Why I Shall Continue to Dance on Mary Daly’s Grave

January 26, 2010

In the May 31, 1979, issue of Off Our Backs (sorry, no link), Mary Daly belched forth:

Dionysius was this character in Greek mythology who was very feminine. He drove women mad with his femininity. There’s this seductiveness about men who appear to be feminine. Sometimes gay men can be allies, but women can be duped by gay men, who are in a much better situation in patriarchy. They are males, after all. Lesbians often get used and scapegoated in gay liberation. Sometimes it’s okay, it’s wise to bond with them in a limited way.The Dionysius myth has taken various forms. The creation of this bizarre phenomenon of transexuals — who go from being men to constructed females who claim to be lesbian feminists. These men — who are in fact still men — they’re eunuchs — who have to have constant hormone fixes — are invading our private spaces. Jan Raymond’s The Transexual Empire: The Making of the She-male is important. Transexualism isn’t a kooky or minor phenomenon, it’s paradigmatic of the ways in which patriarchy can cook up distractions for us. Eunuchs have always had access to women’s private spaces. They fucked over women. These men have no penises, but their whole body, their whole mind is still a penis. Their eyes are penises, their hands are penises.

They’re causing great divisiveness among women. Wherever they go, they play upon the sympathies of women, the more oppressed than thou mentality. As if they’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, as Jan Raymond said, “they’ve sacrificed their balls for feminism.” I suggest that is really a crock, and that it is important for women not to be sidetracked. Of course if men can’t seduce women by being macho, there’s another way they can do it by driving women m.a.d. with male approval desire. I’m not saying there aren’t some sensitive males, it’s just that I’m not interested in that right now and I don’t think that that’s where our main interest should be.

Jan’s book is important in focusing not on transexuals themselves but on the industry that creates them, the therapists who are into it, the doctors who are making money. It’s extremely manipulative.

Now as a result of this you have these gender identity clinics. It horrifies me to think of how they’re going to use them. There was a transexual on a talk show in Boston and people were calling in with questions like, “My nine-year-old daughter likes baseball. Should I take her to a gender identity clinic?” It’s going to have widespread effects. Nine-year-old girls who are strong will be named as deviants.

There’s a gender identity clinic in Los Angeles for little boys and their mothers. They use behavior modification. The mother trains the boy. If he plays with dolls, she frowns. If he plays with guns, she smiles. She’s taught to do this. These kids are encouraged to be very aggressive and even violent with their mothers. The mothers are supposed to let them hit them. This sets the stage for an incredible oppression of women.

It’s interesting that the Jesuits at Boston College who were so upset about feminism and lesbiansim were not at all upset about having a transexual student. They laughed that off, because that reinforces the stereo-types — it doesn’t challenge them.

Don’t tell me that the person who wrought this exterminationist hatred ever changed in the slightest.


The Solution to All of Our Problems is to Repeat Everything That We Know is an Abject Failure

January 26, 2010

You know…

like privitization?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Obama Will Propose Outsourcing for Some NASA Programs

Stating the obvious:

What a great idea. What could possibly go wrong? Because the private sector never, ever cuts corners to save a buck!


Should Paul Scott Be Expelled From the University of Michigan Law School?

January 26, 2010

[UPDATED BELOW with ‘before’ and ‘after’ screen snaps of Paul Scott’s legislative bio page]

I’m actually ashamed to say that this just occurred to me.  You do, of course, recall Half-Term Paul Scott, the clown who – in the state with the worst economic situation in the nation – is running for Secretary of State on an anti-transsexual platform?

State Rep. Paul Scott, (R-Grand Blanc), announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State just five days ago, but he’s already caused a shock wave.

Scott, who just completed the first year of his first two-year term in the state House [says his anti-transsexual platform]

was about “values.”“It’s a social values issue. If you are born a male, you should be known as a male. Same as with a female, she should be known as a female,” he said.

When asked to explain how such a mandate from the Secretary of State would benefit Michigan, he said it was about “preventing people who are males genetically from dressing as a woman and going into female bathrooms.”

While Scott is aware that federal courts have ruled that gender dysphoria, the medical diagnosis for transgender persons, was a disability, he said he did not think he would run afoul of discrimination laws. For the 27-year-old state representative, the issue is about biological gender.

