversation with the Democratic leader in the state House "who explained the error of my post." He stressed that he did not come up with the meme but merely shared it, though he said he should not have done so.
He is still a bigot but a bigot who got called out for his bigotry. It was the public outcry that caused him to apologize, not because he realized that it was wrong to belittle another person.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Sam's Saturday 9: Why Did I Choose You?

Saturday 9: Why Did I Choose You? (1965)

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

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

1) In this song, Barbra Streisand reassures her lover that, if she had it all to do again, she would still choose him. Tell us about a decision you've made that you never, ever regretted.
Going for my Master’s in Social Work.
I got my electrical engineer for my career, but I got my MSW out of love.

2) The music was composed by Michael Leonard, who studied classical music at Julliard and the Handel Conservatory of Music in Munich. Do you often listen to classical music?
Only one Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite.

3) The lyrics were written by Herbert Martin. He taught music in the NYC public school system and during the summer worked in summer stock. That's how he met and began collaborating with Michael Leonard. Tell us how you met someone important in your life.
They were my parents.

4) Ms. Streisand was a very good student, graduating fourth in her class at Erasmus Hall High School when she was only 16. One of Barbra's classmates was Neil Diamond. Do you have a favorite Neil Diamond song?
Here in New England it has to be Sweet Caroline, I think that they play this at every Red Socks hone games.


5) While she didn't go on to college, she continued her education by attending two different acting schools simultaneously. Did you enjoy being a student?
Not from Kindergarten through college but I loved graduate school, I guess that I grew up.

6) Barbra and her first husband, Elliott Gould, shared a New York apartment over a 5th Avenue restaurant called Oscar's Salt of the Sea. Elliott originated the role of Trapper John in the movie M*A*S*H. On TV, the role of Trapper was played by Wayne Rogers. Can you think of another role that's been played by more than one actor?
Bewitched. Darren was played by Dick York and Dick Sargent

7) Oscar's Salt of the Sea has ties to Sesame Street. Jim Henson loved their food and was amused by how inhospitable the owner, Oscar, could be. That's how Oscar the Grouch got his name. Which is your favorite Muppet?
I never watched Sesame Street, I was too old when it came out.
Well on second thought... Kermit. Everyone loves a green frog.

8) Back to Barbra... She is a successful recording artist (nominated for 45 Grammy awards, winning 8) and an Oscar-winning actress, but she's suffered career disappointments, too. In 2010, she read the book Hidden Figures and tried to buy the rights so she could direct the film version. She lost out to fellow Brooklynite, director Theodore Melfi. In 2016, his movie of Hidden Figures was released. Did you see the movie or read the book?
No, but it is on my “To Do List” it is just a question of remembering.

9) Random question: Your best friend takes up painting and proudly presents her first framed work to you. You think it's atrocious. Would you hang it in your home anyway?
Yes, I recognize that art is personal but it means something to a friend and I thing that I could find a place to show it.

Update: As I have been reading the other blogs I remembered that I bought a painting that I wasn't particularly fond of because it was a silent auction to raise money for a surgery he needed.

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, January 22, 2021

Tell Me About It

Something seldom mentioned is trans dating. Let’s face it, the pool of people who want to date trans people isn’t too deep or wide.
Study: Transgender Teens Face Unique Challenges while Dating
Transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents face transphobia, experience abusive relationships and may struggle with the decision to divulge their gender identity throughout their transition.
University of Michigan Health
By Beata Mostafavi
January 20, 2021

For many youth, adolescence is a time for developing self-identity and possibly exploring romantic relationships for the first time.

But young people who are transgender and gender nonconforming face a different set of challenges than peers during these developmental milestones, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that transgender and gender nonconforming teens engage in romantic relationships with youth of many gender identities. They also face transphobia, experience abusive relationships, and struggle with the decision to divulge their gender identity to a potential romantic partner throughout their transition, according to the study in journal Pediatrics.

“Adolescence is a time of physical, emotional and social growth. This includes identity formation, questioning belonging and exploring interpersonal and romantic relationships as young people become more independent,” says lead author and pediatric endocrinologist Adrian Araya, M.D., who conducted the study while at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and is currently at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“We wanted to better understand these experiences for transgender, gender diverse, and gender nonconforming individuals who navigate developmental milestones in the context of their transgender identity.”
And I think that it is even harder the older you become.
Transphobia and abuse from cis-gender and LGBTQ peers, however, sometimes hampered romantic pursuits.

