Archive for GottaLaff

Gliberal Goddesses

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Gliberal Goddesses

Today, we inaugurated a new segment on the show - The Gliberal Goddesses! It's GottaLaff, Amy Simon and myself talking about things that women talk about, the way women talk about them.

Today we discussed the Ray Rice domestic violence case and the NFL's sad response to it.

So great to hear from Keith Olbermann again! While I agree with him, I also agree with Whoopi Goldberg

We also discussed some Pat Robertson insanity (nothing new there), and the most outrageous comment of the day, this time from Geraldo Rivera...

I don't think we'll have trouble filling this segment in the future. We'll have to decide whether to do it in Laffy's spot every other week or schedule a separate show in the afternoon so Laffy can get her beauty rest in. Stay tuned!

In the first hour, I spoke with Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, about the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer upholding the decision to strike down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage! The dominoes are falling in the fight against marriage equality..

More tomorrow, radio or not!

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Tackling the Tough Issues

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Nicole Sandler

As if things weren't bad enough before I left for 10 days... As Jon Stewart asked upon his return, "What could happen in two weeks?" Famous last words..

Well, Jon Stewart attempted to cover the Israel-Gaza story with objectivity and, for his troubles, he got attacked - from both sides!

I hearken back to those words of wisdom spoken by every mother to every child, "Two wrongs don't make a right." What's going on in Israel and Gaza is unacceptable. Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself, and Hamas' practice of storing its weapons where civilians live and play is reprehensible, but that doesn't make it right to kill hundreds of innocent people who cannot escape the Gaza strip. They have no place to go. As Jon Steward asked, “Evacuate to where? Have you fucking seen Gaza? Israel blocked this border, Egypt blocked this border. What, are you supposed to swim for it?

Then you have the Russians trying to deflect the blamed for the downed Malaysian airliner. The New Republic translated a story from a "Russian website" and CNN reported on it, saying

"Then it was taken to Holland. On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes. Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile. Instead the plane was packed with a bomb, just like the CIA did on 9/11.

And we thought we were living in Opposite world. Indeed.

Today on the show, as we do every Tuesday, I hung with The Political Carnival's GottaLaff in the second hour of the show.

In the first hour, I shared another interview from Netroots Nation; this one was with David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

Back tomorrow, a little more rested, radio or not...

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Tea Party Determined to Champion McDaniel in Mississippi

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oops he's doing it again
Persistence, stubbornness, the ability to out-wait and out-dumb all competition … these are the pachyderm compatible qualities that have made the Lipton Brigadiers so easily swallowed by the GOP.

In the race we have loved to watch in Mississippi, Thad Cochran was declared the victor in his hopeful clamber back to another six years in the Senate seat he has done little to distinguish … but ever-so-much of late to remark upon.

Juiceyness speaking. Refresh yourself on the race, the astonishing recall and all things McDaniel and Mississippi here, the Carnival has covered its eccentricities deeply and well.

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As has The Rachel Maddow Show, no exception with Steve Kornacki filling in for Ms. Maddow this week. It has the trademark raised Maddow eyebrow of witty pithiness.

Hah! Tea Party Legend In His Own Mind McDaniel just won't give up the fight … even though it's been officially called. Even on Fvx Non News Network. By a cadre of blondes.

… and I still maintain that it's more than a shade possible Rachel was a Ghost Goddess at Laffy, Nicole and Amy's In-Person Gathering of Goddesses Sisterhood L.A. Session! Not to be missed. In fact I'd have a re-listen as well, if you want to indulge now, of Nicole's earlier show Live From Amy's House in Los Angeles … Radio Or Not, that was funny right there, and powerful. I can link you to the podcast here for ease.

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Wasn't that The Best?!? From the sweet sounds of The Mamas and the Papas right on through to the amazing dynamics of Nicole Sandler and Amy Simon Live from Cali! That's not just my Air America withdrawal talking, either.

The discussion of hedge fund and Silicon Valley high dollar funding in education is not something you hear a lot about in liberal circles these days … tip of the hat to Nicole's segment with David Dayen - pre-goddesses - for going there.

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Hate & Intolerance in the Name of God

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I understand that the religious right want to plunge the planet into apocalypse, but do they really have to talk what's left of the sensible and compassionate segment of the world's population with them?

From their intolerance toward anyone they deem "different" to their insistence on imposing their warped religious beliefs on the rest of us under the guise of "freedom," these zealots are some truly scary people whose actions show that they are anything but "Christian" (meaning living by the teachings of Christ).

