Saturday, February 26, 2011

To everyone attending the #Walk4Choice (#StandWithPP) and #WIUnion solidarity protests:

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To everyone attending the Walk for Choice and Wisconsin solidarity protests today - I'm sorry I won't be able to (physically) join you (due to my back injury), but I just wanted to say way to go and

We Stand with Wisconsin

There are protests in almost every major city all over the country today. So get out there and show your support! I'll be watching the WI protests live on

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#Glee & #Biphobia- Reaction Part 2 of 3

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 So I promised more remarks on tonight's episode of Glee and the "results" of Ryan Murphy's biphobic comments... There's one more episode to go regarding bisexuality, but here's the abbreviated version of my reaction to what happened last night. Overall I wasn't way offended, but was seriously annoyed. Hopefully the next episode will clear things up in a desirable, positive way...

(MAJOR Spoiler Alert, so post is after the jump. Which you won't see if you clicked on the post link... oh yeah...) It was initially written for other Gleeks, so... yeah. (I'm not drunk, just exhausted. I swear ;-P Not that the physiological symptoms of either aren't nearly identical...) I'm going to actually try to make sense of all of this tomorrow, provided I still have internet/electricity.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Week's Updates - #Glee, #Libya, #WiUnion, #Bahrain, #ProChoice

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Can I share a secret or two?

Wow. Ok, I NEVER expected the kind of turnout I got on that last post... That was a huge first for me. So I'm sorry if anything that comes next is a letdown... Honestly I'm a little intimidated! (And really busy. Lawyers and things... Turns out my father owes my mother a TON of money, so... It's going to be messy and expensive in the short term, but things might work out.)

