greenie_breizh: (quote)
I have a new apartment! Very excited about that, will update with more soon. But first I've let too much time go by again and I want to share a bunch of links. Today on the list: DADT ends! Dan Savage's readers are idiots! Shocking news: people with disabilities are the ones who know what's the best for them! La France se rend compte que la question du genre existe!

Onwards:

- "Sexuality doesn't matter on the battlefield"; this opinion piece by a U.S. soldier is a textbook example of the rhetoric around lifting Don't Ask Don't Tell, aka it states the obvious (sorry McCain). It's great for what it wants to do, and it gives me an excuse to say, DADT IS OVER. Yay, confettis, hugs, all that, I forgot to do it at the time because I was writing papers, I think. This IS a great step forward, and about time, and I'm REALLY glad Obama finally has something to show for himself in terms of LGB civil rights. But the truth is that it's a bit of a bittersweet victory to me because this whole DADT thing has (understandly and expectedly) gotten wrapped up in celebrating America's Greatness and the Greatness of its Military and that makes me cringe. I don't really want to spend hours going on about it, but essentially I hate displays of patriotism a-la-U.S and I'd rather the U.S. would stop sending soldiers abroad on "liberty missions" or whatever they're calling them these days. That said, just like I support same-sex marriage but still question its normalizing assumptions, I feel that I can have little to no sympathy for the institution of the military and still respect that some LGB people may disagree and want to be part of the army. So, in short: good for them.

- Not that people are really talking about it anymore, but I did want to link one more great post, this time by Kate Harding, about Assange's sexual assault charges.

- Two great posts by [livejournal.com profile] chaoticidealism:
the first one on the importance of getting people involved in projects that are meant to benefit them. And don't assume that because you have people who walk with canes in the office that they can speak up for wheelchair users, this kind of thing. This reminds me of a piece published in the National Post recently about the crosswalk sound for visually-impaired people sounding too much like a bird, and it seemed like this was just "well-meaning" people with no visual impairments making noise about this; while actual visually-impaired people were like, "we don't care! just pick a uniform system so we don't get harmed!". So, FAIL. It comes down to the most basic advice, but one that always bears repeating: don't assume you know better and ask people to whom it actually matters. You're way more likely to fail by assuming you can anticipate someone else's needs than by asking the question, and having to ask doesn't make you an idiot, most of the time it actually makes you more respectful (and, in the case of creating infrastructure for people with disabilities, more successful).
The other post is just a really interesting reflection on what autism is about, and why thinking of it as a social disorder might not be entirely accurate. It was really informative and I recommend it to, well, anyone, because everyone could do with a little more knowledge on autism.

- I want to rant a lot about Dan Savage's latest post about asexuality and the profoundly dumb things that his readers are saying in the comments; both display a staggering lack of understanding of asexuality and knowledge about the asexual community. But I'll keep it short because I actually have work to do. First of all, OBVIOUSLY people should discuss their sexual expectations with future partners. I hate that this is made into an argument about asexuals v. sexuals; there are sexual people with low sex drives and that's cool, and there are asexual people who are willing to have sex, and that's cool too. "Asexual" is a useful and important identity that people can take up, and which might help them find a community and navigate a very sexualized world (I use the term broadly, meaning that most of us go around taking (hetero) sexual desire for granted). But it doesn't allow you to make generalizations about what asexual people are like or what they should do; it certainly doesn't allow you to pass judgment because CLEARLY being sexual is the best/most natural/whatever the fuck. I'm continually impressed (and discouraged) by queer people's capacity to be bigots when it comes to anything but their brand of sexual orientation. Ugh. Asexual people struggle enough with the idea of dating sexual people, and how to disclose their identity, when is the right time, etc; they don't need sexual people to make them feel extra guilty and stressed out. Instead we should think about how we can create (within our personal sphere of dating, but also within our community) supportive environments where people can communicate and negotiate their (sexual or non-sexual) needs without being blamed for their own desires.

- What the Fuck Has Obama Done So Far?, which is both a cool idea and interesting website (I only wish each item would link to a more comprehensive note on the particular achievement).

