poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, September 16, 2005

Trans victims wait for justice
Gwen Araujo’s killers are finally convicted, but a trans victim of Katrina is arrested in Astrodome.

I HAVE BEEN spending a lot of time in court the last few months and not because I feel like soaking in the bland ambience of a late 20th century public edifice.

I have been attending the Gwen Araujo murder trial.

This has been the second trial for this trio, with the previous one ending in a hung jury and a mistrial during Pride month, 2004. It’s not so much a question of whether they were involved in this crime, but whether it was one of passion brought about by “trans panic.”

Latvia Moves To Ban Gay Marriage
by Malcolm Thornberry European Bureau Chief

(Riga) Latvia's Parliament has passed an amendment to the country's constitution to ban same-sex marriage. It still needs approval in three additional votes and then be approved by a constitutional panel before going into effect.

Pair Guilty In Brutal Gay Attack
by Newscenter Staff

(Austin, Texas) Two men have pleaded guilty in the beating and rape of a gay Austin man in a plea bargain that will see them back on the streets in six years or less.

As flood waters recede
More racist gov’t atrocities exposed
By LeiLani Dowell

The ravages of capitalism continue to be exposed in the aftermath of Katrina, as even more stories highlighting the official hostility and neglect toward the poor and people of color of the region—before, during and after the hurricane—are brought to worldwide attention.

Two paramedics from California trapped in New Orleans by the storm after attending a conference there wrote a gripping account of their experiences that appeared first in Socialist Worker, circulated widely on the Internet, and eventually was picked up by other media.

New Plant Finds In Andes Foretell Of Ancient Climate Change

COLUMBUS , Ohio -- For the third time in as many years, glaciologist Lonnie Thompson has returned from an Andean ice field in Peru with samples from beds of ancient plants exposed for the first time in perhaps as much as 6,500 years.

In 2002, he first stumbled across some non-fossilized plants exposed by the steadily retreating Quelccaya ice cap. Carbon dating showed that plant material was at least 5,000 years old.

Global warming 'past the point of no return'
By Steve Connor, Science Editor

A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

WSWS : News & Analysis : Global Inequality

UN Human Development Report pleads for reform as poverty and misery deepen
By Peter Daniels

The latest Human Development Report issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) documents the growing inequality and absolute decline in living standards and social conditions in large areas of the world.

In the words of Kevin Watkins, head of the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, the latest survey of 177 countries (175 UN members, plus Hong Kong and occupied Palestine) “shows in clear, cold numbers that many countries are not only failing to progress, but are actually slipping backwards, and they will continue on that downhill path unless the international community steps in to help with more resources and new policies.”

World Leaders Shake Heads as Reforms to Check Nuclear Arms Spread Dumped

Kofi Annan has called it a disgrace and Australian Prime Minister John Howard termed it a major disappointment.

After months of wrangling, world leaders were shaking their heads over the dumping of proposed UN reforms to check nuclear weapons proliferation and disarmament.

E-mail Suggests Government Seeking to Blame Groups
by Jerry Mitchell

Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Gays decry Catholic 'witch hunt'
Tom Musbach, Network

News that Catholic investigators will search US seminaries for "evidence of homosexuality" have caused an uproar, with gays angrily charging the Vatican with mounting a "witch hunt".

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kansas Gay Adoption Ban Nixed
by Newscenter Staff

Bush vows action over Iran
by Olivier Knox in New York

US President George W. Bush, bound for the United Nations, said overnight that he would try to rally China and Russia this week behind possible UN action to ensure Iran does not get nuclear weapons.

House Resources Committee Slated to Slash the Endangered Species Act
By Center for Biological Diversity

San Diego — Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), chairman of the House Resources Committee, will try again to introduce a bill that would dismantle the existing Endangered Species Act. The scheduled time for a Resources Committee mark-up is on Thursday, September 22, when they could potentially pass the bill out of committee and send it to the full House.

They didn't wait until middle age to question their birth sex. They are the 'Transgeneration.'
Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer

Butch Greenblatt entered middle school as a tomboy and left as a girly-girl. At age 14, Butch came out as a lesbian. A year later, Butch came out again. As a guy.

"For a long time, people thought the boy thing was a phase and I'd eventually grow out of it and be pretty and attractive and normal. I tried my best in middle school, but I never was very good at it," he says.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Supporters: Araujo just trying to be herself
Daily life can be difficult, say others who identify with other gender
By Barry Shatzman, STAFF WRITER

Jack Thompson avoids mirrors at all costs.

It's not that he considers himself unattractive. The 19-year-old Berkeley resident has had his share of girlfriends — including one now. His aversion to mirrors stems from something much deeper.

A eunuch's tale from the slums
A glimpse into their secretive world
By Marianne Bray

MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- It was 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon in Mumbai, and I was off to a slum to talk to a eunuch.

An undercover constable and a social worker were leading the way. As we passed the stalls that fringed the outside of the Chembur Vashi Naka slum, I wondered just what I had got myself into.

