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Barney Frank warns of “suspicious packages” May 18, 2010

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong.
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While US Representative Barney Frank (D, Massachusetts 4th) isn’t known as a security hawk, he’s currently warning employers to be on the lookout for “suspicious packages” in our nation’s bathrooms.  Specifically, packages on women.

Frank doesn’t offer any proof that these packages are dangerous.  He doesn’t offer any advice on how they should be found.  He just thinks they’re icky.

Frank’s version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as the Christian right has been claiming for years, is fully expected to force men with beards to use the ladies room.  But only if those men have vaginas.  (Vaginae?)  Because we’re sure that won’t cause any problems at all if the guys just explain it.  Every time they use the restroom.  For the rest of their lives.

New men's room signs

Get used to the new men's room signs

More importantly, it will prevent transgender women who have penises from using the women’s restroom or locker room.   No word yet on how it will prevent this, but we expect the bill will include emergency funding to the States to train penis-sniffing dogs.

Instead of using dogs to spot Terminator cyborgs, bathroom owners can finally use them to prevent innocent people from urinating safely.  “Urinating safely” here is obviously code for something sinister, because numerous studies have proven that transgender people are far more dangerous and more likely to rape and molest and generally creep people out than cisgender gays and lesbians, who will be protected by the bill.  The bill is not expected to solve the problem of straight couples doing it in bathroom stalls in every bar in New York on a Saturday night while lines form outside.

Rep.  Frank also wants to make sure employees have a “consistent gender presentation” in order to be able to sue for discrimination.  No one from Frank’s office has responded to our inquiry about whether this clause would ban lawsuits by effeminate gay men, butch lesbians, that guy from Phish, that guy from Smashing Pumpkins, Sir Elton John, the coach from Glee, guys with long hair, women wearing pants, or any one who’s ever been to a pride parade.

At the time of publication, his office also had not replied to questions about why he’s in charge of where people can pee, where he suggests his own constituents who currently have the freedom to pee should pee in the future, why he thinks women need to be protected from penises or, our personal favorite, who died and made him queen.  We will keep you updated on this developing story.

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To Barney Frank, RE: ENDA April 21, 2010

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong.
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If he sells us out on ENDA because of his obsession with trans womens’ penises again,  I’m going to take a dump in box and send it to Barney Frank with a note saying, “I couldn’t use a bathroom thanks to you, so this shit is your responsibility.”

Does that sound too harsh?

US Representative Barney Frank (D, Massachusetts 4th) is selling out the transgender community on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) again.  He spearheaded the effort in 2007, then backed by Senator Kennedy, and trans activists and bloggers are hearing the exact same language from him as the House prepares to take up the issue again.

It’s been well-documented that, like the Christian right, he’s obsessed with trans women using women’s bathrooms, “penises in showers,” and claims that “If you insist on the right for unrestricted access to bathrooms – we lose.” He’s stated that he’s crafting the language in secrecy.  The only reason to do this so privately is if he’s planning to make huge “concessions” on this point to the right, although it would seem he’s in agreement with the right on this anyway.

Most importantly, since the bill currently under discussion is intended to apply not only in the federal public sector but all the way down to the private sector locally (as long as the employer is not a religious institution and has more than 15 employees)…

Barney Frank’s plan could strip away current protections for his own constituents and others in the 12 states and other localities that already have trans inclusive laws.

Let me say that again, slowly, despite earlier gains on the basis of Title VII legal interpretations and legislative wins in the District of Columbia and California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont and in cities like New York and Philadelphia, Barney Frank’s top-secret negotiations might sell out current trans protections with a new law that gives moderate protections to gays and lesbians but could leave trans people segregated or simply barred from restrooms where they work.  Some of these people are his own constituents.

Barney Frank is bad for trans people.  So, sure, call your representative and demand trans inclusion in the ENDA bill, but also contact Barney Frank and tell him that we won’t forgive so easily this time: (202) 225-5931

Bits and Pieces April 12, 2010

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong, we're only gonna die.
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Some things I’m thinking about but don’t have a great deal to write about:

1.) The disproportionate number of women who were targeted and threatened by right-wing extremists following the passage of healthcare reform. Women don’t make up any where near half the democratic caucus, but seemingly accounted for about half of threats.  Dear media, can we talk about this?

2.) Robert Reich’s Fiefdom of the Boomers. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Reich’s proposal to prevent the coming collapse of entitlement programs under the glut of retiring Baby Boomers looks a lot like a return to feudalism!  His plan is to convince the (generally conservative) Boomers to support increased immigration as immigrant workers will pay into entitlements supporting aging Boomers and help reverse the trend of a shrinking ratio of workers to retirees.

I’m all for plans to tear down borders or defend immigrant rights, and I kinda love how much of an eff-you this would be to younger xenophobes, but wow, holy bold-faced cynicism using immigrants and the coming debate on immigration reform! Also, unless we’re gonna swing wide the gates to a huge number of people and then actually pay all those immigrants fairly, this isn’t a real fix at all.  But ‘Foreigners keep out, unless willing to support our aging Me Generation’ will look nice on a copper plaque.

Reich doesn’t seem to mention those immigrants becoming citizens and getting the same entitlements after they help us out of this jam.