- En français! Un article assez intéressant de Télérama sur la question du genre en France. Il est grand temps que ça fasse question.
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
Some links:

- First, Obama and Bo running in the White House. The picture just makes me happy. :)

- A very interesting explanation by [livejournal.com profile] phaballa of what the Prop 8 decision says. It's an indispensable reading if you're interested in the issue, to make sure you understand the logic behind the decision.

-Following the decision on Prop 8 by the California Supreme Court, two attorneys have decided to take the case to the federal Supreme Court. I have ambiguous feelings about that, just because I'm also not sure that this is the best time to play that card. But we'll see. It needs to get to the Supreme Court first, anyway. I liked reading Corvino's opinion on the topic, in any case.

- Still following Prop 8, two pastors have decided to stop performing all weddings.

- Cheney has come out in favor of marriage equality. Yeah, that Dick Cheney. He also manages to say something important in a fairly offensive way, because, y'know, still Dick. But I think it's still a pretty significant declaration, and I'm curious to know what the reaction have been from Rush Limbaugh, etc. It's gotta be a hard blow for the ultra conservatives who adore him.

Moving away from Prop 8 for a second, two rather appalling links:

- On a 6th grader who was stopped from making a presentation about Harvey Milk because it was suspected of promoting gayness.

- On a high school in Georgia that still has a "white-only" prom. Plain scary and headdesk-worthy. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shiraz_wine for the link.)

- And finally, "I am not Pro-Death", a story about abortion and working at an abortion clinic after having gone through it. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky for the link.)
greenie_breizh: (gay)
Spanish Judge: Gay men not protected by domestic violence law. This is ridiculous and quite terrifying. Now, domestic value is a topic plagued with sexism and I do think there is a need to be particularly attentive to women in situation of heterosexual domestic abuse (I am particularly distrustful of claims that men and women can be equally violent not because I believe men are inherently more violent than women but because these claims typically ignore structural gendered inequalities). But to say that men are not protected by domestic violence laws is unbelievable and proof that the law has serious flaws. It seems like a pretty obvious thing to say that men that find themselves in abusive situations should be able to be protected by the law, so I'm glad at least the judge who said this also admitted that the law needs to be revised.

On the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ongoing story:
- Defense Secretary Gates still not ready to sign on to DADT repeal. I completely agree with Soltz when he says that it's a lie that this can't be done quickly. I'm not saying this can be done overnight but I really don't think it's all that complex - like he says, these people are already serving. It's just about not getting them kicked out. This is mostly a problem we're creating for ourselves, and when you get to the bottom of it, it's kind of scary what's behind it. And ridiculous. I mean, you're already showering with a gay guy and it's not killing you, there's no reason it'll kill you once you know he's gay and he's still not checking you out.
- White House: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” under review. This is a slightly more encouraging article that suggests the White House is working on it. I'm very curious to see where it will go, and whether the Obama adminstration will keep its promise. I don't think it's the hardest to keep so I will be disappointed if they don't make an effort. Especially since they don't officially support same-sex marriage (for reasons of political viability or not, but the end result is the same) and they don't seem to be doing much about DOMA.

And that's it for tonight's information bulletin. :)

(Oh wait - the California Supreme Court might rule on Prop 8 today, but if it happens it'll probably get a post of its own. I just love to spam your f-lists!)
greenie_breizh: (snuggle time)
Very quick political update:

Some elements on Obama and DADT.

The California Supreme Court will hear the Prop 8 case on March 5. It will hear arguments both to repeal Prop 8 because the measure was invalid, and to annul all the same-sex marriages that were performed between May and November. A decision won't be issued that day, though, it will take several months.

On that note, watch this wonderful video:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.
Considering I have very little interest in marriage myself and I'm critical of normalizing images and all that, I really wish that stuff wouldn't make me cry so easily. There's just something about the feeling of hope and community - and I look at all those crowds of people and wonder where are the people who voted yes to Prop 8 and how can they not see love and a human attempt to be happy that doesn't hurt, just brightens faces?)
“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are, when you don't come home at night.”
- Margaret Mead
greenie_breizh: (green is good)
Obama to let states set auto emission rules.

Why on earth the Environmental Protection Agency would not let California set efficiency standards more stringent than for the rest of the U.S., I don't have a fucking clue, but this is a small step in the right direction. A right message for the Obama administration to send, for sure, So torture and illegal detention, check. Women's rights, check. Environment, check. Wanna place bets on what's next? ^^

(More environmental stuff would be nice if you ask me because let's face it, as much as this sends the right message, it really doesn't do much.)