He said his mandate would be in place even for those who had completely undergone sex reassignment surgeries.

And then it hit me.

You see, in addition to being a Sarah Palin of the Michigan Legislature, he’s also a law student at the University of Michigan Law School.

Presumably, he’s actually intending to become an attorney – which means, again presumably (based on similar administrative garbage I had to deal with whilst a law student in Texas aiming to practice law in Texas), that he has already filed some sort of paperwork with the Michigan Bar.

And, even if not, if he’s simply still in school, he’s subject to academic honesty and other ethical standards.

Now…

PUBLIC HEALTH CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 368 of 1978

333.2831 New certificate of birth; establishment; requirements.  Sec. 2831.

The state registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for an individual born in this state when the registrar receives the following:

(c) A request that a new certificate be established to show a sex designation other than that designated at birth. The request shall be accompanied by an affidavit of a physician certifying that sex-reassignment surgery has been performed.

If I’m interpreting Michigan’t power structure correctly, the Registrar is not under the control of the Secretary of State.  Nevertheless, Paul Scott is essentially announcing beforehand that, if elected, he will refuse to abide by Michigan statute section 333.2831(c), a valid enactment by the elected representatives of the people of the State of Michigan; he is saying that he will not allow a Michigan driver’s license to reflect the information contained on a transsexual’s birth certificate if it isn’t the information that he personally thinks should be there – even if the elected representatives of the people of the State of Michigan, 32 years ago, recognized the reality of transsexualism and, in turn, decided that a person’s primary piece of identification documentation should reflect the reality of a transition from male to female or female to male.

Interestingly enough,  the oath of office of Michigan Secretary of State contains no command to obey the statutory law of the state.

All officers, legislative, executive and judicial, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of [Secretary of State] according to the best of my ability. No other oath, affirmation, or any religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.

Consequently, it may actually not a slam dunk that such a pre-refusal to obey Michigan statutory law equates to a before-the-fact admission that his taking the oath of office would be fraudulent.

But don’tcha think it smells?

And that it smells really bad?

Perhaps bad enough to be viewed by a law school and/or a professional licensure authority as being unethical?  Perhaps evidencing a sufficient lack of character either to be a lawyer or even to be in law school?

But, alas, look at what has been going on recently at the Wolverine Tech Lawyer Factory:

In 2007, Professor Peter Hammer filed suit against the University of Michigan Law School for unlawfully denying him tenure based on his sexual orientation. Professor Hammer alleged that he was the first openly gay professor to be considered for tenure at the University of Michigan Law School, and the first man in the history of that institution to be denied tenure. Hammer was denied tenure by a faculty vote, which at 18-12 in favor of tenure, fell two votes short of the 2/3 majority required by the school’s rules.
Hammer had been recommended for tenure with a 4-1 vote from the tenure committee. The complaint alleges breach of contract, predicated on representations of nondiscrimination during pre-employment negotiations, as well as University policies and by-laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual-orientation. Rather than building an affirmative case that no discrimination took place, the University’s initial stance was to maintain that its by-laws and non-discrimination policies had no legal meaning and created no rights.
The Law School filed two Motions for Summary Disposition that were denied. The trial court ruled that Hammer had established a legitimate claim of discrimination and that a trial on the merits was warranted.

 

Oh well, it sounds like Paul Scott is at home in Ann Arbor (BTW – if you want to have some fun, ask an Iowa student – during football season – who Ann Arbor is.)

But, still, it might be worthwhile to let the law school know what’s up with one of their students.

Who knows?

Perhaps the same people don’t serve on both the tenure and expulsion committees.

UPDATE – 2/15/2010

A commenter below asserted that Scott has actually graduated from the U of Michigan Law School.

As I responded, when I referenced it the page did indeed say that he was still a student.  Being paranoid a citizen of the U.S. under the Patriot Act, I covered my butt and dumped a PDF of that page – and here is a snip of the relevant section as it appeared live on Jan. 21, 2010:  

Now, here is that same section as it is this evening:  

Is there any significance to the change? 

Was it a feeble attempt at a cyber rope-a-dope?

I dunnow.

However, I do know what that page looked like when first I encountered it – and now you all do as well.


If Only…

January 25, 2010

From…

Rush Limbaugh?

