Desperate Measures: The new back alley abortion

In Colorado, James Pennington has been arrested for “assault” upon Jane Doe.  Pennington is a former army medic, not a doctor, and surgically removed Ms. Doe’s testicles.

Pennington performed the equivalent of a back alley abortion. 

Transgender people constantly endure roadblocks to transition – denied changes in documentation, denied recognition, denied medical care.  If Ms. Doe had been able to attain all those things, she would not have resorted to having surgery done in her apartment, bleeding and risking death.

How does Ms. Doe feel about James Pennington?  She wrote a lengthy letter in his defence, pleading for him not to be charged or treated leniently.  She criticizes the bigoted medical industry, policitians and society that drove her to this decision.

I am not in her position, not desperate as she was, but I understand and empathize.

Transgender woman pens letter about testicle removal case

DENVER – A transgender woman has penned a letter explaining why she chose to ask an unlicensed Colorado man to remove her testicles in what she called a “back-alley” procedure.

James Lowell Pennington, 57, is accused of operating on the transgender woman and is now in a Denver jail facing charges of aggravated assault.

[Read more…]

Music Rules: What’s new, Pussycat

It’s not a question.  Pussycat is Juliana Hatfield’s latest album, released this month (May 2017).  It was written after the farcical election of Annoying Orange and recorded in less than two weeks.  It is her first overtly political album full of songs like “Short Fingered Man” and “KellyAnne”.

I have been a fan of Hatfield since 1992, primarily because of her consistency in song quality, and the fact that she plays much of it herself.  I haven’t heard the new album yet, but for me this could be her defining statement.

Yes, she is a descendant of the Hatfield and McCoy feud.

Cars Kill: Traffic terrorism needs to end

Nicky Hayden, the “Kentucky Kid”, was the 2006 MotoGP World Champion.  He died Monday at age 35. He was hit by a car five days ago while he was riding a bicycle during training for the 2017 World Superbikes season.  Hayden was hit by a careless driver five days ago, suffered massive internal and brain injuries, and succumbed to them on Monday, May 22.

Already the victim blaming and factless speculation has started, spewing tripe like “maybe he ran a stop sign”.  Photos from the accident scene show it was a long, straight road, no corners or traffic signs in sight.  And no skid marks from the car tires, either.  Unfortunately, as with most cyclist deaths, the assumption is that the cyclist is at fault.  The tone is very similar to the way women are blamed for being raped (i.e. “how was he riding?” = “what was she wearing?”).

It shouldn’t require the death of someone famous for people to realize that drivers do not respect cyclists and do not obey the law.  Cyclists have as much a legal right to the road as car drivers do, and drivers are legally required to leave space for cyclists to ride safely.  If you don’t want cyclists in car lanes, petition for one car lane to be blocked off with concrete Jersey barriers to provide a cycling lane.  Cars and drivers are the problem and danger, not cyclists.

The behaviour and actions of car drivers towards cyclists and pedestrians is Traffic Terrorism, and it needs to end.

Criticism of how cyclists ride is not relevant, unwanted and will be silenced.

Wrong Headed: Ignorance from the past

Outdated “thinking” never goes away, it just changes the target of its ignorance.

I recently ran across three items from the past in separate places on uninformed attitudes about and biases against left handedness.  Dressing up opinions and labelling them “facts” happened as often 150 years ago as it does today.

In 1850, a poorly written story called Left-Handed Billy was published in a children’s book called “Robert Merry’s Museum”.  It made farcical claims of left handedness, equating it with ineptitude, and stupidity.  The last paragraph of the story reads:

Thus he grew up, and, when he was a man, he received the title of Left-handed Billy. If he drove a team of cattle, he was sure to be on the wrong side, as you see him in the picture at the head of this article. He never succeeded in anything, but became what is called an unlucky fellow. The people used to say, if there was a wrong side, Bill was sure to take it. Such were the evils of growing up in habits of carelessness.

Publishing Andrew Wakefield wasn’t the only time The Lancet screwed up and published pseudo-science gobbledygook.  In 1924, a questionable “paper” entitled The Mental Sorrows of Left-Handedness (William. S. Inman) was published.  It made risible claims about the causes of left-handedness, stammers, and squinting based on no facts whatsoever, only biases of the time and the author’s.  The “conclusion” was that emotional stress from “too severe parenting” caused them, that left-handed was “an unconscious revolt against authority”.

In 1935, J.W. Conway wrote (and I use that word loosely) a horrendously awful pamphlet entitled The Prevention And Correction of Left-Handedness In Children.  His pamphlet was the “homosexual aversion therapy” of its day, advocating physical and mental abuse upon children to “correct” them out of something perfectly natural.

