Sunday, December 31, 2023

A Year In Review.

Nope… I am not going to do that this year it has been too negative and I think we all know that. We have become a political pawn in an election that has seen no other like it. Where Republican state after state have passed horrible anti-trans laws and gone after us like the Lavender Scare in the 1950s.

Around the world fascist leader are getting elected in part by demonizing us, the LGBTQ+ peoples

There were a couple of bright spots like defeating anti-trans athlete bills here in Connecticut.

The old curse and blessing holds true today… “May you live in interesting times.”


Gazing into my crystal ball: I see more of the same this year. Insurrectionists denials. The elections were rigged. That the Republicans are being persecuted by the Democrats. The usual garbage that the Republicans spew.

I see these 14th Amendment cases going to the Supreme Court and I see the court upholding the election bans against Trump. I also surprisingly see the many anti-trans healthcare laws and anti-trans athlete laws being ruled in our favor. Maybe it is wishful thinking but I foresee the courts voting 5-4 in our favor.

I see here in Connecticut a bill to ban the banning of books, preventing books being banned because that are about protected classes. Such as because of marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

I think that the Doomsday Clock will move closer to Midnight.

Yes It Does.

It is only because they don’t see are desire for our human rights as legitimate. The conservatives think this is all a choice for us you are stuck back in the 1950s.
ACLU representing NRA is consistent with its values. Its stance on transgender issues isn't.
The civil liberties champion's recent positions on the First Amendment rights of individuals seeking information about transgender inmates have been suspect.
USA Today
By Chandra Bozelko
December 31, 2023


The ACLU will represent the National Rifle Association in its suit against New York Department of Financial Services' former superintendent, Maria Vullo. It was an unusual enough pairing that the ACLU had to explain it.

“We don’t support the NRA’s mission or its viewpoints,” the ACLU in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter. “But we both know that government officials can’t punish organizations because they disapprove of their views.”

Many have commended the ACLU for this principled stand, but we shouldn’t praise the civil liberties champion for being free-speech maximalists just yet. The organization’s recent record on First Amendment rights is less than stellar, especially when it comes to the issue of transgender people in prison.

[…]

Precedent is on the plaintiffs’ side. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that requiring Shawnee State University professor Nicholas Meriwether to call a student by her preferred pronouns violated his First Amendment rights. Shawnee State and the professor have settled.

The ACLU is right no matter how much we hate it, no matter that we see it a slur, no matter that we see it a bigotry it still is speech and as long as it is not threatening it is not illegal.
The ACLU has faced accusations of being a front. Jennifer Thomas, activist and leader of a summer rally against the civil rights group, said: “The American Civil Liberties Union is the legal agent of the gender industry.”
In some sick way the Republicans dream of their distorted view of the 1950s they think the”Dick and Jane” books and Father Knows Best” and want to go back to that time. To when segregation was still legal, to when gays were in the closets, and we were looked upon the topic of a Jerry Springer show.

There version of history ignores the contributions Blacks have made and ignored the discrimination, that was the era of the Lavender Scare, they forgot Christine Jorgensen they wrote her out of their collective memory.

I have worked with the lawyers from the ACLU to pass the gender inclusive non-discrimination law, it was their lobbyist who worked with us to pass the bill and they worked to pass other LGBTQ+ legislation.

* * *

It all fits together if you think about it, the right-wing Republicans still think removing sexual orientation from the DSM was political and that we chose to be who were are.

The vocabulary that they use shows it, “grooming” is a term that shows their thinking that gays chose to be gay. They lump us with gays because that was what people believed back in the 50s.
 

Why Do Republicans Think That Laws Don’t Apply To Them?

Have you noticed that there are people who think that they don’t have to obey the law or the Constitution? That they are above the law. They live in their own fantasy world where January 6th was just a “peaceful” protest. Where in their little minds the insurrectionists that blocked Congress from voting was a nothing at all.

Now the Republicans are going after the Maine Attorney General.
Bellows removed Trump from the primary ballot Thursday evening, citing the 14th Amendment
Fox News
By Houston Keene
December 29, 2023


A Maine Republican state lawmaker wants to impeach the Maine secretary of state who removed former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot.

GOP state Rep. John Andrews said he wants to pursue impeachment against Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows after she disqualified Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot on Thursday.

In her ruling, Bellows cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans from office those who "engaged in insurrection."

Andrews said in a statement that he filed a request with the Maine Revisor's Office saying he wanted "to file a Joint Order, or whichever is the proper parliamentary mechanism under Mason's Rules, to impeach Secretary of State Shenna Bellows."

[…]

Andrews said in his statement that he wants to impeach Bellows "on the grounds that she is barring an American citizen and [the] 45th President of the United States, who is convicted of no crime or impeachment, their right to appear on a Maine Republican Party ballot in March."
All she did was follow the law of Maine, I guess that they think that they are exempt from the laws and Constitution.
CBS News
BY KATRINA KAUFMAN
DECEMBER 29, 2023


Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows says she was following Maine's election law and upholding the U.S. Constitution when she disqualified Donald Trump from her state's presidential primary ballot. 

Maine is the second state to bar Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution — a decision the Trump campaign said it would appeal. It is the only state where a challenge to a candidate's qualification is initially the responsibility of the secretary of state rather than a court.

CBS News spoke with Bellows shortly after the release of her decision Thursday night.

The interview was restricted to a discussion of her ruling and the process, leaving unanswered questions about risks to her potential safety. In the wake of the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling to disqualify Trump from holding office — a ruling that's currently on hold pending appeal — the Colorado justices who voted to bar him have been inundated with threats. 

"In evaluating the weight of the evidence, it (was) made clear that Mr. Trump was aware of the tinder that was laid in a multi-month effort to delegitimize the 2020 election and (he) then chose to light a match," said Bellows, a Democrat who took office in 2021.
The Republican crowd just can’t believe that their guy did anything in telling his cult followers to go and stop Congress from voting.
Under Maine law, voters can petition the secretary of state with challenges to a candidate's qualifications for office, and then a public hearing is held where the challengers must make their case. 

"In Maine, we're very proud of our voting rights. We were first in the nation in 2022 with voter participation. And we have a statute that makes me different from any other state that I have observed," said Bellows. "My obligation under Maine state law was to issue a decision very quickly. I'm not permitted under Maine law to wait for the United States Supreme Court to intervene in this particular proceeding."
The Republicans are living in the make believe world where the election was stolen (How? No one knows but it was!) and Jan 6th was just a peaceful insurrection.
"I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3," said Bellows, echoing a line from her ruling. "And I'm also mindful that no presidential candidate has ever engaged in insurrection under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment."
The Republicans believe that those 98 individuals that have been found guilty court trials and the 632 people have pleaded guilty to federal charges that many of them have received jail time is the result of a political vendetta. They think that because that is what they would have done and they can't believe that the Democrats are not like them.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Saturday 9: The Old Me

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9
questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love to answer the questions, however, and here is today's questions!

Saturday 9: The Old Me (2020)
 
On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…
Sorry about last Saturday 9, my brother and sister-in-law were down at their son’s house in Connecticut for Sunday on their way down to New Jersey and their daughter’s house.
 

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
We're bidding adieu to the old year with a song
about looking back.

