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There's currently a diary up on the proper accommodations to be providing to transpeople during incarceration.  The author tries to be sensitive to the issue and succeeds pretty well (although he got the reasons about gender segregated prisons wrong -- sexual predation is more common in prisons than elsewhere, and gender segregation was an attempt to minimize it.)

Unfortunately, the diarist "doesn't know any transgender people," and gets one critical thing wrong: in the poll, she provided "Male/female as each person decides for themselves."  That's a thoughtless and insulting wording.

Unlike the diarist, I do know a transperson -- my daughter and her partner .  If there's one thing either one would tell you to your face was there was they didn't decide anything; in both cases, they'd have preferred to fit comfortably in the LGB communities, rather than into the T or the Q communities.

When you phrase things as involving "decision," please use terms like "accepted" or "recognized" as male or female or genderqueer. Using "decided" repeats the same bigoted frame that LGB folks still see every day: "When did you decide to be gay?"


Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 10:05 PM PST

I don't believe in DINOs

by demimondian

There's a diary up right now which gripes that John Barrow is "a DINO".  There's no such thing.

I know, I know, there are Democrats who aren't good Democrats.  Sometimes, in fact, there are Democrats who are bad enough that we should primary them -- I gave money to one Bill Halter when he primaried one Blanche Lincoln, because I thought she needed to be given a swift kick.

But then, when she won the primary, I gave money to her general election campaign.

Blanche Lincoln was not a good Democrat in the US Senate.  That said, she was a reliable vote for Harry Reid and the rest of the Senate leadership.  John Barrow certainly votes in ways I don't like, and does so frequently.  However, he's not going to vote for John Boehner for Speaker of the House.  He's not going to pointlessly obstruct the House forever just to spite our current Democratic President.

These folks are Democrats.  They generally support Democratic policies.  Barrow has a consistent positive score from NARAL -- not 100% some years, no, but every Republican Representative is below 10%...or they're no longer a Republican representative.

Don't fall into the Red State purity trap.  Sometimes, we need to primary not-so-good Democrats with better Democrats.  But the not-so-good Democrats aren't Democrats in Name Only.


Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:23 AM PDT

Machiavelli was right

by demimondian

Today's my birthday!  My Facebook friends and acquaintances have been filling my time lines with gleeful celebrations of the anniversary of my birth (at midnight, appropriately.)  My colleagues at my office, however, despite a well-established tradition of similar clebrations have been distinctly...subdued.

And this makes me very happy.  At home, I want to be loved and appreciated for kindness, humor, and love.  At work, I want to be celebrated as someone who's tough but fair, focusing on the needs of the business and demanding progress towards them, recognizing all those who move us towards them, and calling out those who get in the way.  My home life is dominated by hugs and help with homework.  My work life?  Yeah, no, not so much.

OK, great.  We at dKos are all thrilled that demi has infested the world a year longer, right?  But what does this have to do with politics, and particularly recent politics?  

Everything, of course.  For four-plus years, President Obama has sought to be "the adult in the room" by negotiating and trying to satisfy the other powers in our state.  He acted as if he wanted to be respected and admired.  He was wrong.

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli observed that "it is better [for The Prince] to be feared than loved."  The goal of the Prince is to protect his state and improve its welfare.  It's not to be feted throughout the world as the nice guy, or as fair, or as "the adult in room".  The Prince needs to be seen as reasonable, since otherwise his own folk will rise up against him, but he must also be seen as tough and dangerous, lest other states feel free to attack his state without fear.

Fortunately the President realized this applied to him after the 2011 budget crisis.  He decided that the nation depended more on his defending it from attack than on him being a fair and just ruler.  It was better for him to be feared than loved.

And when he realized that fiar but tough and unyielding won elections and took care of the country, he started winning, and, ironically, admiration followed.

So keep it up, Mr. President.  I'm a huge fan of your family and how you care for it.  In public, though, I want the enemies of the state to fear you.  Sir, be fair, but tough.


Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 07:39 AM PDT

What's so bad about three months?

by demimondian

OK, OK, this will all be repeated in three months.  OK, OK, we're going to have a couple of months of theatre about budget 'negotiations'.  We might even get a consensus proposal out of the conference committee.  All great and good.

So what?  This wasn't Appomattox Courthouse.  This was Gettysburg, where after several days of repulses on the flanks, the invaders launched a direct charge up the middle, and, in the process, lost the battle.  This was the Fall of Vicksburg (coincidentally, on the same day).  There's a lot of fighting left.  We haven't won -- but if we keep fighting, we will win.

