This is another belated attempt to shed light on a marginalized population: trans women. A trans woman is a person assigned a male identity at birth whose sense of self is female. Unfortunately trans women and men are at a very high risk of committing suicide and suffering violent attacks. (The most famous case in American media is probably Brandon Teena, whose story was told in the movie Boys Don’t Cry.)
A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found:
A staggering 41 percent of transgender people in the United States have attempted to commit suicide, according to a new survey. About 19 percent of transgender people report being refused medical care because of their gender-nonconforming status, and a shocking 2 percent have been violently assaulted in a doctor’s office.
Those numbers are very discouraging, but today a report recommends studying gay and transgender people in order to understand their different health needs. Scientists have only recently started studying how certain diseases affect men and women and whites and blacks differently, and there’s even less research on the health of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people:
Changing that starts with a seemingly simple step: Researchers should start asking people about their sexual orientation and gender identity, just as they routinely ask about race and ethnicity, in all government-funded health studies, the panel concluded.
That’s a big step forward in equality. It comes too late for trans women who were murdered for who they were, including:
That’s just a small list of the murders that make the news. Often when trans people are victims of violence and murder, police and media erase their chosen identities and discriminate against them even in death. Here are a couple of well-written pieces on how not to act like that: Transmisogyny is misogyny against all women and What transmisogyny looks like. The former includes bits like “If you hate, dislike, or mistrust trans women, you’re misogynistic. Trans women are included in the big ol’ group known as women. Want proof? Well look at their name, silly. We call ‘em trans women, not trans chia pets, not trans beach towels, not trans schmeggeggies.” The rest is just as poignant and funny. On a more positive note, look here to see some trans woman success stories.
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The immortal lyrics quoted in the post title were written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1968 and are the part of the main verse of the rock ‘n’ roll classic anthem of the same name. Sadly, radical conservatives, including tea partiers believe in the phase, “their way or the highway.” And they do not give a flying leap of what smoking piles of collateral damage to our system of government they leave littered behind them on the American landscape.
What the radical conservatives have overlooked is the next lines of this Rolling Stones’ classic, which say, “but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.”
Compromise, cooperation, and negotiation are the pure essence of a healthy and functioning democracy. Without them, our form of governing might as well be a monarchy, a dictatorship, or a totalitarian state.
At the moment, our democracy is fighting a dangerous pandemic of “selfishitis” (emphasis on the ‘shit’ part) brought on by infected conservative zealots and plutocrats. The nation’s founders did not come to immediate agreement on the wording of the Declaration of Independence nor the Bill of Rights. What in heaven’s name makes these ne’er-do-wells think they can bully through their devastating local or national legislation without any sort of compromise or cooperation?
I find the most recent actions of the radical conservatives in Wisconsin repugnant, because they have been defying a court order. In Michigan, controversial new laws have been written in a manner that prevents citizens of the state from being able to put new laws up for a referendum. These two actions alone should be cause for warning sirens and alarm bells to reverberate nationally.
Eliminate and/or skewer our system of checks and balances and our democracy becomes nothing but a sick and hollow joke. Unfortunately, the joke will be bad and it will be on all of us who let it happen without a challenge.
Call, email, write, or visit your legislator and let them know the nation’s pandemic of selfishitis among radical consevatives needs to be met with bold and decisive action on the part of reasonable people in elected office and it’s needed pronto.
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Routinely we hear the national news and business media discuss the impact(s) of the country’s trade deficit data. Rarely, though, do we see the raw numbers broken down to the state level, except occasionally for our own state by local media.
To analyze the 2010 state-by-state balance of trade data, I calculated the ratio of exports to imports for all 50 states using data from the Census Bureau. When the ratio exceeds 1.00 it means that state has a positive balance of trade ratio by exporting more goods than it imports, while numbers under 1.00 mean the state had a negative balance of trade ratio.
Below are two lists, one for the ten states that contribute the most to creating a trade surplus for the United States and one for the ten states that contribute the most to the nation’s trade deficit.