Thanks for participating in Saturday 9 during 2023.

1) In this song, the lead singer thanks his younger self for everything he learned from past experience. What's something you learned in 2023?
 After a whole mess of medical tests I learned that my shortness of breath was caused by my blood pressure pills.

2) He admits he did some things he wished he hadn't. Did you do anything in 2023 you wish you could take back?
Nope. No mulligan in life.

3) This music video consists of old photographs. Do you have many photos lingering on your phone or camera? Or are you prompt about downloading them?
I have all my photos on my network 2T drive. (It is easy to install a network drive, it plugs right into my cable modem and it does the rest.)

4) This week's featured artist is 5 Seconds of Summer, a band from Australia. Have you ever been to the land down under? If not, would you like to go?
Nope, I’ve been only to Canada.

5) In 2020, when this song was popular, "murder hornets," aka the giant Asian hornet, were spotted for the first time in the United States. Are you afraid of bugs?
There is only one I am afraid of and it is the Lone Star tick, I just can imagine not being able to eat red meat!

6) Enough about 2020! Let's look back on 2023. Did you travel this past year?
Well to the Cape, Maine, and New Jersey.

7) What was the biggest purchase that you made in 2023?
Hmm… I don’t think that I made a big purchase this year. All small ones.

8) What was your favorite book of 2023?
Arrows of the Queen: Heralds of Valdemar Series, Book 1 By: Mercedes Lackey. I am probably the only one who has a spreadsheet of the books that I have read.

9) What are you looking forward to most in 2024?
Making it to 2025.

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!



Yesterday, my post on Facebook.
 
So I was going to go to a museum with a friend today down in Essex, I waited in a park and ride for him. When he came I went to start the car and it wouldn't start, on the dash the idiot light on the dash said "Low 12 Volt Battery!"
I called the auto club... we can have someone out in 2 to 3 hours. WTF!!!
So I sat there, and sat there, and sat there, he showed up a little before 3. "This is a hybrid! We don't jump starts hybrid."
See in the manual it tells you how to jump start it."
We don't jump start hybrid batteries."
But.. But...
"We don't jump start hybrid batteries... they are 500 Volts!"
The guy parked next to comes to his car and hears the discussion with auto club.
"Can I help, I have jumper cables."
He connects his cables up and the car starts right up.
The auto club guy gets into his truck and drives off in a huff.
(The guy who help me told me to start the car. 
Me: It is running. 
The guy: No you have to start the car to make sure it will start.
Me: It is running now. 
The guy: You have...
Me: See the "Ready" light it means it is running. 
The guy: Oh, okay, 
Me: Thanks.)

I high tailed it over to the Toyota dealer, yup we can replace the battery, no problem. But you know it is a special battery and it will be around $400.
400 dollars!

It was not a good day, on a scale of 1 to 10 it was a -5

Friday, December 29, 2023

So Tell Me.

[Editorial]

On the way home from a friends house in Massachusetts up near the New Hampshire boarder a campaign ads for Nikki Haley caught my attention.
Nikki Haley launching first TV ad of presidential campaign
The spot, airing Friday, is part of a massive $10 million ad buy in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Politico
By Meridith McGraw
November 30, 2023

Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign is launching its first ad of the GOP primary on Friday, highlighting “chaos in our streets” and calling for a president with “moral clarity.”
What caught my ear was…
“A president must have moral clarity and know the difference between good and evil,” Haley says in the ad. “Today, China, Russia, and Iran are advancing. There’s chaos in our streets and college campuses. Our security is threatened at home and abroad.”

[…]

“It’s time for a new generation of conservative leadership,” Haley says in the ad. “We have to leave behind the chaos and drama of the past and strengthen our country, our pride, and our purpose.”
She goes on to say what she feels is wrong with the country.

The reason why I am writing this is that almost all the ads for both sides just talk the negatives things “wrong” with this country and the other party. But… but… nothing is said on how they are going to correct these problems.

So tell me Gov. Haley how are you going to fix all the things that you mentioned?
  • How are you going to fix inflation?
  • How are you going to lower the high price of gas?
  • How are you going to lower the high food prices?
  • How are you going to end the Ukraine war?
  • How are you going to end the Hamas – Israeli war?
  • How are you going to end the immigration on our southern boarder?
  • How are you going to deal with China, Russia, and Iran?
And tell me how are you going to deal with what you didn’t mention? Topics like…
  • Abortion?
  • LGBTQ+ people?
  • The crumbling bridges?
  • Lead in our water supply?
  • Our antiquated electric grid?
  • Lack of affordable housing?
  • What about people who suffers from food insecurity?
She is not the only candidate who avoids telling us how they going to fix things, both parties are good at avoiding that. They are good at slinging mud at each other but short on fixes.

Since they don’t want to talk about what they are planning it is up to us, the voter, to look into their history. How did the vote on abortion? How did they vote on LGBTQ+ issues? How did they to fix the aging highways and bridges? How did they vote on issues important to you?

Voting is not an armchair sport, to be a responsible voter you have to look beyond the rhetoric and look into what they did while in office.

[/Editorial]

World Migration!

There is an invasion on our Mexican boarder but it is not just there, it is also Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, France, Netherlands, and just about every European country has a problem with undocumented immigrants.
Geert Wilders: the Dutch far-right figurehead sending a chill across Europe
After 20 years as a political outlier, the leader of the anti-immigration Freedom party is closer to power than ever before
The Guardian
Pjotr Sauer in Amsterdam
23 November 2023


Known for his distinctive platinum-blond hairstyle and his aggressive anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric, Geert Wilders has been catapulted by the Dutch elections to the place he loves most to be: at the centre of attention.

In a political earthquake, preliminary results from Wednesday’s election show Wilders’ Freedom party winning 37 seats of the 150 in the lower house, more than any other party and significantly more than expected in opinion polling during the campaign.
Wilder is a right-wing conservative like the Republicans here in the U.S.
From describing Islam as “an ideology of a retarded culture” and calling Moroccans “scum”, Wilders, who is often compared to the former US president Donald Trump for his inflammatory rhetoric and use of social media, has long been a prominent fixture in the European far-right landscape.

[…]

Still, some of his more extreme proposed measures – which include restoring Dutch border control, detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, and reintroducing work permits for intra-EU workers – would fundamentally change the DNA of the Netherlands.
Hmm… sound familiar?
Right-wing victory in Italy expected to bring swift changes to migration
The Washington Post
By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli
September 26, 2022


For years, Giorgia Meloni has railed against Italy’s migration policies, calling them overly lenient and saying they risk turning the country into the “refugee camp of Europe.”

Now that she is Italy’s presumed next prime minister, migration is one of the areas where Meloni can most easily bring in sweeping change.

“The smart approach is: You come to my house according to my rules,” Meloni, of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia party, said earlier this month in an interview with The Washington Post.

Her ideas, taken together, figure to significantly tighten the doors to one of the European Union’s front-line destinations for undocumented immigrants.
It is all around the globe that there has been a migration of people fleeing countries because of war, food insecurity, and lack of jobs. They head for countries that they believe the streets are paved in gold. Countries where they can find work and safety.

