Transgender rights from a ‘cisgender’ perspective

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

transgendersymbolA community comprised of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people encompasses a lot of different personalities, with different perspectives and experiences. Each sub-group includes different issues, but our chosen community acronym includes everyone.

In much the same way that spirituality that does not fit neatly within one of the socially defined slots of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, gets lumped into an ‘everything else’ category, the LGBT community is an amalgamation of people who deviate from narrowly defined concepts regarding gender expression and sexual orientation.

I learn a lot about the variety of perspectives while surfing the net for blog fodder and interacting with my readers. It is usually the latter that provide the greatest opportunity for insight. The topic that consistently generates response is Transgendered rights.

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9 bank closures brings the 2009 total to 115

•November 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Regulators shut down nine more banks last Friday, bringing the total for the year to 115. Nine subsidiaries of FBOP Corp., a multistate holding company that included California National Bank of Los Angeles, are the latest casualties of the banking crisis.

The FDIC announced that U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis has agreed to assume the deposits and assets of the failed banks. The FDIC and U.S. Bank agreed to share losses on about $14.4 billion of the combined purchased assets.

This year’s bank failures have already reduced the FDIC’s insurance fund to below $10 billion, from $45 billion a year ago. Friday’s closures will cost the FDIC an estimated $2.5 billion. Over the next four years, the agency expects bank closures will cost over $100 billion.

There are about 8,000 banks in the nation. The bank failure count for 2009 is below 1989’s record high of 534 bank closures, which occurred during the savings and loan crisis.

I have several concerns:

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Oxendine’s political strategy based on attacking queers for cash

•November 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oxendine

Yet another Republican candidate for office has concluded that the best way to raise cash and secure office is to avoid all issues of substance in favor of bashing gays.

John Oxendine is currently running for Governor of Georgia.  He issued a press release on Friday, October 9th in response to the LGBT March on Washington for Coming Out Day (excerpt):

…one of the most important issues to conservative voters is the institution of marriage.  But not just white voters. Many minority voters are very traditional in this area and they tell me they resent the gay lobby “hijacking” the civil rights movement for something
besides skin color or gender.  Those on the other side of this argument, made up of mostly Democrats, the gay community and special interests, have utilized any and every thing to secure civil marriage for themselves—including municipal governments, state legislatures, executive orders, courts, and did I mention, courts.  The GLBT lobby and activist groups have employed every tactic to distort ballot initiatives and spin the issue as something other than what it is.  Now, they want to apply pressure to President Obama and have him deliver for them.

I’m impressed by Oxendine’s ability to vilify a large cross-section of the local population in one paragraph. Bang those drums of righteousness brother! Whereas it is clear who he opposes in his statement, it is difficult to ascertain what he represents.  I am particulary impressed by his attempt to redefine civil rights as exclusively a gender or race issue.

Considering his career choice, Oxendine seems remarkably uneducated about the concept of civil rights.  Civil rights are a class of rights and freedoms that protect individuals from unwarranted government action and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.  Civil rights encompasses discrimination based on race, gender, religion and age, though evidently ‘skin color and gender’ are the only relevant variables when pandering for votes in Georgia.

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Atlanta Gay Pride 2009 on Halloween

•October 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Gay Pride falls on Halloween this year. How perfect is that? Who loves Halloween more as a group than the gay community? The opportunity to get creative and festive with Pride attire is now open to all new vistas of audacious, outrageous and fabulous.

The change in date was necessary to secure Piedmont Park for the event. Holding Pride anywhere other than Piedmont Park seems wrong. Atlanta Pride needs to be held in the heart of Midtown. That is where it belongs. Personally I am thrilled with timing and venue.

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Executive compensation

•October 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

executive compensation

Bank executives are being coming under fire for accepting hefty bonuses funded by the stimulus package. Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury official leading the pay review, says executives’ salaries will be cut by as much as 90 percent and their average total compensation will be reduced by about half starting in November.

The Treasury plan is limited to the seven bailed-out companies, Bank of America Corp., American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial.

President Obama praised Feinberg’s actions as a step toward greater accountability in the financial industry, saying “This is America. We do not disparage wealth. We do not begrudge anybody for doing well. We believe in success. But it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms, firms that are struggling, pay themselves huge bonuses, even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat.”

On Friday the Federal Reserve joined the chorus. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke laid out a description of the central bank’s post-crisis approach to regulation. The Fed’s proposal is much broader in scope, covering nearly 6,000 banks and a wider range of employees, from executives to traders to loan officers.

Bernanke outlined a number of steps regulators around the world are considering to decrease the risk of one firm’s problems destabilizing the broader financial system, including requiring big banks to hold more capital. He said regulators are considering requiring a greater share of bank capital to be held in the form of common equity, as well as a possible call for some firms to issue contingent capital, a debt-like security that can convert to equity in times of stress.

Obviously this move was not met with enthusiasm by those impacted. Executives were quick to defend the existing compensation structure. The vice chairman of Goldman Sachs went so far as to extol the virtues of income disparity with aristocratic flair.

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The Gay Primer | An alphabet soup of political acronyms

•October 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

LGBTDespite the host of issues confronting the globe, the gay community continues to be at the front and center of the political debate in the United States. The big Es: education, equality, energy, employment, the economy and the environment. I personally think the country needs to recognize that homosexuality is a perfectly normal behavior that manifests in a certain percentage of the population. Rather than discriminating against a large group of people based on perceived difference, we need to work together to address important issues that we have in common.

For society to benefit fully from the contributions of gay citizens, there are a host of inequalities that need to be rectified. It is not radical activism so much as shoving back against a society that would lock us in a closet and forget we are there.
There are five core issues of political importance making the rounds in Washington, impacting every aspect of the gay citizen’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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From one loan officer to another

•October 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Underwater mortgageIn an October 23rd blog, Shelby Bateson, a Mortgage/Housing Examiner, addressed the conflict of opinion and perception amongst housing industry insiders and the confusion that creates for the consumer trying to navigate today’s mortgage market.

I’m just tired of reporting what everyone says because the reports are too contradictory. I’m employed in the housing industry, so I should be better able to understand what’s going on that the average person on the street. While I do understand mortgage laws, or at least I used to until they started changing the rules every other day.

And speaking of mortgage regulations changing every other day – will someone please tell the powers that be to leave things alone for a while? How can anyone predict who will even qualify to buy a house if the rules keep changing?

I don’t have the solution. People call all the time and ask me if they should buy now or wait. I wish I could tell people what they should do; or at least I wish someone could. Does anyone have a solution?

I agree and I sympathize, but I don’t have a solution. I am not convinced that the ‘experts’ have a solution either. The information available consists primarily of speculation and conjecture. Statistics can be interpreted in a number of ways. The dire predictions are derived from fear, worry and concern. The optimistic assessments are borne of a need to keep the market from panicking. Both reactions are based on subjective perception, because the outcome has yet to be determined and the number of critical variables is overwhelming.

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