“Today’s words like ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’ have become interchangeable with economic ‘Reforms’, Deregulation and Privatization. ‘Freedom’ has come to mean ‘choice’. It has less to do with the human spirit than with different brands of deodorant. ‘Market’ no longer means a place where you go to buy provisions. The ‘Market’ is a de-territorialized space where faceless corporations do business, including buying and selling ‘futures’. ‘Justice’ has come to mean ‘human rights’ (and of those, as they say, ‘a few will do’). This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the Tsars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language in which to voice their critique and dismiss them as being ‘anti-progress’, ‘anti-development’, ‘anti-reform’ and of course ‘anti-national’ – negativists of the worst sort. Talk about saving a river or protecting a forest and they say, ‘Don’t you believe in Progress?’ To people whose land is being submerged by dam reservoirs and whose homes are being bulldozed they say, ‘do you have an alternative development model?’ to those who believe that a government is duty bound to provide people with basic education, healthcare and social security, they say, ‘You’re against the Market.’ And who except a cretin could be against the Market?
To reclaim those stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span, and too expensive in an era where Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing.”—Arundhati Roy, Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy. (via itsbeenablast)
While a gay man might casually mention his husband, or a lesbian might out herself by talking about her girlfriend, bisexuals are often wrongly assumed to be straight or gay depending on who they are with. Spelling out that they are bisexual can be misconstrued as rejecting a current partner or declaring themselves up for anything.
Faith Cheltenham, president of the national bisexual organization BiNet USA, was often presumed to be lesbian when she dated women. When she met the man who would become her husband, she worried people would assume she was straight, invalidating the work she did to come out.
But when she tries to correct that assumption, some mistake it as a sexual invitation. They say, “Why would you tell me you’re bi when your husband is right there?” Cheltenham said.
I don’t think I know a single bi woman who hasn’t at some point been interrogated over her sex life (But how many women have you actually slept with? How do you really know? Don’t you actually just prefer men?) so why is it so hard for some of us to make the very…
“I decided to break the law to provide a necessary medical service because women were dying at the hands of butchers and incompetent quacks, and there was no one there to help them. The law was barbarous, cruel and unjust. I had been in a concentration camp, and I knew what suffering was. If I can ease suffering, I feel perfectly justified in doing so.”—Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian doctor who was arrested four times for performing abortions, but whose arrests eventually led to the 1988 Canadian Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country. He died this week at the age of 90. His obituary can be found in the NY Times. (via quantumfemme)
This is my 54th Read This Week feature, the 2nd of year 2. (Just about) each week I post links to good articles, essays, and/or papers that I enjoyed reading and recommend to you based on your interest in Gradient Lair.
We live now in a vigilante culture. Our police forces are militarized and increasingly prone to rogue operations in which innocent people get killed. (Radley Balko has written an extremely important book about this phenomenon, which shows no signs of slowing down. Why in hell does the Fargo P.D. need a f-ing tank, anyway? Are the moose getting bigger these days?) They are being encouraged to employ what can only be called vigilante tactics under the color of official authority. You want to push the definition of the word, and there’s a helluva lot to our foreign policy that edges on vigilantism, too. The national legislature has broken down utterly because of the polite vigilantism of a political minority in the Senate — The debt ceiling was “a hostage worth taking,” said Mitch McConnell, and meant it — and because of the legislative vigilantism of an obdurate House Of Representatives.
On the streets, we are being trained paradoxically to both submit to the authority of the police, and to take the law into our own hands, if necessary, because the police cannot possibly protect us from every danger. Stand Your Ground, though it played no role in the Zimmerman trial per se, is vigilantism hallowed by legislation. That’s all it is. This does nothing but produce a national schizophrenia about crime and fear and weaponry that we inevitably act out.
Plunkett Cooney bankruptcy lawyer Doug Bernstein, who is not involved in the bankruptcy and is not representing any parties related to it, said today that the filing was critical for the city, given a growing number of legal challenges.
On Monday, an Ingham County Circuit Court judge was scheduled to hold a hearing on the city workers’ and retirees’ challenge to stop the city from filing bankruptcy. The employee groups, and separately the city’s two pension funds in another lawsuit, argue that the governor — who must and has authorized the bankruptcy filing — cannot do so if the filings include plans to reduce pension benefits, because the state’s constitution explicitly protects public pensions. If the state has such plans, it wasn’t immediately presented in the court filing.
