Silver-lining-in-genocide Senator Lynn Beyak strikes again

Apparently not satisfied with the concentration of garbage water that is her existence, Lynn Beyak decided to one-up her prior remarks about calling on the survivors of colonial genocide to seek out the silver lining from their circumstances, by insisting the LGBT Community wouldn’t have to suffer discrimination if only we stuffed ourselves back in the closet.

During a debate over a trans human rights law.

Last week, Beyak, during a debate on C-16, the transgender rights bill, went on a bizarre rant bemoaning that the radicals of the gay movement expect “all of Canada to be their closet.”

I–what? What? I can’t.

She continued to pine for a happier time when folks like her simply didn’t have to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that gay people exist because they weren’t flaunting their homosexuality in her face.

“By living in quiet dignity, they have never had to face any kind of discrimination or uncomfortable feelings,” she said, without a hint of irony. “I would assert that is how the vast majority of the LGBT community feels.”

“Quiet dignity.” That’s some real good Christian doublespeak you’ve got going there.

Fuck me. When did we start importing neanderthals from Texas? Get this lady all the chairs so she can sit the fuck down.

-Shiv

Good news Thursday: Bats!

Hurray! Local biologists discovered the hibernation location of an endangered cutie-patootie Albertan bat species (undisclosed, obviously). The team that discovered the location say that this will help them pre-empt aid for the bat colony should it be infected with white nose disease, which wakes up bats during their hibernation and results in their starvation before spring.

The discovery of a large population of hibernating bats in a cave in Alberta’s boreal forest is a breakthrough for biologists, says one of the people who discovered the cave.

The cave — in an undisclosed location — is home to the largest hibernating bat colony discovered in Alberta outside of the Rockies.

“It demonstrates that this kind of bat habitat may well exist in other non-mountainous areas throughout the boreal forest,” said David Critchley, co-coordinator of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada’s BatCaver program in the province.

The cave is home to more than 200 endangered little brown myotis bats, Critchley told CBC’s Radio Active on Monday.

While First Nations people and Alberta Environment officials have known about the narrow, muddy cave for decades, it was never visited in winter until a four-member crew entered it last month to check for bats.

The crew collected DNA and guano samples and placed monitors to record temperature and humidity and bat vocalizations.

Finding hibernation spots has become urgent in Western Canada since the discovery in Washington State last year of white-nose syndrome.

The fungal infection awakens the bats during hibernation, forcing them to burn through their stored winter fat long before the return of insect season.

The disease spreads through hibernation sites and can kill more than 90 per cent of resident bats.

Critchley said understanding where Alberta’s bat species are living is crucial in protecting habitats and preventing the spread of white-nose syndrome.

“If they end up having white-nose syndrome, which they don’t at this stage in Alberta, then we need to know where they are,” he said.

Kill the skeeters, you adorable flying rat things!

-Shiv

Jason Kenney is official

It’s official: My all-time best friend and favourite politician ever Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney has been elected as the leader of Alberta’s currently defunct Progressive Conservative party. Now, in case you need a refresher for what this might mean for Texas North, here’s a list of Jason Kenney’s votes and political positions in no particular order:

And many, many more!

How many crimes can he commit before the police finally get off their arse? Who knows! Do any of the Albertan conservatives care that their messiah is an addled mess of corruption? Probably not! Will the PCs have a single rally without at least one jackass chanting “lock her up” referring to Premier Rachel Notley? I wouldn’t bet my boots on it!

Trump has officially come to Alberta.

-Shiv

I’m not the only one who notices this shit, right?

Ralph Shortey.

Political positions: Forced birther, pro-Christian theocracy, “family values.”

Latest headline: Sex, drug allegations part of investigation of Oklahoma Sen. Ralph Shortey

MOORE — An Oklahoma state senator offered money to a teenage boy for “sexual stuff” and was found with him in a hotel room that reeked of “raw marijuana,” authorities said.

Surely this must be a space on Republican bingo or something.

-Shiv

Public asshole discovers public assholery has consequences

Poor Persecuted Patrick Fucking McCrory is back in the news again, whinging about how no one wants to work with him after engineering one of the most scientifically illiterate, unenforceable pieces of hot garbage that has ever hit a law book:

Former Gov. Pat McCrory says the backlash against House Bill 2 is making some employers reluctant to hire him but he’s currently doing consulting and advisory board work.

Yes, well, if I babysit for a neighbour and burn their house down, I don’t bloody well expect a glowing fucking review from them, do I.

McCrory has been appearing frequently in interviews with national media outlets to defend the controversial LGBT law, but he hasn’t announced what’s next for his career. In a podcast interview recently with WORLD, an Asheville-based evangelical Christian news website, McCrory talked about his challenges on the job market.

The former Republican governor says HB2 “has impacted me to this day, even after I left office. People are reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’ – which is the last thing I am.”

People are reluctant to hire you? I wonder what that feels like.

