Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The New Blog is UP!

I just wrote my first post on my new blog, [A] Funny Feminist. It's just an introduction not unlike the post just below this one, in fact. It's still under construction, but I posted a bit about what's to come in the next few days. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm Moving!

After some thought, I've decided to create a different blog. I think I'll stick with Blogger since it seems the easiest to use. It's definitely better than LiveJournal, in my opinion. I've archived all of my posts from Feminists to the Rescue and my old blog, Womb of Doom, that I've written over the past couple of years. There's like 230-something! Put it on your summer reading list.

For the new blog, I'm thinking of going funny. I know what you're thinking. "Emily, you don't have to go anywhere. You're already funny." But I don't think I've used enough of my sense of humor on this blog, and I would like to make that central to my posts. I was thinking of calling it The Funny Feminist, but I know I'm not the funny feminist, nor do I want to be (that's a lot of pressure). So I'm leaning towards [A] Funny Feminist. It indicates that there's more than one funny feminist, and the brackets around the "A" just look stylish to me.

I'm thinking of a few segments. Maybe just "moments." "Segment" implies that it has to be regular, and I just don't think I can commit to that sort of thing. I know I'm keeping "Take Action Fridays" (or whatever day of the week I feel like posting it on). I also have something called "Pro-Life Indeed" in mind to show how pro-lifers don't really give a flying monkey about people's lives at all. I'm also thinking about a call for reactionary sexists to finally accept the radical modern thought of women as people in something I'll probably call "Join Us!" And I'll be posting funny videos of a feminist nature that I happen to find. I'm still not sure if I'll be posting bad news that would be offensive if I poked fun at it. I don't want to completely eliminate those kinds of posts because it's important that people know the horrible consequences of sexism. I'll see.

Hopefully I'll have everything set up in the next week. I created a logo last night. It's just a cartoon picture of myself laughing. I had to make sure I didn't make it look too much like Mikhaela at The Boiling Point! I don't know about in real life, but in cartoon land, we look quite similar. I hope I can put it up, because it's definitely hilarious.

Lastly but not leastly, thanks to everyone who visited and/or commented (you too, misogynoids!). And a very big thanks to Megan for letting me post here! I'll post the link to the new blog once I set up everything, and I hope to see you all there. Peace!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Take Action & Stuff I Forgot to Post About

Long time, no post. I've been real busy lately. And by "busy" I mean "lazy!" My brother hooked up the Xbox to the HD television, so I've been playing Virtua Fighter 5 all week. You can see the pores on the back of Akira's hand! Exciting, right? Anyway . . . .

Tell Beef Northwest to negotiate with their union workers.

Tell Eagle Industries, which makes military gear, to allow their employees to form unions.

Stop so-called "pro-life" pharmacies. The petition is being sent to the Virginia Board Pharmacies, but anyone can sign.

A federal court upheld free speech rights after two anti-choice propoganda mongers were sued for driving a truck with pictures of what they call aborted fetuses (but we all know are stillbirths) around a middle school. Traumatizing children with propoganda. Pro-life indeed! Somehow I doubt the same court would have upheld free speech rights if someone drove around with a picture of a woman and a man "making a baby," if you catch my drift.

Remember the story of the undocumented teen who got an abortion with the help of a federally-funded Catholic organization in Virginia? A bishop in Virginia apologized for the incident. Guess how many times the young woman was mentioned? Once -- "I join my sadness to yours at the loss of the life of an unborn child whose teenage mother was in the foster care of Commonwealth Catholic Charities." So she only exists in relation to a fetus. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

The Associated Press wonders, "if there are two grooms, who kisses the bride?" Yes, important question indeed *eye roll*. The last sentence of the article says it all: “I just say, ’You may now kiss,”’ said [Rev. Neil] Thomas. “I don’t want to get into all that patriarchal stuff.” :D

Diane Negra of the University of East Anglia in England analyzes the media coverage of troubled women celebrities, such as Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse. “When we use female celebrities this way, we see them failing and struggling, they serve as proof that for women the work-life balance is impossible. Can you have it all? The answer these stories give again and again is ‘absolutely not.”’

And this isn't necessarily feminist, but a woman in China rescued over 100 dogs that were trapped in the rubble after the earthquake. A-dorable!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Does Anybody Know the Real John McCain?

I'm supposed to send this video to five of my friends, but I'm posting it here because I bet more than five people read this. Right?

Anyway, it's pretty scary how few people know John McCain's record on family planning issues, but it's not surprising, since he's been painted by the media as a maverick. The above video shows the Planned Parenthood team clearing up some misconceptions.

Take Action Friday

Help increase funding for family planning.