Ten Best Foreign Trade Ratio States in 2010
- Alaska: 2.81
- West Virginia: 2.01
- Nebraska: 2.00
- South Dakota: 1.82
- Utah: 1.76
- Iowa: 1.55
- Oregon: 1.31
- Vermont: 1.30
- Idaho: 1.25
- Washington: 1.25
All ten of the states listed above (with the possible exception of Vermont) are large natural resource or agricultural exporters, whether it is oil, coal, and timber or whether it is wheat and corn.
Ten Worst Foreign Trade Ratio States in 2010
- Hawaii: 0.14
- Rhode Island: 0.27
- New Jersey: 0.30
- Montana: 0.31
- California: 0.44
- Illinois: 0.46
- Pennsylvania: 0.47
- Georgia: 0.48
- New Hampshire: 0.49
- New Mexico: 0.49
The states listed above range from small states where it is not surprising they may have to import more to very large states like Montana and California. I have not been able to identify any consistent trends in this data compared to the previous list.
In both charts, geographical size and/or location appears to make little or any difference. One might ask if it is fair to include Hawaii because of its isolated location. I thought about that, but after calculating the trade ratio for Puerto Rico, which is 2.15, I decide just because Hawaii is composed of islands does not mean it could not have an export economy.
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In a small attempt at balancing out this month’s coverage of able-bodied women, today I want to recognize two women who have overcome some significant challenges to achieve their success: Dr. Temple Grandin and Tammy Duckworth.
I first became familiar with Temple Grandin through the eponymous movie starring
Claire Danes, which won several Emmys. Grandin was born with autism in the 1940s, well before awareness campaigns and research made it a household word. Even today, autism spectrum conditions are not well understood by the general public, so that was Grandin’s main problem, I think. There was never anything really wrong with her — she earned her doctorate in animal science, she’s a professor at Colorado State University, she’s an expert on autism and as a pioneer in animal behavior, she consults for the livestock industry — she is just different. Clearly she is brilliant, but as she says, she thinks in pictures, not verbal language, and her challenges have come from learning to navigate a world that doesn’t understand her. Read more on Grandin and watch a talk she gave at a TED conference last year at Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.
Duckworth works as an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
President Obama with Tammy Duckworth
She herself is in the military. As a result of her service in the Iraq war, after an attack when she was co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter, she lost both of her legs and partial use of an arm. She was awarded a Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. Just two years after that, she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. She narrowly lost but has continued to be active in public life. She has refused medical retirement so she can continue serving in the Illinois National Guard; she speaks fluent Thai and Indonesian; and she completed the Chicago Marathon in 2008 and 2009. She’s inspirational, to say the least.
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It’s pretty obvious if you follow politics that “pro-life” is a convenient frame for Republicans (and some Democrats) to use to get support from anti-abortion activists. However, although they oppose abortion, they don’t vote for bills that would support maternal health care and make for healthier babies and families.
For example, a bill in Nebraska that cut funding for undocumented mothers to receive prenatal care has resulted in at least five deaths:
The elimination one year ago of Medicaid funding for prenatal care for about 1,600 low-income women has had dramatic effects, doctors and health clinic administrators reported Wednesday. At least five babies have died. Women are traveling 155 miles to get prenatal care. Babies have been delivered at clinics, in ambulances and hospital emergency rooms.
… Four infants died in utero at the Columbus health center, she said. In the previous seven years, the clinic had never had an in utero death.
And the House GOP is also proposing cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would reduce funding for immunizations that save babies’ lives:
In the past year, California has experienced the worst whooping cough outbreak in more than 50 years, an epidemic that has killed 10 infants and resulted in 6,400 reported cases. But even as the state’s public health officials have struggled to curb the disease, Republicans in Congress have proposed slashing millions in federal funding for immunization programs. Public health advocates warn that these cuts threaten efforts across the country to prevent and contain infectious and sometimes fatal diseases. And they add that lower vaccination rates could eventually result in more outbreaks that endanger public health at a major cost to taxpayers.
Clearly, what people who claim to be “pro-life” really mean is they are anti-abortion. No one who truly values life would make cuts that threaten the most vulnerable and marginalized people in society. So the next time someone tells you he is “pro-life,” ask what he’s doing to make sure wanted babies have every chance of getting a healthy start at life.