The Pew Research Center write;
Four countries – Germany, the UK, Italy and France – account for 70% of Europe’s unauthorized immigrants. Germany had an estimated 1.0 million to 1.2 million unauthorized immigrants in 2017, while the UK had 800,000 to 1.2 million. Together, these two countries had about half of Europe’s total. Italy had an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 unauthorized immigrants, followed by France with 300,000 to 400,000. The remaining European countries had an estimated 1.2 million to 1.4 million unauthorized immigrants.

Unauthorized immigrants in Europe are from all over the globe. About 30% came from countries in the Asia-Pacific region in 2017, while another 23% were citizens of the handful of European countries that are not part of the EU or EFTA. About one-in-five (21%) were from the Middle East-North Africa region. Another 17% were from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and 8% came from countries in the Americas.
I asked Google’s Bard AI: How has undocumented immigrants affect politics in countries where they flee to? Here is part of it’s answer...

Political impact:
    Rise of populism: The issue of undocumented immigration can be used by populist politicians to gain support by stoking fears and anxieties about cultural change and economic competition. This can lead to stricter immigration policies and increased polarization in the political landscape.
    Human rights and ethical considerations: Concerns about human rights and ethical treatment of undocumented immigrants can also influence political discourse. Debates often focus on balancing border security with upholding the rights of vulnerable individuals and families.
Chat GPT AI said in part…

Political Debates and Policy Discussions:
Undocumented immigration can become a major topic in political debates and policy discussions. Different political factions may have varying views on how to address the issue, leading to polarization and heated discussions.

Voter Attitudes and Political Behavior:
The presence of undocumented immigrants can influence voter attitudes and political behavior. Some voters may support candidates or parties with more lenient immigration policies, while others may favor those advocating for stricter enforcement.

Legal and Enforcement Policies:
Political leaders may implement or advocate for specific policies related to immigration enforcement. This can include increased border security measures, deportation initiatives, or pathways to legal status for certain undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigration is being weaponized by the conservatives around the world, they use fear of “others” to create a crisis that they exploit for votes.

What is the answer? Well I can tell you one thing that doesn’t work… fortifying the boarders or locking them up (Heck in prisons they get a roof over their heads and three squares. It sure beats where they came from.). The cause of the migration comes from a combination of economic, social, and political factors.

No matter what you do it will not stop the flood of undocumented immigrants. They want a job, they want security, they want food, and they want a roof over their heads that doesn’t leak.

So when you hear a candidate say they want to stop the flood of undocumented immigrants ask them how they are going to do that? How are they going to get jobs for them in their native country? How are they going to end poverty in the third world countries.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Banned In Boston

Used to mean that it was a good sexy book to read because of the "Puritans" history of Boston, but now Boston is playing second fiddle to the right-wing conservatives, they want to ban everything! But mostly us.
After parents object, books with LGBTQ themes and characters are most likely to go
The Washington Post
By Hannah Natanson
December 23, 2023


Almost half of books challenged at school are returned to shelves, but titles with LGBTQ characters, themes and stories are most likely to be banned, according to a Washington Post analysis of nearly 900 book objections nationwide.

School officials sent 49 percent of challenged titles back to shelves, The Post found, a discovery some interviewed for this story hailed as proof the national alarm over book challenges has been overblown — although librarians warned of a severe burden on employees forced to spend months defending titles. The next most-common outcome, in 17 percent of challenges, was for a book to be placed under some form of restriction. Libraries might require parental permission or limit the youngest students from checking out a given title.

[...]

The Post analyzed the types of books challenged to determine what titles were most likely to be removed, restricted or retained. Books about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer lives were 30 percent more likely to be yanked, The Post found, compared with all targeted books. By contrast, books by and about people of color, or those about race and racism, were 20 percent more likely to be kept available compared with all targeted books.
"Banned in Boston" used to mean the book had much sex in them for the puritans. But now it is political views that are trying to ban books.

But books that the conservatives want to ban are being challenged...
“In a public system, challenges are appropriate, reviewing challenges is appropriate and, in some small number of cases, keeping those books out of circulation is probably appropriate,” said Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow studying K-12 education at the American Enterprise Institute. “It sounds like the system is working as it should.”

In interviews, librarians across the country said they were heartened by the rate of returns — but cautioned that the success can come at a high cost. Defending books from challenges is equivalent to a “second full-time job,” said Martha Hickson, a New Jersey school librarian who fought attempts to ban five LGBTQ books in the 2021-2022 school year.
But still it disturbing that they are being banned in the first place.

Books should not be banned because they are about subject matter is about race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected classes. Back when Boston banned books it was because the books were too sexy or to violence not because the book was about Black history, or has a trans character.

“It Is My Deeply Held Religious And Moral Beliefs.”

[Editorial]
 
That phrase has been used many times against us but why can’t we use it, let us co-op the phrase. Why can’t non-religious people use it? Don’t we also have deeply held moral beliefs?

It is time we challenge the courts system for our rights, for our moral beliefs. What we need to do is stand up for our moral beliefs and demand that our moral beliefs of inclusivity also be protected. After all if they can fire someone for being gay because of their “Religious Freedom” what about our deeply held religious beliefs that discrimination is wrong.

Didn’t Jesus teach something like “Love thy neighbor as thy self”? So doesn’t our belief in inclusivity count?

Surely there is a way to craft a case that we can bring before the courts? And use the law in our favor, it should also protect a personal held moral belief, such as life begins at birth and not at conception.

I remember reading about a case where a priest was handing out water to undocumented immigrants and got arrested for helping them cross the boarder, in court he claimed religious freedom and the courts didn’t know what to do because it went against the conservative view of the law. Lets do that for discrimination!

The right-wing likes to use “What if” cases let us do the same for diversity!

[/Editorial]

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Our Bodies, Our Choices

[Editorial]

There once was a party whose motto was get the government off your back, they bragged about less regulations, less government intrusion in to you life. But it was all a lie… that party really wanted to control every aspect of your life. They want to step between you and your doctors, they want to tell what you can say and what you can read.

I am old enough to remember the backroom abortions while the rich could go to Switzerland for a “vacation.”

I am old enough to remember the Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Lavender Scare where thousand of gay government employees were fired simply because they were gay.

I am old enough to remember when coffee shops were raided because the trans people there didn’t have on three items of male clothing on.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear!
A Black woman in Ohio was charged after miscarrying in her bathroom. Experts warn of the dangerous precedent.
Brittany Watts, 33, was charged after police searched her toilet following her miscarriage in September.
NBC News
By Natalie Kainz
December 22, 2023


A Black woman in Ohio has been charged with a felony for abuse of a corpse after she miscarried into her toilet, according to a criminal complaint, and reproductive rights experts are warning that it could set a dangerous precedent if she is convicted.

The attorney for Brittany Watts and a campaign organized on her behalf called the charges against her unjust, saying they feared the case could open the door to similar prosecutions and lawsuits over miscarriages nationwide.

Just hours after Watts, 33, was admitted to a hospital for a life-threatening hemorrhage after she miscarried in her bathroom Sep. 22, police removed her toilet from her home and searched it for fetal remains, according to a GoFundMe set up to fund her legal expenses and home repairs.
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear where every woman feared a miscarriage!
Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, and the author of several books on the abortion debate, says Watts’ case is far from the first to criminalize a person for the outcome of their pregnancy, but could set a precedent for similar prosecutions and lawsuits if she is convicted.
Then down in South Carolina Newsweek reported…
A South Carolina woman arrested in February after she allegedly self-administered an abortion pill to terminate a pregnancy recently had her charges dropped.

