One of the stories in my weekly round up of the news this week was: Here’s What Happened At The Parents Of Trans Kids Mardi Gras Float. Which is actually a quite heartwarming stories about the parents of a bunch of trans people who put together a float about how much they love their trans kids and rode Sydney, Australia’s Mardi Gras parade. I originally planned to include that link in the section titles “News for Queers and our Allies,” but I also sometimes have a separate sections for news pertinent to particular portions of the Queer Community. And this week there were a lot of links related to trans people. So I kept moving those links around.
Unfortunately, several of the news pieces this time were about trans people were about less than happy things. Anyway, somehow in the course of moving all the trans pieces together, then moving some of them to another section, then moving others to yet another section, I accidentally moved the happy story about parents who love and support their trans kids to the “This Week in Awful People” section and didn’t notice until today!
So if you haven’t yet, go click on that link and look at the cool pictures and read some good news!
Since we’re on the subject of people being supportive of trans rights: Joe Biden Slams Trump Administration for Rescinding Protections for Trans Kids. Go, Joe! Now there’s a man who knows how to be an ally!
“Instead of focusing on the fact that 40 percent of the homeless youth on the street are identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [and] rejected by their families out on the street, and what do we do about that, we’re now focusing on whether or not a transgender child, which bathroom they can use.” —form Vice President Joe Biden
And if Joe isn’t enough to convince you to support trans kids: Dear Cis People, Please Support Trans Kids
“In their most vulnerable and difficult stage of life, trans kids are not just facing opposition from their peers, but from the government, from society itself.”
Being supportive of your kid shouldn’t depend on whether your kid conforms to your pre-conceptions of the person or kind of person they should be. Antonia Elle D’orsay posted a great cartoon about this earlier in the month:
If you can, give a donation to: National Center for Transgender Equality. And if you want to help queer kids who have been rejected by their families and kicked out on the street : True Colors Fund or The Ali Forney Center are good places to start. Many communities have local programs focusing on teen homelessness and particularly queer teen homelessness, a quick Google search with the name of your city or town, and the words “queer teen homeless” should point you in the right way.
My favorite parts, from the security video: The moment the woman behind the register sees the gun, she starts angrily shouting at him. We can’t hear what she’s saying, because the security video has no sound, but look at her pound that counter! She is not taking this guy’s nonsense! Next! Next the other woman working in the shop saunters into the frame with her hands on her hips. I know that pose! She’s not panicking about that gun. That body language is all, “I do not have to put up with this!” The dildos don’t happen until he reaches across the counter to grab the woman, some how having no already discerned from their reactions that he is not intimidating them at all.
It’s only then that the second woman start’s thowing the dildos right at his head. And hitting!
But my favorite is some that’s in the news footage but no one comments on. This crime occurred at a quarter to ten on Wednesday night, right? Notice the sign on the door of the store: “Cashless Store After Dark. Credit, Debit, and Checks Only.” That should tell the robber that all the cash from the cash register has been put in a safe around sundown. By 9:45pm there is no cash in that register for them to give him.
Of course, what do you expect from a robber who isn’t paying enough attention to notice security camera outside the store, and puts his face mask on right in front of one? That isn’t a very high resolution pic of his face they got, but they did get it.
There’s also more serious stuff that we probably should be more worried about: China ‘seizes US underwater drone’ in S China Sea, China accuses US of ‘hyping-up’ seizure of underwater drone. If we’re going to be worrying about what China’s doing in international waters, we probably should be paying attention to things like South China Sea: Satellite images appear to show weapons systems on artificial islands, which the U.S. and other governments have been protesting for some time. But I’m a bit more concerned that Orange Julius Ceasar, a man who claims he’s so smart he doesn’t need intelligence briefings, is not only too dumb to spell unprecedented, but also thinks that sending angry tweets in the middle of the night to a country that has nuclear weapons is the proper way to conduct diplomacy: US President-elect Donald Trump misspells ‘unprecedented’ in a tweet on China, Twitter roars.
Meanwhile, Voting Rights Roundup: North Carolina Republicans execute legislative coup against democracy itself. Yep, North Carolina voters ousted anti-gay, anti-queer, anti-civil-civil-rights-for-anyone-he-pleases, as well as some of the more extreme members of the legislature, and what do they do? Hold a special session behind closed doors, pass a bunch of laws taking away the newly elected governor’s powers, have capitol police arrest protesting citizens and reports at the capitol, and get the outgoing governor to sigh these acts (that well may be unconstitutional) before the terms end. Lame duck politicians always try to rush things through before a change in administration, but usually never anything that is so blatantly not just an attack of the will of the voters, but an attack on the idea of voting itself (among the laws are changes to the election system in the state).
A lot of people are justifiably upset to the extent that it’s being revealed that Russia played in out recent national elections. But U.S. Republicans at both the state and federal level have been working diligently for years to purge voter rolls of voters likely not to vote for them, taking power away from elected officials, municipalities, and so forth when voters make choices they don’t like, and so forth. It’s not merely that the Republicans have been waging a war on queers, women, and people of color for years, but they’ve also been waging a war on our system of government itself.
But what else do we expect from a party that keeps equating having to treat other people with respect as being oppressed?