[E]ven if I did die, the hell I would surely be sent to could not possibly be any worse than the bottomless pool of excrement I already paddle around in like some demented, shit-covered walrus. In fact, every time I hear my voice coming through the headphones I nearly gag, and I think, “What the fuck am I doing?” Why would I say that Michael J. Fox is faking his Parkinson’s symptoms? Why would I find it funny to play a song called “Barack the Magic Negro”? Why would I tell people not to give aid to Haiti?

What the fuck is wrong with me?

He’s turning into an Onion, perhaps?


Looks Like Robert Gibbs Deserves a ‘Thank You’ Too

January 24, 2010

You know – a ‘thank you for the reality that there will be no ENDA during my working life’…

The proof from Think Progress:

Last night, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz spoke at Minnesota progressive talk radio AM950’s Blue State Bash at the Minneapolis Convention Center. During his remarks, Schultz revealed that he recently had a testy confrontation with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (Gibbs appeared on Schultz’s show this past Thursday). “Mr. Gibbs and I had quite a conversation off the air the other night,” he revealed:

SCHULTZ: I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him. … And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb. … I told Robert Gibbs, I said “And I’m sorry you’re swearing at me, but I’m just trying to help you out. I’m telling you you’re losing your base. Do you understand you’re losing your base?”

I guess Gibbs has been fully assimilated by The Borg Rahm Emmanuel.

In case anyone gives a damn about what the BASE has to say, look at the comments – for example:

  • “They better start listening to the fact that they’re losing their base before it’s too late.”
  • “Sorry, Robert. You guys are absolutely losing your base.”
  • “Gibbs and Co. should listen to Ed Schultz. He is in contact with more average Americans in one day, than the DC crowd pays attention to all year.”
  • “Obama’s advisers will doom his presidency if he continues to act on the advice of nincompoops like his WH chief Emmanuel, financial advisor Summers, and the goofball Geitner. They all think they have a captive “base” which will fall into line like the neocon lemmings do.”

Get the picture?


Why HRC Would Have to Rally to Become Irrelevant

January 24, 2010

More on Half-Term Paul Scott – this time from the Michigan Messenger via Bilerico:

Let that sink in…

HRC was e-mailed for comment on this case, as well as the HIV-as-terrorism case in Macomb county. To date, there has been nothing but SILENCE from HRC on either issue.

You mean there isn’t enough gay money or tina or barebacking parties in central Michigan to interest the overpaid, professional elitist, permanent activist class of Rhode Island Avenue?

I’m shocked!

Shocked, I say!

NOT!


Why a Legitimate ENDA is Necessary – Part 628,039,152

January 24, 2010

From the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

Heartland Inns operates a group of hotels, primarily in Iowa. Brenna Lewis began work for Heartland in July 2005 and successfully filled several positions for the chain for a year and a half before the actions at issue here. She started as the night auditor at Heartland’s Waterloo Crossroads location; at that job she worked at the front desk from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. There were also two other shifts for “guest service representatives”: the A shift from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the B shift from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Lewis’ manager at Waterloo Crossroads, Linda Gowdy, testified that Lewis “did her job well” and that she had requested a pay raise for her. Heartland recorded two merit based pay raises for Lewis. The record also indicates that Gowdy received a customer comment praising Lewis. 

On or about December 7, 2006, Lewis began working various part time front desk shifts at Heartland Inns located near Des Moines, including at Ankeny and Altoona. At both locations she was valued by her direct supervisors. Her manager at the Altoona hotel, Jennifer Headington, testified that Lewis “made a good impression[.]” She offered her a full time night auditor position after receiving telephone permission from Barbara Cullinan, Heartland’s Director of Operations. Lori Stifel, Lewis’ manager at the Ankeny hotel, testified in her deposition that Lewis did a “great job” in Ankeny, “fit into the [front desk] position really well” and was well liked by customers. Stifel received permission over the phone from Cullinan on December 15 to offer Lewis a full time A shift position. Neither Headington nor Stifel conducted an interview of Lewis before extending their offers, and the record <does not reflect that Cullinan ever told them a subsequent interview would be necessary. Lewis accepted the offer for the A shift at Ankeny and began training with her predecessor, Morgan Hammer. At the end of December 2006 Lewis took over the job. 