Bernstein said preventing the court hearing on Monday was likely a key part of the strategy behind a Chapter 9 petition by the city, because a ruling in favor of the employees could put a halt, at least temporarily, to any moves by Orr and Snyder to proceed with a bankruptcy petition. A bankruptcy filing immediately stays all such court proceedings.
Hey so pretty sure this is why the bankruptcy filing happened today. Filing for bankruptcy blocked the potential lawsuit from employees and pension funds.
Because the filing (which you can read here) doesn’t explicitly protect pension benefits, the employees’ unions would have an argument that it contravenes the Michigan state constitution (which says public employee benefits are always safe). They would likely have been able to block bankruptcy proceedings if they’d filed first. However, now they’ve missed that chance and will have to make the case in court.
Basically, the bankruptcy filing is going to treat money borrowed from pension funds just like money borrowed from banks or any other kind of debt. The pension funds and the banks are going to have to fight for their share of the very limited funds Detroit can offer. They’re pretty likely to lose all their money.
As all the pension funds from which we’ve promised tens of billions of dollars to retiring boomers are repeatedly borrowed from and overdrawn, this kind of situation is going to become more and more common. (And relevant to you, if you’re required to put thousands of dollars a year in a fund that you’re never going to see the benefit from.) Not sure what can be done to protect pension funds that have already been raided repeatedly to pay for other stuff.
““Can people of color be racist?” I reply, “The answer depends on your definition of racism.” If one defines racism as racial prejudice, the answer is yes. People of color can and do have racial prejudices. However, if one defines racism as a system of advantage based on race, the answer is no. People of color are not racist because they do not systematically benefit from racism. And equally important, there is no systematic cultural and institutional support or sanction for the racial bigotry of people of color. In my view, reserving the term racist only for behaviors committed by whites in the context of a white-dominated society is a way of acknowledging the ever-present power differential afforded whites by the culture and institutions that make up the system of advantage and continue to reinforce notions of white superiority. (Using the same logic, I reserve the word sexist for men. Though women can and do have gender-based prejudices, only men systematically benefit from sexism.)”—Paula S. Rothenberg- Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, eighth edition (via blaaargh)
Tumblr users have always had the option of marking their account as NSFW, and since around 10% of Tumblr is porn, people were generally pretty good at labelling their blogs.
However, under Tumblr’s new content restrictions, posts from Adult-rated blogs will no longer show up on tags. Any tags. Also, Tumblr is able to flag your account as Adult without you labelling it as such—although users do have the option of appealing to the “Trust & Safety Team” if their feel their blog has been flagged unfairly.
Adult blogs are now unsearchable.
If your blog has been flagged as Adult, nothing you post will ever appear on Tumblr’s public tag searches. Your posts will only be visible to your own followers and the followers of people who reblog your content.
This means that if you want to publicize something like a Kickstarter campaign or political message, or even to signal boost a personal plea for help, that post will still not show up on Tumblr’s internal search engine. You are cut off from everyone except your own circle of followers.
Also, Many Tumblr users are finding that some tags have disappeared entirely from Tumblr’s iPhone app.
It’s unclear whether this is directly linked to the new content restrictions, but for example, iPhone users searching the #gay, #lesbian or #bisexual tags have reported seeing the result “No posts found,” although #bi, #lgbt and #queer still produce results. [READ MORE]
I hate to even beg for this from anyone, but under the circumstances — I actually have no choice. My ex-husband has filed for custody of our son again. He has been denied custody three times, by three different judges, but he doesn’t seem to be taking the hint. This time, however, I’m genuinely afraid that he stands a chance of having custody overturned in his favor because the state of ND requires that each party be represented by a lawyer. You can’t represent yourself here. And because he made sure to contact our local legal aid offices for advice, they cannot provide the services I require as it is a conflict of interests. So now I’ve been backed into a corner where my only option is a fee-reduction program through the State Bar Association, which I qualify for and have already signed up for.
The problem is this: all of my funds have already been sapped by this move. In order to retain a lawyer, which I need to do SOON because I have to have a legal response to my ex-husband’s motion filed BY JULY 10TH, I have to come up with at least $1500! I literally don’t have that kind of money, all of it has been spent on moving and I leave ND this Saturday!
