Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nifty Posters

I've recently taken to abusing the Stumble Upon feature on my FireFox browser. As such, I've found some pretty interesting things. First, it was the boob mousepads. Now, it's actually some pretty cool feminist/anti-violence activism.

Here's a link to some awesome posters. I think they're really awesome.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


June 21, 1953 - December 27, 2007

Former Pakistani Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today at a rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She was shot in the neck and chest while leaving the rally in her car before the gunman blew himself up, killing another 20 people. Bhutto, 54, was seeking a third term as PM. No word on what group, if any, is responsible for the murder.

Other Icky Products

On the other hand, at least they make for good "asshole alerts" so that women won't waste their time on misogynistic douchebags.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

All I want for Christmas is a non-gendered toy

This is a good article from NOW's Kim Gandy. In it she talks about how gendered toys for young children are. I know that this is something we've probably blogged about before, but it bears repeating, especially this close to Christmas time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Georgie Boy At His Finest

Here at Feministing is an interesting post about George Bush's latest sexist remark, this time in regards to his daughter Jenna.

When talking to People magazine about Jenna's recent engagement, he had this little gem to give out (of course, not to be confused with a diamond hymen, although I'm sure Bush assumes he's giving one of those away as well):

Q: Tell us about your future son-in-law, Henry Hager. Did he do right and ask for Jenna’s hand?

The President: “He kind of sidled up to me and said, ‘Can I come and see you?’ We were sitting outside the presidential cabin here, and he professed his love for Jenna and said, would I mind if he married her? And I said, ‘Got a deal.’ [Laughter] And I’m of the school, once you make the sale, move on. But he had some other points he wanted [to make]. He wanted to talk about how he would be financially responsible.”

I have a couple of problems with this. First of all, what the hell is up with People magazine pimping sexist marital practices? Let's just get this straight: Asking for your girlfriend's hand in marriage is NOT romantic. It is sexist, it disempowers and dehumanizes her, and s a throwback to the days of marriage as a property exchange. All of those things are gross. Ergo, asking for Jenna's hand was not the "right" thing to do by any means.

But Bush's response, while not surprising, was just dripping with the women-as-chattel attitude that he has in most of his dealing with the second sex. Haha, sale of women! Bwahahaha, women as property! Oh man, that's a knee-slapper, Mr. President, and so very original.

It's shit like this that makes me not want to get married - EVER. I'm currently in a committed relationship, and I know that if my boyfriend ever pulled anything like asking for my hand in marriage, the answer from my mom and dad would be "no" (and simply because he asked them, they certainly know me enough to know that I don't go for that shit), and if not, I'd certainly make it clear to him. And even engagement rings are sexist to me. It perpetuates the high-priced whore stereotype. Give women shiny things in exchange for sexual relationships. Not only that, but I don't think I'd ever want a diamond-encrusted leash, either. It's absolutely patriarchy approved, and I can't endorse anything that the patriarchy endorses.

In fact, I think most marriage practices are ridiculous. I'm not even going to touch marriage consumerism and how that feeds into economic oppression, especially of the sexist variety. But the whole "giving away" thing is, once again, a throwback to marriage as property exchange laws. Might as well just add the "and obey" back into the vows. Also, the veil is not something that should be in practice. Why do women have to be faceless and identity-less until their man reveals their face? Is it that their identity is only derived from interaction with a superior male? I believe so! Well, that's the intent within the social context, anyway.

Also, if I were going to get married, I wouldn't want to be "surprised" with a proposal. I think it would be much better if the decision to get married were made by both of us, together and talking about what would be best for our futures, and if we want to be legally bonded or not. The whole thing of the "surprise" looks to be inequal to me. The man is once again the dynamic figure, making the decisions, and the woman basically just goes along with it or does the unthinkable and refuses. I don't understand why a couple just can't come to the decision together.

Yeah. That's my rant on marriage politics. I haven't had a good rant on here in a while, and I've been thinking about sexism in personal relationships, and how it shows up in small doses, for a while. All it takes is one more sexist-haha from Bush and I'm off on a tangent.

P.S. This is nice and ironic:

Q: Would you like to have a White House wedding?

Mrs. Bush: “Of course, a White House wedding would be a lot of fun. But I also know it wouldn’t be very private. And of course we want to do what Jenna wants to do.

Emphasis mine.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Conservative Christians Are Just As Conflicted

I just posted about how parents are having trouble breaking the news to the daughters that 16-year-old girls like Jamie Lynn Spears can indeed become pregnant. Shocker, I know. While I was pissed that nobody was too concerned about the fact that Jamie Lynn was living with her 19-year-old boyfriend or about how to talk to teenage boys about safe sex, I think this story has it's high points too . . . from a feminist perspective!
This AP article talks about Jamie Lynn Spears, the real-life pregnant 16-year-old, and Juno, the pregnant 16-year-old played by 21-year-old Ellen Page on the silver screen in the movie Juno. It seems like conservative Christians have to do a little double-talking due to this "onslaught" of pregnant teenagers in . . . places, as if they never existed! Bill Maier from Focus on [a confining view of] the Family had this to say:

It's a double-edged sword in the Christian community. We should commend girls like Jamie Lynn Spears for making a courageous decision to have the baby. On the other hand, there's nothing glamorous or fun about being an unwed teen mother.

I would like to know what's so courageous about deciding to have a baby, or what's particularly glamorous or fun about being a married teen mother. And did Maier think too hard when answering and said "have the baby" instead of "keep the baby" like a good pro-lifer would? I think he might have! What do you say Leslee Unruh?:

When I heard the story, I felt sad at first. Already her life is not the norm of other 16-year-old girls. You have a lot of teens who look at those people as role models. There's a danger of them thinking, 'She got pregnant? I guess I can have a baby too.'

What?! Leslee Unruh said this? Leslee "More babies! We lovebabies!" Unruh? Leslee "Fertility is a gift" Unruh? Leslee "It's a gift to be able to have children" Unruh was sad when she heard that someone was pregnant and nervous at the prospect of other teens wanting babies too? Never thought I'd see the day.

Basically, conservative Christians are in a real spot here. They have to choose between supporting abstinence-until-marriage or birth control, as well as applauding teenagers for having babies instead of abortions (or being on the pill to prevent both, oddly enough) without making it sound like having a baby in your teen years is a good idea. I don't think Maier, Unruh, or any of the other pro-lifers quoted in the article nailed it. Their message goes a little like this: Ladies, don't have sex. Stay virgins until you're married, okay? I mean, you're ladies, not sluts. But if you do have sex, make sure you're not on birth control, because birth control is bad because protected sex doesn't cause babies, and that just ruins our "Sex causes babies" campaign. Chances are, you won't be on birth control, since you've been exposed to abstinence-only education. And since you won't be on birth control, you could get pregnant. If you do get pregnant, go through the pregnancy and birth and either raise the baby or give the baby to someone else. As the old saying goes, there's nothing more responsible than having unprotected sex and becoming a mommy when you're an unmarried teenager without a high school education.

Just Lie to the Children!

If you haven't heard, Jamie Lynn Spears, kid sister of Britney and star of Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, is pregnant. Lots of 16-year-old girls have been pregnant, as 16-year-old girls tend to have that capability. Now, parents just don't know what to say to their adolescent daughters. I find this worry ironic, since it's Christmastime, and Mary was probably like 12 when she gave birth to Jesus. But we'll celebrate that!

Anyway, like I said, parents are wondering what they should tell their daughters about this particular 16-year-old getting pregnant. I find this stupid for two reasons. First, I was a fan of all those rock bands back in the 90's when I was a kid -- Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blind Melon, Sublime, etc. Nobody's parents asked "What do you tell your children when Kurt Cobain/Hillel Slovak/Shannon Hoon/Bradley Nowell dies of drug overdoses/bullet wounds while they're high?" Nobody asked that! That's because drug use is, unfortunately, a fact of rock 'n' roll life. So why are parents having a fit about what to tell their daughters regarding Jamie Lynn Spears' teen pregnancy, when pregnancy is a fact of life? The second thing that bugs me, as a feminist, is that people are only talking about what parents should tell their daughters, not their sons. Lost in this story is the fact that Spears became pregnant by her 19-year-old live-in boyfriend. The actions of the adults in this situation (the boyfriend and Jamie Lynn Spears' mother) are not being criticized at all! The youngest person in the situation is expected to take most, if not all, of the responsibility.