I just have a few more thoughts on Glee and bisexuality before I get around to my usual topics. (There's a lot going on in the world right now. It's been a little overwhelming, especially considering family drama, but I'll try to get caught up this week.)
  • So Glee, bisexuality, & biphobia... 
    • Tomorrow night is the Blaine/bi episode, and next week is the Brittana bisexuality episode. It's all but completely confirmed that Santana will come out as bisexual and will begin dating Brittany (who is still dating Artie?). Taking this into account, it's likely that this Blaine controversy is all just a segue into Britanna. Including the "does bisexuality even exist?" thing. It doesn't take away from the appalling insensitivity of RM's comments, nor have I been able to hang out on Tumblr without flying into a silent, seething rage every time someone makes a stupidly offensive comment... It hurts. Really, it just does... Every time someone says something like "he's a liar, he lied about who he really is," or "Blaine's questioning is so offensive to the gay community," I just... Ugh. Why is it that "I don't mean to offend anyone, but..." is always followed by the most offensive thing ever? I've kept my mouth shut about my own sexuality for so long, because of things like this, that it's hard not to take this personally. But I still want to see how this all plays out. So I'll probably make a note of what happens this week and next and will share either here or on Tumblr.
  • A few days ago the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which would drastically cut back vital reproductive healthcare for thousands of men and women all over the country. If this measure, a part of the Pence Amendment, passes in the Senate, over 60% of Planned Parenthood facilities would have to close. 48 percent of PP patients-- about 1.4 million people -- would be without health care. (Planned Parenthood press statement)
    • What PP opponents consistently fail to realize is that without funding for family planning, abortion rates are more likely to increase than decrease-- whether legal and safe or not. On top of that, they seem to ignore the laws that state that federal funding cannot be used to provide an abortion. PP uses private funding, as well as direct payments from patients to provide those services. And without the federal funding that covers their cancer screenings, and routine tests, and HIV testing and STD panels, and birth control, and pre-natal checkups, and pamphlets and seminars and everything else they provide, they will be very much hard-pressed to keep up with patients' needs. In fact, it would be nearly impossible.
    • So this new bill, this Pence Amendment... Guess what else passed? PBS will also lose funding, but guess what really mattered to Republicans-- continuing to give a measly sum of 6 MILLION TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR NASCAR. Not even joking. The GOP voted to keep $6 million in funds for sponsoring NASCAR racers, but cut "wasteful" spending on PBS and the biggest reproductive healthcare organization in the entire country. So for the past few weeks, the GOP has been cutting thousands of jobs, cutting healthcare and benefits, wasting money on people who waste tons of gas driving in circles for entertainment... Why the hell do people vote for them?!
    • THIS pretty much explains how insane everything is, in a short version. Despite the fact that I am a staunch believer that "pro-life" has nothing to do with actually being pro-life.
    • If it didn't mean digging up an old fight with someone I don't want to discuss anymore, I would go find my arguments from the healthcare debate re: birth control and reproductive healthcare. Point is, it's already an underfunded and often ignored area, especially when it comes to women's insurance coverage. That is where Planned Parenthood steps in. And we can't afford to lose that.
    • Do everything you can to keep the Pence Amendment from passing in the Senate. Call your senators, sign a petition, email, tweet-- anything.
  • Wisconsin
    • Governor Walker is trying to pass a bill that would destroy employees' collective bargaining rights and is claiming that it has to do with fixing Wisconsin's budget gap. 
      • Technically this part is all still just speculation, but... it doesn't. What many, including Dr. Rachel Maddow, actually suspect is that Walker is trying to undercut political opponents' campaign funding, since unions are the only groups with enough money to counter corporate donations, and they tend to support Democrats. The only people exempt are those who financially support Walker and other Republicans.
      • Either way, this is a blatant attack on state workers and unions, and we will not stand for it!
    • 14 of WI's Democratic state senators fled the state to block a vote on the bill. Most are hiding in undisclosed locations within northern Illinois... Meanwhile, tens of thousands of pro-union protesters, as well as FOX buses full of anti-union Tea Party members have been gathering in the streets of Wisconsin... Or inside that yellow-orange building I keep seeing.
    • Check out Storyteller Knight's post on Wisconsin here.
      We Stand With Wisconsin.
    • Petitions - CredoAction,
  • Libya - Think Egypt only one country to the west. Repressive, delusional eccentric jerk of a dictator for 42 years. We know him as Qaddafi (or or Gaddaffi, or Khaddafi, apparently... Arabic is hard to transliterate).
  • Bahrain - Protests are continuing. And horrifying - video has surfaced of the army deliberately killing peaceful protesters. (WARNING - GRAPHIC. I haven't even watched it yet...)
    • There is close to no major coverage of what's going here on right now.
I'm still trying to collect all of the links I've shared/read about all of this, so for right now, you're better off checking my Twitter account or Google shared articles (in that big white box on the right-hand side...) for updates and news. And when in doubt, Mother Jones and Al Jazeera! Like I said, life has been kind of crazy lately and I'm struggling to catch up at the moment...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fuck You, Ryan Murphy. #glee #biphobia #spoilers

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WARNING – This is regarding Glee spoilers for later in the season. So If you want to be surprised, or aren’t up to date with your episodes (2x12 Silly Love Songs), stop reading now. (This isn’t really about Glee itself, but about comments made by the creator regarding bisexuality.) And it's really really long, and this is the short version. (Not this. Scroll down to the Read More jump for the full post.)


Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt - The Battle is OVER! #Feb11

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HOSNI MUBARAK RESIGNED!!! EGPYT IS... well, currently under military rule, but THE PEOPLE WON.

18 days to freedom.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Updates, finally! Egypt, Life, Etc. | #Jan25

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I apologize for my absence over the past week, but as I mentioned before, my life is a bit chaotic right now and there will continue to be periods when I will not be posting anything new. Things are still in a downward spiral...