If you haven’t seen this story, or the viral images of the wrong number text message that led to a Thanksgiving meeting of former strangers: a woman send Thanksgiving dinner details to the wrong number. The guy who gets it replies, “Who is this.” The woman says, “Your Grandma.” The guy sends a selfie, “I don’t think you’re my Grandma.” She sends back a selfie and apologizes for the wrong number. He jokes, “Can I still have a plate?” and she says, “Of course! That’s what grandma’s do, feed everyone!”
And they kept texting and she said she was serious he should come to Thanksgiving dinner, and he didn’t have local family, and then, well, this happened:
In other news, after the phenomenal crowdsourcing campaign, the Green Party in Wisconsin has filed for a re-count and a paper ballot reconciliation:
I admit, I was one of the people saying I didn’t trust the Green Party’s effort. After asking the world to donate 2.5 million so they could demand recounts in three states, they changed the small print on the fundraising page several times, and changed the goal they were asking for several times. The fine print was the sorts of disclaimers you would expect, in one sense: they couldn’t guarantee the recounts would happen; if excess money was raised the part would keep the money to promote “voter integrity options” that sort of thing. But the wording kept adding more loopholes.
But the thing was, the first filing deadline (Wisconsin) was Friday. They had exceeded the original ask significantly, and the clock was literally ticking down, and they had not filed a petition for a recount. It was at a point where the Wisconsin Elections Commission was making snarky comments on it’s website and twitter account, because the Greens kept blasting out more money beg messages but hadn’t filed: Wisconsin Elections Commission Basically Calling Jill Stein Out for Not Filing Recount Petition Yet.
So I don’t think I was being unreasonable (or mean) when I retweeted another editorial that made the observation that the Green Party money beg was starting to seem as if it might be a scam. The word “seem” was in the title, so even if you didn’t click through and read the piece, (which was nuanced and balanced) it should have been obvious that I was only claiming suspicion.
As I exchanged words with some others on twitter afterward, I repeatedly said that if the Green Party actually filed all three petitions before the deadlines in each state, that I would agree that they weren’t merely fundraising for themselves off the issue.
The party did file a petition in Wisconsin before the deadline (as the above headlines show), so that’s one down. I understand that the rules in each state about the petitions vary. And that sometimes an incorrectly worded form can cause a filing to be rejected. I don’t know if any of the remaining states have a process by which the initial filing can be amended or corrected after it is filed.
And heck, even the states don’t always know. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said they had their own lawyers double-checking the procedure while they were awaiting the petition. Turns out there’s a contradiction in the state law: one part says that the petitioner has to deposit money to pay for the recount when they file, another part says that the Commission has to give the petitioner an estimate of the cost of the recount after receiving the petition and the petitioner has to pony up the money within a very short timeline after getting the estimate. So, I understand that trying to make certain all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed means they can’t just slap down a petition right away.
Completely unrelated to all of this: while there are reasons to be skeptical about the vote count in some places, I’m not holding out a lot of hope that any of these recounts will change any results. Part of that is based on past experience. And the lack of clear evidence of wrong doing is the reason that organizations such as the Clinton campaign is loathe to expend the millions of dollars required for a recount. I’ve blogged more than once about the Republican gubernatorial candidate in my state several years ago who paid over a million dollars for a recount and audit, and succeeded only in discovering that there had been a total of four fraudulent ballots filed in the race–and all four had voted for him, not his opponent. So he and the party spent a lot of money to actually reduce their own vote count, and thus lose slightly worse…But I have to agree with Dan Pfeiffer, if the Green Party had done what so-called third-parties used to do: endorse the major party candidate who supported most of their agenda (earlier in the campaign the eventual Green nominee had claimed she would endorse Bernie Sanders if Bernie got the nomination, and since Hillary’s voting record when they were both in the Senate matched Bernie 90+ percent of the time you’d think that would be close enough). I get it, when I was younger I used to think that what we needed was more active third parties. That was before I understood a couple of very important things: while the Constitution says nothing explicitly about parties, the way the electoral college is set up to elect presidents means that we have a Constitutionally-mandated two party system; and for most of history both major parties are coalitions of unofficial smaller parties already.
Anyway, I don’t think that recounts and audits are ever a bad idea. So even if these efforts don’t change anything, I’m glad that we’re going forward with at least one, and hope at least two more.
I didn’t intend this to become a weekly thing, but some how, at least a few times every month, something happens after I post Friday Links something turns up in my twitter timeline or on the news that I either really wish I had included, or that substantially improves upon something I did include. So, yesterday I linked to the story of Rialto, an orphaned sea otter pup found nearly dead on a beach several weeks ago, who has been nursed back to health at the Seattle Aquarium.
And how can you resist a baby otter?
Rialto learns to swim!
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
Rescued sea otter pup, Rialto plays with a cone
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
I’m also sorry I didn’t include any links about Taco Truck Nation, because it is a perfect example of just how weird the otherworldly perspective held by supporters of the orange-skinner white supremacist buffoon are compared to the rest of us: Trump supporter’s ‘taco trucks’ remark draws mockery. Because people with a non-racist, non-fearful, non-xenophobic viewpoint just associate taco trucks with delicious food.
There are some potential economic implications of a program that somehow mandates a taco truck on every corner (which isn’t what they meant to say, but…), and the Washington Post looked into that: The national economic implications of a taco truck on every corner. The Federalist had a slightly different take: 7 Reasons America Needs A Taco Truck On Every Corner.
All I can say is, if a vote for Hilary is a vote for more taco trucks, I think she’s going to win in a landslide!