But back to what parents are afraid of. The above article cites some comments made by regular folks on blogs and message boards about how they're going to deal with this whole Jamie Lynn Spears thing. Here's a good one:

I'm telling the kids 'Zoey 101' has been canceled. I hope Nickelodeon does the right thing and cancels the show. She is a role model for young girls. Looks like she's following in the footsteps of her sister.

So this parent is going to lie to their children. Because lying to kids works so well, especially when it comes to sex. That's why abstinence-only education is so much more successful than comprehensive sex ed. Oh, wait.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mike Huckabee's Wettest Dream

Mike Huckabee's spokesperson clarified statements Huckabee made in his 1998 book Kids Who Kill. First, what Huckabee said:

It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

So, falling in love and having sex with someone who is the same sex as you is on the same plane as raping children, consensual sex of the kinkier variety (which is bad why?), and banging dead people. Oh, but Huckabee's spokesperson clarifies!

He's not equating homosexuality with necrophilia. He's saying there's a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that's at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end.

No way is he saying that homosexuality is like having sex with dead people. That's not it at all.

He was talking about aberrant sexual behavior. Sado masochism and necrophilia are on the further end of the spectrum.

That's like saying any sex is the same. Yes, he considers both aberrant, but no, he does not equate the two in any way.

He was describing behavior. He's not casting judgment on the people themselves. His point is, the culture is becoming more accepting of aberrant behaviors.

He considers homosexual behavior aberrant. But there are degrees of aberrant behavior. He's not saying they're equally as bad. There's a very big distinction there.

So, falling in love and having sex with someone who is the same sex as you is on the same plane as raping children, consensual sex of the kinkier variety, and banging dead people. Thanks for the clarification, dickhead.

The Crying Game

Yes, I'm still alive.

Anyway, this is a very interesting article on Yahoo!

Basically, the article talks about how acceptable it is to the American public for different politicians to cry. It mentions that Hillary Clinton is not allowed to show tears because that would make her seem weak, but in men, it looks like sensitivity.

We all know it's true, I just think it's neat when more mainstream news outlets like Yahoo! make it known to people who otherwise might not think about how gender can influence how we think of showing emotion, especially in politicians.

Global Gag Rule Intact

Unlike Jamie Lynn Spears' hymen. I'm sorry, I just had to say that.

Since Asshole in Chief threatened to veto the foreign aid budget if it left out the draconian Global Gag Rule, Congress decided to leave it in. This article doesn't begin to describe how horrible the Global Gag Rule really is.

Unable to override a promised veto, Democrats have backed down on their insistence that the 2008 foreign aid budget reverse President Bush's ban on providing aid to family planning groups abroad that offer abortions . . . .

Since taking office in 2001, Bush has prohibited any assistance to organizations overseas that perform or promote abortion.

Actually, if these organizations mention abortion they don't get funding. That's why pro-life organizations in Zambia oppose it. Here's Megan's post about the Global Gag Rule from a couple months back that gives a more accurate representation of this disgusting policy. The video above is from Access Denied.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi Rape Victim Pardoned

The 19-year-old Saudi Arabian woman who was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 200 lashes was pardoned today by King Abdullah. This article places much of the credit for the pardon on outrage from the White House (which I'm sure is true), but we can't forget the feminists in Saudi Arabia who risked what little freedom they have and their lives to protest the sentence.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just Because You're Married to a Woman Doesn't Mean You're Not Sexist

Mike Huckabee didn't say exactly that, but he used that same line of reasoning to defend his record on women's rights.

If you look at my cabinet, I had more women in my cabinet and on my staff in key positions, including chief of staff, than any other governor probably in Arkansas history.

I'm not even going to look up if that's true. I just need to know Huckabee's vast knowledge of history to conclude that he's probably bullshitting. That record on women's rights is more of a record of women's oppression. Here are some of the things Huckabee believes about women:

A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.

But never the other way around. Of course not the other way around, because once a man gets married, he becomes as great as Jesus (who supposedly was never married. Mind-blowing). Once a woman gets married, she becomes a slave.

[W]omen should be treated with respect and dignity and not subject to the kinds of abuses that could occur in combat.

Replace "combat" with "politics," and you've just been transported to the 19th century.

. . . . I required that a woman be told her baby will experience pain and be given the option of anesthesia for her baby [during abortion] . . . .

Translation: "I forced doctors to lie to women." Like the old saying goes, a man doesn't really care about you unless he lies you into having kids. Actually, that saying never caught on, because it's utter bullshit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Now There Are Palestinian Policewomen!

As Iraqi policewomen are forced to surrender their weapons, Palestinian policewomen in the West Bank began working today. Women were usually left to administrative jobs for the most part, but today they directed traffic, searched homes, and frisked women. It's part of a European Union program. Now, I'm not sure how long this will last. The program that placed Iraqi women in nontraditional positions in the police force was funded by the US government, but once funding stopped, so did the opportunities for Iraqi policewomen. So, we'll have to see how this goes.

Interestingly enough, Google didn't seem to believe me when I told it that I wanted to search for the article about this current event entitled First Palestinian Policewomen Begin Work. "Did you mean: First Palestinian Policeman Begin Work?" Google asked. No, Google, that's not what I meant. First of all, there have always been policemen in Palestine. Secondly, that sentence doesn't even have proper subject-verb agreement. God, Google! Why don't you trust me?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No More Female Iraqi Police Officers

The LA Times reports that late last month, Iraqi policewomen were told to relinquish their weapons or face not getting paid. Women cannot become commanding officers in the police force by Iraqi law, and they are now forced to give their guns to male police officers in exchange for desk jobs. Iraqi freedom indeed. Here are some of the implications of getting rid of women police officers in Iraq:

  • Policewomen patted down female civilians crossing checkpoints and female suspects. Who will do so now? Not policemen because of Islamic law. With the rise of suicide bombings done by women (5 of the 6 since the Iraq War occurred this year), fewer female terrorists will be caught before an attack.
  • Rape victims won't have anywhere to turn, since they wouldn't feel comfortable talking to a male police officer.
  • Even administrators working for the police, women and men, have been killed while off-duty. Male off-duty cops and administrators will still be allowed to keep their guns. The women, however, will have no protection from insurgents.

The article has a lot of great quotes from Iraqi policewomen and how they feel about the new policy.

I Didn't Know This About Australia

Did you know that in Australia, you don't have to be the age of consent to give consent to having sex with 9 people, and being the age of consent and having sex with someone who's below the age of consent isn't your fault at all? I didn't think you knew that. I don't think Australians know that. I mean, this principle doesn't go across the board. It does depend on what gender the underage person and what gender the adults are in the situation, obviously. I learned this after reading an article about a 10-year-old Aboriginee girl who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome in Australia who was moved out of her rural home after being sexually assauted, only to return and get gang raped by 9 guys. But none of these rapists have seen any jail time, even though they pleaded guilty. Not even the 3 rapists who are over the age of consent (one as old as 26) was imprisoned. Why? Because of a prosecuter named Steve Carter and Judge Sarah Bradley. Here's their crazy interpretation of the law:

Carter: It was a form of childish experimentation, rather than one child being prevailed upon by another. I can't say it was consensual in the legal sense but ... in the general sense, the non-legal sense, yes, it was.

I don't think he meant pedophilia when he said "childish experimentation." No, it was the 10-year-old mildly mentally retarded girl who was experimenting. The 26-, 18-, and 17-year-olds who admitted to raping her were just following orders.

In sentencing, Bradley told the offenders that the victim "was not forced and she probably agreed to have sex with all of you" but warned them that having sex with anyone younger than 16 was illegal and they could end up in prison.

Did Judge Bradley forget that she wasn't mentoring a couple of at-risk youths, but actually sentencing 9 guys who admitted to raping a 10-year-old disabled girl? Wow.

I Know This Is About Burgers, But Still

Burger King did this thing where one of their restaurants (for lack of a better word) played a joke on its customers by telling them that they no longer serve the Whopper. Hidden cameras captured the "Whopper Freakouts" from within the Burger King, and a person-on-the street got the reactions from people outside. Here's the video, and here's an excerpt from the video (around 4:14 in):

Scrubby Dude: If the Burger King doesn't have the Whopper, they might as well change their name to Burger Queen.

