Monday, April 30, 2007

Ignorant Illinois House Reps

State Representative (D-Chicago) Sara Feigenholtz sponsored a bill that would have made it easier for Transgender people to get new birth certificates.

Illinois law currently allows people to have their gender changed on their Illinois birth certificates if they present an affidavit from a doctor who performed a sex change procedure on them. But many Transgender people have such procedures done overseas and Illinois law doesn’t recognize affidavits from foreign doctors. The law would have allowed an Illinois doctor to simply certify that a person has undergone a sex change, including Transgenders who do so through hormone therapy and don’t have sex change surgery.

The bill went through the House committee phase easily, winning unanimous Democratic and Republican support. But, Rep. Feigenholtz said anti-GLBT crusaders decided to make it an issue when it went to the House floor and apparently convinced a few right-wing lawmakers to ridicule Transgenders in the process.

“Maybe you went somewhere and a voodoo doctor said you were now a man, where you had been a woman,” Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) said as the bill was debated.

As some legislators laughed, Black continued, “I’ve often thought that perhaps I was a female trapped in a male body. I know—it scares me, too. I wish I didn’t have to shave everyday. …I’d like to smell better. I’d like to have softer skin.”

Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) followed Black’s lead, asking whether the state might start issuing sex-change documents to neutered deer. (A previous bill had been debated about controlling the deer population).
Even Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago), who voted for the bill, switched to a mocking falsetto voice as he called out from the podium, “Have all voted who wish?”
The bill failed 32-78.

“I never expected it and I never in my 12 years in the House heard such awful things,” Feigenholtz said. “It was so premeditated and vicious.”

“From this discussion we saw the crude, the crass and the vile side of the Illinois General Assembly,” political director of Equality Illinois Rick Garcia said. “That our legislators would be so cold-hearted and crude to joke about and disparage our community’s most vulnerable members is shameless.”

The head of Illinois Gender Advocates, the state’s largest Transgender advocacy group, said the remarks could potentially be harmful.

“It’s infuriating for members of the Transgender community to hear government officials make jokes like that,” Stevie Conlon said. “When you make fun of people, you’re really setting up a situation that leads to violence against people.”

Conlon said the discussion illustrates how much ignorance there is in the Legislature about transgender issues.
“IGA and our community has our work cut out for us in terms of education,” Conlon said.

Rep. Feigenholtz said she would bring the bill back.
“I have not decided when, but I’m not done,” Feigenholtz said. “This bill will come back and it will pass. It’s a matter of when, not if. I’m not going to walk away from the Transgender community.”

After the huge broohaha with Don Imus, these people have learned nothing. For Reps Black, Rose and Turner and those who laughed and encouraged them to stand on a public floor and use an important issue to mock, dehuminize, and ridicule citizens of this state, is inexcusable. They owe the Transgender community, Rep. Feigenholtz, the Illnois House members, and the people of Illinois an apology for their insulting, insensitive, unprofessional behaviour.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Where They BEE??

Well, here is some weird news.
The New York Times reports that Bees Vanish and Scientist Race for Reasons.
What is happening to the bees?
More than a quarter of the country's 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost -- tens of billions of bees, according to an estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives.

As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances. Or was it a secret plot by Russia or Osama bin Laden to bring down American agriculture? Or, as some blogs have asserted, the rapture of the bees, in which God recalled them to heaven? Researchers have heard it all.

Ok, the cell tower theory made sense to me and genetically modified crops could reasonably be confusing to a bee and cause "colony collapse disorder," the name given for the disappearing bee syndrome.
Scientists have ruled out problems with natural enemies of the bee like mites or Yogi Bear or Winnie the Pooh, so the focus is on the most likely suspects: a virus, a fungus or a pesticide.
The bee C.S.I. people have collected samples in several states and have begun doing bee autopsies and genetic analysis. Researchers have found and are examining evidence that suggests something may be weakening their immune system.

So far, colony collapse disorder has been found in 27 states, according to Bee Alert Technology Inc., a company monitoring the problem. A recent survey of 13 states by the Apiary Inspectors of America showed that 26 percent of beekeepers had lost half of their bee colonies between September and March.
Adult bees are just disappearing from their hives and colonies collapse as fast as two days.

The L A Times specifically named a fungus that may have jumped from the Asian honeybee to the Western honeybee as a potential cause. But it is still a big mystery far from being solved.

What I didn't know is that honey bees are arguably the insects that are most important to the human food chain.
Besides a loss in honey production, commercial beehives are used to pollinate one-third of the country's agricultural crops, including apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, cherries, strawberries and pumpkins. Ninety percent of California's almond crop is dependent on bees, and a loss of commercial hives could be devastating.
So the little honeybee is threatened by some monster and so are we.
We are all connected.

Friday, April 20, 2007

He's So Purty!

Prez candidate John Edwards spiffing up.
Is this after the $400 haircut? Well, they should toss in a larger mirror and some chapstick. But he is quite adorable, dontcha think?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Check These Out!

I've been so busy and exhausted lately that I've been doing more linking than posting. This week Dustin's got the goods.
Ben and Jerry's FREE ice cream cone day April 17th. Dustin's got the details.
A Bathtub couch? This is so cool.

Jokes. Dustin's got some. Go. Laugh.

April is National Poetry Month. If you like poetry, literature, literary analysis, in depth critiques of TV, movies, theater, personalities, and life - you've got to read Sheila O'Malley. She's a brilliant, opinionated, funny writer/actress who admits she types 10,000 words a minute.
Check out her reaction to losing her favorite pencil. I can feel that!
Today it's Emily Bronte. Yayyyy!!!
Go. Immerse yourselves.

Monday, April 02, 2007

They Made Beautiful Music Together. Bravo!

Good God! Hey! Gotta link to Steve Schalchlin for this brilliant classical - soul surprise.
I love music!
James Brown and Pavarotti.
For real, on stage in Modena, Italy on May 28, 2002.
What an exceptional collaboration!