This ridiculous little technicality could have the asshole judge — who already issued a visitation schedule built with the intention of forcing me to fail and thus allow him to eventually overturn custody — gleefully assign custody to my son’s father.
This is a judge who is notorious for reversing custody if he knows you’re disabled, which I legally am, and a single parent, which I also am. He’s openly misogynist and doesn’t believe single mothers can provide loving, stable homes for children. If it weren’t for a recent Supreme Court ruling on what constitutes grounds for a child to be taken from their custodial parent, he has said he would have preferred to grant custody to my ex-husband over me.
My ex-husband who, if you have been following my blog and paying attention to certain OOC posts, sexually, emotionally, and physically abused me for the duration of our marriage. Who showed no interest in establishing custody of our son until after he was ordered to pay child support. Who enjoys filing false reports with child protective services to cause trouble for me and turn around to use said reports in his repeated attempts to gain custody.
One of the purposes of my returning to OR is to get away from the judge overseeing our case here in ND. However, before I can have the case moved to OR, I have to establish residency there and that doesn’t happen legally for a month after I move.
I need your help, you guys. Even $1 is a dollar closer to getting me the legal representation I need to file the response so that my ex-husband doesn’t win the case by default! All I need is to be able to file this response to his motion and by the time an actual court date is set, I will have established residency in OR and ND will no longer have jurisdiction. I also already have a lawyer ready for me in that state, but they can’t help me at all with what needs to be done here in ND.
Please, please help if you can or reblog so that others you know can help. I never ask for help, but I’m begging in this. I have fought too long and too hard to have everything undermined at the last minute like this.
My son is my whole world. He’s the sweetest, brightest boy and I’ve worked so hard to make sure he’s never wanting for anything he needs or desires. He’s a devoted Whovian/Fannibal, he turned down a Kindle for Christmas because he said he’d rather have the books, he loves science and nature, he loves my Neil Gaiman books, theater, and he’s been at the top of his class every year. He’s had such a full, rich life with me and his extended family, and it will only be further enriched once we’re in OR among the rest of the family that he has known his whole life, where he’s barely known his dad or his dad’s family all this while — by their own actions and choices. His life as he’s always known it will be taken away from him if his dad is granted full custody, his dad who will ensure that I am never allowed to see him. Who makes no other efforts to maintain a healthy relationship with his son and already has FOUR children with his new wife that they can’t afford.
Please help us.
Update: We reached the goal of $1500 for the retainer and I was able to contract a lawyer with it. I cannot even begin to express how moving it is that so many of you have offered me so much help already. I am fighting as hard as I can for this, for my son, and every ounce of support, even if it’s only verbal, means so much to me.
However, this morning my lawyer notified me that the retainer has already been expended due to the ongoing negotiations my ex-husband started through his lawyer. He offered to possibly reach an agreement regarding visitation in exchange for the case to be dropped, then turned around and started nitpicking on every little detail he could to drag the negotiations out as long as possible, knowing that it would cost me money for him to do so. Sadly, we can’t get around that and it would still be better for all of us if the case were dropped, rather than risk having to go before a judge who has all but said that he will overturn custody merely because I’m a single, disabled mother. There is still every possibility that this judge would be able to take my son from me if this case goes before him.
My lawyer was able to get an extension on filing our response, but this is still problematic. Thanks to my ex-husband’s intentional stubbornness and shenanigans, he’s sapped the retainer dry and my lawyer is requesting more funds in order to continue representing me. Funds that I do not have as I am literally broke after an expensive cross-country move that he knew I was making. He has intentionally created this legal fiasco at this time because he knows I can’t afford it and he WANTS to make sure I either don’t have a lawyer, or lose the lawyer I have due to non-payment, so he can get a default judgment in his favor.
It pains me to say so, but the $1500 we raised was not enough. I am genuinely falling apart over this and this afternoon has been the first chance I’ve had to be able to form coherent words to appeal to you all a second time.
Please reblog this, please keep the word out there, and please — anyone that can help, please please. A dollar, five dollars, all of it adds up. We saw it add up to reach the first goal. As it stands, this next goal is only half of the first — my lawyer has requested $850 for his continued services. I am doing my best to collect donations from my local community as well, but anything you guys can offer, or even just the reblogs to get this information out to people who can donate, ALL OF IT HELPS.
There is a link to donate at the top of this page and also a link on my blog.
This is such bs. I hope you win and get as much money as you need to make this go away.