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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Vernal Equinox 2019

The apparent path of the sun will cross the equator moving northward at 21:59 UTC today, signaling the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern.  Enjoy the milder weather to come, and Blessed Be!

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Diary #453

SASS weekend is always jam-packed, and this time was no exception.  My friend Angela Keaton flew in on Tuesday, then on Thursday we had a baby shower for my friend Winnie.  On Friday night I volunteered to staff the kissing booth at the Sexy Circus fundraising party, and if you look at this picture I took in my booth (too bad you can’t see the fishnet stockings), I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I did a brisk business all evening.  On Saturday my documentary, The War on Whores, premiered to an absolutely packed house, and their enthusiastic response let me know we had a winner; if you missed it, you can either watch it on Vimeo or get to Vancouver on the 20th!  We’re planning a number of other showings, so keep your eyes open.  Anyhow, I was pretty spent by Sunday night, which I spent quietly at home with Angela and a couple of other friends.  I’m going to need as many nights like that as I can get; it looks like I’ll have a busy travel schedule this year!

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Mardi Gras 2019


Maybe the places where many of y’all live don’t observe it, but I still do. So Happy Mardi Gras, dear readers!

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While these celebrations are useful rallying points, if we’re to succeed we need to fight for sex worker rights 365 days a year.  –  “365 Days of Activism

If we didn’t already know how much hatred and disdain the rulers of the American Empire have for sex workers, they certainly let us know last year with an extra-special Sex Worker Rights Day gift, a massive internet censorship bill named FOSTA; they then soon followed it by demolishing Backpage, the platform most accessible to marginalized sex workers.  But if politicians hoped these evil attacks would demoralize and suppress sex workers, they certainly got a surprise; instead, the viciousness and blatant malice of the acts have galvanized sex workers like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  New sex worker organizations have sprung up and old ones have been revitalized, and backers who had long remained silent stepped up with money and other resources to support them.  Sex workers’ protests and demands are beginning to be heard at last; some journalists are looking up from cops’ boots, some members of the general public are stirring in their fitful sleep of ignorance, and even a few politicians are beginning to push for decriminalization.  More writers are questioning the two-decade-old “sex trafficking” hysteria, and even the useless ACLU issued its first pro-decriminalization statement (albeit a very brief one) in ages.  Normally, my essay for this day is directed toward my sex worker sisters, but I’m pleased to say they’ve got this; what we need now more than ever is for those of you who aren’t sex workers to amplify our voices and support our cause.  Share and retweet sex worker essays and interviews; counter prohibitionist bullshit you see or hear; support politicians or other public figures who are pushing back on criminalization; loudly challenge media narratives presenting the arrest of sex workers as the “rescue” of “victims”; educate yourself by reading books and articles by actual authorities (sex workers & academics who work respectfully with us) or watching videos like mine (which premiered to a packed house in Seattle last night).  And most of all, support us pragmatically with the funds we need to fight.  Most of y’all reading this don’t have the money to back a ballot campaign or hire lobbyists, but you can buy a video, help to arrange a screening, donate to organizations which are on the front lines, or even book a session with an escort you know to be an activist.  Our movement is becoming louder than ever, but that also means we need your support more than ever; can we count on you?

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Speaking for myself and my…Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from [Kamala’s] travesty.  –  Donald Harris

Rough Trade 

Cops wait a year to arrest a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

…a 31-year-old [Dublin] tradesman…imprisoned, stripped, beat…and [raped a sex worker], who escaped out a window and ran naked onto a main road, where she flagged down a taxi…he al[so] pulled clumps of hair out of a second prostitute’s head and raped her, as well as robbing both women.  Judge Bryan Smyth [gave him]…bail [anyhow.  The first attack took place]…in June, 2016…and…the second…in [sic] February 4, 2018…