Lewis’ positive experience at Heartland changed only after Barbara Cullinan saw her working at the Ankeny desk. As the Director of Operations, Cullinan had responsibility for personnel decisions and reported directly to the general partner of Heartland. She had approved the hiring of Lewis for the Ankeny A shift after receiving Stifel’s positive recommendation. After seeing Lewis, however, Cullinan told Stifel that she was not sure Lewis was a “good fit” for the front desk. Cullinan called Stifel a few days later and again raised the subject of Lewis’ appearance. Lewis describes her own appearance as “slightly more masculine,” and Stifel has characterized it as “an Ellen DeGeneres kind of look.” Lewis prefers to wear loose fitting clothing, including men’s button down shirts and slacks. She avoids makeup and wore her hair short at the time. Lewis has been mistaken for a male and referred to as “tomboyish.”
 
Cullinan told Stifel that Heartland “took two steps back” when Lewis replaced Morgan Hammer who has been described as dressing in a more stereotypical feminine manner. As Cullinan expressed it, Lewis lacked the “Midwestern girl look.” Cullinan was heard to boast about the appearance of women staff members and had indicated that Heartland staff should be “pretty,” a quality she considered especially important for women working at the front desk. Cullinan also had advised a hotel manager not to hire a particular applicant because she was not pretty enough. The front desk job description in Heartland’s personnel manual does not mention appearance. It states only that a guest service representative “[c]reates a warm, inviting atmosphere” and performs tasks such as relaying information and receiving reservations. [FN 1]

In her conversation with Stifel about Brenna Lewis, Cullinan ordered Stifel to move Lewis back to the overnight shift. Stifel refused because Lewis had been doing “a phenomenal job at the front desk[.]” The following week, on January 9, 2007, Cullinan insisted that Lori Stifel resign. Around this time, Heartland informed its general managers that hiring for the front desk position would require a second interview. Video equipment was also purchased to enable Cullinan or Kristi Nosbisch, Heartland’s Human Resource Director, to see an applicant before extending any offer. When Lewis’ former manager at Altoona, Jennifer Headington, raised a question about the new arrangements, Cullinan answered that “[h]otels have to have a certain personification and appearance.” 

Cullinan met with Brenna Lewis on January 23, 2007. At this point Lewis had held the front desk job for nearly a month after Cullinan’s initial approval of her hire for the position. The record contains no evidence of any customer dissatisfaction with Lewis or her service. Nevertheless, Cullinan told Lewis at the meeting that she would need a second interview in order to “confirm/endorse” her A shift position. Lewis was aware from Lori Stifel of what had been said about her appearance, and she protested that other staff members had not been required to have second interviews for the job. Lewis told Cullinan that she believed a second interview was being required only because she lacked the “Midwestern girl look.” She questioned whether the interview was lawful, and she cried throughout the meeting. 

Cullinan wanted to know who had told Lewis about the comment and asked whether it was Lori Stifel. Thereafter Cullinan talked about the need for new managers when revenue is down like in Ankeny, where Stifel was the manager. Lewis responded that recent policy changes by Heartland, including bans on smoking and on pets, might explain the loss in revenue. Cullinan then encouraged Lewis to share more of her views about the new policies and took notes on what she said. Three days later, Lewis was fired. 

Lewis does not challenge Heartland’s official dress code, which imposes comparable standards of professional appearance on male and female staff members, and her termination letter did not cite any violation of its dress code. The theory of her case is that the evidence shows Heartland enforced a de facto requirement that a female employee conform to gender stereotypes in order to work the A shift. There was no such requirement in the company’s written policies. 

In its termination letter to Lewis, Heartland asserted that she had “thwart[ed] the proposed interview procedure” and exhibited “host[ility] toward Heartland’s most recent policies[.]” Lewis denies those charges and denies that those were the real reasons for her discharge. There were no customer complaints about Lewis’ performance as a desk clerk. Nor had there been any disciplinary action against herccc before she was fired. Lewis asserts that Heartland terminated her for not conforming to sex stereotypes and contends that this conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 (ICRA), Iowa Code § 216.1 et seq. 

Footnote:

[1] Heartland has not tried to suggest that the “Midwestern girl look” or prettiness were bona fide occupational qualifications for its clerk job, as might conceivably be the case with the cheerleaders referenced in the dissent. Such an affirmative defense requires proof that the qualification is “necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(e)(1). For example, “female sex appeal” is not a bona fide occupational qualification for flight attendants and ticket agents. See Wilson v. Southwest Airlines Co., 517 F.Supp. 292 (N.D.Tex. 1981).