Friend of Scrubby Dude who is equally scrubby and apparently very slow on the uptake: Yeah!

Get it? Because a Burger King without the Whopper is inferior and, thus, more feminine. I mean, I don't think there's such a thing as Dairy King, but I'm sure whatever ice cream they'd sell is way superior to the shit Dairy Queen has!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More on Mike Huckabee

Yesterday I posted about Mike Huckabee telling the Associated Press in 1992 that people with AIDS should be isolated. I also said that he probably still does want people with AIDS to be isolated. And what do you know? I was right! From this morning's FOX News Sunday:

Chris Wallace: As you rise in the polls, I don't have to tell you that your past is becoming more of an issue. It now turns out that when you ran for the Senate back in 1992, you called for quarantining AIDS patients, you opposed increased federal funding to find a cure, and you also said that homosexuality was a, quote, "sinful lifestyle that could pose a dangerous health risk." Do you stand by any of that now, Governor?

Mike Huckabee: Chris, I didn't say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn't really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn't isolate the carrier. Now, the headlines yesterday started saying that I called for quarantines, which if you'll go back and read my comments, I did not. I had simply made the point, and I still believe this today, that in the late '80s and early '90s, when we didn't know as much as we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than we were about the normal public health protocols that we would have acted — as we have recently, for example, with avian flu, which — I spent hours and hours, and months, in fact, as a governor dealing with a pandemic plan that we were looking at which called for isolating carriers if they contracted that disease.

WALLACE: But, Governor, forgive me. I don't think that's right. All the way back in 1985, this wasn't political correctness. The Centers for Disease Control back in '85, seven years before you made your statement, said that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact.

HUCKABEE: There was also the case of Kimberly Bergalis, who testified before Congress in 1991. She had contracted AIDS from her dentist [I will interject here. Whether she contracted HIV (not AIDS, nobody contracts AIDS) from her dentist is still up in the air]. We didn't think that there was a casual transmission. There were studies that showed that. But there were other concerns being voiced by public health officials. Now, would I say things a little differently in 2007? Probably so. But I'm not going to recant or retract from the statement that I did make because, again, the point was not saying we ought to lock people up who have HIV/AIDS. I knew people who had AIDS. I had a close friend who died of it in the 1980s. He was a hemophiliac. He contracted it through a blood transfusion. I had other friends of mine, one of whom passed away — he was, in fact, homosexual. But my point is that I was trying to talk about the different public health protocols that we were dealing with. I think what it really does show, though, is that when people are digging back into everything I've ever said and done — and I understand that, it's part of the political process. But what I'm not going to do is to go back and now try to change every story I've ever had. I'm going to simply say that that was exactly what I said. I don't run from it, don't recant from it. Would I say it a little differently today? Sure, in light of 15 years of additional knowledge and understanding, I would. [emphasis mine]

Mike Huckabee probably would change his mind about quarantining people with AIDS. And that's what a quarantine is, dummy, isolating people with diseases. As "would" is in the conditional tense, I'd like to know under which circumstances Huckabee would tell the people that people with AIDS should be treated instead of isolated, or that homosexuality isn't a "abberant and sinful lifestyle" but a normal variation of expressing love. Someone needs to ask that question at the next Republican Presidential debate.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Pro-Life Indeed

It seems like as Mike Huckabee climbs the polls, more skeletons are unleashed from his closet.

Earlier this week, The Huffington Post broke the story about Huckabee letting a convicted rapist go free. The rapist, Wayne Dumond, raped and sexual assaulted numerous women and was rightly convicted. But since one of those women was a 17-year-old who happened to be a distant cousin of Bill Clinton's, Huckabee succumbed to pressure from the lunatic fringe of the right wing and pardoned Dumond, despite receiving letters from the victim's and their families begging him not to. I suppose being cool with rape is part all part of being a Republican, and being a Republican is much more important than making sure a serial rapist is behind bars for the rest of his life (which would have been the case, since Dumond is now dead, but wouldn't have fully paid his debt to society until 2024). Upon release, Dumond raped and killed two women.

Dumond allegedly raped and murdered [23-year-old Sara Andrasek] just one day before his arrest for raping and murdering [39-year-old Carol Sue] Shields. Prior to the attack, Andrasek and her husband had learned that she was pregnant with their first child.

So Huckabee let a man go, and he ended up killing a precious embryo and a couple women that Huckabee certainly doesn't give a shit about. You would think that Huckabee would have compared Dumond to Hitler and the "murder" of this embryo to the Holocaust, like he so flippantly did to women who choose to terminate their pregnancies. But he didn't. That's a pro-lifer for ya. Rapists and murderers? Ha! Women who don't want to be pregnant? Oh, there's a special place in Hell for them, right between Hitler and the Jews he systematically had killed.

That's bad enough, but there's even more. Today it came out that Huckabee wanted (probably still wants) to isolate people with AIDS.

If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.

It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization* in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified," Huckabee wrote. "An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research.

I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.

Keep in mind, he said these things in 1992. That was around the time Magic Johnson disclosed that he had HIV. But how in the world did he contract HIV? By magic? No. I think it was that other kind of sex, you know, the kind between a man and a woman, a woman who is not the man's wife, the wife who is pregnant. What's that kind of sex called? Extramarital heterosexual! That's it! It's amazing that then obese Governor Mike Huckabee didn't have a heart attack after hearing that a heterosexual man in a traditional marriage contracted HIV from engaging in heterosexual sex.

So, the moral of the story is that Mike Huckabee is a horrible person and should be shamed into isolation, just like he wants for homosexuals and people with HIV/AIDS.

*P.S., I wouldn't take anything Mike Huckabee says about "the history of civilization" seriously, since he believes that every civilization that has changed marriage has crumbled. *Looks out the window* No . . . not yet.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kick-Ass Celebrity of the Day

Jennifer Love Hewitt took on the bloggers that have been calling her fat lately. I mean, she's a size 2! What a fatty! While out and about, she told this to some creep with a camera:

People should be proud of who they are and what they look like, and not let all this silliness and judgment sort of get in the way.

Right on! From her official website:

"I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image. A size two is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size zero doesn't make you beautiful. What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles. I know what I look like, and so do my friends and family. And like all women out there should, I love my body. To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini -- put it on and stay strong."

Jennifer Love, I love you!

Mass Rape in Angola

Women from the Congo migrate to Angola to find work. While they're getting deported, they get raped by the Angolan military. If this story gets to the mainstream television media (as unlikely as that is), I'd love to know what O'Reilly and Dobbs have to say about it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kick-Ass Little Girl of the Day

A 7-year-old girl saved her mother from the gunfire of an ex-boyfriend by acting as a human shield. Alexis Goggins was shot six times and, amazingly, survived. Her mother, Selietha Parker, was shot twice. Alexis is a special needs child who suffered a stroke as an infant. The story is truly disturbing:

The drama began to unfold just before midnight Saturday, when Parker called Ford and asked if she and Alexis could spend the night at Ford's home.

"She said she had no heat and they were very cold, and I said , sure I'll come and get you," Ford said.

Ford said she drove her burgundy 1998 Ford Expedition to Parker's home on Dwyer. She said as Parker and Alexis walked up to her vehicle she saw a man on the porch, who she assumed was a furnace repairman. She said Alexis, who walks with a limp, slipped momentarily on the icy sidewalk and as she helped the girl up, she saw the man and recognized him as Tillie. He was holding a gun.

Tillie ordered them into the vehicle, cursed at the women and angrily told Ford to drive him to Six Mile Road, she said.

"He looked like he was enraged and didn't care what he did. I knew if we went to Six Mile, he would kill us," Ford said. Instead, she told him she needed gas and drove to the Fast Stop Gas station in the 5000 block of East Seven Mile Road, a station that requires customers to pay the attendant inside.

Ford said she dialed 911 on her cell phone as she walked into the station.

"The first operator clicked off and I dialed again and told that operator a guy with a gun was holding me hostage with a mother and baby and threatening to kill us. I told her the name of the gas station and then she said they didn't have a unit to send."

The gas station attendant called after he heard gunshots coming from the car. The police arrived less than a minute later. So it's a good thing that little girl is indestructible, because the cops certainly weren't there to help her.