So here's what I've been up to (the less depressing things):
  • There was some sort of sporting event on Sunday before the (second) most epic episode of Glee ever. Followed by a mediocre (yet typical for the 2nd season) episode on Tuesday. In other news, I still don't like Darren Criss. But Blaine has his moments. And I've been hiding on with fellow Gleeks on Tumblr, so that's why I haven't been here...
  • I accidentally came out to my mother on Sunday. That was a really, really awkward conversation, and she wouldn't stop asking me and I think I blurted something out, but nothing happened. I think she forgot. Which is a good thing.
  • I need a good lawyer or 3. Well, my mother does. Family law (specifically enforcing child support payments, etc), homeowner things and avoiding foreclosure, and medical insurance practices. So if you know anyone in the NJ area who can work for free, or at least have a free consultation or something, please let me know. We don't qualify for government help... still. And I may end up giving up my non-violent ways if I ever see my father again. I can't make any promises...
Did I say less depressing? Well, yeah.

But things that actually matter:
  • Reports are circulating that Mubarak will finally step down today. Today is Day 17 of the protests in Egypt. I haven't really been reporting on days 12-16 because nothing really happened. Protesters bonded in the streets and continued to hold onto hope. The military is still on their side, the vast majority of America is on their side, I suspect that much of the world (other than Berlusconi) is on their side. 
    • Mubarak is supposed to be making a speech soon (3pm EST. Though first reports said 1:30. Watch now on Al Jazeera English.)
  • Keith Olbermann finally announced his new job. He will have a show on Current TV at 8pm. (Unfortunately, unless you have Comcast or DirecTV, you probably won't get to watch. Comcast, huh... I guess maybe he didn't leave because of them then.)
  • You know what, I'm pretty sure the GOP wants women to die. Otherwise nothing they makes sense anymore... Not that it ever did. (Ok, maybe way back when they were the liberal party. Cute how they still try to claim all of that even though now they're tearing it apart... really. Sweden, can I have my visa now???)
  • Anti-government rallies were set to begin in Iran today, however it would seem that the powerful military opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was placed under house arrest. According to the Guardian, other arrests have also been made. Access to WordPress blogs has been blocked throughout Iran, and internet speeds have been reduced.
Ok, extreme hunger is blocking my brain right now. I need to go find some food...

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's Happening in #Egypt? Day of Departure & The Final Push (Day 11) | #Jan25 #Feb4

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Today has been dubbed by protesters the Day of Departure, another day of massive protests against a president who claims he wants to leave, but "it would be chaos without me." The US is still negotiating with top officials other than Mubarak for an immediate step-down and temporary transitional government lead by new Vice President Suleiman, as well as plans for a proper, democratic election in September.

In a display of solidarity with the people, several government leaders, including the secretary general  of the Arab League, and the public spokesman for Egypt's highest state-run religious authority, joined the protests. (It would seem that the only person voluntarily supporting Mubarak is Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. But who likes him anyway...)

Al Jazeera just reported that Egyptian state TV has actually aired an interview with an anti-Mubarak protester. Very unusual that state TV would show the other side. Speculation - does he work for the government, or is it real?

  • 11:20 AM -- President Obama will be speaking on this matter at 3pm EST. Hopefully he will have more details on the negotiations regarding the transitional government..
  • 1:00 pm - Latest buzz on Twitter is Re: a "diplomatic" car that drove through (yet another) crowd at top speed, killing 20-30 people. (WARNING - Graphic video. Hard to watch...) Some reports say that the vehicle belongs to the US Embassy. However they also say that it is impossible to definitively tell. So before we all freak out about the "evil Americans," can we stop and take a second to think about this?
    • Here's the thing. I highly, highly doubt that this was an American "attack." It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Why would we do that, when in general, American sentiments have been anti-Mubarak? And and event like this would completely destroy our negotiations. See why I don't believe it? It's just far too likely to have been a plant by the Egyptian government to interfere with any US attempt to oust Mubarak. This video was recorded on January 28th, 3 days after the first major protest. By this point we were already aware of the actions being taken by Mubarak's regime and the riot police, and the developing US government positions on the situation. It just doesn't make sense for the US to risk everything like that, even if it was just a moment of panic. (They weren't being attacked, they came in from behind, so I don't really buy that argument either. There wasn't a huge reason for the people in the car to worry.) We have no need to provoke the Egyptian people against us, and seeing as we have yet to turn this into another Afghanistan (i.e. we haven't dragged the entire army overseas to drag the leader's ass out by brutal force, bombing the hell out of the region like it's the fucking 4th of July and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the process...), this doesn't seem like US interference.
      • Commenters online are asserting that it is in fact an Egyptian car, and that pro-Mubarak plants (read: trolls) are trying to make it seem like it's an American car to turn protesters against us.
    • Point is, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical of everything we hear right now. So instead of yelling "KILL THE DRIVER" like SOME have, can we all stop trying to create more unneeded violence and focus on our goals here? It's a protest, not a lynch mob...