Tell investors in Darfur to stand up for human rights.

Show Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and members of other human rights organizations your support.

Support Pre-K for every child.

Tell Trader Joe's to ensure that their suppliers follow the law by providing water, shade, and bathrooms to their farm workers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Candace Parker Dunks Again, and Gets Shit On!

What's that saying about women having to work twice as hard to get half the credit of men do? It doesn't really matter what the saying is, because Jim Rome expands on it when it comes to Candace Parker who dunked for the second time the other night. She's the second WNBA player to dunk and the only WNBA player to dunk twice.

Look, I like Candace Parker a lot. She’s a class act and a great athlete. But, if all you have to sell is a layup that you’re calling a dunk, that’s not much at all, is it. It’s basketball! People “throw it down”! Why are you giving yourselves credit for something they do in high school all the time? And in local runs down by the beach? And it would be even more impressive if she didn’t go in all alone, late in a blowout, with a smaller, bi-colored basketball.

Look, I’m not looking for her to take off from the free throw line, or to go off the glass through your legs and throw down a “windmill jam”. But, if it’s not too much to ask, I need to know what I just saw is an actually [sic] a dunk. The WNBA…they’ve got to next. And, two people who can dunk! Sort of!

Don't you just love it when assholes make typos? I love it when that happens. Anyway, Jim Rome is an asshole for other reasons. First, he denies that what Parker did was even a dunk. Um, yes it was, mustache. It was obviously a dunk. He further belittles Parker's achievement by pointing out that she made the dunk with a smaller ball, smaller in comparison to what the men play with in the NBA. It doesn't occur to Rome that WNBA players use a smaller ball because they have smaller hands. He believes that it's unfair that WNBA players use a smaller ball than NBA players, but it would be unfair if WNBA used the same sized ball because they wouldn't be able to handle it as well because it's too big. So basically, Rome wants the game to be unfair to women. He also doesn't like the circumstances of the dunk, since the Sparks were winning by a lot of points. But he didn't seem to think that was a problem after the NBA Finals when the Celtics creamed the Lakers in the final game, calling it "a great win for [the Celtics]" and saying that the Celtics were "much better" than the Lakers. Apparently, it's only okay when men wipe the floor with the other team. Finally, he says that he isn't expecting some sort of theatrical dunk, when that's exactly what he's looking for. Call me when you make up your mind, mustache. In the meantime, shut up.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin 1937-2008

Chickens are decent people, but George Carlin was anything but. He'll be sorely missed.

So, Maybe There Were No Pregnancy Pacts?

There's really not much more to say about this. I just think it's sad that this was such a believable story.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Take Action Friday

Tell your Congressperson to support The TRADE Act.

Urge your Congressperson to increase family planning funding.

Voice your support for same-sex marriage.

Help expand the U.N. arms embargo to all of Sudan.

Tell House leadership to restore affordable birth control.

Feds Investigate Catholic Charity for Helping Teen Get Abortion

As much as I would love to point out the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, I think there are more problems with this story than that.

A 16-year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatamala living in Virginia was helped by workers from Commonwealth Catholic Charities get an abortion in January. One of the workers must have posed as the young woman's parent, since Virginia law requires parental consent for minors to have abortions. Four of the workers for the organization were fired, and the federal government is looking into the matter since this organization gets over $7 million a year in federal funding. And thanks to Henry Hyde, federal monies can't be used to pay for an abortion. So what are the many things wrong with this situation? Basically, lots of things could have been done to prevent this.

1. Abortion is illegal in Guatamala in almost all cases. If this young woman was in the United States specifically to obtain the abortion, this wouldn't have been necessary if abortion were legal in her home country.

2. The Global Gag Rule restricts family funding to any clinic or hospital that even mentions abortion. Contraception is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy and, therefore, abortion. Even though abortion is illegal in Guatamala, she probably wouldn't have been able to obtain contraception because of this legislation.

3. Like I said before, the Hyde Amendment keeps federal funds from being used to pay for an abortion. If not for that law, this wouldn't be a federal crime. If not for that law, a woman's reproductive system wouldn't be under government scrutiny. It's really none of the government's business who has an abortion and under what circumstances, but dead white guys like Hyde still have control over women in America.

4. Virginia has parental consent laws for abortion. There's a possibility that this young woman's parents aren't in the United States. Commonweatlth Catholic Charities has a refugee minors program who came to the United States without their parents. If her parents are in the United States, they're here illegally. Furthermore, she would have had to attend "pre-abortion counseling" designed to discourage her from having the abortion and then wait 24 hours. I'm going under the probably false assumption that she's aware of the restrictions in the first place. And that doesn't even include the possibility that this young woman would be abused or disowned if she told her parents or that she was afraid of being deported. Obviously, the system failed her and she had nowhere to turn.

