The Breakfast Club: 5-12-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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Sunday Train: GOP Transport Bill proposes to Cut That TIGER

I guess Sunday Train did not cover the White House transport proposal, which put forward a $302b 4-year surface transportation authorization, more than $20b per year higher than current levels. With respect to rail funding, it proposed reorganizing intercity passenger rail funding into Current Rail Service and Rail Service Improvement programs, merging the Amtrak funding which was authorized in FY 2013 and 2014 with the Higher Speed / High Performance rail program which was zeroed out in the funding that passed Congress.

For the 2015 budget year, it proposed:

  • for Federal-Aid Highways an additional $7.1b (+18%);
  • for Transit-Formula grants, an additional $5.3b (+62%);
  • for Transit New Starts, an additional $370m (+15%);
  • for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), an additional $650m, (+108%));
  • for "Current Rail Service", an additional $1.1b (+43% compared to previous Amtrak authorization);
  • for the new "Rail Service Improvement Programs", $2.3b;
  • for the new Freight Program, $1b;
  • for the new Critical Immediate Investments stimulus spending (aka "Fix It First" projects), $4.85b;
  • for the new Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation (FAST), $1b;
  • for the new Rapid Growth Area Transit Program, $500m.

But the President proposes budgets, the Congress authorizes spending and appropriates the funds within (and sometimes well under) those authorized levels, and with the current Republican House Majority, any White House transportation budget is largely a work of fiction. It is, at most, a set of ambit claims for the complex three-way negotiations over budgeting between the House, the Senate, and the White House.

However, now the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee has released its Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, so now that three-way negotiation process can get started. The tl;dr version of the House proposal is, "If you like our current collapsing infrastructure, boy do we have a budget for you!"

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The Breakfast Club (Piccolo Trumpet)

 photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps646fca37.pngOne thing that you learn as an artist is that it's good to have a patron. The popular illusion is of the independent entrepreneur who through the strength and novelty of their original vision captures the hearts and minds of the masses and markets their output commercially.

The truth is that every Vincent has at least a Theo and that financial success is like winning the lottery. Most who are ridden by a Muse die poor, young, and convinced they are despised.

Welcome our Benevolent Oligarch Masters.

As I had the good fortune a few years ago to be heard by Your Royal Highness, at Your Highness's commands, and as I noticed then that Your Highness took some pleasure in the little talents which Heaven has given me for Music, and as in taking Leave of Your Royal Highness, Your Highness deigned to honour me with the command to send Your Highness some pieces of my Composition: I have in accordance with Your Highness's most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Highness with the present Concertos, which I have adapted to several instruments; begging Your Highness most humbly not to judge their imperfection with the rigor of that discriminating and sensitive taste, which everyone knows Him to have for musical works, but rather to take into benign Consideration the profound respect and the most humble obedience which I thus attempt to show Him.

And he was just a Margrave, the equivalent of a Count or a Baron. Imagine if he were a Duke.

So here's an audition piece for you.

Of course there's more.

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What it comes down to is, they really don't like us

I've got a couple of stories I am cobbling together to support the title thesis...which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody. I mean, it's nearly a tautology.

Big surprise. Maryland recently became the 17th state to offer anti-discrimination protections for gender non-conforming people...so immediately the people who voted against it and lost started howling...and lying and fear-mongering...hoping to cajole the Maryland public into dispensing with the new law.

Incredibly, the conservatives’ main line of attack is that the law will turn women’s restrooms into fertile ground for peeping toms disguised in dresses and wigs, even for similarly attired rapists. This is middle school trash talk disguised as policy analysis. There is no evidence that this is a statistically detectable problem in other states that have banned discrimination against transgender people, nor in Maryland localities, such as Montgomery County, that have had similar statutes on the books for years.
...

More broadly, opponents of the legislation tend to miss its central point, which is to ban the blatant discrimination that transgender people report is pervasive. In a 2011 survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 71 percent of transgender people in Maryland said they had experienced harassment or mistreatment at work and 18 percent said they had lost a job or been denied a promotion as a result of their gender identification. Seventeen percent reported having been denied housing. Shocking numbers of students in public schools report harassment (81 percent) and assaults (38 percent).

--Washington Post Editorial Board

The Post rightly points out that although recall leader Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Asshole) has concentrated on raising fears about behavior in bathrooms, he opposed transgender protections at every turn when they didn't include public accommodations.

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The Breakfast Club :: V-E Day Edition

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.  

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Gender Prison: Federal judge rules transwoman prisoner must receive hormone therapy

 photo Whitney-Lee-x400_zpsff0c34da.jpgWhitney Lee has lived as a woman for 18 years. The 36-year-old Lee has had a troubled life. She is currently incarcerated at the Mansfield (OH) Correctional Institute for men, serving a three-year sentence on charges of forgery and theft in Hamilton County (Cincinnati).

Lee had been on continuous hormone therapy since 1999 at home, in federal prison, and at the Hamilton County Justice Center before a prison psychiatrist determined in 2012 that she "lacked the criteria for gender identity disorder" and determined that her therapy was therefore contra-indicated.

I can only imagine that means that Whitney did not measure "feminine enough" on something like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index...which in my own experience is a measurement of how stereotypically masculine or feminine a person might be.

Gender dysphoria is characterized in the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as "a marked difference between the individual's expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her." The DSM elaborates, "It must continue for at least six months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

--Parker Marie Molloy, The Advocate

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