Strangers Estrange: Happy Freedom Day, to some

For those reading who love their mothers and grew up in a great home, call her and tell her you love her if you haven’t already.  Time is short.  For those who had a great mom who died, my condolences to you.  I have a couple of friends who lost their moms this year and I wish I could have done more than be supportive and a friend.

But the day is not a celebration for everyone.  “Mother’s day” can be as hurtful a reminder to some as “valentine’s day”, “christmas” or other commercialized events.  The world tells us only one form of expression is allowed that those who don’t share it must be silent.

That’s unacceptable. [Read more…]

Music Rules: The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy was an industrial/hip-hop band which sadly produced only one album on their own, 1992’s “Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury”(A second effort “Spare Ass Annie And Other Tales” was a collaboration with William S. Burroughs).

Oh, what an album it was.  It was more landslide than a landmark, its political and social messages on par with Gil Scott Heron and other activists.  The album still stands up today, worth listening to for its message an its music.

There are a couple of weak moments on the album, but most of its themes and messages stand the test of time and are still relevant today.  The standout tracks:

  • Television, the Drug of the Nation
  • Language of Violence
  • The Winter of the Long Hot Summer
  • INS Greencard A-19 191 500
  • California Über Alles

“California” is a cover, updated to talk about then-governor Pete Wilson.

Math Rules: Happy 400th to Napier’s Bones

In 1617, mathematician John Napier produced his bones, or rods, as a means of accurate multiplication and division.  These were improvements on earlier work by by Matrakci Nasuh and Fibonacci.  It was a huge step forward in accuracy and speed of computation for mathematicians and all scientists.  It allowed a simple, visual way to add numbers with single digit multiplication removed to prevent errors.

In the example below, to multiply 8 times 6785, you simply line up four bones on the board and read across at the 8. The product 54,280 is the result of adding the numbers (8+5 and 6+6 both carry).

William Oughtred is credited for producing the first slide rule in 1622, as well as coining sine and cosine and “x” for multiplication.  The slide rule did not allow for as many digits of precision as Napier’s bones, but certainly increased the speed of mathematical calculation.  One can compute two 2-digit numbers faster with a slide rule than with a calculator.

 

Visit the Virtual Slide Rule for a testable example of how the slide rule works.  First, slide the centre bar to until the 1 on the B scale is under the 2 on the A scale.  Now look to the right at the 3 on the B scale, which is now under the 6 on the A scale.  2×3=6.  Look also at the K scale which is used for cubing numbers.  2 on the B scale is under the 8, so 2^3=8.  The numbers between the integers can be used as decimals or smaller numbers (e.g. 1.5 in place of 15).  You only need to keep track of the powers of 10.

Later, in 1891, French railway engineer Henri Genaille improved upon Napier’s work with the
Genaille–Lucas rulers.  The rulers removed the additions necessary in Napier’s bones, increasing speed and accuracy.  The pointing lines on Genaille’s rulers removed the need for addition, greatly reducing errors in multiplying large numbers.

In the image below, multiplying 3 by 52,749 (158,247) requires only noting the digits from right to left.  Start with the 7 (3×9), then move left where the lines point.

The images are taken from wikipedia.  The virtual slide rule is from Antiquark.

Finally Allowed: Dual citizenship for foreigners in Taiwan

In the past, Taiwan laws required a foreigner renounce native citizenship before being approved for Taiwanese citizenship.  However, this left people at the risk of being “stateless persons” if Taiwan rejected their application.  In 2016, the law was amended to require renouncement of citizenship within a year after attaining Taiwanese citizenship.

Now, in March 2017, Taiwan has enacted new rules allowing foreigners with certain skills to keep their birth citizenship and obtain a Taiwanese passport as well.  I may apply for one myself, after I complete my permanent residency application.  While this is a good decision, it is still hypocritical because it does not apply to all naturalized citizens.  Taiwanese-born people are not required to renounce Taiwanese citizenship if they become dual citizens of another country, regardless of their education or skills.

There is no word on whether third gender recognition is included in this legislation.

Some immigrants no longer need to give up citizenship

The regulation concerning the criteria for foreigners with professional skills to obtain Republic of China citizenship, without being required to renounce their original citizenship, is to be promulgated today, the Ministry of the Interior announced.

The ministry is to promulgate today the regulation, which is in accordance with and supplementing an amendment to the Nationality Act (???) passed by the legislature in December last year that states foreign nationals may be exempted from submitting a certificate of loss of original nationality if “they are high-level professionals in the technological, economic, educational, cultural, art, sports, or other domains who have been recommended by the central competent authority.”