Dan Abrams on Abstinence-Only Education

Dan Abrams talked with Rachel Maddow of Air America Radio and some nutty abstinence-only advocate last night. As much as I love Maddow, my favorite part is about 4 minutes in. Watch the video, and you'll see why!

Something Cool that Tampax and Always are Doing

I just saw a commercial for Tampax, and they're doing a cool campaign to get feminine hygiene products to girls in Africa.

For some girls in Southern Africa, getting their period means missing school for several days each month. That's because they don't have access to something many of us take for granted: feminine protection.Helping girls stay in school is critical. An education gives them a future. It helps build better lives - not just for them, but for their families and their communities.

I never knew that this was a problem, but now that I know it is, it makes a lot sense. This program provides pads and education about puberty. You can even buy t-shirts with the message "Use your period for good" (I love that slogan!). A dollar from each t-shirt sold goes to the program. That's not much, but I'm sure it ads up.

And I just added a badge on the side of the blog. Add a badge to your blog!

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Holiday Shopping Guide

Since HRC came out with their LGBT-friendly shopping guide, I thought I'd make my own. Here are a few websites that sell fair trade products. Some also donate the proceeds to various charities. Why not give the gift of equality to the people you care about? I don't know why not, so that's why I'm posting this. Oh, and the gifts are affordable for the most part.

Maggie's Functional Oragnics. Clothes are made from organic cotton at a co-op in Nicaragua. I just ordered a PJ set for my brother. He won't care that it's organic and fair trade, but at least I care!

No Sweat. 100% union made clothing and other goodies from factories in America and abroad. I've ordered things from them before, and they're quite speedy with their shipments.

Ten Thousad Villages. Fair trade jewelry, home decor, and other neat gifts. Thanks, Diana, for telling me about this one.

World of Good. More fair trade jewelry, home decor, and other neat gifts. Cute bags, too. Again, thanks, Diana!

The Breast Cancer Site. Lots of fair trade jewelry and other stuff. All of the money goes to giving free mammograms, feeding the hungry, conserving rainforest land, improving children's health, buying books, and feeding homeless animals.

And there's always buying merchandise from your favorite feminist, gay rights, or human rights organization. It might be prudent to make sure the person who you're giving the gift to supports the organization.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Henry Hyde is DEAD!

I guess his life was complete after he received his Medal of Freedom for making it more difficult for poor women to get safe abortions.

To celebrate, sign the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment. Maybe this cruel legislation will die with him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And Then the Language Changes (Part Deux)

I was listening to The Thom Hartmann Program on Air America Radio this afternoon. His first guest was Terence Jeffrey from CNS News, and they talked about stem cell research in light of the news that pluripotent stem cells were formed from skin cells. Jeffrey is excited about the new discovery because it doesn't inolve destroying a human embryo. So they talked about embryonic stem cell research and embryos. The conversation shifted to in-vitro fertilization. Jeffrey is aganist IVF because it intentionally creates children that will not all be implanted into a woman's uterus and, thus, flushed down the sink. What did I tell you?

Embryo in a petri dish that's destroyed to make stem cells = Embryo.
Embryo in a petri dish that's destroyed because it's not one of the stronger embryos that would be able to implant into the uterus and develop into a healthy infant = Child!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Then Don't Be a Doctor!

If you wanted to be a preacher, you should have been a preacher.

Watch this guy as he tries to skirt around the fact that he won't provide medical care to his patients if they're female and don't abide by his rules.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007


I got my free box of Mentos in the mail on Wednesday. And all because I contacted the company about a sexist parody Mentos commerical. Twenty rolls in all! So nobody has to worry about me having stinky breath for a long time.

Aw, Poor Joe!

Apparently, Joe Francis doesn't like jail too much.

He says he was abused by prison personnel during his stay in their facility, but I find it really hard to tell after his long history of abusing women.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Let's Talk Turkey (Cliche' LOL!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

And of course, some Thanksgiving related blogging.

So, of course today I did the big ol' meal with family thing, and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I noticed that they had a sort of kick-off group of pilgrims on a giant turkey float. they were presented as being what Thanksgiving is all about. Now, that really bothered me. They could have had a little representation of people that aren't of European descent? Not at all?

Granted, they did have the Cherokee Choir later in the parade, but it wasn't framed as being part of What Thanksgiving is All About. They were really good, though. But it still sucked that white people were basically the focus of the festivities. It really bothers me that it's basically deemed inappropriate to, I guess, "ruin" the holiday fun by pointing out that Thanksgiving (and Columbus Day, for that matter) commemorate some very bad American history.

I don't know. I still celebrate Thanksgiving, so maybe I'm just a big ol' hypocrite anyway, but at least I don't pretend like what happened to create the holiday wasn't/isn't terrible. I really only celebrate it as a precursor to Christmas anyway.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HRC Buying Guide

The Human Rights Campaign has just issued their 2008 Buying Guide, a handy resource for the conscious shopper with a list of LGBT-friendly (and not so friendly) corporations. It's broken into categories, like where to eat out and where to fill up your tank, which makes the guide very easy to read. And can I point out a bit of irony? Harry & David is one of the compaines that HRC says needs to do more to be fairer to the LGBT community. Harry & David, a fruit company named after two dudes. Simply surprising.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When is an Embryo a Child?

Today the media reported on some pretty ground-breaking stem cell research that produced pluripotent stem cells (cells that can become any cell) from skin cells. Organizations like the National Catholic Bioethics Center are celebrating the research, since it doesn't involve the destruction of human embryos.

Then it dawned on me. When it comes to stem-cell research, embryos are called embryos. Not unborn children. Not children. Not babies. Not infants. Not human beings. They're, accurately, labeled as embryos. When it comes to abortion, embryos are not called embryos. They're called unborn children, children, babies, infants, and human beings.

Here's an example. I just looked at the National Right to Life's website, an anti-choice organization that claims to be the biggest pro-life group in the country. They have sections about abortion and "human cloning" which is their term for stem-cell research. The "human cloning" part of their website is entitled "KILLING HUMAN EMBRYOS" (yes, it's all in caps. You think I could make that up?). I looked at a few of the more recent press releases regarding stem cell research, and not once did "baby," "child," or "person" appear in place of "embryo" in their statements.

However, on their "Defining Abortion" page, "child" and "baby" are each used twice. On their "Abortion Medical Facts" section, "child/children" is used 13 times and "baby" is used 19 times to refer to an embryo or fetus.

What changed? Why isn't an embryo created intentionally for scientific purposes a person, but an embryo created by accident is suddenly a baby or child? If an embryo is still a child deserving of life, whether wanted or unwanted, whether created through consensual sex or rape or incest, then why isn't an embryo a child when it's going to be used for stem cells?

Monday, November 19, 2007


Ew. That all I have to say about this. Ew.

Ga. Boys Ages 8 and 9 Charged with Rape

Hate Crimes on the Rise

Hate crimes in the United States increased by 8% in 2006, according to the FBI. USA Today breaks it down:

•A 19% increase in crimes motivated by religious bias. Attacks on Muslims increased 22% to 156 last year. Attacks on Catholics increased by almost a third to 76. Almost seven in 10 were crimes against Jews, which were up 14% to 967.
•An 18% increase in crimes against gay men and lesbians to 1,195 in 2006.
•Attacks on people with mental disabilities were up 94% to 62 in 2006.
•Hate crimes against Hispanics were up 10% to 576 incidents.

But expanding hate crime statutes is unneccessary, right Bush?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Speaking Out Against Sexism Earned Me Free Mentos

I'm singing Regina Spektor's "Carbon Monoxide" -- I'm so cool, I'm so cool, I'm so cool.

Feministing posted a video of a parody Mentos commercial. Here's the scenario. The commercial takes place in a bar, and one guy puts a Mentos in a woman's beer, causing her to pass out. He then drags her out of the bar. So the Mentos is like a roofie! Tee-fucking-hee! Rape is funny! I was very offended by this. It stunk of sexism, but it also stunk of lawsuit. So I e-mailed Mentos with this message:

I just saw a video on YouTube. It's a parady [yes, I misspelled it] Mentos commercial that uses your jingle and your product to promote date rape. The video shows a young man in a bar dropping a Mentos in a woman's beer, and then he drags the unconscious woman away. I think it's horrible that your quality product was used to promote such a disgusting act. I think your company should do something about it. The video is here:

I do believe Mentos is great, by the way. I love the mixed fruit kind. Haven't had it in a while, but I might be eating some very soon *wink wink.* Readers of Feministing were flagging the video on YouTube, so I figured that the video would be taken down before Mentos read my e-mail. But an hour later, the Mentos Brand Manager e-mailed me back:

Thanks for bringing this video to our attention. We agree that it isvery offensive and we are going to work with our legal department to get the video removed from You Tube as soon as possible. I appreciate your email.