The 13th Circuit Solicitor's Office told the Post & Courier of Greenville that it didn't prosecute the charge against the woman because of "insufficient evidence or another legal issue."
Then we have the case of  Cox down in Texas, can you imagine the indignity she had to go though? The embarrassment to have to go before a court to plead your case for an abortion for an nonviable fetus. The humiliation to publicly beg for an abortion.
Kate Cox Abortion Case Confuses Texas Women and Doctors
Kate Cox sued for permission to end her 20-week pregnancy after receiving a genetic diagnosis that made the baby’s survival unlikely. A judge’s ruling has given legal and medical experts little clarity about when an abortion may be administered.
Governing
By Marin Wolf, The Dallas Morning News
December 19, 2023


It was the test case that captured the nation’s attention.

Kate Cox, a 20-weeks pregnant mother from Dallas, needed an abortion, and quickly, her lawsuit said. With a serious genetic diagnosis that made it unlikely her baby would survive, Cox became the first woman since Roe vs. Wade fell to sue Texas for permission to end her pregnancy.

After a whirlwind, week-long legal battle, the Texas Supreme Court decided it would not decide. Physicians, not judges, are the only ones who can determine when someone qualifies for an abortion under a medical exemption, according to the court’s opinion.

[…]

Simultaneously, the court ruled Cox’s doctor’s assessment — that she qualified because of a risk to her health and future fertility — was not enough. Cox was denied an abortion just hours after she left the state to access the procedure elsewhere.
What is the result of all these Republican anti-abortion laws?
What impact this ruling will have on doctors and patients is yet to be seen, but the last two years offer some foreshadowing. Since Texas’ bans took hold, abortions have dropped to virtually none. Nationwide, abortions have slightly increased, while travel for abortions more than doubled.
Those who can afford to travel do so, while others have to look for someone to do a backroom abortion.
“Imagine you’re an OB-GYN and you specialize in high-risk pregnancies. This is not a situation which you encounter once in your life. You may see several of these situations a year,” Chandler said. “Sooner or later, if you gamble and say, ‘Well, I think it’s reasonable,’ you’re going to face a substantial cumulative risk that a local elected prosecutor is going to disagree with you and make your life quite challenging.
Meanwhile you have an elephant looking over your shoulder all the time and getting between your doctor and you.

My body, my choice!

My body, my choice!

My body, mu choice!
 
[/Editorial]

Say The Secret Word And The Duck Will Come Down.

[Editorial]
 
There are some magic words that when you say them you don’t have to follow the law.

When I go up to my brother and sister-in-laws place in Maine sometimes I stop at the rest area in Sturbridge on the Mass Turnpike. Sometimes I stop on a Sunday after driving for a hour, can you imagine is you stop and you find out it is closed because it is Sunday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared “war” Friday over a New York state bill that would require some Chick-fil-A restaurants to operate on Sundays.

“This is war,” the Graham wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

He continued in a second post, threatening to introduce legislation that would withhold federal funds from cities that require the fast food chain to stay open on Sundays.

“The founders of Chick-fil-A made a decision early on to close on Sunday, consistent with their faith,” the South Carolina senator said. “For any government to try to reverse this decision flies in the face of who we are as Americans.”
Why does New York state want a fast food restaurant to stay open on Sundays? Simple, once you know the whole truth. Republicans have a had time tell the whole truth.
The aforementioned New York bill aims to have restaurants in state highway system rest areas operate for the entirety of the week, according to The Associated Press.
They call it a Service Plaza for a reason because you stop there for food and fuel and they are open 24/7 not 24/6. It is not all fast food chain stores only those on a limited access highway.
Instead, every contract for food concessions in the future at transportation facilities owned by New York state and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would be.
The food concessions provide a service to the public everyday of the year, the law covers every fast food concession… not just Chick-fil-A.
 
USA Today reported,
Under Bill A08336, introduced in New York, contracts entered into by the New York State Thruway Authority with food providers at transportation facilities and rest areas would require the food services to remain open seven days a week, according to the New York State Assembly.

[…]

Seven Chick-fil-As are located in multiple New York State Thruway rest stops, with three more planned to be built, according to WRGB Albany.

The bill also will require New Jersey to enact the same law for food services at the Port Authority, which will take effect after New Jersey passes a statute similar to the one in New York.
They think that they are above the law, that they don’t have to obey the laws because of “Religious Freedom.” They think they can do anything in the name “Religious Freedom.”

But what about the us? But what us? When you are driving for 8 hours and you need food and fuel what are you supposed to do, not drive on Sundays because the fast food places along a limited access highway?

[/Editorial]

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Vengeance Is Mine Saith The Republicans.

Have you noticed that the Republicans are always talking about vengeance and getting even. Even with no evidence that are trying to impeach president Biden… why? Could it possible be because the Democrats twice impeached Trump?

It has been reported that Trump said…

The Hill:
Steve Bannon and Kash Patel claimed that former President Trump is “dead serious” about exacting revenge on his political enemies if he wins a second term as president, and they warned members of the media to take the threats seriously, saying Tuesday, “We’re going to come after you.”

In an episode of Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Bannon and Patel, two of Trump’s close allies, pledged to prosecute members of the media who “lied’ about the 2020 presidential election results — falsely suggesting Trump truly won.
The Washington Post...
Especially because of the second story. “Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term,” report The Post’s Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett.

As they detail, Trump and allies “have begun mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents should he win a second term, with the former president naming individuals he wants to investigate or prosecute and his associates drafting plans to potentially invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office to allow him to deploy the military against civil demonstrations.”
The Huffpost
Top Republican lawmakers brushed aside questions about former President Donald Trump’s alarming vow to purge his political opponents, which he referred to as “vermin” in a Veterans’ Day message over the weekend.
But he is not the only one Republican seeking revenge.

New York Magazine
Yet the fact that Republicans have been threatening a revenge impeachment against the next Democratic president literally since Trump’s first impeachment has been oddly absent from news coverage. The Associated Press, in an appropriately skeptical explainer, answers the question of why Republicans are doing this: “Since gaining the House majority in January, House Republicans have aggressively investigated Biden and his son, claiming without evidence that they engaged in an influence-peddling scheme.”

Well, that’s true, but it’s not why Republicans are impeaching Biden. They are impeaching him specifically to even the score with Trump.
Vengeance is mine saith the Republicans and it is not just on the federal level but states also want to get in on the revenge.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and AG Ken Paxton promised retribution for votes they didn’t like. Here’s who they are targeting.
Paxton has been seeking revenge on fellow Republicans who voted to impeach him earlier this year. Similarly, Abbott is looking to unseat GOP House members who voted against school vouchers.
Texas Tribune
By Carla Astudillo and Patrick Svitek
December 21, 2023


The Texas primary season promises more drama than usual as Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton seek revenge against dozens of fellow Republicans in the state House.

Paxton is working to defeat the House Republicans who voted to impeach him in May on abuse-of-office charges. The Senate acquitted him after a trial in September.

