Washington D.C.: travel ban to NC

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

Washington D.C. Bans Employees From Traveling to North Carolina

The mayor of Washington, D.C., has banned all nonessential employee travel to North Carolina after the state passed an anti-LGBT law that bars transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out the executive order banning travel for government employees, saying, “We stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination.”


D.C. joins Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Chicago,Vermont, and Washington State in barring employees from traveling to North Carolina.

When Indiana passed a so-called religious freedom bill last year, a similar backlash had entire states clamping down on travel. The governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington all issued orders banning nonessential travel to Indiana until that law was amended.


The consequences to North Carolina, its economics, and its reputation as an inclusive state are piling up. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit. The entertainment company Lionsgate has relocated a television series. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is asking North Carolina businesses to move to the Windy City in order to avoid controversy.

Full story here. It’s good to see people pouring on the pressure. Sooner or later, the message that hate is not to be legislated must hit home, and hard.

Prison Art

It’s not often you see a prison program which works, but every now and then, someone gets it right. Prison art program The Torch seeks to rehabilitate Aboriginal inmates. The art work is amazing and beautiful, and not only provides a way to make a living, pile up a bit of cash while serving a sentence, prevents recidivism, it helps to reconnect indigenous people with their roots. That last is crucial for indigenous people everywhere. For every indigenous person being forced into a colonial lifestyle, the odds aren’t good. This is highlighted, briefly, in the article:

Mr Morris said Indigenous Australians made up less than 3 per cent of the population, but close to 30 per cent of the prison population.
“They’re 15 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous Australians,” he said.
And rates of reoffending are also too high. “Developing economic opportunity and independence allows participants to start afresh, start again and get over that cycle of poverty and disadvantage,” Mr Morris said.


Photo: Works painted by former and current inmates of Victorian prisons. (ABC News)



Photo: The Torch program helps Aboriginal inmates reconnect with their heritage. (ABC News)

Go Anti-Social


Antisocial networks: how to avoid Facebook ‘friends’ and irritate people.

“I think that the age of mass social networking has reached its peak, at least for us first-worlders,” said Cloak’s co-creator Chris Baker, who also founded the hugely successful viral news platform Buzzfeed . “Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are public arenas where we cultivate versions of ourselves that are well-manicured, mostly false, and always ‘on’. I think that is what’s beginning to wane. We’re exhausted from it and by it. Now platforms that enable ephemeral, private and very loose moments are starting to become hugely mainstream. Antisocial stuff is on the rise. Social has had its moment in the sun. Now people are beginning to revolt.”


There is evidence that Facebook and Twitter make many of us unhappy as they push us to maintain an unrealistically positive public persona. A recent University of London study explained: “The public nature of a user’s Facebook profile means that users’ social lives are particularly open to scrutiny from others.” And the network can even break up relationships: “Site use can lead to increased jealousy and/or obsessive behaviour, as a result of the opportunities it provides users to access … information about their partner that would not otherwise be accessible.”

The fear of being judged has resulted in social networking excluding many people who lack social confidence.

6 Best Anti Social Apps to Stay Away from People You Don’t Like

Some of these sound pretty interesting, but blogging is about my limit, and with three blogs, that limit is pushed. For now, I think even anti-social networking is still too much network for me.

Sunday Facepalm

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

This is not remotely amusing, it’s fucking infuriating. As a pain patient myself, I know the lengths people will go to in order to live something resembling a pain-free life. Pain can consume you, it becomes your whole damn landscape, internally and externally. For this…disgrace of a person to be allowed to carry on with this should be a crime, and he should not be allowed to practice in any way.

A man known as “Dr. Mike” in Edmond, Oklahoma is being questioned by the community about the ingredients of what he calls a “Jesus shot.”

The full name of “Dr. Mike” is John Michael Lonergan, and in 2005 he had his license to practice medicine revoked in Ohio after he was convicted of eight felony counts of tax evasion, mail fraud and health care fraud. After he was released from prison, “Dr. Mike” moved to Oklahoma, which granted him a license to practice medicine on a provisional, supervised basis.

According to News 9, “Dr. Mike” has been injecting local residents with something he calls the “Jesus shot,” which allegedly cures all pain for life. At his clinic, he has been charging people $300 per “miracle injection.” […]

Last month, one Oklahoma resident curious about “Dr. Mike” posted about him in a forum devoted to “outing people who falsely claim military service.”