5. Federal funding shouldn't even be allocated to religious organizations in the first place. That $7 million could be used to support family planning in Virginia.

I'm not going to say that what Commonwealth Catholic Charities did was a noble thing. I am not sure under what circumstances this young woman got the abortion. I am suspect of any organization that provides "crisis pregnancy counseling," since they are in the business of deciding what a woman will do for them and not letting the woman decide what's best for herself. And how do I know that they didn't decide for her that it's best that she get an abortion? It might not even have been this young woman's choice. Hopefully, more details will come of this story so we can keep up with it.

Pregnancy Pacts

This is pretty creepy. A high school in Massachusetts recently saw a spike in teen pregnancies, 17 in all. It's suspected that about half of them were part of some pregnancy pact where the teens vowed to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Of course, Jamie Lynn Spears was blamed for having the nerve to have a kid. It's funny. First, Jamie Lynn is congratulated for "doing the right thing" by remaining pregnant and having the baby, and now she's being singled out for the same reasons. Those are the kinds of mixed messages that confuse teens and grown-ups alike about how they're supposed to handle their sex lives.

What was never mentioned in the above clip is sexuality education. They talked about the possibility of making contraception available to students, but that doesn't really help when the girls actually want to get pregnant. I also don't agree with the idea that these girls are looking for unconditional love or anything like that. It struck me as kind of odd that these girls were making a pact with other teen girls, so they do have a sense of friendship and togetherness, maybe even sisterhood. It's almost as if they don't even expect any guy they make a baby with to support the kid. That's pretty sad. I think if these young women learned that their worth wasn't measured in how many babies they have and that they're good people in and of themselves, that things like this wouldn't happen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Says Feminists Aren't Funny?

Planned Parenthood explores what would happen if John McCain became president. It's one of those funny-cuz-it's-true things. It's also one of those horrible-cuz-it's-true things. Weird.

Back Burner Activism

Since I have science to back me up when I say that sexist jokes are, in fact, not only unfunny but damaging, I don't really give a shit if people label me as a humorless feminist when I say that this advertisement for the Planet Green television network is sexist. It stars Ludacris and Tommy Lee trying to one-up each other when it comes to conservation. At one point Ludacris says:

You know the hotel we're staying at? Remember the hot tub, right? I filled it up with all women instead of water -- saved 150 gallons.

I know that this is supposed to be a joke, but this commercial joins basically everything that PETA does by putting women's dignity on the back burner to promote another cause. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for animal welfare and protecting the environment. But I know how to support these causes without treating women like objects. I recognize that animal cruelty, the destruction of our environment, and the second-class status of women are not mutually exclusive. Is it a surprise that there's a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, or that Mother Nature or Mother Earth gets no respect for everything she does for us (like give us life and provide us with food)? As much as I would love to, I don't really expect Planet Green or PETA to realize that the way we treat women, animals, and the environment intersect and that we can achieve all of our goals much easier if we join forces. But is it really that difficult to go 30 seconds without making a sexist joke?

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Conscience?

There was a real freaky article in the Washington Post today about so-called "pro-life pharmacies." They're just like regular pharmacies, except they refuse to do everyday pharmacy-type stuff, like fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception and sell condoms. They believe it's in women's best interest to refuse perfectly safe and legal forms of hormonal birth control in order to prevent pregnancy, relieve menstrual cramps, and regulate menstrual cycles. Thanks a bunch! Here's how they neglect their responsibilities:

Pharmacists at eight pro-life drugstores contacted by The Washington Post said they would not actively interfere with a woman trying to fill a prescription elsewhere, but none posts signs announcing restrictions or offers to help women get what they need elsewhere.

"If I don't believe something is right, the last thing I want to do is refer to someone else," said Michael G. Koelzer, who owns Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Mich. "It's up to that person to be able to find it."

That's contrary to the American Pharmacists Association's Code of Ethics, with guidelines like "A pharmacist promotes the right of self-determination and recognizes individual self-worth by encouraging patients to participate in decisions about their health . . . . In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients" and "A pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise dedication to the best interests of patients." So while one might say they're simply "trying not to leave our faith at the door," they're doing just that to the responsibilities of their profession and, more importantly, the people they're supposed to serve.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Ultimate Finishing Move

This is currently the greatest thing on the Internet, a beautiful mix of presidential politics, media blunders, and Mortal Kombat.