Foreigners with five years of residency and specific professional qualifications in six specified categories can be granted citizenship without renouncing their prior citizenship, it said.

Arguments Made: Taiwan court hears arguments on same sex marriage

On March 24, Taiwan’s constitutional court heard arguments for and against equal marriage in the country.  The judges are currently debating the case but there is no fixed time for rendering a decision.  Some have speculated that Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen is letting the courts to decide rather than trying to push legislation through.  Reasons range from lack of supporting votes to pass the law, a race against time before the next term of elections, or (unlikely) an unwillingness to force it through and let the courts face the backlash.

I have not heard news of judgement from the courts yet, but the arguments for equal marriage have been compelling and emotional, while arguments against have been the usual retreaded lies – “kids are in danger”, “freedom of religion to persecute”, “equal marriage will force heterosexuals to participate”.  I have a good feeling the court will rule in favour of equal marriage.

Taiwan constitutional court hears debate on same-sex marriage

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Taiwan’s Constitutional Court on Friday heard arguments over whether the country’s marriage law is unconstitutional because it does not legally recognize same-sex marriages.

Fourteen grand justices heard the debate, which focused on whether Taiwan’s Civil Code should allow same-sex marriage and if not, whether that violates articles under the Constitution of the Republic of China pertaining to equality and marriage freedom.

It also addressed whether setting up a separate system, such as a same-sex partnership system, instead of treating same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples under the current law, violates the Constitution.

“I have waited for this day for 41 years, six months and 24 days,” gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei, who is one of the petitioners requesting the constitutional interpretation, told the court.

Oh, Shoot: American learns Taiwan has no right to possess guns

I say an American has no right to possess guns, because in Taiwan, her US police badge doesn’t mean squat.  Here, she’s under arrest for the crime of illegally importing a firearm.

I’m laughing my head off.  Meanwhile, the gun fetishists here are whining about “freedumb” and the “right to arm bears”.

My response to them has been, if you don’t like Taiwan’s gun laws, go home.  And if you think Taiwan is less free and democratic than the US, well….

U.S. police officer discovers pistol in bag on arrival in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A policewoman from California has been stranded in Taiwan since she reported that she had inadvertently brought a firearm and some ammunition in her bag on a flight that landed at Taoyuan International Airport on Thursday, authorities said.

The Aviation Police Bureau said the American police officer reported the matter to members of the airport’s ground staff after discovering the handgun and six rounds of ammunition in her carry-on bag.

The policewoman, identified as Nell Grant, handed over the pistol and ammunition and showed her badge as proof of her identity as a member of the California State Police, the authorities said.

How incompetent is she to put a gun in her bag – or not remove it – before travelling?  If you don’t know where your gun is, you shouldn’t have one. And how incompetent is the US’s “homeland security” if she could get through airport security and get on an airplane with a weapon?

I hope she gets the maximum sentence, two years in prison, and make an example of her the way they do with drug dealers.  Unfortunately, it’s more likely politicians will appease Washington and let her go.  I just hope they destroy the gun.

Wheels Turn: Bicycles, the past and future of transportation

March 2017 marked the 200th anniversary of the Velocipede (aka Dandy Horse), the first bicycle.  While it was a simple construction (two wheels with a connecting bar to sit on and push the ground with your feet), it was the first non-motorized transport that didn’t involve animals.

Bicycles played a huge role in the emancipation of women, allowing them to wear more functional clothing.  Bicycles allowed women to travel, but Victorian era clothing would be impossible on a bicycle.  Shorter skirts and pants for women were necessary and became socially acceptable clothing in the 20th century.

One hundred years ago, Alice Hawkins, a suffragette, cycled around Leicester promoting the women’s rights movement, causing outrage by being one of the first ladies to wear pantaloons in the city. During the fight to win the vote the bicycle became not only a tool but also a symbol for the emancipation of women.

The American civil rights leader, Susan B Anthony, wrote in 1896:

“I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.”

Bicycles have also played a huge part in warfare.  Forget the Swiss, think Britain, Nazi Germany, Japan (some called it “bicycle blitzkrieg”), Vietnam in its defence of the country, and the US during its illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.  They have long been used as fast transport for ground troops, messengers, and silent assaults upon enemy positions.

On October 13, 1967, Jack Salisbury, a New York Times reporter, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying, I literally believe that without bikes theyd have to get out of the war. He had seen first hand in North Vietnam how both the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army relied upon the bicycle to supply their troops. Senator Fulbright responded, Why dont we concentrate on bombing their bicycles instead of the bridges? Does the Pentagon know about this? According to reports, the room erupted in laughter at the idea of American bombers hunting bicycles.

