Tag Archives: twitter

Upcoming liveblog

The second debate in the Republican presidential primary will be held tomorrow, with a first round of less popular candidates at 3 pm Pacific and a second main debate at 5 pm Pacific. Like usual, you can follow along to see my reactions and thoughts on it on twitter, here.

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An upcoming event

Trigger warning: anti-lesbian heterosexism, sexism, assistive reproductive technology

For all the jokes (and fears) about California state law being at the forefront of inclusivity towards LGBT people and specifically the recognition of LGBT parents, there’s been a dark history carried from the heart of the 1980s and 1990s “lavender baby boom” within LGBT communities into present day. Laws on sperm donation still specifically restrict parental rights to only biological parents with the exception for the husband (that word is specifically used) of a married woman who conceives with donated sperm. That policy and language remains law, but perhaps not for long.

California’s General Assembly already passed a new law earlier this year which seeks to dramatically improve state law on this issue, which made its way through committee and was passed by the California State Senate earlier this month. Activists and LGBT community members are holding tomorrow a mix of press conference and celebration of the hopefully soon-to-be-signed-into-law bill, which is now making its way to the governor. I will be among them, and livetweeting about the event which starts at 9 am Pacific this Wednesday. Tune into twitter to follow along. If you can join the event in person it will be on the steps of the Earl Warren Court in San Francisco, near the Civic Center Plaza.

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Surprise twitter liveblogging

I’ve been keeping this under wraps because I’m kind of going into hostile territory with this. Later this morning (9 am Pacific time and 12 noon Eastern) I’ll be liveblogging this Family Research Council event, the star of which will be the famously anti-LGBT Robert Gagnon. Given that the talk’s title references “new knowledge arguments”, I suspect it will mostly be a retread of what he’s already said on the fourth page of this document.

As always you can follow along my commentary here. I cannot share information to the livecast as they are carefully monitoring who has access to it. If anything particularly interesting gets said, I will potentially update here with an audio clip.

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Warren and Piketty discussion on Monday

This Monday beginning at 8:30 pm Eastern (5:30 pm Pacific), Senator Elizabeth Warren (who is widely considered the populist voice in the current Senate) and French economist Thomas Piketty (who has galvanized the modern movement to contain capital flight) will have a conversation about economic and political issues that will be broadcast by the Huffington Post on a link accessible to you if you RSVP here. You also have the option of submitting questions ahead of time in the middle of registering as a listener.

As always, I will be liveblogging about this discussion on twitter, which you can follow along with here if you don’t already follow me on that platform. Recent statements by both Senator Warren and Piketty have actually led to many questioning how effective they are as advocates for policies that would reduce economic inequality, so this should be interesting to see whether either of them challenges the other based on those recent controversies. Senator Warren has famously stated that political insiders never attack other political insiders (at least, for being that), so this may in a weird way function as a litmus test to see how capable of self criticism both of these influential progressive thinkers are.

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State of the Union 2014

As usual, please follow along with my comments on twitter to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, at 9 pm Eastern / 6 pm Pacific.

There’s been a few hints as to what we can expect tonight, but the most solid are coming from the think tank Demos, which released this informational graphic today (warning it’s large):

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Cluelessness abounds – a Dan Savage update

TW: heterosexism, cissexism, racism, coerced sterilization

In case you’ve missed my previous coverage of it, the longstanding problems of heterosexist and cissexist violence in Russia have become pretty apparent to just about everyone, even those who weren’t following the slow change within the LGBT communities of Russia in terms of how visibility and activism were understood and valued. Naturally enough, Dan Savage, with his history of shoddy activist projects, has organized a twitter campaign (#dumpstoli) to respond to the actions of the Russian government, by boycotting a company legally based in Cyprus, effectively centered in Luxembourg, and with its primary production centers in Latvia. Because it has a Russian name and some of its production is still based in Russia. (Funny isn’t it, how Swedish vodka, in spite of all the extreme cissexism in Sweden, isn’t bothering Savage?)

Given that Dan Savage has now taken to posting links to videos like this, we can effectively conclude that much like his racist reaction to the passage of Proposition 8 in California, he’s decided that to be Russian is to be bigoted, as previously he assumed that to be Black was to be bigoted. Because there are never queer people who are also Black or Russian.

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(Speaking of terrible politics, his current twitter icon makes clear just how central straight and cisgender allies are to his conception of activism.)