And it was not an empty promise, because an hour and half later, I got this e-mail from their Legal & General Affairs Coordinator:

Thank you very much for your message. We will request that YouTube remove that video immediately. I will also send you some MENTOS as a"Thank You!"

Free Mentos! Woo! This was at 2:46pm today. At 2:49, one of the commenters at Feministing said the video was taken down. Now, I don't know if Mentos acted that quickly or if there were enough flags to take the video down. Either way, free Mentos for me!

And just as added information, both the Brand Manager and the Legal & General Affairs Coordinator are women. Kick-ass women.

Light Reading (and Viewing)

I've been mad busy with homework this week, and I haven't been able to post about a few stories. So here are the articles. Enjoy!

Iran: Suspend Heavy Sentence for Women’s Rights Activist

Poll: African-Americans Pessimistic About Black Progress

Politics no easy feat for Jordan's women

Sex Diseases Still Rising; Chlamydia Is Leader

Early Puberty in Girls May Reflect Home Life (This one's just plain funny)

‘Too sexy for Southwest ... perfect for Playboy’ (That's a huge step backwards)

Report: Court sentences rape victim

Keeping Bush at Bay (on the prospect of the recess-appointment of homophobic Surgeon General)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

John McCain Respects Hillary "The Bitch" Clinton

I read on Feministing yesterday a post about one of John McCain's campaign stops in South Carolina. The gathering of supporters and the Republican presidential candidate engaged in a truly riveting Q&A.

Crazy lady in the crowd: "How do we beat the bitch?"

After the laughter subsided, McCain actually answered the question!

McCain: "That's an excellent question. There was a poll yesterday, a Rasmussen poll that shows me 3 points ahead of Senator Clinton in a head to head matchup. I respect Senator Clinton. I respect anyone who gets the nomination for the Democrat Party."

Hm. Is it okay for Clinton to play the gender card now? First of all, the Rasmussen poll that McCain talked about shows him 2 points ahead of Clinton, which is statistically insignificant. Secondly, when are the Republicans going to stop calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party? "Democrat" is a noun which describes any member of the party. "Democratic" is an adjective which describes the party itself. "Democrat Party" doesn't make any sense. This is basic English. Nobody needs to explain to me why Republicans (or should I call them Republics?) continue to call it the "Democrat Party" -- Republicans believe that anyone left of Stalin is an unpatriotic dissenter who hates America and all things democratic. But most importantly, why did McCain dignify the woman in the crowd with an answer? CNN's Rick Sanchez discussed it with conservative strategist Amy Holmes on Out in the Open. Here are the best bits:

Holmes: Well, I think it was a mistake. I don't know if it's as big of a mistake as you're making it out to be. He did recover and he did say that he has respect for Hillary Clinton.

And that respect ends with him finding no issue with answering a question about a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate that identifies said Senator and candidate as a bitch (and perhaps it begins with this lovely game he has on his campaign website featuring caricatures of the New York senator). I mean, I have about as much respect for John McCain to, say, not let the old man drown if there was a way for me to prevent it. Doesn't mean I actually respect the guy.

Holmes: I would have hoped that he would have shown more leadership in defending Senator Clinton's honor, not just as a colleague, but as a woman, and that juvenile joke from the audience about, I thought you were talking about my ex-wife, I mean, come on. This is beneath all of us.

Well, it's beneath everyone but John McCain.

Sanchez: Well, I got to tell you, most people who have seen it are looking at it as a real mistake on his part in terms of the way he handled it.

Later on in the show, Sanchez read the response from the McCain camp:

Senator McCain has on many occasions expressed his respect for Senator Clinton, just as he did when confronted with a question in South Carolina. You would be hard-pressed to find an opponent in our campaign who has been as gracious to Senator Clinton as Senator McCain has in this race.

Boy, if John McCain is being the nicest to Clinton out of all the other candidates, I certainly hope there aren't any cameras at anybody else's campaign stops. Today, McCain's South Carolina campaign manager had this to say about Sanchez's comments on his show the night before:

It not only reflects poorly on him, but on CNN. If Mr. Sanchez had even the faintest perspective on the race for the White House, he would know that Senator McCain has expressed his utmost respect for Senator Clinton numerous times on the campaign trail, as he did at Monday's event in Hilton Head.

"Utmost respect." Dignifying a question posed by a supporter who referred to a fellow senator and presidential candidate as a bitch with an answer is "utmost respect." I'd hate to see how McCain talks about his enemies.

UPDATE: And now it's on everything from T-shirts to yard signs. Goody.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free Food Without Moving Too Many Muscles

Just use your brain and your fingers to donate food to the hungry.

Go there and do it.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Take Action Friday

Tell the Senate that clean and efficient energy should actually be, you know, clean and efficient.

Stop human rights violations in Pakistan.

Urge the House to fund peace in Darfur.

Demand affordable birth control on college campuses.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Revised ENDA Bill Passes House

In a 235-184 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (revised version). If signed into law, this legislation will make it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation. In a move to get more votes, the revised resolution omits transgender people. Some Democrats voted nay for this reason. The New York Times article cited above has some pretty thought-provoking passages:

Senate Republicans said that, if worded carefully, it would have a good chance of passing, perhaps early next year.

Oh, how kind of you! I'd really like to know what "worded carefully" really means. "No trannys!" perchance?

President Bush threatened to veto an earlier version of the bill, but a White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said the administration would need to review recent changes before making a final decision.

Recent changes = "No trannys!"

Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, who led the Republican effort to get a vote on the amendment [that would put gender identity in the legislation, probably to get more people to vote nay on the entire bill], said he opposed the overall bill in part because many states already had similar laws and because he viewed it as intrusive. “I do not think it is the place of the federal government to legislate how each and every place of business operates.”

Representative Doc Hastings of Washington is protected by federal law from racial, religious, and gender bias in all matters employment.

You can keep the original ENDA, the bill that includes the transgendered, by signing this petition.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hell yeah you're not fully human!

Oh, I do so love the romance and dating writers for Yahoo!.

David Zinczenko's newest column about sex and dating is no deviation from his norm. In fact, I'd say its only worse than normal.

Check this out:

Men in the presence of women are like children in a toy store. We have our hearts set on that special one, but we are still dazzled by all the glittery objects around us - and we want to look here, there, and everywhere.

Here that ladies? You're an object and a toy. Couldn't he at least come up with new sexist ways of describing women?

I certainly know lots of men who appreciate the female body as one of the world's most luscious visions. They feel the same way about the Grand Canyon - but they aren't going to move there.
Oh, perhaps he's found it. Instead of a toy, now we're vacation spots. But always passive things that are there waiting for the male gaze.

Many guys feel that as long as they're not outwardly being disrespectful with long ogles or stares, then it's okay to engage in some art appreciation (within reason, of course).
Ooh, art pieces. That one's there to class the piece up, I'm sure.

And a woman who tries to squelch that right with paranoid accusations might actually provoke her man to follow up one of those glances with action.
And last but not least: You cause your man to cheat on you.

I don't know why I'm such a glutton for punishment when it comes to these things.

Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy Giuliani

*double take* Whaaa?!

That's right. Feminist hater and all-around lunatic Pat Robertson is endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president.

"It is my pleasure to announce my support for America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans," Robertson said in a statement issued by the Giuliani campaign.

I think it's safe to say that Hell has officially frozen over, even though Giuliani is wishy-washy at best when it comes to abortion rights.

This story was just on Hardball with Chris Matthews, and conservative pundit Joe Scarborough claimed that this is a winning endorsement for Giuliani, as it will bring social conservaties over to Rudy's side. While Pat Robertson's blessing might make a "values voter" think about supporting Giuliani, I think fiscal conservatives who otherwise support reproductive choice, gay rights, and religious freedom will think twice before supporting a candidate who accepts Robertson's endorsement.