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Alida Black writes at New Deal 2.0 about The Unfinished Business of Making the World’s Women Citizens. Part of that, she says, is enforcement of U.N. Resolution 1325, which urged “Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.” Countries all over the world, including the United States, still have difficulty treating women as equal citizens. The whole thing is worth reading; it’s fairly brief and manages to work in a quote from Albus Dumbledore.
Then, from Linda Hallman comes Strength in our Histories, where she gives brief bios of Mae Jemison, Lilly Ledbetter, Betty Dukes, Connie Chung and María Otero. I’m sorry to say I’d never heard of Otero or Jemison:
Mae Jemison, the first black woman to enter space, was introduced to science at an early age by her uncle. (Evidence that programs like Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day are important today.) A variety of interests, including astronomy, led her to enroll at Stanford University at the age of 16. She graduated with dual degrees in chemical engineering and African American studies and later went on to earn her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University. After adding the Peace Corps to her resume, Jemison was selected by NASA for astronaut training, and participated in her history-making mission in September 1992. Last year Jemison traveled to New York City and worked alongside AAUW and Bayer to shine a light on the challenges women and minorities face when entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
She sounds pretty amazing.
Finally, from the UK’s Guardian comes “Why feminists are less religious.” It makes sense to me people who identify as feminists are less religious than the general population. Individual synagogues, mosques and churches may see women as the equals of men, but speaking very broadly, most mainstream religions allow women to participate in worship services but not lead them. It would be difficult for me personally to feel safe or comfortable in an institution that regarded me as “less than” simply for being a woman.
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In the community where I live, the primary local waste hauler offers residents who utilize their weekly curbside garbage pick-up service free curbside recycling every other week. This is a very nice and convenient option that includes items such as newspapers, boxboard, cardboard, #1 and #2 plastic, magazines, metal, and office paper/mail. The items do not have to be sorted which makes it even easier.
The free recycling option has been offered for more than three years now. After rapid growth early on, the participation rate leveled off around 55 percent. The rate has not budged to any extent for more than two years.The participation data leaves me perplexed and a tad frustrated. Why in world when you are offered free recycling would you not bother taking advantage of it? I have a few theories and then a suggested solution.
Theory 1: Some people just don’t care. Might as well face the fact that there is a certain segment of the population who has no interest (for whatever reason) in participating in recycling efforts. Either they find it to be a pain in the butt to save items for two weeks, they feel they do not have the storage space, or they are just plain old stubborn sticks in the mud.
Theory 2: Lack of awareness. No matter how much you blitz the public with advertisements and announcements, there is always a proportion of the population that either does not hear about the program, does not read the fliers, or are new to the area. Spreading the news through realtors is one way to notify newcomers. Short of employing Vulcan mind-meld techniques, I am not sure how to address the someone’s general obliviousness to announcements.
Theory 3: Trust. Some people just cannot believe that there is a service being offered for free. They think there has to be some kind of catch or gotcha in the fine print and they are not going to get hooked into a perceived ruse. Hey folks, it is not a joke or a ruse. Trust me, I drink Dr. Pepper.
Short of the community mandating participation in recycling, my suggestion for increasing participation in the free curbside recycling service is to charge those who do not participate a higher monthly fee for regular garbage pick-up than those who do participate in the curbside recycling program. Since those people who are not participating are adding more to the waste stream and using up valuable landfill space at a quicker pace, they should have to pay extra for doing so.
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by Anabole c/o worth100.com
The following is a list of my five favorite Canadian rock musicians. It is followed by a list of other musical performers from Canada that I enjoy or have enjoyed listening to over the years.