Participants described transphobic experiences both online and in person, including derisive comments on transgender identity, as well as having accounts blocked and sometimes banned due to their preferred name not matching their legal name.

“The risk of transphobia in romantic relationships impacts the approach that transgender adolescents take toward romance and influences decisions of identity disclosure,” Araya says. “The fear of rejection can dissuade them from sharing their gender identity with peers.”
I once had to do training for a Domestic Violence shelter, they were taking in a trans woman who was beaten who was running from an abusive relationship. In Massachusetts they couldn’t find a DV shelter to take her in, so they sent her to a DV shelter here in Connecticut.
Navigating Romance When You’re Transgender
American Academy of Pediatrics
By Rachel Y. Moon, MD
January 19, 2021

I was thus excited to read a study (10.1542/peds.2020-007906) by Dr. Adrian Araya and colleagues at Michigan Medicine (which is early released by Pediatrics this week), in which they conducted qualitative interviews with 30 adolescents who were transgender, gender diverse, and gender nonconforming (15-20 years of age) to learn about how these youth experience romantic relationships.

Important themes that emerged from these interviews include:

Most had experienced romantic relationships – these occurred before, during, and after medical/social transitioning. These relationships could be with partners who were cisgender, transgender, or gender nonconforming.
They find romantic partners through school, work, mutual friends, organizations, and through social networking and dating apps, but describe the dating pool as limited.
They often are confronted with transphobia within the LGBT community, and this makes disclosure of gender identity challenging.
Some describe emotional or sexual abuse within relationships.
Gender affirming hormone treatment is viewed as having a positive effect on romantic health; they gain increased self-confidence and comfort with their own body.
The article notes that the subjects were…
...recruited from a pediatric and adolescent gender services clinic that requires parental support for enrollment. The romantic experiences of these adolescents may be very different from the experiences of those who do not have parental support or who are not receiving gender health services.
I have always thought that love was like lightning, you never when or where it will strike.

I have only dated once since I transitioned. I had known her for awhile, she came to hear me talk at panel discussion at the Legislative Office Building and we dated for a couple months but it didn’t work out.

When a trans women date a person there are server factors that come into play. The first is how well the trans person can integrate in to society, if you are like me and can be identified as trans it is going to be a lot harder on them. We are used to the stares, the giggling, and the disrespect, they are not.

The other thing are the “Tranny Chasers” who want to date trans women who haven’t had Gender Confirming Surgery but then drop us when we have GCS.

The deck is stacked against us.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

One Last Departing Attack On Us.

On Sunday the Justice Department acting head of the civil rights division, John Daukas sent out a memo to cancel the Supreme Court ruling on Title VII.
Former president Donald Trump made a final desperate and futile attempt to undermine LGBT+ rights, shortly before Joe Biden took office.
By Nick Duff
January 19, 2021

Just days before Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, the Trump administration launched an eleventh-hour push to entrench anti-LGBT+ discrimination in law.

A new memo issued by the Department of Justice on Sunday, just days before Trump’s exit from power, seeks to significantly warp the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v Clayton County, which established that employers cannot discriminate against on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity under sex-based Civil Rights Act protections.

The 23-page memo [Since removed from the DoJ website], issued by the head of the justice department’s so-called civil rights division chief, John Daukas, seeks to carve out exceptions from the ruling, arguing that religious people should still be free to discriminate against LGBT+ employees.

It asserts: “Unlike racial discrimination, the Supreme Court has never held that a religious employer’s decision not to hire homosexual or transgender persons violates deeply and widely accepted views of elementary justice.”

The memo also insists that no changes will be made within the Department of Justice, arguing that it is permitted to “maintain sex-specific facilities and policies, including bathrooms, locker rooms, dress codes, and physical fitness standards” based on “biological sex”
But the Supreme Court has never ruled that it didn’t violate the non-discrimination laws. The often cited Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case, the court DID NOT rule that the shop had a religious right to discriminate, it ruled that Colorado Civil Rights Commission used religion in their deliberations.