But the seditionists have had their high water mark on one front, and have felt the first real break in their natural defenses on the other.  They need to resources of the less crazy Republicans to continue their attack, and the less crazy Republicans have been split off from the hard core of the farthest right.  From here on in, we need to turn their defeats into attacks: defeat the attackers by simple numbers in elections in Virginia and North Carolina, while fracturing the far right coalition by strengthening the voter rolls of Democratic voters in the more radical far South.

It isn't over, no.  But like our first Civil War, we've split the South, and now we need to keep up the pressure over time.  At the end, the Union is going to win this one, just as it won that one.


Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:21 PM PDT

I'm against dumb wars

by demimondian

Almost 11 years ago, on October 2, 2002, an up-and-coming state Senator in Illinois gave a powerful and moving speech against the then-incipient Iraq war.  Of course, that Senator was Barack Obama, who is now President of the United States.  Today, Mr. President, I'd like permission to revise and extend your remarks with reference to the current "situation" in Syria.

In the October 2nd speech, sir, you said,

I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.

Mr. President, I agree with you completely.  More than that, sir, I think you didn't go far enough.  You see, sir, it's not enough that a war be neither dumb, rash, nor cynical.  It's also necessary for the war to be winnable.  I oppose pointless wars, as well as dumb, rash, or cynical ones, and Syria is currently a pointless war.

Don't get me wrong, Mr. President.  Unlike Iraq in 2002, we have a great deal of evidence that Bashar El-Assad has gassed his people recently.  If so, we have incontrovertible evidence that he does possess weapons of mass destruction, and that he is completely willing to use them.  He appears to be a monster of Hitlerian or Stalinesque proportions, and, if the UN arms inspectors come to the same conclusions you and your administration come too, there will be absolutely no doubt that we should take him out.

The problem, Sir, is that "taking him out" is currently impossible and that even hurting his regime will do vast harm to the innocent.  We don't have the current troop strength to invade.  Precision bombing works against fixed installations or against massed troops in isolation, but it's useless -- and arguably worse than useless -- in urban warfare.  If we had the tens of thousands of drones necessary to surgically attack and kill individual Baathists, we could do that, expecting to weaken the current regime enough that the rebels would topple it.  But we don't have them -- and so we have no reasonable options which we can reasonably expect to successfully topple, or even cripple, the current Syrian regime.

More than that, Mr. President, what would the appropriate action be if, somehow, miraculously, we did remove El-Assad from power?  What then?  Would that stop the civil war?  Or would we have to play policeman in a fragmented multi-party conflict which will otherwise send Syria back to a feudal confederation of warring baronies -- quite literally, sending Syria back to the Dark Ages?  Look at the on-going social decay in Iraq, and at the similar decay emerging in Afghanistan -- do you want us to replicate that yet again?

Sir, you oppose dumb wars, and you're right to do so.  I think, though, that you should also oppose pointless intervention -- and, currently, that's what entering the Syrian conflict would be.  I know it's unsatisfying, and that it threatens our diplomatic standing, but let's stick to things which might work -- arm the rebels if we must do something, trying to selectively strengthen the factions we think will be the best winners in the end -- but let's not make ourselves look foolish by entering a fight in a way which won't help any of the parties we'd like to support.

Mr. President, put down your war.


Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:18 PM PDT

The MSFT-NSA conspiracy theory

by demimondian

There's a diary on the front page today about a long-discredited theory about security vulnerabilities, the NSA, and Microsoft here.  The short form of what I'm going to write is that the story it promotes is simply wrong.  The long form is below the reality-based imaginary Cheeto.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:49 PM PST


by demimondian

This is not a TTFN -- I'm not going to "take a break for my sanity" or whatever other reasons folks have given -- but it is a "So Long For Lent".  Lent starts tomorrow morning, and this year my Lenten resolution is to give up political blogging in preparation for Easter.  I'll be back on Easter Monday, but between now and then -- I'll miss ya'll.  Take care.


The Republicans in Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are (or maybe are not -- Virginia seems to be bucking the trend) about to launch one of the most undemocratic gambits in many generations.  By partitioning the electoral votes of Blue states but leaving the electoral votes of the Red states to be awarded by state, they're planning on gaming the electoral college to make it impossible to elect a Democrat president any time in the next millenium.

That's vile, unpatriotic and disgusting.  It's the kind of behavior which I associate with Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Benedict Arnold, the American Trinity of Traitors.  It infuriates me beyond words, and I hope I'm not alone in that.