The scene at the border crossings where hundreds of mostly unaccompanied children are entering the US is sad. What's even sadder are the videos we're seeing of the racists assholes in Murietta, CA, where bigoted citizens and their police counterparts not only blocked buses with loaded children who crossed the border, but shouted angrily at them things like "Get out," "go home" and "take your diseases with you."

I thought the United States of America was the land of immigrants, who came in response to "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Those miscreants are the epitome of the Ugly American who is sadly the fact of this country today.

The really insane thing is that these haters spew their vitriol in the mane of Christianity. As an atheist Jew, I'm more "Christian" than any of them, as I believe in taking care of those in need, not turning a blind or, or worse, to their pain and suffering.

Today on the show, I was joined by Claire Conner, who knows that hatred first-hand. She wrote of her childhood growing up with parents who were founding members of the John Birch Society in the book, Wrapped in the Flag: What I Learned Growing Up in America's Radical Right, How I Escaped, and Why My Story Matters Today.  

Responding the the more recent insanity of the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling, Claire wrote "I'm Terrified by these Zealots" for Crooks & Liars.

I am too.

It's Tuesday, that means GottaLaff joins me for the second hour of the show. In addition to our plans for another edition of The Vagina Dialogues© when I'm in Los Angeles next week, we talked about some of these stories too:

GW Bush signed law protecting young migrants, but, hey... #BlameObama

Retailer: "If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that."

TransCanada to small town: Here's $28K. Now shut up about tar sands pipeline project.

Conference caller: "Black people harvested cotton," Cochran “harvesting black votes”

One last thing... Keep the people of Japan - and the entire Pacific rim -- and the rest of the planet in your thoughts today. A giant "once in a decade" typhoon is bearing down today on Okinawa, forecast to go straight up the country for a direct hit on Fukushima.

See you back here tomorrow, as long as the planet is still here, radio or not...

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Years of Living Misogynistically

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misogyny

Syllabification: mi·sog·y·ny

Pronunciation: /məˈsäjənē

NOUN

Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women: she felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny

Welcome to 2014 - the year Misogyny went mainstream. Yesterday, the highest court in the land codified women's place as second class citizens into law with its misdirected and horribly wrong decision in the Hobby Lobby case. But the five Christian men on the court took it even a further step by saying that corporations religious rights trump the rights of said corporations' actual living, breathing female employees'!

And this isn't the first time the Roberts-Alito-Scalia-Thomas-Kennedy court has ruled against women's rights, but it just might be the straw that broke the misogynistic camel's back.

Jessica Mason Pieklo, senior legal analyst at RH Reality Check, who joined me on the show this morning to talk about the mansplaining from the bench yesterday wrote about it:

Having firmly established that closely held corporations (and probably publicly traded ones as well) can assert religious objections under the RFRA, the Court turns its attention to the birth control benefit specifically.

And here is where the Court’s deeply ingrained misogyny shines brightest.

Justice Alito writes that the Hahns and the Greensthe families who, respectively, own Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobbyhave a sincere religious belief that life begins at conception and that their religious beliefs provide both that they offer insurance coverage for their employees, but only insurance coverage that conforms to those religious beliefs. Justice Alito takes this as an opportunity to misstate the coverage requirements of the ACA. “Before the advent of the ACA, they were not legally compelled to provide insurance,” wrote Alito, “but they nevertheless did soin part, no doubt, for conventional business reasons but also in part because their religious beliefs govern their relations with their employees.”

Of course, the ACA does not require employers to provide any health insurance coverage for their employees. Instead, the law requires those employers that do provide health insurance coverage offer that coverage equally for both men and women.

This a la carte  type of coverage, where employers maintain ultimate veto authority over the scope of employee benefits, is of course the endgame to all these contraception challenges, and by opening the door to religious objections like Hobby Lobby the Court has set the stage for just that. The parties in Hobby Lobby sincerely, and wrongly, believe that emergency contraception and some forms of intrauterine devices (IUDs) act as abortifacients. But according to Alito, it doesn’t  matter that the Greens and Hahns are wrong. All that matters is that they sincerely believe they are right.

We don't have to go back any further than Thursday of last week to find another anti-female ruling from this court. Unfortunately, in McCullen v Coakely, a unanimous out-of-touch bench found that the first amendment rights of anti-choice protesters to harass, accost and assault any woman attempting to visit the doctor of her choice to have a constitutionally permitted procedure trumps that woman's first amendment rights. Brazenly misogynistic, even if the female members of the court went along with the insanity.