It appears that president Biden already started taking down Trump’s anti-LGBT government websites.

No first steps… but a jog.

President Biden is not taking his first steps but he is starting out running!
The new contact form also allows people to choose the non-binary prefix "Mx."
LGBTQ Nation
By Alex Bollinger 
January 20, 2021

The White House’s website has already been completely changed to reflect the new Biden administration, and one feature has caught people’s attention: the contact form now asks users for their pronouns.

In a dropdown menu, people trying to contact the White House can choose whether their pronouns are she/her, he/him, they/them, other, or “Prefer not to share.”
As I mentioned above, they also took down Justice Department acting head of the civil rights division, John Daukas’ memo.

Update 11:24 AM

President Biden Executive Order says in part...

Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation manifests differently for different individuals, and it often overlaps with other forms of prohibited discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race or disability.  For example, transgender Black Americans face unconscionably high levels of workplace discrimination, homelessness, and violence, including fatal violence.
What is amazing is that this order deals with intersectionality, I think that this is the first time intersectionality was addressed by the federal gvernment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Total BS

This right-wing conservative newspaper had this to say about trans children and you need to take your blood pressure meds first.
Girls who would be boys: The rise in teen gender dysphoria
Irreversible Damage: the Transgender Craze seducing our daughters Abigail Shrier, Swift Press, £16.99
By Emily Hourican
January 17 2021
Well right off by the headline you can tell that this is a hatchet job.
There was a feeling, not very long ago, that debating "trans issues" was sort of a niche occupation. Something remote from everyday lives. Well, if that was ever true, it isn't now.

Historically, there has been a distinct pattern in those presenting with gender dysphoria. They were predominantly pre-school aged boys, and they had usually begun signalling their gender confusion from very young - choosing female roles in games, showing dissatisfaction with their own bodies. And they were rare - around 0.005-0.014pc of the population - ie, fewer than 1 in 10,000 people, for natal males, and much lower again, 0.002-0.003pc, for natal females.

This changed about 10 years ago and, currently, around 2pc of high schoolers in the US identify as transgender, an increase of about 1,000pc. The UK has seen an increase of 4,000pc, and three-quarters are now girls.
Gee I wonder why?

Could it be possible the gatekeepers thought that there were no such thing as a trans masculine?
There has also been a change in the process of how these girls arrive at their sense of identification. Often this has been sudden, without the early signals, and appears in clusters rather than as singular cases. These girls are predominantly white, and middle class. A majority have one or more psychiatric diagnosis, around a third are autistic and almost half have engaged in self-harm prior to the onset of the gender dysphoria. Often, now, identifying as trans occurs before these girls have had any significant sexual experience. These teens - the average age is 12 to 15 - report feeling distressed and isolated.
This sounds like a rehash of the flawed Brown University paper by Lisa Littman.

Then the are goes on to question puberty blockers…
But halting puberty is not without health consequences, including the risk of suppression of normal bone density development and greater risk of osteoporosis, loss of sexual function, interference with brain development, and possibly suppressing peak IQ. These are the physical effects. There are also the psychological effects of remaining in a child-like state while their peers grow and mature. For girls wanting to transition, next comes the question of testosterone, and that too has health implications, including risks of vaginal atrophy, muscle aches, painful cramping due to endometriosis, painful orgasms, increased sweating, moodiness, and aggression. Long-term effects include heightened rates of diabetes, stroke, blood clots, cancer and heart disease.
But read what the Mayo Clinic has to say about puberty blockers,
Are the changes permanent?
Use of GnRH analogues doesn't cause permanent changes in an adolescent's body. Instead, it pauses puberty, providing time to determine if a child's gender identity is long lasting. It also gives children and their families time to think about or plan for the psychological, medical, developmental, social and legal issues ahead.

If an adolescent child stops taking GnRH analogues, puberty will resume.

What are the possible side effects and complications?
It's important for your child to stay on schedule with all related medical appointments. Contact your child's doctor if any changes cause you or your child concern.

Possible side effects of GnRH analogue treatment include:
  • Injection site swelling
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
Use of GnRH analogues might also have long-term effects on:
  • Bone density
  • Future fertility
Children will likely have their height checked every three months. Your child's doctor might recommend yearly bone density and bone age tests.