Abbott, meanwhile, wants to unseat the House Republicans who thwarted his yearlong crusade for school vouchers, which would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to help pay for private school costs.

Both of them have their work cut out for them. Sixty House Republicans voted to impeach Paxton, while Abbott is focused on a narrower group of 21 who voted last month to strip a voucher proposal out of a broad education bill.
The elephant is a good symbol for the Republican party, they say an elephant never forgets and neither do the Republicans.

Meanwhile that want tit for tat... Colorado banned Trump from the ballot so we are going to do the same thing over trumped up charges.
KDFW News
By FOX 4 Staff
December 21, 2023


On the heels of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling former President Donald Trump should be removed from the primary ballot, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested doing the same thing to President Joe Biden.

Patrick made the comments on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" on Tuesday night while criticizing the president's immigration policies.

"We're fed up. In fact, seeing what happened in Colorado tonight, Laura, makes me think, except we believe in democracy in Texas, maybe we should take Joe Biden off the ballot in Texas for allowing 8 million of people to cross the borders since he's been president, disrupting our state far more than anything anyone else has done in recent history," said the lieutenant governor.
They even admit that it is in retaliation for what Colorado did.

The scary part is...
Trump's revenge-driven campaign has far too many fans
Trump is ready to use the Justice Department as a weapon against former allies. His supporters are uncomfortably okay with the idea.
By Hayes Brown, MSNBC Opinion Writer/Editor
November 7, 2023


Former President Donald Trump is not a subtle man. He telegraphs his schemes, often in the middle of a tsunami of rapid-fire misinformation. It was true of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and it’s true of his plans to use a second term to make good on all the autocratic, dictatorial threats he has made since being voted out of office. Even more disturbing is how on board his supporters seem to be with the idea.
His cult followers are eating all of this up! They worship their orange haired leader and follow his every word.
Trump has taken particular umbrage at the multiple investigations into him and his company, framing any and every attempt to hold him accountable as a politically motivated attack. It’s a classic case of projection, given his numerous calls for his opponents to be prosecuted. But he suggests to his supporters that any revenge he’d take should he win in 2024 would simply be his playing by the rules his adversaries have set.

At an October campaign stop in New Hampshire, Trump went on a tear that said the left has “weaponized law enforcement” to “arrest their leading political opponent: me.” He said it was “third world country stuff” and then, chillingly, “that means I can do that, too.” Accordingly, his advisers are reportedly plotting how to use the Justice Department to follow through on that promise.
Around 50% of the voters back and support his vengeance plans! That is what's scary.

I fear to imagine what Trump would do to a jury that didn’t follow his plans… Would Trump do away with the juries and have a tribunal of his hand-picked judges?



I want to add, politics is an important part of the trans community lives. Whether we like it or not we have been thrown into the political pot. The attacks by the right-wing conservatives at our community affects us every time we walk out the door. Denying us healthcare, denying us the needed document changes, criminalizing us by just being ourselves, and stirring up animosity against us.

You never know what will set off a MAGA Republican and they are the ones walking around with assault weapons. They are the ones coming to protest drag queens armed.

You may not like it but we have been thrust into politics by those who want to eradicate us.



Since I wrote this Trump has made a number of statements... Updated December 29, 2023
The former president touted the word cloud on his Truth Social account weeks after saying that if elected to a second term, he wouldn't be a dictator, "except for day one."
NBC News
By Kyla Guilfoil
December 27, 2023


Former President Donald Trump posted a word cloud on his Truth Social account Tuesday showcasing words such as “revenge” and “dictatorship,” the result of a Daily Mail poll that asked likely voters what word they would use to describe what he wants from a second term. 

The poll, conducted by the firm J.L. Partners and released by the Daily Mail on Tuesday, asked 1,000 likely voters for one word to sum up President Joe Biden's and Trump's plans for new terms. According to the poll, the most popular word linked to what Biden planned to achieve was “nothing.” 

Trump cryptically posted the word cloud on his Truth Social account Tuesday afternoon without comment or context. The word “revenge” in crimson letters stands at the center of the word cloud, with “power” above it and “dictatorship” below it printed in orange.
Meanwhile the Independent wrote the other day,
Donald Trump has shared a graphic naming "revenge" and "dictatorship" as among his biggest goals if he wins the presidency in 2024.

In a poll published on Tuesday, The Daily Mail asked 1,000 American voters to sum up in one word what they thought Mr Trump and Joe Biden wanted from a second term in office.

The top entry in Mr Biden's word cloud was "nothing", followed by "economy" and "peace". But for Mr Trump, it was "revenge" – alongside "power", "dictatorship", "America", and "economy" again.

Mr Trump quickly shared the graphic on his Truth Social page without any further comment, raising the question of whether he endorses such terms.
But that is not all, the Washington Post reported in November,
Donald Trump and his allies have begun mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents should he win a second term, with the former president naming individuals he wants to investigate or prosecute and his associates drafting plans to potentially invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office to allow him to deploy the military against civil demonstrations.
Also from last month the Guardians wrote that...
Donald Trump’s talk of punishing his critics and seeking to “weaponize” the US justice department against his political opponents has experts and former DoJ officials warning he poses a direct threat to the rule of law and democracy in the US.

Trump’s talk of seeking “retribution” against foes, including some he has branded “vermin”, has coincided with plans that Maga loyalists at rightwing thinktanks are assembling to expand the president’s power and curb the DoJ, the FBI and other federal agencies. All of it has fueled critics’ fears that in a second term Trump would govern as an unprecedentedly authoritarian American leader.

Trump is currently the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination for 2024 and has long maintained hefty polling leads over his party rivals. At the same time a slew of recent polls has also shown him ahead of President Joe Biden, including in key battleground states.

But scholars and ex-justice officials see increasing evidence that if they achieved power again Trump and his Maga allies plan to tighten his control at key agencies and install trusted loyalists in top posts at the DoJ and the FBI, permitting Trump more leeway to exact revenge on foes, and shrinking agencies Trump sees as harboring “deep state” critics.

Ominously, Trump has threatened to tap a special prosecutor to “go after” Biden and his family.
His cult followers are eating this up!  His MAGA followers are sticking by him.


Sticks And Stone…

But words will never hurt me.

But words do hurt.

Maybe that works on school play grounds when you are 10 but words are used as weapons.

When I was doing diversity training I had a list of words that hurt us, and a list of words are okay if we use them.

Pink News just posted this from 2018 on their Facebook, it was true then and now.
Is the word ‘d*ke’ offensive? [I am using the asterisk, not the article]
If you’re a lesbian, or a sensible person of any other sexual orientation, you’ll already know that the word ‘d**e’ should not be used lightly and is generally considered offensive.
By Bea Mitchell
June 1, 2018


If you don’t know what you can and cannot say when it comes to derogatory queer terms, ‘d**e’ is a slang word for lesbian – often those of us who present masculine, butch or androgynous.

It originated as a derogatory label for lesbians, and is still used as such by some, well, dumb people, though has since been reclaimed by many girls-who-like-girls, and is widely accepted within the queer community.

Why? Well, people often argue that there’s power in taking back slur words used against them. What others have used to hurt us, they can no longer, because the power has been taken away from them.