Amsterdam

Note that this positive article appeared on CNN, one of the major pushers of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam…isn’t as liberal for sex workers as many believe.  Sex work has been legal in some form in the Netherlands since 1830, but it was recognized as a legal profession in 1988.  In 2000, a law made the job subject to municipal regulation, requiring a license to operate and following certain rules set by a municipality…so each can differ.  For example, they can decide how many licenses to give out…The only places that have decriminalized sex work are New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia.  In both places, sex work is not penalized through punitive laws, and regulation are premised on worker health and safety, as with any other profession…The reform in New Zealand…reduced violence against sex workers, increased their comfort in reporting abuse to the police and improved police attitudes toward sex workers, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.  Research also showed that decriminalization in New Zealand resulted in sex workers being better able to refuse clients and insist on condom use. One study showed that decriminalization has the potential to reduce discrimination as well as denials of justice…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s rare and surprising to see the acts of a rapist cop actually called “rape”:

A…Wilmington [Delaware cop]…was charged with second-degree rape at the conclusion of a four-month [attempt at a cover-up]…Thomas R. Oliver Jr…on October 16, 2018…pulled up alongside a woman and told her to get into the front seat of the vehicle.  Oliver exposed himself to the woman, and told her she had active warrants for her arrest, but he would allow her to leave if she [sucked his disgusting pig dick]…Oliver grabbed the victim by the head and [orally raped her]…

The End of the Beginning (#772) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA)…The lead plaintiff…pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin.  He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994.  But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment.  Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters…Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment…Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used”…”An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library…Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting”…the demand for information about online activity applied to…the…plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

All cops or prosecutors will need to do to get around this law is say the magic words “sex trafficking”:

San Francisco’s [largely-cosmetic] policy protecting sex workers is now being pitched on the state level.  California Sen. Scott Wiener…introduce[d] legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes [unless they decide to charge the sex workers with “trafficking” instead].  The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent [cops] from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker…Wiener said…“We want to [fool]…sex workers [in]to feel[ing] safe in reporting crimes”…

San Francisco, which as the article states first enacted this “policy”, took only two months to get around it by declaring a “sex trafficking” exception and forming a vice squad specifically intended to “abate” sex workers.  You know, like a disease.

Overdue

Another example of our culture’s obsession with form over substance:

They used chopped-up chalk as fake crack cocaine and cloaked their white skin in blackface makeup.  Then the two [pigs] hit the streets of Baton Rouge, hoping to fool interested drug buyers in the predominantly black neighborhood into believing they were dealers.  “Not only do they not know we’re cops — they don’t even know we’re white!” then-Detective Frankie Caruso told the Advocate newspaper in 1993, the year the undercover blackface operation took place.  Now, 26 years later, the Baton Rouge Police Department is apologizing for the tactics after a police yearbook photo of the two disguised cops surfaced, marking the latest blackface scandal to ensnare authority figures and the first this year involving undercover police…

They’re not apologizing for intentionally destroying lives, or for specifically targeting black people for something that shouldn’t even be illegal; nope, they’re just apologizing because they did so inappropriately.

Safe Position

Though these legislative “studies” are useless, perhaps they’ll normalize the topic:

Bella Robinson…and her organization, COYOTE – RI, are working with Brown University and advocating for a new bill…sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams [which] proposes a commission to study the health and safety impact of sex work laws.  “Crackdowns against sex workers…[are because] we prioritize [religious] morals over the safety of people involved in the sex industry,” said Meghan Peterson, a Brown University researcher…one prominent opponent…is Donna Hughes, [architect of the]…[re-]criminalization [of sex work] in 2009…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least they’re not calling this an “escort service”:

…the advertising for Doll Next Door brings a host of questions about how this latest trend in sexual services will be regulated in Edmonton, if at all…the service offers customers the choice of a two-hour booking or overnight rental with one of five doll models…the doll is then sent in discreet packaging to the customer’s home or a specified hotel…Kelly Jenny, a sex therapist at Insight Psychological, said she can see the benefits associated with sex dolls, but says they can also be used [as magical transformation devices] to objectify women

Pyrrhic Victory (#894) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

…Amazon…Ring products come with access to a social app called Neighbors that allows customers to not just to keep tabs on their own property, but also to share [accusations]…with the rest of the block…Forming decentralized 19th-century vigilance committees with 21st-century technology has been a toxic move, as shown by apps like…Nextdoor, which tends to foster lively discussions about nonwhite people strolling through various suburbs.  But Ring stands alone as…an avowed attempt to merge 24/7 video, ubiquitous computer sensors, and facial recognition, and deliver it to local police on a platter.  It’s no surprise then that police departments from Bradenton, Florida, to Los Angeles have leapt to “partner” with Ring…

Just a reminder that the word for such authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”.