Of course, if you actually talk to just about anyone in Russia, this whole effort seems first farcical in terms of identifying this bizarre boycott as a solution and then patently offensive in that it’s seriously considered as a substitute for actually helpful behavior. Contrary to the pushback I’ve seen peddled on a few parts of the internet (namely that Russians just don’t understand boycotts – while more radical members of the political opposition have been calling for boycotts of actually Russian products), many Russians have very effectively explained their disinterest and annoyance with this campaign in pretty clear terms.

Simply read what one Russian correspondent for Gay Star News wrote on #dumpstoli: “It will impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. [… W]hat is the aim of this boycott? The producers, even if they become bankrupt because of the boycott (which is unlikely) will not be able to influence Russian politics and President Putin as well as the decisions of the State Duma [legislature]”. Given how the Putin government has lobbied for these many new laws (as an extension, arguably, to his use of patriarchal imagery while in office) and the federal Duma voted unanimously in favor of them, the necessary change here is pretty clearly political, not necessarily economic.

Particularly given how Western “assistance” in the past largely resulted in the restructuring of the Russian economy in favor of a very small number of elites, the wariness of Russians to receive incomprehensible Western help seems rather on point. In some sense, our governments forced their society to recreate itself in a way that relies on exports and international trade, and now we’re calling for boycotts on products simply associated with them?

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Quick notes on the Nakba

Among Palestinians specifically and Arab speakers generally, the term nakba or catastrophe has become particularly associated with the original forced removal of several hundred thousand Palestinians in 1948. The anniversary of that by Palestinian reckoning fell on today’s date, and was the sixty-fifth remembrance of the nakba. Even only somewhat sympathetic Israeli media acknowledged the significance of the date as protests (which escalated into confrontations with the Israel Defense Forces) were staged throughout Israeli and Palestinian areas.


(A decaying Palestinian passport from the pre-1948 period that was shared online today, form here.)

Today is one of those days when it’s more worthwhile to meander through the murky claims on twitter than to listen to me trying to make sense of it all, so I urge you to attempt to educate yourself on this, the sixty-fifth Nakba Day.

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How many ways are our media failing?

What’s happened to the media? Something, that’s for sure. Yesterday over at Velociriot!, the brilliant Sam gave us all the lowdown on just how idiotic the coverage of the Boston Bombings really was. Sadly, she make a good case that because “the entire country sought information about what had happened” the normal process of confirming information and general values of skepticism disintegrated. Islamophobic attitudes went wild because the normal process of filtering at least a good chunk of them out went out the window – whether we’re talking about print, televised, or online media. It’s the phenomenon that gave us a stampede to call Florida for Bush in 2000 on steroids, and with numerous information networks now competing to instantly inform their audiences, it’s only going to get worse.

Today over there, the equally insightful Amanda pointed to a success story of sorts, where the Associated Press’s twitter account was hacked but was quickly called out as such. As much hope as there is in this reminder that even US media consumers aren’t as docile as we might sometimes think, it’s also a warning. The conditions in which modern media operate in the US aren’t conducive to the best reporting, but there’s also the various risks still posed by those that want to deliberately spread false information (in this case, that the White House had been attacked – following last week’s bombings, the intent to cause panic seems pretty transparent).

Of course, any such conversation about efforts to intentionally misinform the public has to acknowledge that it’s not just criminals. Sometimes these attempts are openly admitted to, and with perfect legality. Look no further than the Koch brothers’ interest in buying up the newspaper market.


(Of course, News Corporation owner Robert Murdoch proves you can have a hand in both of those cookie jars at the same time, from here.)

In this day and age, we can’t afford to not be skeptical of everything. Remember that.

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Maddows gotta Maddow

I’m currently traveling, so I’ll keep this quite brief. I’ll just point out that Rachel Maddow is doing an excellent news series starting this coming Monday on the way the US was led into the Iraq War under false pretenses. If her promo for it last night is any indication, it’ll be unfortunately all too relevant with regard to false or misleading information being used to legitimize a strike on Iran or Syria.


(The imaginary tunnel mockingly used to explain Romney’s comments during the debates last year that Syria is Iran’s “pathway to the sea”, from here.)

I might end up live blogging that, so be sure to check my twitter Wednesday night to see if I find any parts of it worth repeating or elaborating on there.

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State of the Union live-blogging

As usual, I’ll be live-blogging the State of the Union address on Tuesday, as well as Senator Marco Rubio’s Republican response (and Senator Rand Paul’s TeaParty response if I can find it). This will all start at 9 Eastern or 6 Pacific time. I’ll be putting up my thoughts on my twitter, as per usual.