      Ok, bad choice of words.
  • 3:20pm - Obama is speaking about... something? Not Egypt? Afghanistan and border security? And his brother-in-law's birthday? Nevermind then.
    • Oh. we did get 2 lines on Egypt. As in, we're standing with them or something like that. "We oppose violence against protesters in Egypt." and "I am confident the Egyptian people can shape the future they deserve."
    • And now Harper (a.k.a. Baby-Seal-Killer.) is saying something in French... If he slowed down I could try to translate.
    • Question and answer session - watch 
    • "pretense of reform, but not real reform" I choked on my selzter when he said that. Why does he have so many [facepalm] moments lately? Otherwise... eh.

More updates to follow...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Can I do this without getting sick? Maybe? #DearJohn, #trafficking, and the Super Bowl

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Storyteller Knight, it would seem that our Republican state reps are competing with each other over who can destroy women's rights faster. Yours introduced a bill that would strip away equal pay. Mine is the lead sponsor of the latest anti-abortion bill. I think NJ "wins" :-(

Ok, seeing as I am FINALLY in a better mood (my car is fixed! And my mother is officially declaring war on my abusive, deadbeat bastard father! Somehow this makes me happy. I don't know why. I think I'm just glad to have my car back... despite having to miss work because I couldn't get out of the driveway, as it had been blocked by fallen power lines...) I think I can attempt to tackle this HR3 bullshit without throwing up. Every time I hear about it, I want to. Oooh, and there's more. So yes, today we're talking about women's rights, abortion, and rape & sexual assault (which is not solely a women's issue. I wrote that 5000 word essay for a reason... But in this particular instance, I am focusing on women since bio men physically cannot have abortions...yet?).

So what is HR3? It's the GOP's way of prohibiting taxpayer funded abortions. Guess how? By redefining what constitutes as rape, and denying rape victims survivors the right to an abortion. Let me clarify - a bunch of men, and 2 women, want to A) tell women exactly what they can and can't do to their bodies, and B) redefine violent acts by (the congresspeople's) perceived level of violence.

(Ok, seeing as how that was written earlier in the week... The rape redefinition part has been taken out due to all of the backlash. And pro-choice NJ will be hanging our heads in shame of Rep. Chris Smith. Sponsored an anti-human trafficking bill, the nation's first ever, and now this. He went from helping rape victims survivors, to... I don't even know what this is anymore.)

I'll be compiling a bunch of petitions here for the time being (you may have seen some of these from Twitter). Next break I take from #Egypt (which will likely be Sunday), I'll be back to actually discuss this, and human trafficking (did you know that that Super Bowl is a magnet for child sex trafficking and prostitution? Now you do. So help us fight it, and protect and defend children during the Super Bowl.), and about what it really means to be pro-life. Hint: all of these war-mongering, guns-in-schools-loving, anti-abortion peeps? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ultimately not pro-life. Details to follow.