“Nobody knows anything about this guy,” she wrote, “but he claims that he is a Former Special Forces Doctor and him and another Special Forces Doctor developed a serum for the military called Jesus Juice and it has been used in the military for years and it cures any ailment.” […]

The Oklahoma Medical Board terminated its supervisory agreement with “Dr. Mike” in March of last year, News 9 reports, but the terms of that agreement allowed him to continue to practice medicine, unsupervised, for another 12 months.

The rest of the Raw Story article is here.

A later report, from National Pain Report has this to add:

It can’t be substantiated but a Dr. Schrick told reporters that it is a mixture of Kenalog, Vitamin B12 and dexamethasone. Oh, and it had another less exciting name: inflammation protocol.



Uganda’s beleaguered LGBT community continues to raise its voice — and visibility — with the new edition of the country’s first magazine created by and for queer Ugandans.

The raw courage of some people awes me, and fills me with hope. That’s certainly the case with LGBT activists in Uganda, who are literally putting their lives on the line in the hope of understanding and acceptance.

Living in a nation that proudly criminalizes LGBT identity would be enough to make most people stay in the closet — but LGBT activists in Uganda refuse to be silenced or ignored. In fact, they’re downright Bombastic.

Led by prominent human rights defender and out lesbian Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, LGBT activists in Uganda released the second edition of Bombastic magazine today, on the International Day of Transgender Visibility.

Launched in December 2014, Bombastic is Uganda’s first and only publication created by and for the beleaguered LGBTI community in the East African nation. Its slogan — “our voices, our stories, our lives” — speaks to the importance its editorial team places on elevating the first-hand experiences and struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans living at home and abroad, rather than seeing those stories told through a lens of Western, predominantly white journalists. The first edition of the magazine has been downloaded more than 2 million times, according to Kuchu Times Media Group.

“This publication is a humble call to all Ugandans to understand our plight and not judge us based on the misconceptions told to them,” Nabagesera said in a statement accompanying the latest edition. “We are not calling on Ugandans to become LGBTI nor are we asking for special treatment, we are simply calling on our fellow society to recognize that we are part and parcel of the Ugandan society and any unfair treatment towards us simply because of who we love is an injustice to the whole society.”

The full story is here. Please note that the full cover photo, which is at the link, is NSFW.

Georgia: Special Session Call to Override Veto

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor's veto of the antigay "religious liberty" bill.

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor’s veto of the antigay “religious liberty” bill.

Right-wing Georgia politicians are seeking a special session in an attempt to override Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a controversial antigay “religious freedom” bill today.

Only minutes after Deal announced the veto in a press conference, Republican State Sen. Mike Crane called for the special session , reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Crane, currently running for Congress, released a statement on his website,  saying, “Our government needs committed conservatives who never stop fighting to protect the constitution.”

He also made a statement that appeared to refer to business opposition to House Bill 757 and threats from entertainment companies to boycott Georgia if the bill became law. “The announcement by Governor Deal is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists,” Crane said. [Except for when those corporations and lobbyists are doing something in their favour, then it’s just dandy!]


But lawmakers who supported the measure are not giving up yet. The Journal-Constitution reports that Sen. Josh McKoon told Boston NPR station WBUR, “The question we have to resolve is whether or not government is going to be used to punish people with a particular point of view [Oh how I wish irony poisoning was a real thing]. … I fully expect we’ll be back next year debating this again.”

Full Story.

NC may lose federal funding


Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina has faced intense pressure to repeal House Bill 2 from major businesses such as Apple and Facebook, but now, they may lose billions of dollars in federal funding for passing the anti-LGBT bill.

The Obama administration is in the process of considering whether HB2 makes the state ineligible for federal funding for schools, highways, and housing, reports The New York Times. House Bill 2 bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones.

The Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all told the paper that they are currently reviewing the law to determine whether the state will continue to be eligible for federal funding.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Education told The Times on Friday that they “will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.” Last year, they provided the state with $4.3 billion dollars in funding for kindergarden through 12th grade, and for colleges, reports The Times.

If states are going to insist on legislating hate and bigotry, I think it’s a fine idea for them to lose all federal funding. Then they can see how much it is worth to them to continue embracing their hate. The full story is at The Advocate.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

On the Mississippi bill, considered to the be the worst one yet, passed the senate and is now poised to hit the governor’s desk:

Mississippi’s sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has indicated his potential support for the legislation.

A final concurrence vote took place in the state’s House of Representatives this morning, following a final Senate vote Thursday in favor House Bill 1523, reports BuzzFeed News. Full story: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2016/4/01/mississippis-anti-lgbt-bill-headed-governor

Bisexual Support is Crucial

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

Nicole Kristal, founder of the #StillBisexual campaign, in front of the White House

A December 2015 study in the Journal of Bisexuality found that gays and lesbians had nearly identical prejudice against bisexuals as heterosexuals1. But most bisexuals don’t need a study to affirm that fact, and failure to acknowledge biphobia from within and outside LGBT communities is extremely harmful.