As for testosterone, causing diabetes, stroke, blood clots, cancer and heart disease, muscle aches, moodiness, and aggression. Well folks that is what testosterone does to every cismale.

This is a typical right-wing conservative hatchet job designed to stir the conservative base against us.

A follow-up to yesterday post…
Girl, 14, arrested after 2nd school attack in a week in Mission
Mission RCMP say a 14-year-old girl was arrested Jan. 15
CBC News
January 18, 2021 

RCMP are now investigating two separate attacks linked to Mission-area schools in the same week.

Cpl. Jason Raaflaub says the latest incident happened Jan. 13 on the grounds of Mission Secondary School.

He says a 15-year-old girl and her mother contacted police after the teen was allegedly assaulted. The incident was caught on video.

"The video shows a female standing over top of another female lying face up on the ground and the other female is seen punching and kicking the one on the ground," Raaflaub said.

A 14-year-old girl was arrested Jan. 15 in connection with the incident. Raaflaub says the video is part of the submission being made to Abbotsford Crown counsel for a charge of assault.

The 14-year-old has been released but is not allowed to contact the victim or go to Mission Secondary School.
So that makes it a total of 3 girls being arrested, you would think that the third girl would have seen that the other two were arrested.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In High Office!

Many of you heard about Dr. Rachel Levine is or should I say was Pennsylvania Health Secretary.

As President-elect Biden picks his cabinet members you might remember that when he was Vice President, Obama had a number trans people in places of importance, well Biden is following in his footsteps.
Biden Picks Pa.'s Dr. Levine to Be Assistant Health Secretary, Would Make History If Confirmed
  • President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.
  • Levine is a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general and was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017.
  • Levine is one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide and has emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ch 10 NBC News Philadelphia
By Will Weissert
January 19, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Levine was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. She won past confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond," Biden said in a statement. "She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
All I can say is WOW!

What I was planning on writing about this morning was about a Canadian town that stood up in support a trans student who was receiving bullying…
Vehicle parade in Mission draws strong support for transgender student attacked and beaten by peers
Police are recommending charges against two teen girls from École Heritage Park Middle School
CBC News
January 17, 2021

Hundreds of vehicles festooned with pink balloons, rainbow signs and anti-bullying messages drove slowly through a riverfront area of Mission B.C. on Sunday to offer support to a teen who was beaten by two other students at their school on Monday.

AJ Gopinath, one of the organizers of the rally, said when details of the violence emerged, he knew he had to do something in response.

"For us, just standing by and watching someone get assaulted in a manner that is not accepted by the community and, as a person, I couldn't step back and allow it to happen," he said from the rally on Sunday while wearing a pink T-shirt with the message, 'Say no to bullying' on it.

On Monday a video was posted on social media that showed the victim, who rally organizers describe as a non-binary transgender teen, being punched and kicked by two girls on school grounds of École Heritage Park Middle School.
The two attackers were arrested and police are recommending charges against them including assault and uttering threats.
It is nice and encouraging to see support like this, especially in today’s climate.

I published this early because I getting my COVID-19 vaccination this morning and my arm might be too sore and if I don’t feel to bad after the shot then I will head in to the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective to help out there with the quarterly survey.

Monday, January 18, 2021

With A New Legislature Season Republican Legislators Are Attacking Us

A number of new anti-trans bills have been introduced around the country, they are mainly anti-trans athlete bills.
Conservative legislators want transgender kids' lives as the new battlefield in their culture war
In many states, Republican lawmakers are pushing pseudoscientific, stereotype-ridden bills that will hurt trans kids under the guise of protecting them.
NBC News
By Chase Strangio, trans activist and staff attorney, ACLU
January 17, 2021

We are not yet three weeks into 2021, President-elect Joe Biden has yet to be inaugurated and already powerful forces on the right have made clear what will be the next front in their so-called culture war — which is to say, their effort to maintain political power by demonizing the bodies, private lives and personal decisions of Americans they’ve deemed unworthy of such autonomy.