ACLU - Tell your representative: "Don't play politics with women's health."
via - Stop Anti-Women Groups from Shaping Reproductive Health Policy - Redefining Rape?
Credo Action - Stop the radical rightwing's assault on choice

What's Happening in #Egypt? Days 9-10 | #Jan25 #Feb1

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I didn't end up finishing yesterday's updates for various personal reasons. But here's what we missed:

Wednesday, Feb 2
  • Violence escalated in Alexandria and in Cairo's Tahrir Square as pro-Mubarak hired(!) thugs attacked protesters gathered. As heard on Al Jazeera's broadcast, entrances to Tahrir were barricaded (by the army) as the men attempted to protect the women and children in the center. Hundreds were injured in a stampede towards the exits. Protesters from both sides threw stones at each other, though pro-Mubarak forces, including police officers, also reportedly had knives, tear gas, assault weapons, clubs, horses, camels, and tanks. Thousands were injured, and at least 20 people were killed in the clashes that evening.
  • ID cards captured from the pro-Mubarak crowds show that they are actually police officers in plain clothes. There have also been rumors that they were all paid roughly $17 to fight for Mubarak's regime and quash the rebellion.
  • Meanwhile, the Egyptian army has stood by and watched...
  • Doctors in the square have been setting up makeshift clinics. If you are able to get supplies to them, please do so! Water, blankets, bandages, anything.
  • The internet is back up and running, but is still somewhat blocked and slow. Keep running relays and bridges!
  • Protesters refuse to back down, but it also seems that they have been somewhat successful in holding back pro-Mubarak demonstrators from gaining any control of Tahrir Square.
  • The Egyptian army has been making arrests. Also, any suspected undercover police officers are being handed over in citizens' arrests throughout Tahrir Square.
Thursday, Feb 3
  • Protests have begun in Yemen. Find this on Twitter using #Feb3
    • Earlier this week, President Saleh (who has been in office for 32 years), has also vowed not to run again, along with his son. However, this means he plans on staying in office until 2013.
  • Protests have also been planned in Sudan (#Jan30), Algeria (#Feb13), Syria (#Feb5), and Bahrain (#Feb14). For more information, you can also check out hashtags #OpEgypt, #OpTunisia, #Feb1 and of course, #Jan25 and #Egypt.
  • Journalists in Egypt, including Anderson Cooper, have been constantly attacked over the past few days. Cooper and his crew were attacked a second time this morning. Many reporters are being detained.
  • A government car in Egypt mowed down over 20 people today... Watch at your own discretion.
  • Apparently, the US is contemplating exchanging Mubarak for Egypt's new Vice President, Omar Suleiman. Not a good sign...
    • But Suleiman himself has spoken out about reform in Egypt on State TV today. He claimed that reforms are "on their way," blamed foreign countries for meddling in their affairs, and announced that violent protesters (both pro- and anti- Mubarak) will be brought to justice. Because the protesters were the ones hurting Egypt, he believes.
  • via the Huffington Post, this just in - Christine Amanpour has gotten an exclusive interview with Hosni Mubarak. Footage to come soon.
  • 4:45pm - Mubarak's interview with Amanpour -  "If I resign today, there will be chaos."  So is he delusional, ignorant, or what? Look outside. Look at what your police are doing. Egypt will be better off without you. Just go.
  • 5:02pm - Al Jazeera reports that things have finally been calming down. If you are having trouble watching the live stream on their site (as it has been down for most of the US today), check out the feed on their Youtube channel.
  • Egypt's Torture Victims Describe Beatings, Electroshock, Rape Threats 
  • Journalists in Egypt are still being attacked, detained, arrested.

And it just occurred to me that I wrote this entire thing with Daria's voice in my head... I should stop playing it while I sleep.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's Happening in Egypt? - Day 8 | #jan25 #Feb1

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A little less "reporting," a little more commentary today...

This morning, Al Jazeera reported that attendance at the historic "March of Millions" in Tahrir Square was over 1 million people, with an estimate of over 2 million protesters in all of Cairo.