The case is Lewis v. Heartland Inns of America, L.L.C. 

First, let’s see what the dissenting appellate court judge – a Bush 41 appointee – had to say about all of this:

I respectfully dissent. Apparently, the majority would hold that an employer violates Title VII if it declines to hire a female cheerleader because she is not pretty enough, or a male fashion model because he is not handsome enough, unless the employer proves the affirmative defense that physical appearance is a bona fide occupational qualification. Like the district court, I conclude this is an unwarranted misreading of the plurality and concurring opinions in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989). In my view, an employer’s decision to hire or fire based on a person’s physical appearance is not discrimination “because of . . . sex” unless it is a pretext for disadvantaging women candidates, as the trial court found in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. As there is no evidence of that here, I would affirm for the reasons stated in the district court’s persuasive and thorough Order on Motion for Summary Judgment dated November 13, 2008.

That should give you an idea both of what the majority of the Eighth Circuit panel had to say, but also what the trial court had done.

Bear in mind: Iowa does now have a legitimate state ENDA, but it was not passed until a few months after the events leading to Brenna Lewis’s lawsuit took place, so it has no applicability.  So, what we have is a female who looks a wee bit too much like one of the most famous lesbians in America – and a corporation who (and, thanks to the Reagan-Bush-Bush Supreme Court legislating them up to human status, I feel that I now have to use personal pronouns to refer to corporations) feels that looking like a lesbian who looks a bit less femme than, say, Portia DeRossi, isn’t right for the Midwest.

And, what we have is a legal landscape where federal law lives under the competing shadows of Ulane v. Eastern Airlines and Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins and state law lives under the shadow of Sommers v. Iowa Civil Rights Comm’n; as to the former, ‘gender stereotyping’ might hold some hope and, as to the latter, the last word was an obscenity against a transsexual woman.

Strangely, the majority – albeit one consisting of two Clinton appointees – saw the situation for what it was.  Judge Diana Murphy wrote for that majority:

Cullinan was a primary decisionmaker with authority to hire and fire employees. While several individuals also took part in the decision to terminate Lewis, they relied on Cullinan’s description of her January 23, 2007 conversation with Lewis. Cullinan consistently indicated that female front desk workers must be “pretty,” and she criticized Lewis’ lack of the “Midwestern girl look” in the same conversation in which she ordered Stifel to move Lewis back to the night audit. Cullinan authorized Stifel to hire Lewis over the phone, but demanded a “confirm/endorse” interview once she saw Lewis’ “tomboyish” appearance. She demanded Stifel’s resignation after she refused to remove Lewis from her position

Evidence that Heartland’s reason for the termination were pretextual include the fact that Lewis had a history of good performance at Heartland. She had no prior disciplinary record and had received two merit based pay raises. The two individuals who supervised her during the majority of her employment at Heartland both stated that they had no problem with her appearance, and at least one customer had never seen customer service like that Lewis had provided. On this record, a factfinder could infer a discriminatory motive in Heartland’s actions to remove Lewis

I wonder what Murphy would have to say about a law school that refuses to hire well-published transsexual woman attorney following an interview in which the highest-ranking interviewer refers to the well-published transsexual woman attorney using a male pronoun?

But I digress.

And I may have lost some people regarding why this makes a legitimate (read: non-Barney Frank-preferred, non-HRC-consecrated) ENDA necessary.

If the HRC (and we all know what HRC really wants) – St. Barney ENDA becomes law, judges will have license to infer that the gay-only ENDA is a statement by Congress that “sex” means “sex,” “sexual orientation” means “sexual orientation,” and any gray areas such as “change of sex” and Midwestern girls who look a bit too much like Portia DeRossi’s wife were not meant to be covered.

Yes, there might be some federal judges who don’t drink that kool-aid…

but I doubt that that number will include any poointed since 2001,

And, if you’re not a member of the class that can afford to go to shindigs in D.C. where the president speaks of Lady GaGa while rich, drunk transphobic neo-Mattachines whoop it up (read: if you live paycheck-to-paycheck and can’t wait for the outcome of a lawsuit even if you can find an attorney to take your case), good luck…

…and keep sucking on that HRC water bottle.