As Jessica Mason Pieklo also wrote, it's as if the women seeking medical care in question didn't exist at all!

The trope of anti-choice protesters as “plump grandmas” helped the media and the U.S. Supreme Court not just gloss over the very real threats of violence that abortion providers and patients face, but also erase providers and patients from the Supreme Court’s analysis almost entirely.

Since 1977, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) has documented eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 181 arson cases, 399 invasions, 100 acid attacks, and 663 bioterrorism threats targeting abortion providers and their facilities. A September 2013 survey of U.S. NAF members found that nearly 90 percent of providers had a patient entering their facility express concerns about their personal safety. At the Daily Beast, Sally Kohn reminds us that within an hour of the 1994 murders of abortion clinic workers in Massachusetts, which led to the eventual creation of clinic buffer zones, a woman called one of the clinics attacked and told the staff person who answered, “You got what you deserved.” Meanwhile, Donald Spitz, the director of Pro-Life Virginia, thanked John C. Salvi publicly for his murders as throngs of supporters cheered along enthusiastically outside the prison holding Salvi.

On Thursday, a unanimous Supreme Court looked past all that history—because, as Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority pointed out, the violent face of the anti-choice movement was not before the Court in McCullen. The “gentle” grandmas were.

It's enough to make you want to scream!

There are just two (among, unfortunately, many) examples of  misogyny coming down from the highest court in the land, both with the backdrop of religion- the oldest bastion of misogyny in the world. And it's not only good old Amerikkan Christianity. Just last week, we saw some good old-fashioned Biblical-type anti-woman action from the M&M's - Mormons and Muslims.

One of the great problems in our world is patriarchy. The late James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, put best in song, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.”

Patriarchy assumes that men are made to lead and women are simply cooperative and reproductive subordinates.

These assumptions come to light in all kinds of ways, but especially through religion — the various faiths that treat women as though they are not equal to men.

(...)  There is a direct link between Kate Kelly, a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter day-Saints, who was excommunicated on charges of apostasy, and Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for her supposed apostasy.

And the link is deeper than the charge of abandoning one's faith.

(...)  One dared to say that women could exercise religious authority where men are the “elders” and keepers of the Kingdom.

The other, standing before an all-male court, refused to renounce her faith.

In both cases, men were the judges and held the keys to life and death - literally, in Ibrahim’s case.

I invite you to read the entire article - "Hey religion, your misogyny is showing," written by Randal Maurice Jelks,  a professor of American and African-American studies at the University of Kansas and co-editor of the blog The Black Bottom, and published at CNN.com.

Of course, misogyny in American isn't only limited to the Supreme Court and the world's religions. It's apparently ingrained into the sick minds of mass murderers as we learned from the Isla Vista- Santa Barbara massacre  just over a month ago. At least in the aftermath of that sickening tragedy, we had some pushback with the #YesAllWomen hashtag campaign.

Global misogyny is on display in Nigeria, where hundreds of school girls were kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram who believe that girls should not be educated, but are to be used as cooks or sex slaves. Just this week, to little if any fanfare, it was announced that the missing girls may never be found due to the lack of immediate action to find them.

Of course, we need look no further than Washington DC to find the most egregious example of misogyny. It's based on inaction. The fact that women, to this day, have no constitutional right to equality. The Equal Rights Amendment has still not been ratified!

Although on her She's History segment on Thursday mornings Amy Simon has told us the history of the ERA, it's worth reviewing, so I hope you will.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Those are the few simple words that could change things here for we, the women of the United States of America. It's long past time to do this already.

Also on the show today to discuss this and more, the fabulous female known as GottaLaff of The Political Carnival.

We also checked in on the action outside the FCC, where some street theater was taking place this morning to call attention to the proposed assault on Net Neutrality. I discussed it with FreePress.net's Craig Aaron. BTW, you can still submit your comments on these proposed changes. Just visit SaveTheInternet.com.

Tomorrow, we'll delve into the other decision the Court got wrong yesterday, dealing with public service unions, as AFT president Randi Weingarten guests. We'll also talk with Crooks & Liars' Susie Madrak...  radio or not!

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Pity the Billionaire - or Not

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Listen to today's show:

Pity the Billionaire is the title of one of Thomas Frank's brilliant books, and one I immediately thought of when I read his current column, "Hillary Clinton forgets the '90s" Our latest gilded age and our latest phony populists" over at Salon.com.