According to GLAAD, the term d**e is still derogatory and offensive, and the criteria for using the word should be the same as those applied to vulgar labels used to target other groups. It should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted.
I look at the word as being the same thing as the word “Tr***y” is for us. Many trans people find it is acceptable for us to use but not for any cis-gender people.
These days, D**e Marches are proof of how the lesbian community has reclaimed the term. D**e Marches – mostly-lesbian protests akin to LGBTQ+ pride parades – aim to increase lesbian visibility and activism, and include people who identify as bisexual, intersex, non-binary, transgender, and so on.
Just like the word “Queer” was out of use for many years and now it is being reclaimed by the community.
Despite all of this, it’s still very much used as a slur – just look at right-wing pundits Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes, who, in March, went on a bizarre rant in which they claimed that “sexless, depressed, old, chubby dykes control the political narrative.”
That is how words go out of favor… when they become weaponized and used as a slur against us by the oppressors.



We may not like the words, and words do hurt us… but they are not illegal.

Sadly the First Amendment allows the bigots to use the word to verbally attack us. According to the courts it only becomes a bias crime when threats or an actual attack was made.

The Republicans are going after college presidents…
3 Presidents on the Hot Seat
In a four-hour hearing, the presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT steadily defended themselves, their institutions and free expression. Lawmakers remained skeptical.
Inside Higher Ed
By  Katherine Knott
December 5, 2023


House Republicans lambasted the leaders of three elite universities for more than four hours Tuesday in a contentious hearing that was focused on campus antisemitism but frequently veered into broader conservative critiques of higher education.

“I do not refer to colleges and universities as ‘higher education,’ because it’s my opinion that higher-order skills are not being taught or learned, and I think today’s hearing indicates that,” said North Carolina representative Virginia Foxx, the top Republican on the House Education and Workforce Committee, which hosted the hearing.

“I have always defended higher education, but today I am embarrassed,” said Louisiana representative Julia Letlow, also a Republican.

[…]

The presidents stood by their policies and commitments to free expression, their efforts to support Jewish students and their institutions’ diversity, equity and inclusion programs, which Republicans on the committee have blamed for the rise in antisemitism. Gay, Kornbluth and Magill all condemned antisemitism and said they need to do more to make students and faculty aware of its “insidiousness.”
Once again the Republicans ignore a little thing like the Constitution… just a minor detail.
Foxx set the tone for the antagonistic hearing in her opening remarks, calling antisemitism and hate the “poisoned fruits” of the institutions’ cultures.

“After the events of the past two months, it is clear that rabid antisemitism and the university are two ideas that cannot be cleaved from one another,” said Foxx, who played a video of recent campus protests.

Foxx later asked the three presidents to explain the rise of antisemitism on their campuses, suggesting that hiring practices and curriculum choices were fostering a hatred of Jewish people.
Yes, words hurt! Hurt deeply but our Constitution protects all speech.

Last week I wrote about how the Republicans don’t want an educated public… they just want us to learn Reading, Ritihng, and Rithmatic. They don’t want an educated public.
Republicans hostile to the way elite universities shape the nation’s cultural and political debates are smelling blood in the water after a disastrous hearing in which the presidents of three schools refused to say students who called for the genocide of Jews would be disciplined.

One of the presidents, Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, has already resigned, and Republicans are seeking to stoke pressure on the other two who testified last week, Claudine Gay of Harvard University and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“One down. Two to go,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), whose questioning of the three presidents went viral after they gave evasive answers to her queries, said of Magill’s resignation.

The House Education Committee has now announced a full investigation of antisemitism at universities, signaling GOP lawmakers have no intention of letting the issue quiet down anytime soon.

[…]

“Republicans have been trying this for a long time,” said Ryan Enos, professor of government and faculty associate in the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard, one of the schools under fire, when asked if Republicans could use the momentum against higher education to advance certain policy proposals.

One of the most popular GOP education targets in recent years has been schools’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which specifically came under fire at the Education panel hearing, with some conservatives blaming them in part for rising antisemitism. Other GOP lawmakers threatened to go after the schools’ prodigious federal grants for science and research if they failed to mend their ways.
Whether you like it or not our Constitution protects your speak, whether it is pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, whether it is pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT, or pro-whatever speech or anti-whatever speech the Constitution protects it.
 


If all is going as planned I should be on my way back from a friends house in Haverhill. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!

Peace On Earth and Goodwill To All
Earthrise (NASW Photo) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

It this time of year that we reflect on all that has happened this past year and to give thanks. However, for many it is not a time to rejoice, it is a time of loneliness, their families may have moved and left them behind, their family or spouse might have pasted away leaving them without any close relatives or their children might be at their in-laws for this holiday, for whatever the reason, it is a lonely time.
But for many in the LGBT community it is an especially lonely time,
they might not have seen their family since they came out to them. Their families and children have disowned them. Sometimes when we do attend the gathering, we feel like outcasts, like the square peg in the round hole, we just don’t fit in, we are tolerated when we bring our partners or ourselves to the table.

So let us open our hearts and doors to them and think of them this holiday season, give them a call, have a Zoom get-together or drop them a Christmas card, let them know that they are remembered.

For me I was with my brother and sister-in-laws last night at my nephew's house where we had a Christmas Eve dinner and today I am going up to Haverhill to be with some friends.

I leave you with this Christmas song by Nat King Cole - Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.


An American traditional songs...







And a cute little video...

Sunday, December 24, 2023

I Would Have Never Guessed!

Yeah, right!

Okay raise your hand if you never knew DeSantis lied when he was passing the anti-trans healthcare legislation.
A federal judge hearing a challenge to a transgender health care ban for minors and restrictions for adults noted Thursday that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly spread false information about doctors mutilating children’s genitals even though there’s been no such documented cases.

The law was sold as defending children from mutilation when it is actually about preventing trans children from getting health care, Judge Robert Hinkle said to Mohammad Jazil, a lawyer for the state.

“When I’m analyzing the governor’s motivation, what should I make of these statements?” Hinkle asked. “This seems to be more than just hyperbole.”

Hinkle said he will rule sometime in the new year on whether the Legislature, the Department of Health and presidential candidate DeSantis deliberately targeted transgender people through the new law. He raised some skepticism about the state’s motivation as lawyers gave their closing arguments.

Gee who would have thought?
Jazil said the motivation behind the law was simply public safety in an area that needs more oversight and can have permanent consequences.

“It’s about treating a medical condition; it’s not about targeting transgender individuals,” Jazil said.
If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The judge sure didn’t buy it…

Meanwhile parents and trans youth wait for the trail to end.
The mother of a transgender girl sobbed in federal court Wednesday as she contemplated having to move away from her Navy officer husband to get health care for her 12-year-old if Florida’s ban on gender dysphoria treatments for minors is allowed to take affect.

The woman, who testified as Jane Doe to protect the identity of her child, said her daughter went from being anxious and upset to a thriving, happy straight-A student after being allowed to live as a girl about eight years ago, a decision she made with her husband after multiple visits to their family’s doctor.

But as the girl approaches puberty, she fears she will start turning into a boy. Without treatment, she and her family will be devasted, the mother said.
It must be so hard on all the trans families, never knowing if you will become a criminal under Florida law.
Redburn said in opening arguments that the Florida law is unconstitutional because it singles out an entire group of people. He pointed out that non-transgender adults can receive the same treatments, such as estrogen and testosterone, without having to jump through hoops.