This time, they’ve chosen transgender youth as their target, seeking to capitalize on insidious stereotypes about trans people, preposterous pseudoscience and a divisive cadre of supposed women’s rights campaigners who believe the only way to achieve gender equality is to oppress other people.

These efforts to attack trans young people are driven by the same fundamental goals as previous attempts to restrict all transgender people from using public restrooms: to exclude transgender youth from participating in public and educational life alongside their peers and to perpetuate the myth that transness is itself harmful and should be eradicated. Despite all the high-minded rhetoric about “protecting children” and “saving women’s sports” behind these legislative efforts, these bills will actively harm young people, not help them, and will compromise women’s sports, not save them.

In at least 12 states right now, efforts are afoot that include actually criminalizing health care for transgender youth (as in, send doctors to prison for following medical treatment protocols to help trans youth) as well as banning all transgender young people from participating in age-appropriate athletic programs.
The question is why are they against us?

My theory is that they are playing to their evangelical Christian and white supremacists base. In another NBC article…
Montana Republican targets transgender youth with 2 new bills
State Rep. John Fuller, the bills’ sponsor, called gender-affirming care for transgender youth “barbaric.”
By Dan Avery
January 15, 2021

A Republican lawmaker in Montana has introduced a pair of bills targeting transgender youth.

House Bill 112, authored by state Rep. John Fuller, requires athletic teams at all public educational institutions — from elementary schools to colleges — to be designated based on “biological sex.” The measure, also known as the Save Women’s Sports Act, would prohibit transgender students from joining teams that match their gender identity, no matter how long ago they transitioned.

“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” it reads in part.
Another bill, also penned by Fuller, would bar health care professionals from providing transgender minors certain transition-related care.

Under House Bill 113, also known as An Act Providing for Youth Health Protection, physicians and other medical professionals are prohibited from treating gender dysphoria in minors by prescribing, providing or administering puberty-suppressing drugs or cross-sex hormones (including estrogen and testosterone); performing gender-reassignment surgery; or removing “any otherwise healthy or nondiseased body part or tissue.” Penalties for providers who violate the law would include fines of up to $50,000.
Do you remember when the Republicans mantra was to get government out of our lives?

What could be more invasive then government getting between you and your doctors? How many trans people will die so that the Republicans can stay in power?

The Republicans don’t care who they hurt, all they care about is power and money.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Courts

There is a Supreme Court case coming up that can have profound impact on us, voiding all the non-discrimination laws in the country.

The case is called Fulton v. City of Philadelphia and it involves the Catholic Church, they want to refuse LGBTQ people from adopting children from their agency. The city says when the adoption agency took the public funding they signed a contract saying that they would not discriminate.
Faith, LGBTQ Rights Collide At Supreme Court
By Nina Totenberg
November 4, 2020

Elections come and go, but Supreme Court decisions can last forever. One of those potentially pivotal cases is before the court Wednesday. A case both poignant and profound, it pits the rights of a city to enforce its anti-discrimination policies in contracting against the rights of religious groups.

On one side is the City of Philadelphia, which contracts with private foster care agencies, and as part of the contract requires that those agencies abide by the city's ban on discriminating against LGBTQ couples. On the other side is Catholic Social Services, which contends that complying with the city's requirement would violate its constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.

Okay, here is the thing… you and I paid for those services through our taxes and this agency that is taking our tax dollars and refusing to allow us access to those services.

When the Catholic Social Services signed the contract with the city for the funding…
That said, however, the city has refused to renew the $2.9 million contract for future home foster care placements by CSS. As the city sees it, CSS has violated the terms of its contract by its policy of refusing to consider same-sex married couples for placement.

"You can't on Monday sign a contract that says we won't discriminate and on Tuesday go ahead and discriminate," says Katyal. And he notes that the Supreme Court has long said governments are at the apex of their power in contracting for goods and services.
Isn’t there a commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor?”

This issue before the court is not the first time a case where someone said a law violated their “Religious Freedom” back in 1990 the article goes on to say,
In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that when the government has a "generally applicable" law or regulation and enforces that law neutrally, the government's action is presumptively legitimate even if it has some "incidental" adverse impact on some citizens.