I know I'm not alone in that, in fact.  I've seen a bunch of people criticizing the Supreme Court's unwillingness to intervene in this kind of anti-democratic (as well as anti-Democratic) bullsh*t. There's only one problem: the Supreme Court is right about this one, at least as the issue has been framed.

Follow me past the MSG-laden of Cheetoh of Doomliness to find out why..and what we can do about it.

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Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:09 PM PST

Consensual fantasy

by demimondian

No, no, no.  Not THAT kind of consensual fantasy.  I'm talking about government, money, and democracy, not about sex.

I have been thinking a lot about the Platinum coin option, and I think that I understand why I'm so uncomfortable with it.  I'm not uncomfortable with it because it's legally questionable -- even if it were, which I doubt, it's no more legally questionable than the whole debt limit issue, after all.  It's not that it's politically dubious -- I'm not convinced that we couldn't just repeat the same trick as often as we need to, until the Republicans in the House wake up to the fact that they won't win that battle.  It's not even that it would almost certainly trigger an impeachment motion in the House -- I wouldn't be surprised if Boehner and company are thinking about launching an impeachment inquiry if the US goes into default.

No, it's about the problem with telling lies, and keeping them consistent.

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Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:13 PM PST

What do you mean, nothing?

by demimondian

Look, I don't like tonight's deal.  It's...bad.

But let's not forget what else the sequester cut.  It didn't just cut defense spending.  It cut virtually all "discretionary domestic spending".  It left the doc fix unfixed -- which would have killed Medicaid by cutting payments to physicians by 27%.  NASA, NSF, anything not involved in killing people?  Yeah, no, gone.

So before you lose it too terribly much, remember that there was a lot that we did get.  Is it a good deal?  Not in my opinion.  Was it wise to take it anyway?  You know, I really don't know.  It isn't obvious, bad as this deal is.


Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:47 AM PST

Why we should love the filibuster

by demimondian

You'd think, given all the hoorah about filibuster reform on the front page, that we hate the filibuster.  Actually, of course, we love it, and will continue to love it until at least January 1st -- and, I suggest, should continue to love it thereafter.

Why?  Simple.  Two words: "fiscal cliff".

Here's the long form:

(a) The Dems have the Republicans in a bind about the automatic expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts.  


(b) Because of the fiscal cliff.  

And why do we have a fiscal cliff to threaten a Thelma and Louise with?  

(c) Because of the Byrd Rule and Reconciliation.  

What does the Byrd Rule do?  

(d) It defines exactly which items can be entered into reconciliation.

So what does that have to do with anything?

(e) Point 5 of the Byrd Rule excludes from reconciliation any item which will increase the deficit in a year not covered by the bill in question.

And what does that mean?

(f) The Bush Tax cuts would have "increase[d] the deficit for a fiscal year beyond those covered by the reconciliation measure." So they had to be time limited to ten years.

And what is the force behind the Byrd Rule?

(g) The filibuster, and nothing else.

Bottom line: the filibuster is a useful tool, and we actually like it a lot.  It is annoying, yes, but it's also awfully valuable when you need it.


Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM PST

How 2012 is unlike 2004

by demimondian

The new emerging pundit story seems to be that 2012 is like 2004, and, as a result, Democrats had better watch out.

The parallels are pretty clear.  In 2004, the Democratic candidate for President was a wealthy, apparently out-of-touch man with roots in Massachusetts drawn from the middle of the party, promoted as a consensus candidate who, while uninspiring, could at least win.  In 2012, the Republican candidate for President was a wealthy, apparently out-of-touch man with roots in Massachusetts who, while uninspiring, had fought a long primary battle and shown he could win there.  Each of them went into the evening of election day with evidence that he was winning in Ohio; each of them woke up the next morning having lost it, and with it, the election.  In each case, the party went into a feeding frenzy after the loss.

If the past is prologue, and if history at least rhymes, the Republican party will bounce back from this crushing defeat and win control of the Senate in the next off-year election.  In 2016, the party will nominate a clever, ambitious centrist who will defeat Jeb Bush after a long and bitter primary campaign.  Despite evidence to the contrary, this centrist will be seen as a moderate extremist and will sweep the purple states with coattails a mile long, and build a Republican supermajority in the Senate which will lead to a period of unquestioned Republican dominance in government.

I can't see the future, but I suggest that if the Republican party is in for a rude surprise if it hangs its hopes on that narrative.  Yes, John Kerry and Mitt Romney both spent time in Massachusetts, and both sought and won electoral office there.  Yes, both men were wealthy, and both appeared out-of-touch.  After that, though, the analogy breaks down, and breaks down badly.

Follow me across the socialist firetruckstick to find out why.

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