McCrory explained more about his current situation in an interview Monday evening with The News & Observer.

“I’ve currently accepted several opportunities in business to do work that I’d done prior to becoming governor in consulting and advisory board positions, and I’ve also been exploring other opportunities in academia, nonprofits and government,” he said. “And I’ll hopefully be making some of those decisions in the near future.”

McCrory declined to name the companies he’s working for. But the former governor said that he’s been considered for part-time university teaching positions – he wouldn’t say where – but that academic leaders “have shown reluctance because of student protests.”

“That’s not the way our American system should operate – having people purged due to political thought,” he told The N&O.

Ah–I see. When it happens to trans people, it’s “business freedom” and “common sense.” But when it happens to you, you’re being “purged.”

McCrory said he’s also “had ongoing discussions with the Trump administration, but at this point in time nothing has come to fruition.”

In the earlier podcast interview with WORLD, McCrory said the liberal groups opposing HB2 have harmed his reputation. “If you disagree with the politically correct thought police on this new definition of gender, you’re a bigot, you’re the worst of evil,” he said. “It’s almost as if I broke a law.”

You probably did, judging by the prevailing legal opinions on Title XI. But I digress.

McCrory made the case that the core of the HB2 debate is an attempt to redefine gender. “You ask the doctor if it’s a boy or a girl; you don’t ask the baby,” he said.

HB2 struck down local nondiscrimination ordinances and requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate while they are in schools and other government facilities.

You ask the right doctor if it’s a boy or a girl, because the wrong doctor is going to point out you’re full of shit.

Feel free to continue presenting your foot for shooting. I’d be happy to oblige.

-Shiv

 

Laniakea

A few days ago, I came upon a Nature summary of the astrophysics research of Helene Courtois and R. Brent Tully in their attempts to describe the universe. As it turns out, despite the enormous distances between galaxies, many celestial bodies “near” the Milky Way are all being sucked in to the same location, which for Courtois and Tully defines a superstructure of galaxies. See more about it here:

-Shiv

The Netherlands shows us how it’s done

In Canada’s last election, a voter turnout of 68% was considered astonishing. Then the Netherlands has their election and cranks out a whopping 81%.

There were some murmurings worried about Geert Wilders’ potential success, but it looks like the impending government will be a centrist (relative to Dutch politics) coalition.

I don’t know much else other than, “the Dutch fascists lost.” So hurray! Plus there’s this… delightful interview from an exit poll:

If other parties would offer, for example, an approach against groups of youths showing disrespectful behaviour, they could lure away a lot of PVV voters. It’s not that hard: more money for 24/7 police surveillance and social work, for example. People need anything that shows that the government cares.

Try not to have existential crises every time you glimpse into the mind of an authoritarian.

-Shiv

 

 

“It’s intolerant,” whines Catholic school board of their critics

And you know what? They’re damn right. I am intolerant of bronze age morality that teaches you it is okay to psychologically torture somebody because of who they are. What now? You were expecting me to deny it? No. Catholics: Eat a shit sandwich and get the fuck out of public school.

Last August, Wells and Public Interest Alberta issued a “report card” analyzing how well four of those policies complied with laws passed in 2015. They concluded Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools’ policy failed to protect students, and gave Grande Prairie Catholic Schools’ policy a D grade. The school districts refuted Wells’ findings.

Last September, the superintendents of both school districts, the then-president of the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta and the president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association wrote letters to Turpin and university chancellor Douglas Stollery calling Wells’ statements “inaccurate and intolerant.”

They took issue with Wells’ comments that teaching students chastity is “embarrassing and inappropriate in 2016.”

“Is Dr. Wells lecturing his U of A education students to promote their grade school students being sexually active?” state letters from both the Grande Prairie Catholic school board and the Catholic superintendents’ group.

YES. YOU FUCKING IDIOT. IT’S CALLED “SEX EDUCATION.”

-Shiv

Sadistic Catch-22s

The legalities of gender variance in its most benign form can be a matter of tedium. This is what I have to cope with–an initial not insubstantial cost to request my first legal change to my name, and from there, just a long series of much smaller requests with much smaller fees. For the most part, my difficulty is discovering the sheer number of databases in which I exist–and in which I must request changes.

Compare that to this trans teacher in Wisconsin. State employees recently had a policy change instituted seemingly without warning on gender designation changes, and now it has suddenly erected onerous bureaucratic barriers that needlessly involve courts and doctors. Perhaps the most insidious requirement is “proof” of gender change–in this case, surgery.

Remember that the Affordable Care Act prevented discrimination from insurers against trans people, and that the provision was removed by a Trump order. Having had no direction to include trans people within their coverage, the State of Wisconsins’s health insurer reinstated the ban on transition-related surgeries. Now trans people have to pay between $15,000-$25,000 out of pocket to get bottom surgery, assuming they even want it in the first place (which most don’t).