What might be more surprisng than Robertson backing Giuliani is Giuliani accepting it. Giuliani is running on the fact that he was mayor on September 11, 2001. However, every feminist remembers when Jerry Falwell, on Robertson's show, said this just a couple days after the attacks:

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "

And Robertson agrees. How can Rudy Giuliani accept the endorsement of a man who is so flippant about the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil? I suppose this would only be a legitimate question if Giuliani didn't insert "9/11" into every sentence while campaigning. Even so, I think the right thing for him to do politically is to tell Robertson thanks but no thanks.

Abstinence-Only Education Still Doesn't Work

It's like no-duh mania this week.

Another report shows that abstinence-only education doesn't work.

"At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners" among teenagers, the study concluded.

We know! So why the hell is Congress increasing funding for Community-Based Abstinence Education by $28 million? $141 million dollars to pay for something that doesn't work! I think of somewhere that money would be much better spent. I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with SCHIP.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Another "No-duh" headline for today

Sexist humor promotes sexism! Who'dah thunk?

Gasp and clutch your pearls, now!

Oh my goodness, doctors don't think Nicaragua's no-abortion policy is a good thing for women's health? Well golly gee, let's rustle up a chorus of "no-duh" for those of us that realize that putting a (dead or dying) fetus above a woman on the importance scale has never been very good for women's health.

Nicaragua's new El Salvador-esque policy of not allowing any abortions at all, even in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, has, surprisingly I know, caused an increase in the amount of maternal deaths in the country. Olga Reyes was a law student who, shortly after getting married, became a victim of this policy.

Law student Reyes was one of the three confirmed fatalities. She knew something was horribly wrong, and went with her husband to their small town's medical center. They were sent to Bertha Calderon maternity hospital, more than an hour away in Managua. There, Perez said, Reyes was given a cursory exam, sent home and told to return the next day.

By that time, the bleeding and cramping were worse. Perez said he rushed her to a hospital in nearby Leon, but after she had an ultrasound that confirmed her condition, they left her bent over and in agony for hours in a waiting room. When a doctor at a shift change saw her condition, she was rushed into surgery. She suffered three heart attacks and an exploratory surgery.

Valladares said doctors should have acted quicker.

"They knew she had a limited amount of time before she bled out. The whole world knows that with an ectopic pregnancy," Valladares said. "They didn't treat her, out of fear."

Emphasis mine, because it just shows exactly why legislation like this, and legislation that's akin to it *coughPartialBirthAbortionBanscough* works to kill women who otherwise would have been helped. Doctors don't want to take the legal risk to help these women.

Some doctors privately admit to carrying out what they believe are illegal procedures, while others say they won't jeopardize their careers.

"Many are thinking that instead of taking the risk, it is better to let a woman die," said Dr. Leonel Arguello, president of the Nicaraguan Society of General Medicine.

Boom. Right there. That is exactly why blanket bans on medical procedures are so dangerous. They create a aura of fear and unknowing about whether or not the procedure the doctor is doing, or would have to do, is entirely legal. No doctor wants to jeopardize their career and degree, and often the hesitation that causes is a factor in the deaths of women in emergency situations that need immediate action, much like Olga Reyes' situation. She would still be alive right now if it weren't for that ban.

However, she was left to die so that a doomed embryo could live a little longer to appease others.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Audacity of Being a Woman

Much of Friday's episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews was about Hillary Clinton supposedly playing the gender card on her campaign. Chris cited a speech that Senator Clinton made at her alma mater, Wellesley, where she said this:

In so many ways, this all women's college prepared me to compete in the all boys club of presidential politics.

According to Chris Matthews, that's playing a "victimzed woman." Really? But wasn't what Senator Clinton said accurate? Hasn't presidential politics been an all boys club? I mean, we haven't had a woman president in *checks watch* ever!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Only Woman Umpire in Pro Baseball Released

Ria Cortesio, the only woman umpire in professional baseball, was released by the minor leagues. "Released" is a nicer word for "kicked out" in the baseball world. Why was she released? I don't know.

Cortesio started this season as the top-ranked umpire in all of Double-A [second highest level of the minor leagues]. If there had been an opening in Triple-A [highest level of the minor leagues], it would've been hers.

There were no vacancies and when the new ratings by minor league supervisors came out in midseason, her ranking substantially dropped. So, too, did her chance of getting a promotion and possibly making it to the majors someday.

A move up would have greatly changed her status — umpires in Triple-A are under the auspices of major league supervisors.

Hmmmm . . . . I'm not going to say whether or not her release was fair. What I will say is that she'd have to be worse than C.B. Bucknor to get ousted. Seriously, Google him. He's the worst Major League umpire in the game. Nobody, including me, has anything positive to say about this guy, except that he's positively inconsistent. Google the title of the article I cited why you're at it (Only Female Ump in Pro Baseball Released). No, Google, that's not what I meant.

WBC -- Westboro Bankrupt Church?

The homophobic harrassers of the Westboro Baptist Church were just ordered to pay $11 million in damages to a father, Albert Snyder, whose son was killed in Iraq. The Westboro Baptist Church protests at funerals of our fallen soldiers because they believe that our men and women are dying in Iraq due to our "tolerance of homosexuality." The United States tolerates homosexuality? That's news to me! The Westboro Baptist Church demonstrated at the funeral of Synder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The thing is, while the Westboro Baptist Church is rich in hate, they're not so rich in dough.

The assets of the church and the defendants are less than a million dollars, mainly in homes, cars and retirement accounts, defense attorney Jonathan Katz said. The church has about 75 members and is funded by tithing.

The Phelps, the family that founded Westboro Baptist Church, believe their protests are covered by the First Amendment and that reversing the judgment will take "about five minutes." Albert Snyder has a more accurate interpretation of the First Amendment.

[M]y son did not fight for hate speech. And that's basically what it is. Everybody's under the impression that the First Amendment gives them the right to do anything, say anything anywhere, anytime. And along with the First Amendment also comes responsibility.

Take Action Friday

Haven't had one of these in a while!

Enough is enough! Sign the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Demand accountability for Blackwater mercinaries who murder civilians in Iraq.

Send UN peacekeeping forces to Chad and the Central African Republic.

Tell coporate sponsors to the 2008 Olympics in China to put pressure on China to divest from Sudan.

Urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote "no" on Mukasey and "no" on waterboarding.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Preference for Boys Can Leave Men Screwed in the Future

Not screwed in the literal sense. Screwed in the complete opposite of literal sense.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a study about the population imbalance of boys and girls in Vietnam. Like in other Asian countries such as China and India, girls are much less valued than boys. Feminists know that discrimination against females begins before birth -- when families find out that they're going to have a girl, abortion frequently follows. The situation in Vietnam has gotten to the point where only 100 girls are born to every 110 boys. That hardly seems like much of a disparity at all. However . . . .

It estimated Asia was short 163 million females in 2005 when compared to overall population balances of men and women elsewhere in the world.

Over time, the difference becomes huge. Furthermore, the shortage of women can result in human trafficking from other countries, a way of importing wives to make up for the disparity. The men who are too poor to buy a wife? They're screwed (again, not literally).

UNFPA suggets that Vietnam and countries with similar population problems should work to spread messages of gender equality through media and policy and to provide girls with equal access to education in order to help them overcome social barriers. Not only that, someone has to do something about these family planning manuals (see pg. 12 of the UNFPA report). One manual suggests that couples eat more salt, fish, potatoes, and meat three months before getting pregnant in order to have a boy. Yes . . . .

What the Hell, University of Maryland?

So maybe this story just pissed me off because the Feminist Student Alliance at my own university was unable to even put on a Clothesline Project because we're cursed this semester, but even so, this is still some shit.

Apparently, the University of Maryland thinks its more important to protect its athletes from the (non-legal, even) accusations of its female students who have been raped by them.

Yes, they are concerned about lawsuits, but they just got into a lawsuit by making the decision they did. They also have got a bunch of protests and unhappy students because of it as well.

And of course, with any sort of support for women who have been sexually assaulted in this culture, you've got idiot rape apologists who want to demean the survivors.

With so much controversy around this year's project, it was not a surprise that an act of vandalism took place. Someone defaced one of the banned t-shirts by writing on it: "Being inappropriate doesn't equal with rape Idiot."

"I can't believe someone would do that," said Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) Campus Outreach Coordinator Michelle Spradling.

Apparently, someone had a guilty conscience.