US politicians may have been laughing, but the generals weren’t.  They knew.

It wasn’t just in the 20th century.  In the late 19th century, the US’s 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps performed a 1900 mile test to prove the viability of the bicycle for troop movement in warfare.  This test also played a role in acceptance of black soldiers in the US military.

In June of 1897, the all-black company of the 25th Mobile Infantry, under command of a white lieutenant and accompanied by a medic and a journalist, embarked on a journey across America’s heartland — from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri — to “test most thoroughly the bicycle as a means of transportation for troops.”

Their trek would span 41 days and 1,900 miles and pit the men against sandhills, the Rocky Mountains, rain, snow, poison, and more. Decades before Dr. King had his famous dream, these men were sweating together, bleeding together, and biking together as a team.

Their trip proved two truths that we should hold self-evident today: 1) All men are created equal; 2) All men are nowhere near as tough as they were in 1897.

Two-Wheeled Warriors – A Brief History of Bicycles on the Battlefield

Bicycles are the transportation of the future, not the past.  Environmental issues are forcing cities and countries to seriously rethink personal automotive transportation and put the focus on mass transit.  The “last mile problem” (i.e. not everyone lives or works next to transit) is why the car mentality persists.  But with problems like pollution and climate change, rail becoming more accomodating to bicycles, cities building more bike lanes, and folding bicycles becoming more reliable and cheaper, the days of the car may be numbered.

Electric bicycles are as viable as electric cars.  As battery power storage improves and batteries shrink in size, why move a one ton car when you can move a 30kg bicycle with a far smaller battery?  For those with limited endurance or physical mobility but can still walk, an electric bicycle is more than sufficient for travelling locally without reliance on vehicles or public transit.  Electric bicycles offer speed and distance (up to 24kmh and ranges up to 50km) without requiring licenses or registration. For those who lose (or should lose) their licenses due to an inability to drive safely anymore, it is a viable alternative transporation.

There is a lot of snobbery towards bicycles and cyclists, plenty of unthinking people with anti-bicycle attitudes who should never be allowed to drive.   The reality is, bicycles aren’t “outdated technology”, they are not a “hindrance to traffic”.  Bicycles are the most efficient mode of transportation in terms of power to distance travelled.  They aren’t just here to stay, they are on the rise.

And if you still don’t agree or like bicycles, I say on yer bike.

In Reply: Just so I’m not guilty of burying a comment

Giliell tried to post a comment the other day which I didn’t allow because it didn’t meet rules I had set out for comments.  Given the delay, allowing it and replying now might look like I’m burying it or preventing disagreement.


 

Well, I’ll try…I think you’Re argument here is faulty, because you are part of society as well.

I never said I wasn’t part of society, though I don’t know where you get the notion that a childfree home is akin to a hermitage.  Not having kids is no more “opting out of society” than not owning a car, a house, having a pet or being an atheist.  Unless you are a St. Augustus fan (“Any woman who does not give birth to as many children as she is capable is guilty of murder.”), there is no obligation to have children.

You know, I completely support people’s choice to be childfree. I am actually pro abortion because I think that whenever you’re not sure whether you should have a child or not you should go for “not”, but you’re making many faulty arguments here that reinforce prejudices against parenthood, especially motherhood. They are also very close to the faulty and insulting arguments you rightfully complain about when they’re coming from parents and society at large..

No, you are not contributing more to society because you don’t get tax breaks or have children who go to school. First of all, your parents received tax breaks and you went to school as well, so this is in a way paying it forward.

So, by not making use of public schools I pay tax into, I’m taking out more than I put in?  My logic is faulty?  By your argument, you are “taking out more” and misusing public funds by never having to call the fire department that you pay taxes toward.

Secondly, once you retire you will need to rely on younger people still producing things and eventually taking care of you. Those people don’t have to be your children and frankly, I’m not planning to take care of a set of parents and parents in law myself because hey, I got a life, too, but that’s the nice thing about living in a society: somebody does. But that somebody was gestated, born, fed and raised by somebody and while it’s not endless misery and horrors, it’s work. It’s necessary work to keep a society running.

If that were true, why are there people abandoned by their children, put into taxpayer funded nursing homes?  Even those whose children do pay, many never visit, abanoning elders except to visit on Sundays.  If you are arguing that children must take care of elders, does that mean your parents (or possibly grandparents) live with you the way most families used to and still do in most Asian and African countries?

Contrary to what you are claiming, some people do pay for their own elderly care, not their children or taxpayers.  My parents saved for retirement and paid for their own.