“The state of Florida has decided that people should not be transgender,” Redburn said. “The fewer transgender people, the better.”
It is so depressing and sad all the roadblocks the state of Florida has put in front of us. They just don’t care the harm it is doing us. It is all for votes… the right-wing evangelical Christian vote and we are put though hell.

The People Have Spoken!

But the Republicans are not listening.
Abortion opponents are working to upend implementation of state ballot measures
In states like Ohio, Michigan and Kansas, conservatives are fighting abortion rights initiatives that voters overwhelmingly approved.
NBC News
By Adam Edelman
December 21, 2023


In the 18 months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion rights advocates have won every race in which the issue has appeared directly on the ballot.

But in several states, conservatives are refusing to let the results of those ballot measures be the last word.

In Ohio, Kansas and Michigan, for example, where abortion rights advocates won major victories in ballot measures over the past two years, anti-abortion groups and lawmakers are now turning their focus to blocking implementation of the initiatives by proposing bills and threatening lawsuits that would restrict the reproductive rights those elections protected.
The Republicans just done trust the voters to do the right thing.
Still, some conservatives are forging ahead with hard-line positions and tactics in states where abortion rights proponents had some of their biggest successes recently.

“Neither side is going to give up —  at least in the short term,” said Jonathan Entin, a constitutional law expert and professor emeritus at the Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland, who has closely followed the legal and political battles over abortion rights in Ohio.

In November, Ohio became the latest red-leaning state where voters — in a resounding 14-point win for the Issue 1 ballot measure — enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution.

Just days later, conservative lawmakers drafted legislation that proposed giving the Ohio General Assembly “the exclusive authority over implementing Issue 1” — a move that would have “denied” that “jurisdiction” to all courts in the state.
We are on a mission from god! We know better than the infidels.
Anti-abortion groups are also fighting efforts by abortion rights groups to collect enough petition signatures to place the issue on ballots in states across the U.S., including robust “decline to sign” movements in South Dakota, Arizona and Nevada.

But abortion rights supporters say they are also prepared to keep fighting — even in states where voters have already weighed in.
I am glad that the Republicans keep forging ahead on this because the abortion rights advocates are building a voter base from voters who are against the heavy handed Republicans to ignore the will of the people.



An anti-Trump Republican PAC has posted this ad...
The Republican Accountability Project is using "A Christmas Story" marathon to warn about the former president over the holidays.
HuffPost
By Ben Blanchet
December 23, 2023


A Republican group opposed to Donald Trump is pointing out how the former president stacks up to dictators in a new ad.

The Republican Accountability Project’s “Dictator Donald” spot, which comes weeks after Trump said he’d act like a dictator on “day one” of a new administration, sounds the alarm on the former president’s 2024 campaign.

[…]

The ad goes on to display a Truth Social post from the former president who, in December 2022, called for the “termination” of articles of the Constitution.

[…]

The ad later states that Trump plans to “purge tens of thousands of civil servants” from the government to replace them with his loyalists if he’s elected to another term.
The thing is Trump did say all that and meant it. Trump has a long memory and is very vengeful, he leaned it from his father attack you opponents and kick them when they are down.



Saturday, December 23, 2023

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!

Sam’s SATURDAY 9: HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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

1. As you can see, when Sam Winters was a little girl, she loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. If you could ask Santa for anything at all, right now, what would it be?

Good health and peace on earth.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

Nice, always nice. I think about others, wear a mask, and get my shots.

3. Are you traveling this Christmas? If so, are you going by car, plane or train?

By car. Tomorrow to Northwestern Connecticut to be with my brother and family for a Christmas Eve dinner. This year Christmas is at the in-laws. Christmas day I will be driving to Haverhill MA to be with some friends.

4.  Did you send any presents out of town? If so, what was it and how far did it travel?

Nope, not a one.

5. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

Not yet, but I have my eye on a new robe, the old one gets shipped off to the cottage.
When I did this on Thursday I didn't want anything but then this came along...
 

6. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie or TV special? Have you seen it yet this year?
Nope, I'm not a big fan of movies. Did you know most of the Hallmark holiday shows are filmed in Connecticut... in the summer!

7. Which do you prefer: a hollow chocolate Santa or a chunk of fudge?

Neither… they are way too sweet.

8. Close your eyes and tell us the first carol that comes to mind.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

9. What's your favorite winter beverage?

Hot mulled cider with a dash of rum.

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 next week for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!"


Friday, December 22, 2023

Are We There Yet?

You know the old saying, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” well are we there yet? Is history repeating itself?
The Forgotten History of the World's First Trans Clinic
The Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin would be a century old if it hadn’t fallen victim to Nazi ideology
Scientific America
BY BRANDY SCHILLACE
May 20, 2021


Late one night on the cusp of the 20th century, Magnus Hirschfeld, a young doctor, found a soldier on the doorstep of his practice in Germany. Distraught and agitated, the man had come to confess himself an Urning—a word used to refer to homosexual men. It explained the cover of darkness; to speak of such things was dangerous business. The infamous “Paragraph 175” in the German criminal code made homosexuality illegal; a man so accused could be stripped of his ranks and titles and thrown in jail.

Hirschfeld understood the soldier’s plight—he was himself both homosexual and Jewish—and did his best to comfort his patient. But the soldier had already made up his mind. It was the eve of his wedding, an event he could not face. Shortly after, he shot himself.
A little bit of Connecticut history.
At the precipice of the modern LGBTQ+ movement, an Episcopal priest in Connecticut named Canon Clinton Jones spearheaded one of the first major LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations and mental health supports in the state. He revolutionized community care and support—inspiring generations to come.
I knew the reverend from when I used to attend the meetings at Twenty Club, he was the moderator. Scientific America goes on to write...
Perhaps even more surprising was Hirschfeld’s inclusion of those with no fixed gender, akin to today’s concept of gender-fluid or nonbinary identity (he counted French novelist George Sand among them). Most important for Hirschfeld, these people were acting “in accordance with their nature,” not against it.

If this seems like extremely forward thinking for the time, it was. It was possibly even more forward than our own thinking, 100 years later. Current anti-trans sentiments center on the idea that being transgender is both new and unnatural. In the wake of a U.K. court decision in 2020 limiting trans rights, an editorial in the Economist argued that other countries should follow suit, and an editorial in the Observer praised the court for resisting a “disturbing trend” of children receiving gender-affirming health care as part of a transition.
The right-wing conservatives all swear that there were no trans people before, that we are a new phenomenon… yeah right. Maybe if you got your head in the sand.
But history bears witness to the plurality of gender and sexuality. Hirschfeld considered Socrates, Michelangelo and Shakespeare to be sexual intermediaries; he considered himself and his partner Karl Giese to be the same. Hirschfeld’s own predecessor in sexology, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, had claimed in the 19th century that homosexuality was natural sexual variation and congenital.