Also known as hijras, they have ambiguous backgrounds, some of them intersexual, others born male and fail to develop, with gay men and transsexuals also included in their ranks, according to experts who have worked with the community.

Transsexuality in the Movies

Evacuated From New Orleans Transsexuals Jailed In Texas For Using Women's Shower In Shelter
by Newscenter Staff

(College Station, Texas) Arpollo Vicks, 20, and her 16 year old cousin thought they were lucky to have been able to get out of hurricane ravaged New Orleans but their flighty to safety turned into a nightmare after being arrested for using the women's shower at an emergency shelter at Reed Arena at Texas A&M University.

Vicks, a substitute teacher at a middle school in New Orleans, and her cousin, both preoperative transsexuals, said they felt safer using the women's showers.

Lawsuit: School Withheld Resources From Gay Group
by Patrick Condon, Associated Press

(Minneapolis, Minnesota) Students in a gay-straight alliance at Maple Grove Senior High School are suing the district, alleging that the group was denied certain privileges extended to other extracurricular clubs.

Mattachine red-baited
Lavender & red, part 47
By Leslie Feinberg

The communist leaders of the Mattachine organization were red-baited soon after they publicly defended Dale Jennings, one of the founding members of the group, against anti-gay police entrapment charges.

NEW DELHI, India (Reuters) -- Imagine a world without drinking water.

It's a scary thought, but scientists say the 40 percent of humanity living in South Asia and China could well be living with little drinking water within 50 years as global warming melts Himalayan glaciers, the region's main water source

Investigation finds Red Cross agreed to withhold Orleans aid, operates in tandem with Homeland Security
Jennifer Van Bergen

Duck and cover

The nuclear power industry is coming back – even in California. And it's more frightening than it was the first time around.

Why Is the Ozone Hole Growing?
by Stephen Leahy

TORONTO - A huge ozone hole has developed over Antarctica for the second year running, exposing southern Argentina and Chile to high levels of damaging ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

The "hole" over the South Pole -- actually an annual thinning of the ozone layer during the southern hemisphere spring months of September and October -- currently measures about 25 million square km and growing, according to European Space Agency satellite data, and it may yet become the biggest hole in history.

I do hope all at Blue Diamond Society are safe

Nepal Activists Vow to Continue Protests

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators poured into the center of the Nepalese capital Wednesday in continuing protests against King Gyanendra's direct rule over this Himalayan kingdom.

Mass. Lawmakers Reject Gay Marriage Ban By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions, a year after the state performed the nation's first government-sanctioned same-sex weddings.

Namibia leader slams “un-African” gays
Ben Townley, UK

Comments from a senior politician in Namibia, who suggested lesbians and gays were “un-African”, have been slammed by international campaigners.

Mayor warns borough over gay ban
Ben Townley, UK

London’s Mayor has once again warned Bromley Council that its proposed ban on civil partnership ceremonies may be unlawful.

House backs hate crime measure protecting gays
By Joanne Kenen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unexpectedly backed a measure to expand federal hate crime protection to gay people, a measure that House conservatives had blocked for years.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Zealand lawmaker has brick, note tossed through office door

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- A New Zealand lawmaker accused political vandals on Tuesday of tossing a brick through the glass door of her electoral office in a small rural town.

Georgina Beyer, seeking a third three-year term as a center-left Labour legislator, said whoever threw the brick should save their protest for the ballot box in the Sept. 17 general elections.

The rise and fall of gender testing
by Patricia Nell Warren

In the late '90s, as the Olympic Games finally dropped its long-hated requirement for women's gender testing, the Gay Games stumbled into hot water with its own gender policies. First, the 1998 Amsterdam Games required competitors who had changed their birth gender to the opposite gender to provide medical proof of "completed gender transition." Organizers also decreed that mixed-sex couples (including transgendered persons who couldn't prove "transition" on paper) would not be allowed in the ballroom-dancing event. Then, the 2002 Sydney Games tried a different tack, by dividing competitions into two divisions: "male" or "female." Everybody, including transgendered and intersex athletes, had to choose a category to compete in, based on passport or birth certificate gender.

Russia Cracks Down On Gay Rights Group
by Malcolm Thornberry European Bureau Chief

(Moscow) Russian police have raided the offices of the LGBT project “Another Life” in the city of Syktyvkar and arrested its leader, Maxim Lazarev, on charges of pornography

Gay Marriage Likely To Be Decided By Supreme Courts In 3 States
by Beth Shapiro New York Bureau

(New York City) A decision could come at any time in a case seeking marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in the state of Washington, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear a similar bid for gay marriage in the Garden State in this session and New York's highest court is likely to get a third case later this year

America's Dark Underbelly
By Frank Hornig

America is not only licking its wounds, but also confronting underlying race problems revealed by the floodwaters. Just how racially imbalanced is the world's richest country? Poverty under the Bush administration has climbed by 12 percent.