The court said that an individual's religious beliefs do not excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that government is free to regulate. Allowing exceptions to every state law or regulation affecting religion, the court said, "would open the prospect of constitutionally required exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind," from compulsory military service to vaccination requirements, and child-neglect laws.

The author of that opinion was the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon and a devout Catholic...
Now they are trying to reverse Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Several of the Supreme Court's most conservative justices have in fact urged revisiting Justice Scalia's 1990 decision. And the Court's newest Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, served on the board of her children's private religious school, which, according to the Associated Press, did not admit the children of same-sex couples.

Consider substituting another protected class for LGBTQ discrimination…

If the adoption agency said that they would not allow Black people to adopt do you think that would have been allowed?

Or suppose that the Catholic Social Services said that they will not let disabled persons in wheelchairs adopt because they cannot care for a child properly how do you that would fly?

There would be a great outcry if the Catholic Social Services banned any of those protected classes because it would violate their religious beliefs.

To justify racial discrimination in the South back when the Civil Rights Act of 1963 was being passed there were some Congresspeople who said it would be against their religious values.
On the morning of 10 June 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd, a former Kleagle of the West Virginia Ku Klux Klan, was concluding a fourteen-hour and thirteen-minute monologue on the floor of the United States Senate. His speech was part of a two-week-long filibuster of the United States Civil Rights Act…

...To Byrd, Genesis9 meant that God had endorsed racial separation and discrimination. In
using Genesis 9 to support segregation and the continuance of Jim Crow, Byrd was relying upon the so-called “Curse of Ham.” According to the mythology that developed around this story, Noah cursed his son Ham to perpetual slavery. Ham, according to Genesis 10, was the founding father of Africa. Thus, Africans are an accursed race predestined by God to inferiority and slavery.
So would the Supreme Court allow someone to use “Religious Freedom” to allow segregation or slavery? Or would the court only allow “Religious Freedom” against LGBTQ people?

Wouldn’t that in itself be discriminatory? That of all the protected classes that only discrimination LGBTQ people could claim “Religious Freedom?” I think that would violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

This court case has far reaching impact and every law written where someone can ignore a law because it violates their religious belief. All one would have to do to ignore a law just declare that the law violates their religious beliefs.

Religious Freedom has already been used in the defense of a group of people who left water in the desert for undocumented immigrants.
Judge Reverses Convictions of Activists Who Left Water for Migrants
A federal judge found that four volunteers with the group “No More Deaths” were acting on their religious beliefs when they left food and water for migrants in the desert.
New York Times
By Maria Cramer
February 5, 2020

Four women who drove into a forbidding desert and left food and water for migrants crossing illegally into the United States were following their religious beliefs, not violating federal laws, a federal judge has ruled, reversing their criminal convictions.

Judge Rosemary Márquez of the United District Court in Arizona decided last week in favor of the women, members of the organization No More Deaths, a faith-based group in Tucson that aims to alleviate suffering at the border.

“The depth, importance and centrality of these beliefs caused defendants to restructure their lives to engage in this volunteer work,” Judge Márquez said in a 22-page ruling that was released on Monday.
Judge Márquez, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, agreed that “the prosecution of defendants for these actions substantially burdens their religious exercise.”

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday 9: Thank U, Next

Sam’s Saturday 9: Thank U, Next (2018)

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

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

1) In this song, Ariana Grande thanks her former boyfriends for what they taught her about love, life, patience and pain. Do you believe you have learned more from your successes, or your mistakes?

You learn what worked by your successes and you learn also by your mistakes.

2) One of the young men mentioned in the song is Pete Davidson, a cast member of Saturday Night Live. SNL has been on for more than 45 years now. Who is your all-time favorite cast member?
Well I never watched it, it was past my bedtime. During the week I had to be at work at 7 AM.

3) Thinking of funny people ... As you can see from the video, Ariana performed "Thank U, Next" on Ellen Degeneres' talk show. Ellen makes people laugh every afternoon. Who in your life can you always count on to make you laugh or smile?
I’m a sourpuss

4) It looks like Ariana Grande's personal romantic saga will have a happy ending because at Christmastime, she announced her engagement. Do you know anyone who is getting married in 2021?
Nope, my niece and nephews are all married and my grandnieces and grandnephews are still too young.