In it, the man who originally asked What's the Matter with Kansas?  today reminds us that Hillary, with her latest references to our living in a new gilded age, was living in the White House with her then-president husband when Frank and his colleagues at The Baffler used the same phrase to describe that era.

In fact, as Frank recounts, there were a number of policies put in place by the Clinton administration that helped set us up for some of the big economic failures of the following decade, including

The point that really nailed the Gilded Age comparison, however, was the obvious return of monopoly in industry after industry. The concentration of media ownership, a development facilitated by Clinton’s 1996 telecom deregulation, was particularly scary: The Nation magazine ran a big chart showing who owned whom in the “National Entertainment State”; I myself called it the “Culture Trust.”

[Nicole's note: Thanks a fucking boatload for DESTROYING my industry Bill!]

The same kind of monopoly-building was happening in the ’90s in food processing and meat packing. It was happening in oil. It was happening among defense contractors, with the Clinton Administration’s active encouragement. And, as we all know, it was happening in the financial sector, a process that culminated in the much-celebrated repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Then there were Bill Clinton’s beloved free-trade deals; one effect of these, according to Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation, has been to expose our economy to monopolies based overseas, which have proceeded to gobble up sectors like the beer industry, 80 percent of which is controlled today by just two foreign companies.

Hmm.. Thomas Frank joined me on the show to talk about all of that and more this morning, and reminded me that next time, we need to begin our segment earlier because it always goes by way too quickly!

To begin the second hour of the show each day, we talk with someone from the Talk Radio News Service. Today it was former Congressman Bob Ney, who had some first-hand problems with Darrell Issa and had no problem sharing them with us when I asked about his embarrassing behavior at yesterday's hearing on the IRS non-scandal. We also briefly discussed the new report on climate change by a new organization, co chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer - Risky Business. Check it out here, and stay tuned, as we'll unpack it on a future show soon.

As she does every Tuesday morning, The Political Carnival's GottaLaff  joined in for hour two.

We had fun - talking about John Oliver's calling the chair of the FCC a Dingo and getting called out on it, and naming a Faux Newsmodel today's "world's biggest asshole". We got serious - reading an email from a Vietnam War veteran who knows what our current wave of returning veterans are going through.  And we marveled at the amazing parents of one brave eight year old.

I don't think Laffy posted this story yet, so I will. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the family.

A friend of ours shared a letter she got from another family, friends of theirs. We'll call them Lisa and Ted. Lisa and Ted have a son named Daniel. What follows is part of the letter they sent to friends and family, and I thank them for sharing their awesome parenting and research with us.

To those of you who have spent any time around us and know Daniel, I am sure it is obvious that he, like all kids, has his own set of unique and wonderful - as well as obnoxious – qualities.  Daniel is basically a typical 8 year old. He loves to read and draw. He enjoys climbing rocks, looking for bugs and worms, and making forts.  He is currently obsessed with ‘Wild Kratts’ and ‘creature powers’, and he loves swimming, playing in the ocean, camping and riding his bike. One of his favorite past times (much to our chagrin) is belting out songs at the top of his lungs (the current favorite is ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen). He can be loud and bossy at times but also super sweet and sometimes overly affectionate.   He is very intuitive and observant but he struggles at school with focusing and staying on task.

Daniel is also all about “typical” girl things:  Barbies, fairies, twirly dresses and all things related to fashion. He prefers to play with girls rather than boys, and identifies with everything feminine.  He can create very artistic outfits, complete with high heels, out of a few scarves and safety pins. He is fond of modeling and performing for whoever will watch.  He prefers to wear a nightgown to bed, and chooses girls skirts, leggings and dresses out to play and to school.

Since Daniel has shown all of these behaviors consistently since he was two, Ted and I have done our best to support him as he is; to talk to him about his feelings, make sure he is comfortable in his own skin, and to educate ourselves.  We have done a lot of research and participate in a local support group, as well as a national organization that links families like ours together.

Right now Daniel is figuring out what feels right – she has expressed a desire for us, her teacher and kids at school to use feminine pronouns and the name, Sophie.   Daniel feels and acts like a girl. People who don’t know us always assume he is a girl. He loves when people mistake him for a girl and it happens all the time now. In fact, at his request, we are transitioning ‘him’ to ‘her’ in all her upcoming summer camps. We have talked with the principal at her school and, though all legal documents still will read ‘Daniel’, she will be entering 3rd grade next year as a girl named Sophie, with everything that entails, including use of the girls’ restroom. We do not know how Daniel will identify himself in 2, 5 or 10 years. All we know is who she feels herself to be today – Sophie.