My Top 5
1. Metric (Toronto)
2. The Stills (Montreal)
3. Arcade Fire (Montreal)
4. Tokyo Police Club (Newmarket – Toronto)
5. RUSH (Toronto)
April Wine (Halifax)
Bachman-Turner Overdrive or BTO (Winnipeg)
Billy Talent (Streetsville-Toronto)
Blue Rodeo (Toronto)
Broken Social Scene (Toronto)
Eagle and Hawk (Winnipeg)
Land of Talk (Montreal)
Neil Young (born in Toronto)
Our Lady Peace or OLP (Toronto)
Rural Alberta Advantage (Toronto)
Said the Whale (Vancouver)
Sam Roberts Band (Pointe Claire-Montreal)
Strippers Union (Kingston/Vancouver)
Tegan and Sara (Calgary)
The Tragically Hip (Kingston)
The Weakerthans (Winnipeg)
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I’ve become really interested in empathy since reading George Lakoff’s “The Political Mind.” So I was fascinated to read “The science of empathy” by Simon Baron-Cohen. He suggests we think of empathy as a spectrum, with people we typically consider “evil” at one end (Adolph Hitler), with zero empathy:
Zero degrees of empathy means you have no awareness of how you come across to others, how to interact with others, or how to anticipate their feelings or reactions. It leaves you feeling mystified by why relationships don’t work out, and it creates a deep-seated self-centredness. Other people’s thoughts and feelings are just off your radar. It leaves you doomed to do your own thing, in your own little bubble, not just oblivious of other people’s feelings and thoughts but oblivious to the idea that there might even be other points of view. The consequence is that you believe 100% in the rightness of your own ideas and beliefs, and judge anyone who does not hold your beliefs as wrong, or stupid.
Baron-Cohen says most of the people with zero empathy suffer from personality disorders. I don’t want to suggest most Republicans have these disorders, but the above characteristics do seem to fit a lot of well-known GOP politicians. Or, if they are empathetic, it’s toward a very small percentage of the population: millionaires and big corporations. For some reason they can’t seem to put themselves in the shoes of 90 percent of Americans who make less than $30,000 a year.
Baron-Cohen says that’s a big mistake:
Empathy itself is the most valuable resource in our world. Given this assertion, it is puzzling that in the school curriculum empathy figures hardly at all, and in politics, business, the courts or policing it is rarely if ever on the agenda. We can see examples among our political leaders of the value of empathy, as when Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk sought to understand and befriend each other, crossing the divide in Apartheid South Africa, but the same has not yet been achieved between Israel and Palestine, or between Washington and Iraq or Afghanistan. And, for every day that empathy is not employed in such corners of the world, more lives are lost.
I agree that empathy is a key part of understanding our increasingly global world, which is why I was glad to see it being taught to children, especially as self-reported rates of empathy are declining in young people. You can take this quiz to find out how empathetic you are. Read some of Rick’s thoughts on empathy here and here.
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Posted in Diversity, feminism, Sexism, tagged activism on March 28, 2011 |
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A few days ago I read this criticism of Western feminism, Unpacking Feminism’s Backpack, where the author brought up several points also mentioned in another blog post, Why I’m Leaving Feminism. The authors say either they themselves or others they know don’t feel safe or welcome in mainstream feminism. I’m sorry to say I’m part of the problem; I was telling Rick just today that I’ve been disappointed in how Western and white most of my Women’s History Month posts have been. I’m not familiar enough with women advocates in other countries to be able to highlight them here on the blog, and that’s something I definitely want to change for next year. Acting as if privileged white feminists deserve all the credit for women’s advances in the last 50 years marginalizes women of color and poor women, who often suffer the worst injustices of a patriarchal society.
A summary of the recent Women in the World conference where women in the developing world were given the spotlight is by Christina Hoff Sommers, Tina Brown’s Post-Feminist Summit. She writes, “The stars of the summit were activists from the poorest regions of the world. And the spirit was not self-pitying and anti-male but self-confident and serious.” After describing some of the speakers, she says:
All quite exciting — but here is where the “cutting-edge,” “extraordinary,” and “absolutely central” come in: Unlike most women’s conferences in the United States, this one was politically inclusive. Liberals and conservatives made common cause. Bill and Hillary Clinton were honored guests, but so were Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch. With few exceptions, there were none of the standard feminist denunciations of men, capitalism, Western colonialism, or even the Bush administration. In fact, two prominent members of the Bush administration were speakers: Condoleezza Rice and Dina Habib Powell. Empowering women through entrepreneurship was a central theme of the conference.
Maybe conferences like Women in the World are the model for how to make feminism more inclusive. Perhaps Western feminists need to get out of the way and listen to those struggling for equality in developing countries.
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