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.