There is a lot of information about our situation and a LOT of kids, boys and girls, like Sophie who have traits of the opposite genders.  The “scientific” terms for how Sophie acts are gender variant, gender fluid, or gender non-conforming and possibly transgender. We know from our outreach that many kids like Sophie have considerably more stress about the dichotomy between their anatomy and their internal gender.  And there are many kids, unlike Sophie, who are gender different but only slightly so (i.e. feel no need to dress or wear hair as the opposite gender).  We feel very fortunate that, at least right now, she seems a happy and well-adjusted child without a lot of angst or worries, who gets to express herself in play and life  just as it feels right to her (like all of us gender-typical people do all the time!).   She wears what she wants to school, play, or family events and we honor her request to be called Sophie.  We expect that things may change as she ages but our hope is that she will never have to hide who she is in order to be safe and feel loved.

Here are some of the facts:

  • Research indicates that gender identity and behavior is hard wired in the brain before or soon after birth and that biologic factors (hormone levels etc.) cement gender identity during the first 6-12 months of life.  Sophie’s attraction to girl things, her need to dress like a girl in order to express how she feels inside and to play with girl things -  are as normal to her and as much a part of her inner being as being left-handed or having perfect pitch is to some people.  All of Sophie’s behaviors –boyish ones and girlish ones, come from within.  They are not choices she is making.  They are part of her just like her brownie blue eyes and her sensitive soul.
  •  This is not something that as parents, we can “fix”.  Some might argue that we “encourage” it, so it continues.  Some might say that if we didn’t “indulge” her desires then she would forget about them (out of sight out of mind).  They would be totally wrong.  Sophie chooses to wear a dress/skirt or sparkly tight leggings when, inside she feels like she wants to be herself. She doesn’t wear a dress to get attention – she does it because she wants to express herself and that is what feels right to her.  When we have a dress up affair, her immediate desire is for a dressy outfit and high heels because that’s what dressy means to her.  If this is not intuitive to you – those of you that have boys, are married to boys or are typical boys – ask yourself if that boy would ever put on a dress or heels just to be silly or get attention?  I assume the answer is no.  Sophie does sometimes seek attention when she is in an outfit she thinks is especially pretty - but it is because she wants to show off her true self, not because she can’t get attention other ways.
  •  This is not something Sophie is going to grow out of.  None of us know what kind of adult she will be, but this is not a “phase”.  She may become more “boyish” or more “girlish” or go back and forth between the two her whole life.  And even though she is only 8 it already creates some stress for her.  She is well aware that other boys don’t play like she does – for the most part, so far, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks, she just revels in the joy she feels when she can express the girl part of herself.
  •  No matter how open-minded a person you think you are or how much you love someone – seeing a boy act and dress like a girl is awkward at best and basically a hard thing to accept easily, at first.  I can tell you though, that awkwardness disappears with time – she is just Sophie, regardless of what she is wearing.  We are all so “norm” socialized that it makes even the best of us feel “funny” to see her in a dress.   [BTW- there are plenty of girls who are gender fluid also, and experience discrimination, bullying etc. – however, at this young age our society and socialization make those girls who act and dress like boys blend in better. They are way easier to accept than boys who act like girls.]
  •  Eight year old children are not sexual beings.  Plain and simple.  So this issue for us – from now to puberty at least – is not about what Sophie’s life will be like as an adult, but just about what it is like to be different.  Somehow people just can’t help themselves from thinking gender identity equates with sexual orientation.  From what limited research there is out there, we know that a small percentage of these kids are truly transgender and will go on to physically change genders as teens or adults.  A percentage (higher than in a control group) will be gay and some will be heterosexual.  The point we are making is that whom-so-ever Sophie becomes in 10 years, gender-wise or sexual preference-wise, is absolutely NOT the issue.  The issue is that she needs support and encouragement to love herself as she is now.

We are providing this letter because, if it were you having issues in your family that were as important as this, we would want to understand what those issues were and be able to be informed and supportive.  Along those lines, there is a lot more information out there about gender variance than we have summarized here. If you are interested we are happy to share.  Below there are a couple articles that you might find of interest and we can share other resources if you want as well.