5) Ariana loves Harry Potter and named her dogs Snape, Lily and Sirius Black after characters in the J.K. Rowling books. Are you a Harry Potter fan?
I am a Harry Potter fan but not J.K. Rowling and I wouldn’t buy any of her books now.

6) She loves board games, especially Monopoly. Sam isn't crazy about Monopoly because it takes so long. How about you? Are you a Monopoly fan?
Most definitely yes but not the electronic or online version… you can’t cheat.

7) In 2018, the year this song was released, Toys R Us closed all its stores and went out of business. Who received the last toy you purchased? What was it?
Whoa… I don’t remember. All my grandnieces and grandnephews are too old for toys.

8) Also in 2018, Aretha Franklin died. What's your favorite Aretha song?

Well I think that it is hands down Respect followed by You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

9) Random question: Are you more likely to shed a tear at a wedding or during a movie?
Probably during a movie because there are no weddings in the foreseeable future.

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, January 15, 2021


The attack on the Capitol is having an impact all around the world and it is becoming obvious that Trump shot himself in the foot.

His banker Deutsche Bank dropped him. The PGA stripped the Trump’s New Jersey golf course the championship. Businesses are moving away from anything Trump because they don’t want the visibility.

The Republicans are also feeling the fallout from the attempted coup with major donors backing off.

Now heighten security are at all government buildings, court houses, state capitols as result of the armed rioters taking over the Capitol.

Updated: 3:30 PM

Yahoo News reported that Axios that...
By Jim VandeHei
January 15, 2021

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.

They lost their congressional power.

Their two leaders, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, are hamstrung by corporate blacklisting of their election-denying members.

The GOP brand is radioactive for a huge chunk of America.

The corporate bans on giving to the 147 House and Senate Republicans who voted against election certification are growing and virtually certain to hold.

The RNC is a shell of its former self and run by a Trump loyalist.

Democrats crushed them in fundraising when they were out of power. Imagine their edge with it.

Sheldon Adelson, the party's biggest donor, died Monday.

The NRA is weaker than it has ever been, after massive leadership scandals.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, once controlled by rock-ribbed Republicans, also gave to Democrats in 2020.

Rank-and-file Republicans are now scattered on encrypted channels like Signal and fearful of Big Tech platforms.

Men With Tool Belts

In the past I have had bad experiences with men in tool belts so I am always leery when I needs a trade person.

One time when I had my car serviced a parade of mechanics found a reason to walk through the waiting room. I could see a water fountain in the shop area but the mechanics had to walk in to the waiting room to get a cup of water there.

Another time my kitchen sink was clogged and I tried my snake but it didn’t clear it so I had to call a plumber. When he started working he said he had to go out to his truck, being summer I had all the windows open and I overheard him saying on his that there is one of those [derogatory team] here followed by laughter.

The company that cares for my furnace are really good, I have never had a problem with them.

When I was in an accident and needed my car repaired and brought my car to the car hospital I could the moment when he released I was trans. However, after a few minutes he was relaxed again and now when I need my car repaired again he remembers me.

So yesterday when I needed my garage door repaired I held my breath and call a garage door repair company. The guy came out, I held my breath and answered the door. He didn’t even blink.

It is a crap shoot when you need a man-in-a-tool belt.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Some Good News

With all the negative news coming out of Washington how about some good news?

The first trans person to be elected to a state senate was sworn in last week, she follows in the steps of Danica Roem!
Delaware's Sarah McBride sworn in as first openly transgender state senator
By 6abc Digital Staff and Ashley Johnson
January 13, 2021

Delaware Senator Sarah McBride became a "first" on Tuesday when she took the oath in Claymont. She's the country's first openly transgender state senator and the highest-ranking transgender elected official in the nation.

"As I reflect on the journey till today I am reminded of the change that it reflects: that we are a community and a country that has continuously opened our hearts and changed our minds and increasingly judged people on their skills and talents not on their identities," McBride said.

USA Today wrote back in November,
McBride is also the first openly-transgender individual to ever be elected to office in Delaware. And as a state senator, she will be the highest-ranking openly transgender elected official nationwide.