The Clothesline Project takes place on campuses around the country to promote awareness about violence against women. The University of Maryland-College Park has held a Clothesline Project for the past seventeen years. This is the first year that any t-shirts have been banned. The Baltimore Sun reported the speculation of some students that the university took action this year because a shirt which named a prominent former athlete was displayed at last semester's event.
That last line pisses me of so much. So because the guy that was named was a prominent athlete, and thus probably brought the school lots of money and attention, his victim was silenced. Her freedom of speech and ability to speak out about her experiences was muffled because her rapist is a privileged athlete and thus well-liked and well-protected by the school.

Ay yi yi, this is why I don't understand why more people don't think we live in a rape culture.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Feminist Weekly Standard

I won't take credit for that title. It's all Dan Abrams.

Conservative rag The Weekly Standard has nothing better to get outraged about than Laura Bush wearing a scarf covering her hair while touring the Middle East talking about breast cancer. Laura Bush was on FOX News Sunday where she discussed the complete non-issue with Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Of course, Mrs. Bush, with a higher profile almost inevitably comes criticism. And some conservatives in this country are upset with you — and we have a picture up there on the screen...

BUSH: Oh, you've got to be kidding.

WALLACE: ... for putting on a scarf given to you...

BUSH: Oh, really?

WALLACE: ... by a Saudi doctor. And let me put up a blast, if you will, from The Weekly Standard. "That she would oblige her hosts by wearing a shmata," which is Yiddish for a scarf, "on her head is a tacit endorsement of Islam's subjugation of women."

BUSH: Well, I did not see it that way at all. In fact, I'd had the meeting with them totally uncovered. I mean, you saw other photographs, obviously.


BUSH: And they saw this as giving me a gift from their culture. And it was the scarf with the pink ribbons and the pink edging on it, the breast cancer scarf, that I put on.

You go, Laura Bush. Head coverings aren't exclusive to Islam, by the way. It's in 1 Corinthians, people! Of course, the religious texts are safe to be interpreted by anyone in our free society. Not so much in Saudi Arabia. Or is it . . . .

BUSH: [T]hese women do not see covering as some sort of subjugation of women, this group of women that I was with. That's their culture. That's their tradition. That's a religious choice of theirs.

Really? Because Amnesty International seems to think Saudi women have to dress a certain way or else they'll be thrown in jail. I think Laura Bush was reading the same polls General Wesley Clark read.

What's been keeping me from FTTR?

I know it's been a while since I last posted. But I have something now! I've been writing a research paper for my Comp 2 class, and now it is finished. So I have a little free time between projects now! And midterms week is over! Hooray!

So, since I didn't have time to blog because of this paper, I figure I'll take the time to post the content of such paper here now.

“The 'Global Gag Rule': The Exportation of American Hypocrisy And Its Effects On Women's Health in the Developing World”

Imagine that you are a young woman in Kenya. You have recently been married and have had a child. However, your child is HIV positive, just as you are. Not only did you not have the information and technology to prevent your own HIV infection, but you also lacked the resources necessary to prevent your pregnancy and the subsequent transfer of your disease to your child. Since you live in a rural area, it is hard to obtain condoms and other methods of preventing pregnancy and HIV because of the long distance to the nearest town. Other women in your community have also fallen victim to similar situations; some have numerous children because they cannot prevent themselves from becoming pregnant, and the rate of HIV infection in your community is startlingly high. Some women have died or been injured by clandestine abortions. There are clinics that try to help the women in your community, however, they lack the funding necessary to be truly effective in extinguishing such conditions. This lack of funding, and thus the wretched conditions under which you live, can partly be blamed on an American law commonly called The Global Gag Rule.

The Global Gag Rule has been in existence since the Reagan era. Basically, it was set-up as an add-on to the U.S. Hyde Amendment, which is legislation designed to make sure tax dollars don't go to the funding of abortions by excluding it from the list of services provided by Medicaid (“Public Funding. . .”). However, the Global Gag Rule was meant for more than just the U.S. Its reach spans all across the globe. In short, it denies funds to any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support abortion becoming legal in the country they serve, perform abortions (legal or illegal), and/or refer women to clinics that perform abortions. It is also the reason why the situation described above is still a common one in the developing world. It is legislation that is motivated not only by the desire not to fund overseas abortions, but also to stop abortion from happening at all. Support for the Global Gag Rule can be prompted by a desire to stop abortion in general, in all countries, or just as a means of protecting the health of the women who would get them in conditions that would be unsafe whether the procedure is legal or not. The problem with The Global Gag Rule is that it doesn't accomplish either of those goals; no matter how well-intentioned it may be, it is simply legislation that is ineffective, and at very high costs.

In addition to the health risks caused by The Global Gag Rule, it is very hypocritical in nature. The hypocrisy of this type of legislation is apparent in the fact that Planned Parenthood, an American institution that provides abortion counseling, abortion services, etc. gains almost a third of it's funds from the U.S. Government (Johnsen). So, essentially, the Global Gag Rule doesn't even match up with what goes on in the country of it's origin. Even the law that it was based on, the Hyde Amendment, does not deny funding to organizations that simply mention abortion as an option; the Global Gag Rule on the other hand, does.

For example, the Global Gag Rule even denies funding to organizations that oppose abortion. Hilary Fyfe is the chair of the Family Life Movement of Zambia (Loder). Her organization opposes abortion, and yet they are also denied funding by the Global Gag Rule (Loder). Her organization simply mentions that unsafe abortions are a possible consequence of unprotected sex, and due to this bit of information that she gives to young Zambian adults, her organization lost $30,000 (Loder). Her organization does not provide abortions, and in fact is against them, so a global extension of the Hyde Amendment should not apply to her group. However, the Family Life Movement of Zambia is still denied $30,000 dollars of aid that could go to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, or even unwanted pregnancies and abortions. However, in the U.S., Planned Parenthood, an organization that talks about, funds, advocates for, and performs abortions still obtains funds from the government. Such events just show how the Global Gag Rule does not conform to the standards of its country of origin.

There is also a tremendous effect on the quality of life of the women who are dependent on the clinics that the Global Gag Rule denies funding to. Most of the NGOs that are now denied funding under the rule provided more than the services that caused them to be defunded in the first place. Many provide(d) information and resources used to prevent HIV infections. However, due to lack of funding, many have closed down, leaving people (women especially) in other countries, especially in African countries, susceptible to an increased rate of HIV infection. This increase in HIV infection is spurred by a lack of access to latex condoms, something African NGOs used to provide free of cost to the young and the poor (Loder).

This issue is a large blemish on the face of globalization as a concept. It is very harmful legislation and shows much more concern for ideology rather than actual utilitarian benefits. It also doesn't comply with American values and laws. Not only that, it's a prime candidate for becoming the poster child for those who would argue that attempts at globalization are a way for more powerful countries to force their values on others. The rule of not giving funds to NGOs that even support the legality of abortion stifles the voice of democracy and social change (even if it's not a change Americans want to see) in the countries we claim to be helping. It could be said that such legislation serves to stifle the culture and beliefs of different societies, essentially exporting the beliefs of a certain group of American officials and citizens. This legislation doesn't even really give the countries it affects a choice, either. It simply denies funds without taking their voice into account. Certainly this doesn't comply with America's image of itself: the bringer of democracy and freedom of speech to developing and supposedly oppressed countries.

The exportation of these ideologies often costs the lives of people in developing countries. Women are affected by this issue on a larger scale, however, due to the nature of illegal (or even legal) abortion in “third-world” countries, and the fact that women are infected with HIV at a higher rate (Scherrer). In one year, 70,000 women worldwide will die from an illegal abortion (“Abortion Rates. . .”). With the money that would have been given to some of the NGOs that are now underfunded, those women may have had a better chance of surviving whether what they did was right or wrong.

Officials often point out that funds would not be denied to NGOs worldwide if they would choose to comply with the policy (Loder). They mention that the amount of funds distributed to USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has not been reduced (Loder). However, they have been allocated to groups who do not mention abortion at all. This is not conducive to reproductive and sexual counseling, as it makes no mention of the possible consequences of unprotected sex, or even failed contraception. While it is true that the Global Gag Rule contains some exceptions for rape, incest, and health, it still takes away money from organizations that even mention abortion at all. So young girls and women who are raped still don't really have any resources to turn to. And of course they didn't have any hope of being able to use contraceptives during the attack, therefore the blackballing of organizations that even mention abortion as a possibility, or even mention the consequences of the process, hurts rape victims the most. In countries where it's a commonly held belief that raping a virgin cures HIV/AIDS, this could definitely lead to more girls seeking out illegal abortion services if they are not given truthful and comprehensive counseling on their other options, or on the possibly fatal consequences of illegal abortion. They would also need better access to HIV/AIDS resources, but of course the Global Gag Rule denies funding to many organizations that would provide such material.