The Prudish Giant (#895)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

For years, King Cake Snob…has used visitor feedback to choose the best king cakes in various categories in the lead up to Mardi Gras.  So…the site decided to build some interest with a sponsored Facebook post…featuring ten tiny plastic king cake babies — all of which were, as usual, in the buff.  However, though the image remains up, Facebook decided to flag it as ineligible for a paid “sponsored” post…“This ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity…This kind of material is sensitive in nature”…

Top Cop

Copmala tried to sell her dad’s heritage for political coin, and he’s not happy:

United States (US) presidential hopeful Kamala Harris faced scathing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her…heritage.  “Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Kamala Harris responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview…Donald Harris has “categorically” disassociated himself and his family from “this travesty” and slammed his daughter for stereo-typing her heritage for political gain.  “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected…with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker…in the pursuit of identity politics”…Harris [said]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

This story just keeps getting uglier and filthier:

Former Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil was the largest campaign contributor to the End Trafficking and Prostitution political action committee before the 2018 election, campaign finance records show.  McNeil made contributions totaling $1,499.  Each of McNeil’s two contributions were under $1,000, which avoided mandatory reporting before the election under state campaign finance law…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Condemning consenting adults to the “sex offender” registry is the latest “monkey see, monkey do” fad:

Pennsylvania…[politician] Kim Ward wants…a change to state law that would require those convicted of [any sex work related “crime”]…to the…sex offender…[registry]…

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Valentine’s Day 2019

As longtime readers know, Valentine’s Day is my least favorite of holidays, and I’m not particularly fond of the typical iconography associated with it, either (which is often weird or violent or creepy as hell).  So every year I try to share an exception, like this lovely Gil Elvgren sweetie from 1963.  Enjoy!

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Diary #449

I haven’t made gumbo for a long time, and because it used to be the centerpiece of my Imbolc feast I decided to go out to Sunset over the weekend and make some.  I remembered to order the andouille from my favorite supplier, Bailey’s in LaPlace, Louisiana, on Monday so it would be sure to arrive on time, and prepped the chicken on Wednesday (see my gumbo recipe, linked above) so on Saturday all I had to do was chop up the sausage & onions, make the roux, combine the ingredients and wait.  Well, I also had to make potato salad, which many Louisianians (including Grace) enjoy plopped down right in the middle of the gumbo.  I did share my potato salad recipe on Radley Balko’s old Agitator blog years ago, but since that, sadly, is no more, here it is again: cook as many peeled potatoes as you like until soft, and hard-boil one egg per potato. I use small russet potatoes; you don’t want too little egg in proportion to potato.  Crush the eggs with a fork as one would for egg salad, then add the potatoes and mash it together with a potato masher.  Add 1 heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise per potato, then one heaping tablespoon of prepared mustard per two potatoes, then one heaping tablespoon of pickle relish (I use sweet relish) per two potatoes.  You are going to have to fiddle with the proportions a little to get it the way you like it; I usually end up adding more mustard.  You’ll note that south Louisiana style potato salad is much creamier than the styles from other parts of the country, which use much less thoroughly-cooked potatoes for a chunkier texture.  Oh, and most down there like it cold, though some (including a couple of my sisters) prefer it soon after it’s made, while it’s still warm.  Speaking of cold, I headed back to Seattle on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, due to the snow; Seattle drivers in snow are as stupid and dangerous as Los Angeles drivers in rain, and I had no desire to see the effects multiplied by an overnight freeze.

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