On top of that, after yanking out coverage for surgery, Wisconsin is now implementing a requirement for the surgery they just denied coverage to in order to change your documents. Talk about sadistic!

Before I get to discussing the additional demands ETF is making, let me point out a very broad problem, and that is the idea that agents of the state can change one’s legal status retroactively at any time. Imagine, for example, if the state decided that it wished to make it harder for people to get married, and so it imposed a new requirement–that in order to have a marriage recognized, residents would have to provide DNA evidence proving they and their spouse are not related (an expensive prospect). Then imagine that all married state employees were informed that their status had been reverted to single in employment databases and systems, because they had not complied with the DNA test requirement when documenting their marriages. That’s not the way regulatory changes, mundane or shocking, operate–they are applied going forward, but not retroactively.

Now, as for the new procedures for gender transitioning, there are three requirements listed by ETF. The first is that the employee must notify ETF directly, providing their old and new names, old and new gender markers, ETF ID number, and a declaration that they are gender transitioning. Previously, employees notified HR at their place of employment, and employer HR staff changed the gender marker directly in the benefits system. But now ETF will centralize control over implementing transitions, and maintain a database of gender transitioners. In essence, we are being required to register with the state. As a Jewish person who lost extended family in the Holocaust, I find this extremely creepy.

The second thing trans people are required to do is provide “proof of identity,” such as a driver’s license or military ID showing the new name and gender marker. That’s what we had to do in the past, and my wife and I can easily produce our Wisconsin driver’s licenses showing our names and most correct binary gender markers. But now ETF is demanding more.

We are now being required to produce a third item, “proof of gender.” This is very strange, because a driver’s license already provides state-recognized proof of one’s gender. Requiring more serves no purpose other than to make it harder for people to get their identified genders recognized. And the new “proof of gender” items are difficult and intrusive items to get.

Let’s look at the options. One is a court order of gender change. To get one of these is difficult, expensive, and in many states, like Wisconsin, requires a doctor to testify that one has had surgical sex reassignment. Now, some people cannot have such surgery for medical reasons. Others do not want it–they desire social recognition of their identified genders, not a program of body modifications. And nonbinary gender transitioners often find they are denied access to surgeries. But let me underline that in any case, the very surgeries that ETF is making necessary in order to have one’s transition recognized it has also categorically excluded from insurance coverage. My wife and I have been waiting for years to access some surgical interventions that would make our lives easier on many levels, one of which is being able to access things like a court order of gender change. But we can’t afford them without insurance coverage. It’s a Catch-22, and seems deliberately cruel.

All of this contributes to a very roundabout “unpersonhood” of trans people. The retroactive editing of legitimately modified documents is un-fucking-believable and nothing less than a directed attack against us.

-Shiv

“Cut the wage of public workers” crowd strangely silent after NDP’s executive pay cut

The Progressive Conservatives would have you believe that Alberta’s budget is going to turn into a Greece situation tomorrow. Often they have union busted, or at least union bruised, in the public sector, calling for hiring and wage freezes for front-line workers. But it’s not the nurse working 14 hour shifts who is bringing home the big bucks, and freezing those wages often nets the province a meagre amount compared to the budget. If the current government did that now, they’d net about $8 million.

So at first I was surprised to hear that the New Democratic Party has announced cuts themselves. But this time it came with a twist: They were targeting the executives.

Now here’s the really weird part–despite finding almost twice as much room in the budget as a result of these cuts ($16 million)–the “slash, cut and burn” crowd are nowhere to be seen.

You’d think this would have pleased the opposition. After all, just three weeks ago they were screaming that the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley must freeze the pay of front-line nurses, health care workers, teachers and civil servants who will be negotiating new collective agreements this year.

Back then, in an official statement, the Wildrose Party called a mediator’s recommendation of raises ranging for 29 cents to 88 cents an hour for 14,000 health care aides and licensed practical nurses represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees “a slap in the face to struggling Albertans.”

Some of those health care workers are currently being paid less than $20 an hour. Freezing their salaries for 2016 as the Wildrosers demanded would have saved the provincial treasury about $8 million.

By contrast, on Friday, the cuts made to the sometimes outrageous pay and perks of only about 270 ABC Sector executives – a hangover from the days when the ABCs served in part as a lush pasture for old Tory warhorses – will save taxpayers roughly double that.

Now, it would be entirely consistent for the Opposition to say, “good step, but not far enough.” Or even, “it was about time they stopped the gravy train!” Instead? Pretty much crickets.

There was nary a quote from the PCs (who are responsible for most of the executive pay rates to which Mr. Ceci took his axe), the Wildrosers (who are after all the Official Opposition) or the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (Canada’s self-described and routinely quoted tax watchdog) in any mainstream media report I noticed.

At any rate, tonight’s beer is dedicated to the NDP. Thanks for cutting the absurd salaries of the schleps who can afford it for once.

-Shiv