We know for a fact that if we had said nothing at all, you would accept and love Sophie just as she is.  Now that we have said something, we also know that you will support our decisions to let her express herself freely and decide for herself what to wear and how to present herself:  that you will love, play, discipline and enjoy her in every way possible and encourage her to be the happiest and best person she is capable of being.  She should not get any extra slack for being different – she needs to learn from each of you how to behave like a good person and that is what we hope you will teach her.

These are the things we try to do to support Sophie and to help her build a strong character and sense of self:  We hope you, our family and friends, will help us in doing everything possible to see that she aspires to great things.  For now, we just want our home and our friends’ and families’ homes to be her “safe” places where she can be herself, whoever that is at that moment.

  • Love her for who she is.
  • Validate her – whenever it comes up or there is conversation, let her know that you know it to be true that there is more than one way to be a boy or a girl, that you imagine it is hard that some kids don’t get how you feel, etc.
  • Encourage her individuality (you look beautiful in that dress!) and avoid stereotypical comments (boys don’t skip!)
  • Acknowledge and celebrate difference – she is different and knows it and there is nothing to be ashamed of – when she wants to talk about it, talk about it; give examples of how you are different or how being different can be great!
  • Try and deal with your own demons – recognize your own internal issues about gender and how they play in to your feelings about Sophie.
  • Be Sophie’s advocate – if you are with her in a situation where something is awkward – someone is teasing or judgmental – speak up for her, and help her speak up for herself.
  • No victim blaming  –– Sophie is not responsible for other people’s intolerance – neither she nor we, her family/friends, have to ‘accept’ that people are going to be judgmental nor does she/we have to constantly be hiding who she is in order to fit in - when people tease or bully or are unaccepting, they are at fault.
  • Think about tolerance in other things that you do – making the world OK for Sophie means we all have to work on squashing eons of ingrained stereotypes; think of ways to line up or sort people other than “boys in one line, girls in another”, advocate for others who are different and struggling, examine the world around you and step up/speak out when someone is treated unfairly or unjustly because they are not like you and don’t blend in.

In spite of this horribly lengthy missive, in the grand scheme of things, Sophie’s gender variance is just an attribute of her for us to celebrate and learn from.  We are so lucky to have a happy healthy kid. Relative to the horrific things that other people have to endure with their kids all over the world, this is nothing.

And lastly, being our family and friends, we have no doubt that everyone will have an opinion to share – we hope so!  We encourage you to ask us anything you want and to offer whatever suggestions you have.  This parenting thing is a conundrum at best and we can use a lot of help!  The one thing that we ask is that you all respect our decision to support Sophie unequivocally. If you have an issue with that decision or you don’t agree with it, you take that up with us – not her.  For right now, she is growing her hair, wearing girl clothes and being addressed as Sophie (which she loves).  So as long as she is behaving as any nice child should, we don’t expect her to take grief in any form, from anyone in our inner circle.

Pretty amazing parenting! I only hope that I'd have been as open minded and wonderful if ever faced with a similar situation. All we parents have our own hurdles to conquer, but "Lisa and Ted" have earned my greatest respect.

I'll be back tomorrow with another show, with Crooks & Liars' Susie Madrak, and Truthout's Dahr Jamail.

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Why They Fight

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An Iraqi mourner waves an old flag of Iraq during the funerals of victims killed in clashes with security forces in Falluja, January 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

If you're confused about what's happening in Iraq right now - plus Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries - you're not alone.

The Washington Post attempts  to help us wade through it in "Why The Sunnis and Shias Are Fighting Explained in Two Minutes." Any my first guest this morning, Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation, helped me try to make sense of  Gen. Wesley Clark's war mongering on this program yesterday, and a little more about the situation we created in Iraq.

There was a lot to discuss with Victoria Jones during her Talk Radio News report, including President Obama's executive orders on LGBT worker's rights and protecting our oceans, and the latest SCOTUS rulings, including one against straw purchasers of guns! 

It's Tuesday, that means fun with Laffy! You may have noticed the "Laffy's Place" tab in the navigation bar above. That takes you right to The Political Carnival, where I am now also posting my work, and where Laffy welcomed me so warmly yesterday!

Today, in addition to lots of fun, we talked about the fact that today is the 20th anniversary of the infamous OJ Simpson slow speech chase through Southern California, and where we were while that was happening, a little bit about Chris Christie, and a birthday card with a conscience!

And although neither one of us is a hockey fan, we enjoyed LA Mayor Eric Garcetti's celebration of the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup!

Back tomorrow, 10-noon ET, with another live show... Radio or Not!

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