Vote for Me! 12 Days to Win $1,000!

Hey loyal readers:

I have founded a group called Trans Lives Matter. We’re new, and dedicated to providing direct service in transgender communities.

This week we’re part of a competition at Echoing Green where they’re giving away a $1,000 grant to one group. The grant goes to the group who gets the most votes. We’ll be doing outreach across different demographics of trans communities, and we’re the only trans specific group in the competition.

That’s why I need your help please. Every single vote matters, and we don’t get the money if we don’t come in number one.

So go to this page, vote for us, and tell everyone you know!

http://purpose.maker.good.is/projects/TransFamily

Thank you for helping us make the world a better place. ūüôā

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Gender Odyessy: Height Oppression Panelists Needed

 

Call for Speakers at Gender Odyssey Seattle Conference Workshop and Panel Presentation on Height Oppression.

Sam Davis, a genderqueer transguy from the San Francisco Bay Area, will be presenting a workshop at the Gender Odyssey conference on Friday 8/3, including a panel presentation and group discussion on height oppression. His aim is to create a dialogue strategizing ways that short people who pass as male can use language to empower themselves when being disrespected, bullied, or looked down on (in every sense of the word) for being short.

He is looking for short cis men and trans people who pass primarily as male, who might consider speaking about their experiences dealing with both the overt and the more subtle, pervasive forms of height discrimination we experience. As a progressive community, we have found creative ways to use language and empowering rhetoric to respect ourselves as queer and as trans and as feminists and anti-racists and disability rights activists.

Using these models and other examples of movement-building as a starting point, the workshop aims to articulate what height oppression means, deconstruct how it manifests in everyday interactions, and identify ways to challenge it. Sam is looking for a panel of speakers, including both non-trans men and trans-identified people who typically pass as male, straight and queer, as diverse a panel as possible, to share experiences of height oppression throughout our lives, and name examples of ways different people have found to stand up against it.

Amazingly, it is commonly taken for granted that saying,”Wow I feel so tall around you!” is acceptable, while any other similar comment asserting one’s privilege over another person with a visibly less-valued aspect of physical appearance would be immediately challenged by anyone who considers themselves progressive-minded.

Sam is looking for a panel of speakers who are comfortable talking about what kinds of discrimination they have dealt with over the course of their lives, and how they have survived it with dignity. The panel presentation will be followed by group dialogue brainstorming possibilities to create empowering language for short male-presenting people, and empowering responses to different situations involving discrimination, disrespect, patronizing, bullying, and subtle indicators of being viewed as inferior.

Please contact Sam Davis if you would consider speaking as part of the panel.

He can be reached by email at: samdavis66@sbcglobal.net. He will then arrange a phone conversation to talk more about the particular experiences you might like to bring up, and ways this form of discrimination intersects with different sources of oppression in our culture.

 

American Autumn: An Occu-Doc Arrives!

Hey folks!

Looks like the 99% is keeping up the tradition of making amazing documentary footage keeping the movement alive. Here’s the trailer for the new documentary that previews tomorrow night in Brooklyn!!

More info here: http://www.occupy.com/article/world-premiere-event-american-autumn-occudoc

Michigan Capitol Vagina Monologues

Alright folks!!

Courtesy of the Rochestor Citizen, we’re proud to bring you the prologue to the performance of the Vagina Monologues that took place on the Capitol Steps in protest of the House in Michigan declaring that the word “Vagina” is OFFENSIVE.

It’s a VAGINA. You shouldn’t be messing around with it if you can’t TALK about it!

Enjoy!

 

The Banned TED Talk

Seattle billionaire Nick Hanauer was invited to talk at TED. His topic? Why the rich aren’t the ones who create jobs, but rather, it’s an ecosystem of dependency between businesses and their customers. He is for higher taxes on rich folks like him, and coming up with ways to increase the spending power of the working and middle class.

The talk was not posted on TED.com, and the reason given was that it was “too political”. Which makes no sense considering there have been talks given on topics like Homeland Security tracking black and brown people,the detainment of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, and fighting internet censorship in countries like Yemeni.

So of course there was and is a controversy. Mr. Hanauer thought his talk wasn’t posted because it threatened an established social order about who deserves to have money. I’m leaning toward agreeing with him. TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, says it ain’t so at all. Mr. Hanauer also wondered about one thing: since the TED folks knew what his topic was going to be, if they thought it would be too political, why invite him to do the talk in the first place?

Here’s the talk for your viewing pleasure, with the transcript underneath it, thanks to the National Journal:

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down. This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.

But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. ¬†It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy. ¬†

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are “job creators” and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy. I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.¬†

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around. Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. ¬†In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.

That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%. If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy  would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs.  And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough super rich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages. Here’s an incredible fact. If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?

Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as “job creators” at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from “job creator” to “The Creator”. We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a “job creator” is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges.¬†

The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification. We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic ¬†feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here’s an idea worth spreading. In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. ¬†And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

Thank You.

Ready Player One: Win A DeLorean!

OMG, you all!!!! The Hunt has come to life!! In celebration of the release of Ready Player One’s paperback, Ernest Cline has announced his own Easter Egg Hunt. The prize: a 1981 DeLorean. But I’ll let him tell it:

Here’s more info on the rules and challenges: http://www.ernestcline.com/rp1contest/

Let the Hunt begin!!

President Obama’s Speech @ Nerdprom

The annual White House Correspondents Dinner (AKA NerdProm) happens at the Hilton in DC. It’s a time when the President gets a chance to talk to the best of the Beltway and non Beltway media. In President Obama’s case, it’s also time to crack a few really great jokes.

Folks who watched the 2011 NerdProm may remember the way he cracked on Donald Trump for being so self serving and nosy about his birth certificate. Well, I think this year’s NerdProm speech is even better!

No need for me to keep talking…here it is!