Sadie’s Dream for the World

An eleven-year-old transgender girl named Sadie has written an essay in response to Obama’s recent speech on his inauguration day to remind the President that there are some social justice causes that are being left by the wayside, even as he’s the first president to openly acknowledge the gay rights fight with a specific nod to the Stonewall uprising.

The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

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“Who wrote THAT? Are you kidding me?”

When even FOX News personalities scoff at the headlines they’re forced to read, you know there’s a problem with the network. At least pretty well everyone present guffawed heartily at the assertion that the Constitutional Law Professor-In-Chief doesn’t believe in the Constitution. I’m guessing because there’s an amendment to the constitution that forbids sensible regulations applied to your civilian militia? As though the 2nd Amendment was so hard to interpret!

Yeah.

And that’s not to mention the mockery of Te’o at the beginning of the clip.

Via Media Matters.

Alex Jones rants about a NWO trying to take away his guns

Alex Jones’ unhinged rant on Piers Morgan’s show, where the interviewer got maybe one question answered out of the three he managed to ask, tells me why I got a comment the other day demanding the rounding up and burning of antidepressants. There is now apparently a parallel narrative forming where antidepressants are responsible for mental instability, and that, combined with video games, induces people to obtain high-volume weaponry and commit mass-murder. And any attempt at taking away guns, instead of video games and antidepressants, is an attempt at creating a totalitarian single world government.

“You’re a hatchet man of the New World Order.” Someone please tell me how many guns Alex Jones owns. Actually, no, don’t. I’d be terribly frightened to know.
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Transgender rights bill status: have Tories run down the clock?

Among all the silence from Harper in response to the #IdleNoMore campaign, there’s also an important bill that’s been all but ignored in the media, and intentionally forestalled by Tories. Stall tactics work, I guess. Ignore the problem til the fury dies down and get the media to look the other way, and all your political hegemonic dreams will come true, I guess.

Bill C-279’s clock may have run out, and I’m having problems finding any further information about it outside of the last time it made it to the floor to be discussed. Apparently some changes were passed to the bill in committee, but through some procedural hiccup that appears to have been intentional, never made it back to the House.

National Post reports:

Last Thursday, Conservative MPs opposed to the bill brought up several objections and procedural questions that ate up most of the time allotted for clause-by-clause consideration and votes.

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Hawking and other scientists petition for Turing’s posthumous pardon

Stephen Hawking and a number of other notable scientists and humanitarians in the UK are petitioning David Cameron to pardon Alan Turing, one of computing’s forefathers, for the crime of being gay.

Now, several of the nation’s top scientists, including Stephen Hawking, and other leaders have penned a letter to the Telegraph, throwing their support behind the bill.

They write:

SIR – We write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He lead the team of Enigma codebreakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War. Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.

We urge the Prime Minister formally to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even today. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing’s achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.

Lord Currie of Marylebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner or Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow

Astronomer Royal
Lord Sharkey
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Baroness Trumpington

Sir Timothy Gowers
Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
Dr Douglas Gurr
Chairman, Science Museum Group
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse
President, the Royal Society

I absolutely agree that Turing should be pardoned — with one reservation.
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New Zealand YWCA ad for equal pay

Shoe’s on the other foot now, huh? When you consider it perfectly acceptable to pay women less than men for identical jobs, why shouldn’t we also charge men more for identical services? Yes, it’s insane to charge someone more because they have a penis. Of course it is. So is giving women less money for the same job just because they don’t.

This ad from the Auckland YWCA for the New Zealand equal pay act is bloody brilliant. I can’t think of a proper rebuttal. I can’t think it’d be anything but political suicide to fight against such progress. I also have no idea about the gender politics or the political playing field in New Zealand, so the ad and the bill could fall completely flat. But this is framing we should damn well import the next time the evidence shows women make less than men even here, even now, even with measures attempting to correct that imbalance.

Via Copyranter.

(Also, inb4 “stop promoting a Christian organization“.)

A culture of scapegoating and responsibility-dodging

Surprising absolutely nobody, in the wake of Sandy Hook’s shooting, the American congress is swinging into rapid and decisive action… against video games. Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks sums it up nicely:

What’s more is, the narrative against video games appears to have been set well before there was any proof that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was a gamer. It was set, in fact, when reporters misreported the shooter as a Ryan Lanza, the name of Adam’s brother. People found a Ryan Lanza’s Facebook profile, though it might still have been an entirely unrelated Ryan; they noticed that he had Liked the page for Mass Effect, and Mass Effect became the first scapegoat for the shootings.
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On Systemic Violence, Misconceptions, and How We Fail Ourselves

Considered Exclamations has a guest post by Brendan Murphy, treasurer of the SSA’s board of directors, which analyzes the political reactions to previous mass shootings and the fallout thereafter. It’s what I was asking for yesterday: for people to look at these shootings as a trend, and deal with them appropriately.

The above sign is a decoration of Fenway Park, well-known to many Bostonians, and sponsored by the Massachusetts-based organization Stop Handgun Violence. After this morning’s violence in Connecticut, those big numbers will tick upwards by 18. And yet, White House press secretary Jay Carney had the following to say this morning:

“Today’s not … a day to engage in the usual Washington policy debates. That day will come, but today’s not that day.”

I agree – today is not the time to have ineffectual discussions peppered with political platitudes and unfulfilled promises of resurrecting bygone legislation. Now is the time to substantively discuss exactly what systemic forces lead us down this road time and time again. If all we do is grieve and mourn without addressing the why, we have failed the victims, and ourselves. Let’s look at some 2012 history, and what’s been said politically.

Keep reading.

An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

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More Republicans believe in demonic possession than global warming

Yeah.

Alternet reports on a Public Policy Polling Hallowe’en poll (pdf) and cross-references this poll on global warming:

A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change.

I would say it’s more scary, because it’s real. And the evidence provided by actual scientists is ironclad.

The scientists are unanimous, as long as you include actual climate scientists and not geologists or meteorologists or other pretenders at authority on the complex subject of climate. And yet, only 45% of all people agree that scientists generally agree about global warming. The misinformation efforts by liars like “Lord” Christopher Monckton are working.

To make matters even worse, 49% of Democrats also believe in demonic possession, even while 85% of Democrats say there’s solid evidence for global warming. It’s not that they’re smarter, it’s that they’re only marginally less prone to superstitious belief and more prone to trusting scientific evidence.

I’d say “let the mouth-breathers secede”, but it’s not like they’re all Republican secessionists.