It’S patriarchal and completely anti-feminist to claim that raising children is not “contributing to society”, echoing the old arguments that care work isn’t really work, which also contributes to the low wages in jobs that are considered care work and that are mostly done by women. It further reinforces stereotypes that lead to discrimination against all for the potential of having children, regardless of whether they are actually fertile or plan to have any and especially to the discrimination of women who have children.

This violates rule number 5: No misrepresentation of others’ words.  I never said any such thing, nor does advocating the right of individual choice critique the whole of society.  I’m not deleting it to show it as an example.

What is patriarchical is saying all women must have children.

No, I don’t resent that you don’t have to do the work and pay the money and occasionally break down crying. Those are aspects of parenting. They’re not the only ones, but I’m not trying to convince you because I really agree with you that people should think carefully before they choose to reproduce (I also acknowledge that many women don’t get the choice).

Out of necessity, I added rule number 6: No personal attacks, rather than an all emcompassing rule number 1.  You can make your point without them.  I’ve seen you do better.

But they are not the aspects of parenting that are bad. What really gets you is doing this is a society where the importance of the job I’m doing is dismissed, devalued and I am portrayed as somebody who is unjustly receiving benefits from people who claim they don’t benefit from what I and other parents are doing.

Again, rule number 6.

What is really draining is that I have to be near perfect in my job because people not only believe that I shouldn’t get any accommodations, but also interpret anything lass than 150% as me not “putting in the work” because I’m too busy taking care of my family.

Not germane to the discussion, so no answer is needed.

The point of discussing the Childfree life is to end a stigma against it, a stigma that atheists and LGBTQIA people face.  You have not made any relevant arguments showing that individual choice causes harm to society.

And you left out a statement you made in your original attempt to post, one included when I emailed your original post back so you could edit it.  You claimed:

You’re not automatically more environmentally friendly because you don’t have children.

Mindbogglingly misinformed and wrong.  How does fewer people living increase the use of resources?  It doesn’t.

Not producing children (and thus no grandchildren) means there will be roughly five fewer human beings on the planet by 2050.  No amount of “going green” will make up for the fact that there are fewer people consuming food, water, fossil fuels and other natural resources, fewer people creating pollution and waste.

Post-Secondary Segregated: I question Trump’s “commitment” to HBCUs

Annoying Orange says funding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is a “priority”.  Why?  So that black students can stop going to “white” universities?

Call me untrusting, but with Petty Cash giving this dictum, all I hear is “Go to Grambling.  You’re not welcome at Harvard.”  It looks more like post-secondary segregation than post-secondary education.

Trump signs executive order on black colleges

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at signaling his commitment to historically black colleges and universities, saying that those schools will be “an absolute priority for this White House.”

HBCU presidents are hoping Congress will bolster Trump’s actions to strengthen the schools with dramatically increased funding in the upcoming federal budget. They are calling for $25 billion for infrastructure, college readiness, financial aid and other priorities. Under President Barack Obama’s administration, historically black colleges and universities received $4 billion over seven years.

[…]

While some HBCU presidents in attendance are proceeding with cautious optimism, some African-Americans are wary of the administration’s intentions — concerns underscored by DeVos’ seemingly tone-deaf comments Monday praising HBCUs as “pioneers” in school choice that gave black students more options to pursue higher education.

As It Happens: I’m not the only one talking about this

The day after I write about the right to be Childfree and valid reasons for choosing to be, news of a study shows the same “moral outrage” against Childfree people that atheists and LGBTQIA people have endured before.

IUPUI study finds participants feel moral outrage toward those who decide to not have children

Feb. 28, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — Data representing individuals from across the United States indicates that U.S. adults are increasingly delaying the decision to have children or forgoing parenthood entirely. Yet evidence suggests that voluntarily child-free people are stigmatized for this decision, according to a study published in the March 2017 edition of Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.

Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, recently investigated this bias against those who choose to not have children.

“What’s remarkable about our findings is the moral outrage participants reported feeling toward a stranger who decided to not have children,” Ashburn-Nardo said. “Our data suggests that not having children is seen not only as atypical, or surprising, but also as morally wrong.”

The findings are consistent with other studies of backlash against people who violate social roles and other stereotypic expectations. When people violate their expected roles, they suffer social sanctions. Given that more and more people in the U.S. are choosing to not have children, this work has far-reaching implications.

Ashburn-Nardo believes these findings offer the first known empirical evidence that parenthood is seen as a moral imperative.

Except that it’s not a “moral imperative”.  It’s an ability that all people are capable of but choose not to partake in. It is no more “immoral” to not have children than to not eat meat or not believe in mythological beings. And it does not harm or impede those who want to partake in those things.

Being Childfree is an atheist issue.