It may seem as though this issue relies heavily on whether or not abortion is morally right or wrong. However, that is simply not the case. The issue of the Global Gag Rule merely has to do with the safety and health of women in developing countries. It is absolutely true that whether abortion is mentioned, advocated, legal, illegal, or never talked about at all, women will seek it out as an option. So why deny funding to organizations that are simply trying to do their best to inform women of ALL of their options, even if they are not advocating for abortion as one of them? All that leads to is more organizations that provide much needed contraception and HIV/AIDS prevention shutting down, losing staff, and losing supplies and resources. Whether abortion is right or wrong, the Global Gag Rule does not help to stop women from obtaining them. It only hurts the organizations that are trying to better women's health in the developing world, and is also hypocritical in that it imposes restrictions on organizations and women in the developing world that are not present in American society. That is why it should be abolished and replaced with a policy that directs America government funds to any NGOs that are trying to help women's health care in other countries whether they mention, support, or perform abortions or not. Women's lives depend on it.


"Abortion rates same whether legal or not." Oct 11, 2007. 14 Oct 2007 .

Johnsen, Jennifer. "Planned Parenthood Annual Report 2005-2006." 2007. Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 27 Oct 2007 .

Loder, Asjylyn Loder. "Report: Global Gag Rule Spurring Deaths, Disease." Women's E-news. 09/25/03. 14 Oct 2007 .

"Public Funding for Abortion." 7/21/2004. ACLU. 14 Oct 2007 .

Scherrer, Paul. "UN report on AIDS paints a picture of devastation—Part 1." World Socialist Web Site. 17 July 2000. 14 Oct 2007 .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This Week in Bill Maher

Is this going to be a weekly thing, me posting about bullshit that happens on Real Time with Bill Maher? This entire segment was a disaster. I don't consider myself an uptight person. I mean, I joke about shit all the time, but it's not funny when you turn oppression into a joke. It's also a good idea to put guests on your show who know what the fuck they're talking about. Let's get to that first.

Andrew Sullivan was on Real Time on Friday night and the panel got to talking about Laura Bush's recent trips to the United Arab Emirates to meet with two breast cancer suvivors and increase awareness about breast cancer in the region. Breast cancer is very seldom checked for, diagnosed, or treated in the Arab world for several reasons. One is that Muslim women can't expose their breasts to a man who isn't her husband, and there aren't very many women doctors in Arab countries. Andrew Sullivan surely didn't think of that before he said this:

What I find amazing is that she's going there to talk about breast cancer! She's talking to women covered [from] head to toe as if breast cancer is their fundamental issue! It's like going to antebellum South and saying that the big problem with Blacks in slavery is that they have sickle cell anemia!

As you can hear in the video, throughout Sullivan's exclmations Bill Maher is trying to shut him up for half a second to explain why breast cancer is a fundamental issue, which he eventually got to do later. Women in that part of the world aren't getting diagnosed and treated for breast cancer for the same reason they're wearing burqas. Then General Wesley Clark had to chime in.

I don't find any fault in Laura Bush talking to the women in burqas. Those women over there, the majority of those women, they've done opinion polling many times, and basically those women like that society . . . . Aren't we the people who say that we oughta respect people despite their differences? Don't we believe that people have the right to choose the way live?

Because in countries where "the women in burqas" can't vote or drive cars or leave their houses without their husbands are going to tell a pollster (most likely a man) that they don't like their oppressive society.Yes, I'm going to believe that. That's basically the point Bill Maher said in response. That's nice. Good job, Bill.

Oh, I almost forgot what Bill said right after that.

We should talk to people in burqas, And luckily, we have some today because -- You're in for a treat. We have been chosen here at Real Time to host the 5th Annual Fall Fundamentalist Fashion Show, and you are gonna love this. Can we have our first model, please?

Then Bill went on to describe the outfits of several women wearing the same black burqa. Lovely. Let the victims be the butt of the jokes and let the men who established and enforced that oppressive society get off free.

Dress it up for midday prayers or dress it down for midnight stonings this one says My mullah brings all the boys to the yard . . . It's first class clothing for second-class citizens . . . .


Gay Men Get Paid Less Than Straight Men

A new study shows that men in same-sex cohabitating couples get paid 23% less than married men. Well, that's not fair. What else isn't fair is how the researchers completely neglect the gender wage gap.

Lesbians are not discriminated against when compared with heterosexual women, the US study found. The report's authors conclude that while negative attitudes toward lesbians could affect them, lesbians may benefit from the perception that they are more career-focused and less likely to leave the labour market to raise children than heterosexual women.

Not so! First of all, women in general, gay or straight, already earn 23% less than White men, and the wage gap increases for most women of color. Furthermore, unmarried women make about 56% of what married men make. And lesbians can't get married in this country, so they make up a part of the unmarried female population. So while it doesn't look like sexual orientation accounts for wage discrimination against women, women in general are still getting a raw deal, and gay men aren't getting any more discriminated against than all women.


There are these websites that raise money for different causes every time you visit their websites. My friend just sent me one for breast cancer. You just click on the big pink icon, and a sponser donates a free mammogram. Pretty cool, huh? Put it in your favorites so you can click every day. There are other causes you can help on the same site. Happy clicking!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This isn't exactly feminist news, but it is fucking hilarious.

Some weird Republican think tank called Family Security Matters released the 10 most dangerous organizations in America. This outta be good, right?, particularly since not only do they sell T-shirts for dogs, said dog is on their homepage next to the words "Get your FSM Gear." I can only assume that is so because only a dog would wear their merch. Here's the list. I can't post the original since all off FSM's links seem to be broken (I guess not enough dogs bought their T-shirts to keep the site maintained), so this is from Crooks and Liars.

10. Think Progress. A blog. A blog is the 10th most dangerous "organization" in all the land. I find it dangerous to our nation's credibility that six people who run a blog can seriously be considered the 10th most dangerous organization in the country. Oh, that's right. We have no credibility.

9. Muslim Student Association. Think of your campus' Black Student Union except for Muslims. And with their guiding principles of sincerity, knowledge, humility, truthfullness, moderation, tolerance, forgiveness, patience, and gratitude, I can clearly see how anyone would be shaking in their boots.

8. CodePINK. Now I'm not big on interruptions and disruptions of press conferences or presidential inaugrations, but we're in a time of war -- anything goes! Needless to say, a group of women who believe in American children getting healthcare before Iraqi children getting their heads blown out of their asses in an airstrike can't be that dangerous.

7. American Civil Liberties Union. It's dangerous to have an advocate when someone has or is trying to infringe upon your civil rights! The 7th most dangerous thing in the country! Sure FSM is on the radio airwaves, the blogosphere, and on the streets -- but they can't stand civil liberties! Be damned with the civil liberties!

6. Family Research Council. Okay, so they got one thing right.

5. Center for American Progress. The organization where you can find the blog that is also the 10th most dangerous organization in the country.

4. League of the South. Hey! They got two things right!

3. Democracy in Action. Boooo! But MoveOn couldn't beat . . . .

2. Universities and colleges! The thousands of institutions of higher learning in the United States are tied for second for Most Dangerous Organization in America. But of course. Possibly finding out that what comes out of FSM is utter bullshit is dangerous . . . for FSM.

And the Number One Most Dangerous Organization in America is . . . .

The Ku Klux Klan! No, no, no. Think more objectively!

Feminists to the Rescue! Ha! I wish! No, it's . . . .

Media Matters for America! Rush Limbaugh and the hacks over at FOX News aren't dangerous, but the organization that accurately quotes them, dangerous!

*sigh* That did amazing things to my funny bone. Unprecedented things.

UPDATE: Family Security Matter's site has loaded, and here's the original list and the reasoning behind each choice. Yay for calling League of the South sexist and racist. Boo for believing in anything the Family Research Council does.