The outer limits of empire

Interview with Howard Zinn, conducted by Tom Engelhardt
The Writing Life
The author of "In the Time of the Butterflies" considers the challenge of fiction in a post-9/11 world.
By Julia Alvarez

You've probably noticed it, too. How often a reviewer will allude to a novel as such and such an author's first post Sept. 11 work. Or mention Sept. 11 as an influence on the novel. Or assess the novel in the context of a post Sept. 11 world.

And not just reviewers. As a reader, I am reading in a different way. Just as I am traveling on mass transit and going through airports with a higher level of tension. A picture in my head of what can happen that won't go away.

Why America can't cope
There are deeper explanations for the New Orleans catastrophe than anyone has dared suggest, writes Andrew Stephen. The roots lie in America's deluded self-image

We know, now, that there was not even a Prescott in charge in Washington. President Bush was exorcising heaven-knows-what demons by furiously riding his mountain bike in Texas - nobody, not even the Secret Service or a visiting Lance Armstrong, is allowed to pass him - while Vice-President Cheney was fly-fishing in Wyoming. Condoleezza Rice, next in charge, was shopping for shoes at Ferragamo's and watching Spamalot on Broadway and catching the US Open in New York; while Andy Card, the White House chief of staff, who is supposed to keep it all together, was taking in the sea breeze with much of the rest of the Bush crowd in Maine.

The roots of terror
Terry Eagleton

Some form of terror lies at the origin of most political states, writes Terry Eagleton, but this fact is cast into the political unconscious. Only by confronting it, rather than repressing it, can we hope to get beyond it

A lot of what we imagine as traditional – the Scottish kilt for example – is fairly new-fangled, and this is true of terrorism. Of course, human beings have been at each other’s throats since the dawn of time. But terrorism is also a political idea, which is not quite the same as blowing up your neighbour because his TV set is too loud. And this idea is surprisingly recent.

I'm a hopeaholic. There's nothing George Bush can do about it
We have imposed our disastrous president on the world - but America's finest quality is already turning the tide at home
Gloria Steinem
The Guardian

It's hard to travel or send words out of the US now. How can any American expect to be welcomed in the rest of the world when we have imposed the narcissistic and disastrous George Bush on it? I could explain that almost none of his policies has majority support here. Even among those who voted for him, a poll showed that 60% to 80% thought they were voting for the opposite of his actual positions: they supported the comprehensive test ban treaty (he didn't); they supported the Kyoto treaty on global warming (he didn't); they supported the international criminal court (he threatened to sanction any nation that did); and so on. This tells you a lot about the level of information in mass media that prefer celebrities, yelling matches and advertising to investigating what is and isn't accurate.

Exiles From a City and From a Nation
by Cornel West

It takes something as big as Hurricane Katrina and the misery we saw among the poor black people of New Orleans to get America to focus on race and poverty. It happens about once every 30 or 40 years.

What we saw unfold in the days after the hurricane was the most naked manifestation of conservative social policy towards the poor, where the message for decades has been: 'You are on your own'. Well, they really were on their own for five days in that Superdome, and it was Darwinism in action - the survival of the fittest. People said: 'It looks like something out of the Third World.' Well, New Orleans was Third World long before the hurricane.

On Katrina, Global Warming
Speech given by Al Gore

I know that you are deeply concerned, as I am, about the direction in which our country has been moving. About the erosion of social capital. About the lack of respect for a very basic principle, and that is that we, as Americans, have to put ourselves and our ability to seek out the truth because we know it will make us free. And then on the basis of truth, as we share it to the best of our abilities with one another, we act to try to form a more perfect union and provide for the general welfare and make this country worthy of the principles upon which it was founded.

Creeping Fascism

A few months after Tom Ridge stepped down as US Homeland Security chief, he set the record straight: the White House had repeatedly disregarded his advice and raised the government’s terror alert to orange, or “high,” without justification. Ridge wanted to “debunk the myth” that his department was needlessly frightening the American public with the alerts and told reporters “More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it . . . There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, ‘For that?’”

Detainees Demand Hearings, Allege Beatings by Guards
By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer

A month-old hunger strike at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has grown to include at least 128 detainees, 18 of whom are forcibly receiving intravenous fluids or nutrition in the prison hospital, military officials and detainee lawyers said yesterday.

The captives are protesting their indefinite imprisonment and what they describe as beatings administered by the prison's Immediate Response Force (IRF)-- squads of military personnel who are dispatched to put down disturbances in detainees' cells. Some have said they will refuse to eat until the military gives them a fair hearing or they die, according to their attorneys.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Two found guilty of 2nd degree murder in Araujo case, jury deadlocks on third man
By Yomi S. Wronge
Mercury News

An Alameda County jury this afternoon convicted two defendants for the killing of a transgender Newark teenager, but deadlocked on the third defendant.

Capping the second trial in the Gwen Araujo case, the jury found Michael Magidson and Jose Merel guilty of second degree murder in verdicts unsealed this afternoon in Hayward. But the four-woman, eight-man jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of a second degree murder conviction for Jason Cazares.

Judge Harry Sheppard declared .wa mistrial in Cazares' case. It will be up to the Alameda County District Attorney to decide whether to pursue a third trial against him