Impure Democracy November 5, 2009

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong, we're only gonna die.
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Exactly how many defeats will it take gay and lesbian groups to drop their marriage obsession and focus on other work?  Believe me, I get it.  It’s an injustice, it sucks. I’ve heard the arguments, but mostly the repeated losses make the gay and lesbian lobby look weak.  It’s no coincidence that Dick Durbin’s put the brakes on Harry Reid’s plans to reconsider Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the Senate in 2010.  He’s making the smart political move by trying not to tie the Democratic party to the fate of the LGB lobby.

Each ballot loss is proof of concept for why we don’t govern by referendum.  Would Brown v. Board of Ed have passed at the polls in 1964?  How about an income tax, do you think voters would approve or reject that if they had the chance?  There’s also a good chance our laws would reflect that 2/3 of American adults believe in angels.

Only allowing referendums on laws regarding “morality” is a dirty trick.  But none of that changes the fact that repeatedly fighting these fights and losing is just bad politics.

“They got the guns” September 9, 2009

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong, we're only gonna die.
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I haven’t written about politics in months. I simply don’t know how to deal with what I’m seeing and hearing. I don’t know how to respond. Perhaps this is how people, especially the ones without power, the youth, the minorities, the poor, perhaps this is how they feel in any time that historians will later end up universally prefacing with the word “turbulent.” Perhaps this is what activists felt in the early 60s, before the years of assassinations and riots and endless war, just seeing the storm gathering on the horizon. Will it blow this way? Will it pass us by?

I don’t know what to say about the seas of angry white people on the news. I don’t understand why they are so damn angry, while those who should be outraged, who should be fed up, seem so apathetic. I don’t know how to engage in a debate when there is no debate, just one side screaming threats.

And all these guns at political events? Just a year ago, you had to sign a loyalty oath to get anywhere near a presidential event. Just a year ago, to openly criticize Bush “during a time of war” was called “unamerican.” Now those same voices on the Right openly threaten revolution and secession on the evening news. All through the Bush years, we watched innocent people exercising their freedoms on public streets get gassed, tazered, beaten and arrested in efforts to put down any dissent. Now members of Congress can’t even speak at their own events?

Tonight, the President will speak. He’s most likely going to throw the public option under the bus. If this takes the form of a very nasty conservative bill Like the one Max Baucus is putting forward, a Republican bill that still won’t get a single Republican vote and acts as a huge giveaway to insurance companies, then it’s up to us to kill it from the Left. All of this shouting will have been for nothing and the crazies on the Right will have won. Again.

I don’t know how to be engaged in this fight. It’s just so depressing. Where is my generation? Why are they keeping so silent? Why won’t anyone stand up to this angry white minority? Why is the issue being framed in seemingly every news outlet as if this fight is between two equal, philosophically differing groups, rather than as further proof of the dangers of domestic right-wing terrorism? Why can’t the Dems see that rolling over like this will only encourage this type of behavior in the next fight and the next? Will another assassination wake them up? How about the one after that?

I don’t understand and I don’t know what to say. At every point, good policy and rational thought has lost in this fight. The Left is clearly intimidated and it’s only going to get worse if we let them get away with these tactics.

Where is your voice? Where is your anger?

Script notes on the Gitmo debate May 28, 2009

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in cult of lack of personality, two rights make a wrong, we're only gonna die.
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Media: Stop repeating the assertion that the people being held in Gitmo are terrorists.  (It’s not your job to help them repeat it 62,400 times.)  They’re “suspects.”  Say it with me, suhs-pekts.  Switch it up, try using words like “alleged” or “accused.”  Just keep in mind that the same administration that told us they were all terrorists also told us Iraq had WMD’s, they had no idea who outed Valerie Plame, and the Earth is only 5,000 years old and we didn’t break it.  Until they get a trial, they’re called suspects.

Republicans: Stop pretending we’re all afraid of terrorists, the Taliban or al-Qaeda.   Maybe they scare the shit out of you, but some of us live in NYC, lived through 9/11, and know they can’t kill us all.  And you know what, having seen it with my own two eyes, having been out on the streets that day huddling around a cab with strangers just to hear some news, seeing what this city is made of, what the people I ride the subway with everyday are made of, I’m not worried.  And if there is a mastermind or twentieth hijacker down there, I still think he deserves a fair trial to prove it.  In this city at least, we know we’re strong enough to make it through future attacks, these wars and, yes, even trials.  The US has made an industry of locking people up for life, I think we can hold the folks you kept secure in Camp X-Ray, which you threw together in a couple of weeks.  Hell, bring them to Rikers here in NYC and let them experience the next one with us.  Maybe they’ll get a better feel for what they’re up against.

Democrats: Stop repeating everything the Republicans say and grow some spines.  (I feel like I give this script note to the Dems over and over…)

Actual liberals: Please stop saying that the US once lead the world in human rights unless you can show me when this magical time was.  Was it when we kept slaves?  When women couldn’t vote?  When our civil rights leaders and presidents kept getting gunned down?  When we locked up 1% of our populace?  When was it that we held this moral high ground?

I believe the “T” is silent, Madam Speaker November 11, 2007

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong.
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Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D – CA, 8th) on November 7th speaking on a non-transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

“Let me also add that it is the pride that we take in that diversity, it is the pride that I take in the gay, lesbian,bisexual, and transgender community that brings me to the floor today to urge a ‘yes’ vote on this important legislation.” *

* Emphasis mine

From: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/speeches?id=0091