Mubarak is expected to give a speech later soon, presumably in an attempt to appease and diffuse the crowds. Not likely to happen - many report that he will be simply stating that he will not be running in the upcoming election. (Like he had a chance, without rigging it or claiming office by force...)

Mother Jones has reported on Mubarak's human rights abuses. You can check that out here.

Also, earlier today, the US ordered the evacuation of all nonessential American personnel in Egypt. If I remember correctly, Canada and... Britain? also ordered evacuations.

Currently on BBC world news - very, very angry protesters...  Everyone feels quite strongly about this"Go to hell, Mubarak! Go away! Leave us alone! We will make it! We are not the first people in the world to get rid of a dictator!" as shouted by one woman. Even little children are leading the chants...

What amazes me so much about this is that this is truly a national, all-encompassing movement. The Egyptian people are putting aside all differences to fight for a common cause. The army that once fought against them is standing with them all... Christians and Muslims are publicly vowing to protect each other from harm, especially while praying. (That is unheard of in the US...) Citizens are sharing with each other-- "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," as an Al Jazeera reporter stated this morning. So putting aside the Mubarak as Hitler images, and noose-hung effigies (and of course the bouts of violence) this, to me, is beautiful in a way...

4:00pm EST - Mubarak has begun his speech... Will update once I can get a transcript. Damn ADD... Al Jazeera's translator & CNN's closed captioning are... different, so if I get exact wording off, it's because la atakallam arabi. I can't speak Arabic. Oh hey! Al Jazeera is now broadcasting the speech in English... Oh, no, it's just a guy rereading it.

As expected, the protesters are very angry. This falls very short of their demands... Mubarak is expecting to finish out the remainder of his term, however, we have yet to see if that will happen as the protesters continue to chant "leave! Leave!" Mubarak vowed that he will die on Egyptian soil (meaning he has no intentions of running away in exile)... and as soon as he said that (and I heard/read the translation ^^"), I cringed. He probably shouldn't have said that... That might happen sooner than he thinks... :-/ Word of advice, Mubarak - when they're hanging you in effigy, it might not be the time to bring up death, ok? Angry people + deep-seated hatred of you + volatile sociopolitical situation = potentially really bad consequences for a dictator. Best just go enjoy exile in Senegal...

Commentators have been saying that Mubarak wants to leave honorably, which is why he intends to finish out his term. Maybe it's just an American's way of looking at things, but wouldn't it be more honorable to say "Ok, I understand that I haven't lived up to your expectations, and I'm sorry. You 'elected' me, I am here to serve you. So if you want me to step down, I will"? Instead of this nonsense of him trying to hold on to the tiniest threads?

Though I also have to say, I wonder how things would be once the emotional response subsides. If he were allowed to finish out his term, perhaps in a "limited" capacity of some sort, what would happen? He is going to leave whether he likes it or not-- that much is definitely certain. The question is, when? Now? In September? Or if he were allowed to stay, would he try to quash the rebellion and supplant himself within the presidency for another 30 years? (I suspect other countries wouldn't be so cool with that, though... "Protector" USA would totally jump in at some point. Not sure how I feel about that right now. General policy is None of Our Business unless it would be unethical to ignore the problem, or they actually, seriously want our help-- but no wars; but if Egypt asks for our help, could we refuse?)

5:15pm - CNN headline is "MUBARAK WILL STEP DOWN" Um... ok, that's the problem, though. It's not the same as what the protesters are demanding. Eventually, most presidents step down. Again, the issue is when.

5:25pm - Mother Jones is reporting that the protest has gotten violent in Alexandria. Shots have been fired, as Mubarak supporters clash with protesters. Al Jazeera is saying that the shots came from the Egyptian police. (Apparently there actually are Mubarak supporters... and they're fighting back?)

6:45pm - President Obama - " orderly transition must begin now."

"  Oh freedom... May G-d make it happen... Tonight."  

P.S. - this is the translation of what the protesters were chanting earlier....
..if you're wondering why it's here.