Failure to acknowledge and address biphobia has had a powerful impact on bisexual health, forcing our risk factors to skyrocket past those of gay and lesbian people.

Nearly half of bisexual women have considered or attempted suicide2. They have higher rates of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, compared to lesbians or heterosexual women3. One in two bisexual women has experienced severe violence by an intimate partner as opposed to one in three lesbians and one in four heterosexual women4. Bisexual women are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as lesbians5, are less likely to be out to their doctors,6 and are more likely to smoke and have substance abuse issues7.

The stats for bisexual men aren’t much better. One in three bisexual men has considered or attempted suicide8. They are 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than gay men9. Nearly half of all bisexual men suffer from mood disorders10, while one in three has experienced rape, violence, or stalking by an intimate partner as opposed to one in four gay men.11 According to the CDC, half of black bisexual men and a quarter of bisexual Hispanic men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes—the same as gay men.


On April 16, the #StillBisexual campaign will join the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 360, the health and wellness fair for LBTQ women, to help educate attendees about the unique health needs of our community. I hope that through raising awareness about the campaign and the abysmal bisexual health statistics, our community as a whole will finally get funding and policies in place to address our health disparities. But that will only come through raising awareness and empathy about the bisexual experience—and gaining allies to help us put an end to the prejudice against us.

A community is only as strong as its weakest members. And though it may be hard for gays and lesbians to relate to what it’s like to be attracted to more than one gender, it is crucial that they try to accept and support the needs of all LGBT members. For the past 40 years, bisexual people have tried to address the needs of our community on our own. We failed. Why? Because every community needs allies. Without straight allies, the larger LGBT community never would have achieved the right to same-sex marriage and the resources to combat the AIDS crisis. Without LGT allies, the bisexual community will never have the opportunity to face a future without stigma, poverty, and illness. And given that bisexuals comprise the largest population within the LGBT community, that right is long overdue.

Full article is here: https://vanguardnow.org/voices/225-bisexuals-lack-support-and-it-s-literally-killing-us-3

Cultural Astronomy

Fall - Version 2

Annette S. Lee, assistant professor of astronomy and physics at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, created the oil and mixed media “Fall Stars” to represent two major autumn constellations—Moose for the Ojibwe and Turtle for the Dakota/Lakota. (Courtesy Annette S. Lee)

Even though a sprinkling of snow fell just this Thursday in northern Minnesota, any arrows shot earlier at Wintermaker apparently have hastened his final departure from the sky. But the rise in the night of Curly Tail, the Great Panther of spring, could bring the threat of floods and dangerous, uncertain travel.

Long before Europeans brought over their Greek monikers for the constellations, Native cultures already had named their sky people. And those faraway relatives helped them to understand their world and how to survive in it.

For the Ojibwe, the constellations of Mooz (Moose), Biboonikeonini (Wintermaker), Mishi Bizhiw (the Great Panther) and Nanaboujou (the original man of Anishinaabe narratives), heralded the arrival of fall, winter, spring and summer.

More on star maps and skywatchers here.

Trump Tombstone


A renegade artist took to Central Park this weekend to express discontentment with presidential candidate Donald Trump in the form of a fake tombstone dedicated to the oft-lampooned businessman with the epitaph “Make America Hate Again.” The mysterious stone also features Trump’s birth year, 1946, but includes no year of death.


The equally-critical graveyard project first surfaced on social media on Saturday, but by Sunday night had been removed by the city Parks Department—much to the chagrin of anti-Trump New Yorkers.

A spokesperson for the parks department told NBC that there is currently no information as to who erected the tombstone, but that it was city employees who hauled it away. No word on where, exactly, the artifact was hauled to.

Read more here.

Magic in North America



A lot of people have been less than pleased with Rowling’s Magic in North America, many of them Indigenous people, as the stereotyping was much as feared, with all Indians dumped into the popular “Native American” category. It’s beyond frustrating when people start a sentence with “Native Americans”, because there’s no such pool of people. There are indigenous peoples, there are tribes, there are nations, all different from one another, with different histories, beliefs, and traditions. Magic in North America has been the focus of much ferocious discussion for some time now, along with plenty of the casual racism one might expect to see. Dr. Adrienne Keene has addressed many of the issues indigenous people have at Native Appropriations.

[Read more…]