One thing - I can't remember from reading the news before the inauguration - did the press used to say "Bush to let chickens fight"? Because that's what they do with Obama ("Obama to let chickens fight"), but I keep feeling like it should be "President X to let chickens fight"... like every time they quote people with a title they add Sen. or Rep. in front of their names, but with the President they only go "Obama"? It's pure curiosity, I just can't remember if they used to say "Bush" all the time or if they usually mentioned "Pres." or something in front of his name.
greenie_breizh: (teh awesome)
Obama. Dude. STOP BEING SO COOL.

I can't even imagine how pissed social conservatives must be and that makes me gleeful. How does THAT feel, eh? 'Cause that's what it's been like for us for the past 8 years.

Now, awesomepants, next on the agenda (once you've settled in and gotten your staff some decent computers): getting rid of DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And then I'll have to put up a little shrine. (Unless you do stupid shit. So don't.)


Damn you for being so cool, now I have two Obama-related icons and I HAVE to make a tag for you.
greenie_breizh: (political)
We watched one of Stuart Hall's lectures tonight in class. Nothing ground-breaking, but beautifully articulate on issues of meaning-making and representation.

I also learned, not without surprise, that Stuart Hall is black.

It was funny - to realize I'd unconsciously been making that assumption we all tend to make, especially if we're white, because I've been reading stuff on LJ about cultural appropriation in writing and more generally white privilege and stuff, and it's frustrating, in a way, that I continue to make these assumptions. It makes me want to pay closer attention. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the things I've been reading:

I Didn't Dream of Dragons and the continuation, more specifically addressed to white folks. A few selected passages that really spoke to me:

Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination.

[...] Asking an author to write the Other with respect and assuming it to be sufficient, is like telling a person that being polite to everyone is sufficient in their goal of being an anti-racist ally. This is crap. Your definition of individuality, just like your definition of politeness is culture-specific.

[...] I distrust universalising statements proclaiming our inherent mutual humanity because they are uni-directional—they do not make everyone more like me, they make everyone more like you. And I do not want that.

[...] We are not used to throwing our abusers in jail after three strikes--we negotiate with our abusers being our bosses and television hosts and school teachers and peacekeeping forces and our clergy. When someone tells us we are wrong, we can't run away or banish them, we learn to live with them, and with ourselves.

[...] Decide whether you want to understand the critical lenses we use to deconstruct dominant narratives, and learn how to use them. This will probably be painful because it reveals feet of clay in dearly beloved books and authors. Is the cost worth the result for you? No one is saying there isn't still value in something offensive and flawed, but your line of tolerance may be different from someone else's. I found that, having once turned my critical reader on, I could not turn her off, and I am happy, on the whole, that this means that there are now books that I find unpalatable which previously I would have been able to enjoy.

(Also, frustrated because there was one good link that I can't find again. Will edit if I do.)


I also never got around saying on Tuesday just how fantastic it was to see so many African-Americans involved in the inauguration process, both in the proceedings and in the audience. I'm sure Obama will disappoint in some ways, but no matter what, he changed something big, and I can't help but smile at his image. Looking at this little girl's eyes, I feel like I won't ever be able to grasp the full extent of just how amazing it is that this biracial man is going to be everywhere for the next four years. (Not just him. All of them.)

Speaking of Obama and politics, much much win for his swift decision on Guantanamo (dude, he's left-handed, too? heee), and his support of Roe v. Wade today.

On that topic:
"I think what everyone ought to be interested in doing, whether they are or not, is reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies," Gandy told CNN. "Because if we reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, it will by definition reduce the number of abortions and reduce a lot of the pain and despair that has befallen women in these economic times, who cannot afford to enlarge their families when they don't have a job and they don't have a way to put food on the table for the kids that they have now."
THAT, yes.

To go back to Obama, how gorgeous is this B&W photo?

On this note, I will leave you with a beautiful photo and great moment. Not seeing / hearing about Bush anymore is going to be quite glorious, too.
greenie_breizh: (political)
when brown can stick around
when yellow can be mellow
when red can get ahead
when white can do what is right.