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Inauguration Live-bloggery

Given that this year’s presidential inauguration is even more pageantry than substance, I’ve had some reservations about liveblogging it. That being said, it’s been a while since there’s been a live political event and it’s not as if the debates or conventions were terribly substantive, so deciding that the inauguration wouldn’t be worth it seems silly.

So, check over at my twitter during the day tomorrow for inauguration-related notices. If you’ve been reading this blog since before the November elections, you should know the drill. And if you’re new here, it’s pretty straightforward. Hope to see you all on twitter tomorrow, at 11 Eastern / 8 Pacific!

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There are no great men

The “great men” theory of history got a bit of a test today in Egypt, and it failed. You might have noticed that yesterday and earlier today, twitter was abuzz with comments about the coming speech by President Morsi, which many expected to put forth a response of sorts to the public outcry over his new executive powers. Even now that’s what most overseas journalists are reporting on (only available in French at the moment). But his speech really didn’t cover much, or at least feel very responsive to many protesters.


(Protests in Itihadiya among other parts of Egypt continued unabated following the speech. Originally from here.)

If you actually read what’s being said on the ground though, it’s another story. The only way to understand what’s happened is not to focus on him, but the larger social context. The political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood has increasingly played second fiddle to its social organization, breeding a more conservative political force than what it presented itself as being. In the perceived power vacuum following the fall of the Mubarak regime, the military and Brotherhood emerged as allies who carved out a government together, which wouldn’t so much reform Egypt as replace the previous dictatorship. As Morsi became president and the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood became the dominant international media narrative, his government couldn’t help noticing how unrepresentative their Salafi Islamism was. But still, this was their chance to chase down that ever illusive idea of an authentically and adequately Islamic state, so emergency powers were the order of the day, even if they only widened the gap between ruler and ruled.

Morsi made a choice about what to say today, and he said the wrong thing, but because of the series of social forces that shaped his country, his party, and him. He’s neither the leader Egypt needs nor the leader who can make it into a country that needs him. His days look about as numbered as Mubarak’s had been.

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On Egypt, sexual violence, and twitter

TW: political violence against protesters, sexual assault, rape culture

Posting anything other than a let-me-link-you today would feel cheap as some fantastic online coverage is perfectly capturing the complex struggle going right now in Egypt. The tweeting of even just simple details by Sharif Kouddous is creating a rather vivid image of the way protest, political violence, and media are all interacting over there at this very moment. As long as you’re keeping tabs on him, you might as well pay a bit of attention to Mona Eltahawy as well, who isn’t in Egypt at the moment, but has been doing some insightful signal boosting for sexually assaulted protesters and their families.


(Clashes between different protesting groups in Cairo during the evening, midday US time. Originally from here.)

Looking over her recent coverage has put a lot of things in perspective when it comes to the politicization of rape. It was certainly interesting to take breaks from writing this piece on rape culture over at Velociriot only to read about the use of sexual assault to threaten or “legitimately” exercise violence over female protesters. The weaponization of rape is profoundly horrifying, and only grows more worrisome when you realize how utterly pervasive the trivialization of sexual assault and permissiveness towards rapists actually is.

Hopefully tomorrow’s news is less grim.

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They make a desert and call it peace…

TW: civilian casualties of war, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli-Lebanese conflict, Israeli-Syrian conflict, Israeli-Turkish conflict

If you’ve been on twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media site at all today, you’ve probably encountered the familiar yet impossible-to-resolve arguments about Israel that crop up every time there’s a military conflict involving it. Yes, we’ve already slid back into another conflict in which Israel is involved for the sixth time in the past few years. In 2006, it was Lebanese civilians and Hezbollah. In 2007, it was North Korean workers and the perceived threat of a nuclear Syria. In 2008 and 2009, it was Gazan civilians and Hamas militants. In 2010, it was Turkish activists. In 2011, it was Gazan civilians and Hamas militants again. And now we have a newfangled youtubified war between, you guessed it, the Israeli military and Hamas-affiliated militants in Gaza.

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Newsflash: Rachel Maddow is still awesome among other things

Maddow was pretty much on fire last night, as she took on the entire Republican Party’s perspective on facts and reality. As she noted, there’s an establish pattern of Republican leadership treated perceptions as more important than actual conditions. The most recent example of this, as she notes at the end of the segment, was a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which she’s helped advertise that you can read here.

Equally important, she noted at another point in the show that polls will begin closing and the networks will begin calling states at 4 pm Pacific or 7 pm Eastern. I’ll start showing up on my twitter account around then to make notes as needed (although I’ll probably be less prolific than in the debates). Hope to hear from you guys then! And remember to vote!

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