We are making great inroads in the political arena but we have a long ways to go, the opposition tried to make the issue her being trans but the voters would have none of that and instead voted on the issues important to Delaware.
The New York Daily News reported on a troll…
The answer is simple.

Newly elected Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender state senator in the U.S., had a pretty straightforward answer to someone who inquired about her gender.

“I am confused, are you a boy or a girl?” came the troll-like text to her phone.

“I’m a senator,” she replied.

“Hope that clears things up,” she tweeted, along with a screenshot of the exchange.

Virginia’s House of Delegates Danica Roem had other legislators who didn’t take her seriously but they soon learned to take her seriously and they will also learn to take Senator McBride seriously.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


A hate crime bill was blocked in Arkansas Republicans because LGBTQ+ was included in the bill.
Conservative opposition to LGBTQ inclusion jeopardizes Arkansas hate crime bill
Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming are the only states in the country without hate crime laws.
By The Associated Press
January 8, 2021

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A push to finally enact a hate crimes law in Arkansas, a state with a history of white supremacists, appeared to have all the elements for success: a popular Republican governor who made it a priority, major corporations endorsing the idea and support from communities where hate groups have flourished.

But the chance to end Arkansas' distinction as one of only three states without such a law is in jeopardy even before lawmakers return to the Capitol. Conservatives have moved to defeat the bill in the majority-GOP Legislature, though similar measures have passed in other red states.
The bill's dimming prospects threaten a legislative priority for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who as a U.S. attorney prosecuted racist militia members but without a hate crimes law's specific penalties.
The proposal in Arkansas would impose up to 20 percent additional jail time or fines for targeting someone because of several factors, including race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Prosecutors would have to prove the victim’s attributes was a substantial factor in the crime being committed.
But it will never be passed because of the hate that Republicans in Arkansas have for us.
Hate groups have long claimed Arkansas as a haven. Dozens of members of the New Aryan Empire, a white supremacist group that prosecutors said engaged in drug trafficking and witness intimidation, were indicted on federal charges in the state last year.
Hate groups have a haven in the deep south but Connecticut is no immune according to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are 8 hate groups here.


On Monday I wrote about Education Secretary of Education DeVos parting shot at us well she wasn’t the Secretary of Health and Human Services also stabbed us in the back as he was leaving.
In 'nasty parting shot,' HHS finalizes rule axing LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections
Under the new Health Department rule, taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can refuse to acknowledge same-sex marriages and turn away qualified LGBTQ parents.
NBC News
By Dan Avery
January 12, 2021

With little more than a week left to the Trump administration, the Department of Health and Human Services has finalized a rule permitting social-service providers that receive government funds to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Critics claim the new guidance could have wide-ranging implications for agencies that address adoption and foster-parenting, as well as homelessness, HIV prevention, elder care and other public services.

“Even as Trump administration officials abandon ship, HHS has announced yet another dangerous rule that invites discrimination against the very people federal grant programs are meant to help,” Sasha Buchert, senior attorney for the LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal, said.
Slated to take effect on Feb. 11, the rule change is targeted at child welfare organizations, according to Julie Kruse, director of federal policy for LGBTQ advocacy group Family Equality. Whether private adoption agencies receiving taxpayer money can deny services to same-sex potential parents is at the heart of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, now before the Supreme Court.

Kruse said both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have made allowing discrimination in adoption and foster care a priority over the last four years.
What this does is to give special right to certain religions in violation of the First Amendment, they can disobey laws at their whim.

With the Trump and Republican stacked Supreme Court you know that they are going to allow the discrimination. 

There is concept called the Neutral Law where a law does not take religion into account, such as Social Security. Back in 1982 the Supreme Court ruled that Social Security did not violate the First Amendment because…
(a) While there is a conflict between the Amish faith and the obligations imposed by the social security system, not all burdens on religion are unconstitutional. The state may justify a limitation on religious liberty by showing that it is essential to accomplish an overriding governmental interest. Pp. 455 U. S. 256-258.
But that ruling is being eroded.

Back in 1990 a man was fired to taking peyote as part of his religion, as an indigenous people they used peyote as a religious sacrament. The case made it to the Supreme Court and the court upheld the law.

As a result Congress passed the Religious Freedom law and that law is pushing the envelope by exempting people from the law.