Hirschfeld’s study of sexual intermediaries was no trend or fad; instead it was a recognition that people may be born with a nature contrary to their assigned gender. And in cases where the desire to live as the opposite sex was strong, he thought science ought to provide a means of transition. He purchased a Berlin villa in early 1919 and opened the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (the Institute for Sexual Research) on July 6. By 1930 it would perform the first modern gender-affirmation surgeries in the world.
The internet didn’t create the garbage that the right-wingers call Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria but internet did allow for us to network with other trans people.

I first met Rev. Canon Clinton Jones at the Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford when I first went to a Twenty Club, ever since then I was one of his “Girls.”
Project H

In partnership with Trinity College psychology professor Dr. George Higgins and attorney Donald Cantor, Jones formed Project H in 1963. Project H provided educational and counseling services for gay people in the Christian community. The group met at the Hartford YMCA with social workers, psychologists, and clergy providing services. The origins of the name derived from the need for secrecy—YMCA administrators were concerned about how signs that said “homosexuality” would look around the building. They asked for the group to come up with a more discreet name—hence, Project H.
Rev. Cannon Clinton Jones used to tell the story about Project H, when they first started meeting at the YMCA it was called Project Homosexual, the administrators came up to him and pointed to the sign in the lobby of the YMCA that say Project Homosexual pointing to the room where they met, the administrator said we support you bit can you change the name? Hence Project H was born.

There were men who attended the meeting and they swore that they were women, Rev. Jones was curious and started looking into it. From that the Gender Identity Clinic of New England was created, back then surgery was done at. I believe, at Mt Sinai Hospital in Hartford, the doctor who did the surgery interned under Dr Harry Benjamin. The Hartford Courant wrote;
Jones, who has a doctorate in divinity from Bard College, began a counseling ministry for transgender people in the mid-1960s. Working with Dr. George Higgins, a professor at Trinity College, he helped create a support group for transgender people called The Twenty Club, which met at the cathedral for 30 years until it moved to the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center two years ago.

Kathleen Sterner, president of the Gender Identity Clinic of New England, said Jones helped to found the clinic and over the years counseled and recorded social histories of hundreds of people preparing for sex-change surgery.

“His work was very significant,” she said. “Transgender people often have very tough lives and years ago it was even more so. He provided resources and a place for them.”
Hartford was one of the pioneers in trans healthcare.

Meanwhile some thirty years earlier…
The institute would ultimately house an immense library on sexuality, gathered over many years and including rare books and diagrams and protocols for male-to-female (MTF) surgical transition. In addition to psychiatrists for therapy, he had hired Ludwig Levy-Lenz, a gynecologist. Together, with surgeon Erwin Gohrbandt, they performed male-to-female surgery called Genitalumwandlung—literally, “transformation of genitals.” This occurred in stages: castration, penectomy and vaginoplasty. (The institute treated only trans women at this time; female-to-male phalloplasty would not be practiced until the late 1940s.) Patients would also be prescribed hormone therapy, allowing them to grow natural breasts and softer features.
Have you ever see the movie The Danish Girl about Lili Elbe, who was one of Hirschfeld's patients?
That such an institute existed as early as 1919, recognizing the plurality of gender identity and offering support, comes as a surprise to many. It should have been the bedrock on which to build a bolder future. But as the institute celebrated its first decade, the Nazi party was already on the rise. By 1932 it was the largest political party in Germany, growing its numbers through a nationalism that targeted the immigrant, the disabled and the “genetically unfit.” Weakened by economic crisis and without a majority, the Weimar Republic collapsed.
No matter what lies the Republicans tell they can’t change history! The first Gender Confirming Surgery was done in 1930! And it was done on Lili Elbe. However read the last sentence again, does any of that sound familiar now?
Adolf Hitler was named chancellor on January 30, 1933, and enacted policies to rid Germany of Lebensunwertes Leben, or “lives unworthy of living.” What began as a sterilization program ultimately led to the extermination of millions of Jews, Roma, Soviet and Polish citizens—and homosexuals and transgender people.
Substitute Republican Party for the German ruling party and think about Trump.

Are you scared? I am. Is history repeating itself?



I have met a Holocaust survivor, the Governor's Hate Crime Advisory Council that I am on met to hear the story of Rabbi as he made it through concentration camps. and now there is an article in the Star Tribune in Minneapolis,
By "that," she means any of the three genocides that have shaped her life. She still cannot imagine why humans would do such things to fellow humans.

First was the Holodomor, the Josef Stalin-induced famine that killed millions of Ukrainians around the time Jablonsky was born in a village in eastern Ukraine. It is a miracle, her family says, that a baby survived that time. In school, she got in trouble for defacing a photograph of Stalin, an almost unfathomable act of childhood defiance.

[…]

Now, half a world away, Jablonsky mourns Ukraine's newest devastation: Russia's invasion that some observers — from President Joe Biden to a bipartisan group of lawmakers — call a genocide. For a while, Jablonsky had a doormat adorned with Vladimir Putin's face that read, "WIPE YOUR FEET HERE." But she couldn't stand seeing Putin daily, so she gave it to her eponymous granddaughter, Nina Thueson, a 24-year-old law student at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
But what got my attention was...
"Stalin, Hitler, Putin — it's happening again," Thueson said. "She's living in her house, she's peaceful, she has us. And now she has to see this all happen again. It's been very hard."
 It is happening again around the world, the onslaught against minorities continue. History is repeating itself.

Solidarity!

Our Body, Our Choice!
Do you want to support LGBTQ+ rights?

Do you want to support body integrity?

Our Body, Our Choice!

This is a boycott not of a company but of states.

It is simply this… all you college graduates, all you new doctors, all those looking for a new job just don’t look for jobs in states that deny body integrity. It is as simple as that.

Already without the boycott the states are feeling the pinch. The legislators don’t but the businesses do.
Texas Companies Say Republicans Are Ruining Their Business
Newsweek
By Aliss Higham
December 16, 2023


A coalition of Texas businesses have said ambiguity over abortion bans in the Lone Star State is making recruitment harder, following the near all-out ban enacted by Republicans.

An amicus brief originally filed by law firm Reed Smith and signed by 40 Texas companies was filed in support of 22 women who are suing the state of Texas over its abortion laws. Numerous businesses have endorsed the letter. These include dating platforms such as Bumble and Match Group (owner of Match.com and Tinder); prominent advertising agencies Preacher and GSD&M; event organizers SXSW; and the United States Women's Chamber of Commerce, along with various Texas real-estate companies, law firms, and restaurant groups.

The companies say that Texas abortion laws render the state less appealing for families considering relocating to a place where they can comfortably start a family. The Texas Legislature, dominated by Republican representatives, passed a trigger law on abortion in 2021. It is currently illegal to have an abortion after a fetus has a heartbeat, which typically occurs around six weeks, often before the woman knows she is pregnant, unless there is a significant threat to the mother's life. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court in 2022 gave states the power to limit abortion access.
They are worried.

They already instructed their candidates not to talk about abortion… zip your lips.

Businesses are getting nervous, the best and brightest don’t want to go to those states. Medical students are thinking twice in going to states that want to control what they can say, what medical procedures they can learn, they want to tell you what books you can read, they want to tell you who you can love!

If you want to help us keep our freedom, do not apply to any company in those states. If you are a med student do n ot intern in those states, get a complete education and not one the states want to only learn. If you are going to be a student teacher don’t look in those states.

Our Body, Our Choice!

Vote Blue and save a life.