- Rev Lowery at the Obama inauguration

So. Bush is actually GONE. Can you believe that? I still can't. I think it's going to take a while to realize we're just not going to be seeing his face anymore. YAY. And obviously YAY for the guy replacing him being Obama. I didn't get very emotional watching the inauguration, and I wasn't all that convinced by his speech, but the massive crowd of people, that was amazing. I so wish I could have been in the middle of that, taking photos.

Now, we'll see. Where he takes the U.S. and what decisions he makes and what he achieves. I do have faith he can make a difference within a certain framework, and I really hope he will do just that. I'm glad that I'll be here to witness this and cheer and complain and all that stuff. I want him to do great things. And to keep being an endearing human being, like how he and the Chief Justice mixed up lines for the oath. That was awesome.

I'm really curious to see what Michelle Obama is going to do and stuff, too. I instinctively want to like her, just like Barack.

--

On the pets front, we have
1) a mommy cat in heat (thankfully she only rubs up against everything she can and offers herself to anyone who'll pass her by, no spraying or loud yodeling or anything). It's... interesting. I'd never seen an animal in heat before.
2) a new kitten who's been diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia. It's really mild compared to MeiMei Chloe, but it's definitely there. Little Fiona can still jump and get up on the back of the couch so I don't think it'll be a big problem in her life.
greenie_breizh: (new worlds)
I commented on a friend's journal the day after Obama's election on why I don't want to downplay the importance of that event, and the way Obama has been able to mobilize thousands of people all over the United States, even though I probably don't agree with most of the policies he was running on and I think I'm much more radical than he'd ever want to be.

Tim Wise says it much better than I ever could:

If we on the left want those liberals to join the struggle for social justice and liberation, we're going to have to meet people where they are, not where Bakunin would want them to be. For those who can't get excited about Obama, so be it, but at least realize that there are millions of people who, for whatever reason, are; people who are mobilized and active, and that energy is looking for an outlet. Odds are, that outlet won't be the Obama administration, since few of them will actually land jobs with it. So that leaves activist formations, community groups and grass-roots struggles. That leaves, in short, us. Just as young people inspired by the center-right JFK candidacy in 1960 ultimately moved well beyond him on their way to the left and made up many of the most committed and effective activists of the 60s and early 70s, so too can such growth occur now among the Obama faithful. But not if we write them off.

[...] Anger without hope, without a certain faith in the capacity of we the people to change our world is a sickness unto death. It is consuming, like a flesh-eating disease, and whose first victim is human compassion. While I would never counsel too much confidence in far-right types to join the struggle for justice--and there, I think skepticism is well-warranted--if we can't conjure at least a little optimism for the ability of liberals and Democrats to come along for the ride and to do the work, then what is the point? Under such a weighty and pessimistic load as this, life simply becomes unbearable. And if there is one thing we cannot afford to do now--especially now--it is to give up the will to live and to fight, another day.



If we're not fighting to be happy in a better world, then why are we fighting at all?
greenie_breizh: (yay)
America.



YOU FUCKING DID IT.



THANK. YOU.


Now, I don't quite think you're the dreamland of opportunity Obama makes you to be, but I am really impressed with you tonight. I am particularly impressed with your record voter turnout (will post number when I have them) because that's truly beautiful. I am so, so very admirative of the way Obama has gotten people so involved and engaged in the democratic process.

Tonight I'm especially thinking of all youth of color across the country for who this is going to make a very, very concrete difference, even if it doesn't make the playing field level. But maybe even more, I'm thinking of the older folks of color, people who once lived in a world where a black person and a white person could not marry, and I cannot begin to imagine the emotion that today represents. This victory, first and foremost? Is and should be theirs.


In the meanwhile, with 33% of precincts reporting, yes on Proposition 8 (aka yes on banning same-sex marriage) is leading in the polls in California, with 53%. California, I can't believe you're about to do this. Please don't. :( (More when more results are in.)

An email I just got from my mom who just got up in France:
"It's amazing...
The States are also capable of amazing things...
Kisses
Mom"
greenie_breizh: (political)
I'm exhausted, and I just want tomorrow to be done with so we KNOW.

Speaking of, link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] ely_jan, a picspam made of awesome. So many beautiful images.

On that note, good night. I'm off to snuggle with purring kittens.

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