Take Action Friday

I've been reading like a mofo this whole week for my Multicultural Counseling class, so sorry for the lack of updates. My inbox was filled with take action-y stuff for me to share with all of you. Yay!

Sign the sympathy card for Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, a 17-year-old pregnant farm worker who died of heat stroke recently.

Contact the Men's Warehouse Board of Directors and demand that they keep their Montreal factory open.

Support the United Nations Population Fund Restoration Act.

Say no to warrantless wiretapping.

Tell your Congressperson to help reduce child marriages.

Support the Employee Free Choice Act.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Exit Speech

Here's the video of Hillary Clinton's wonderful exit speech that she gave on Saturday in Washington, DC. I hope she gets a cabinet position and runs in 2012 (and leave Bill and Terry McCauliffe at home next time). And there were kind of a lot of boos whenever she mentioned Obama. Hmmmm . . . .

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Voting for Your Second Favorite: A Fact of Presidential Elections -- and American Idol

For most liberals, today is a happy day, because Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination (here's the YouTube video of his speech, which I'm listening to now, and it's great). For slightly fewer liberals, it's time to suck it up and vote for the candidate who might be (should be, really) your second favorite. Hillary Clinton supporters, with a crappy economy, slow housing and job markets, an ongoing occupation and war in Iraq, the possibility of more war in Iran, and the nearly 8-year-long erosion of our human and civil rights, it is NOT the time to be bitter and risk having another 4 years of the same by staying home on November 4 or voting for John McCain. Besides, voting for John McCain would make you a gigantic moron. Sometimes, when your favorite gets the boot, you have to vote for your second favorite. This goes for presidential elections and American Idol, and I'm going to compare the two right now (and I'll do a better job than John McCain did).

Season 7 of American Idol ended just a couple of weeks ago, and it showcased fantastic talent that wasn't seen in any of the preceding seasons, except maybe Season 4 when Bo Bice should have won, but Carrie Underwood did. My favorite of this past season was Jason Castro, the dreadlocked, sensitive Colombian folk singer with blue eyes like the -- alright let me stop before I float away. I voted my little fingers off for the guy every week since his first performance and I fell in love with him over and over again, week after week, no matter how much the judges bashed his style. Unfortunately, Team Castro dropped the ball (well, so did Jason), and Jason placed fourth. Many Dreadheads (clever, no?) vowed to never vote or watch the show again. I, like so many other American Idol fans, had a second favorite: The tall, faux-hawked, scruffy Mid-Western rocker, David Cook. And I felt torn between making a statement by boycotting the show and possibly inadvertantly sealing the deal for either baby-faced snooze-fest David Archuleta or screechy diva wannabe Syesha Mercado. I went back and forth -- "I'm gonna boycott!" "No! I have to vote for Cook!" -- for an entire week. It was stressful.

I decided not to watch and not to vote. I was secure in my decision, until I realized something. How successful would my boycott be if I didn't vote and my inaction caused someone that I didn't want to win, to win? Wouldn't that be a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts? Wouldn't it just piss me off even more if neither of the performers that I liked and that I thought deserved to win got voted off? Wouldn't it be just like Taylor Hicks winning all over again? (If you don't know what it's like for Taylor Hicks to win American Idol, just remember how you felt when George W. Bush was reelected. It kind of feels like that).

So at the very last minute on Top-3 night, I voted for David Cook for two full hours, and he made it to the top 2. The next week, I voted for David Cook again. So did a lot of Dreadheads, even those who initially said they wouldn't vote after Jason got voted off. And you know what happened? David Cook won by 12 million votes, and Cook's fans are forever grateful, because they know he couldn't have won without help from the Dreadheads (those Archies play dir-tay.). And overall, the Dreadheads seem very satisfied with David Cook winning, as he was a second favorite of many.

The moral of the story? It can hurt when your favorite candidate doesn't win the grand prize, but if you can help the other guy who shares your views and rocks just as hard, it'll still be much more satisfying than if some boring guy who's the same as everyone else and appeals to the over 60 set wins. Or something like that.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Gigantic Moron of the Day

I say "of the day" as if I have one of these every day. But this person is probably one of the dumbest people in America right now.

Her name is Koryne Horbel. She claims to be a feminist. After she said this, I have to respectfully disagree:

"I don't care," Horbal said of the possibility that [having loads of people write in Hillary Clinton's name in the November elections] might cost Obama votes. She said she also would not be bothered if the write-in campaign indirectly helped elect John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. "Let McCain clean it up for four years, and then we can have Hillary run again," she said.

Clean up what? Reproductive rights? Gay rights? Veterans benefits? Iran? If you'd rather have a war mongering, anti-choice, heterosexist asshole in the White House than Barack Obama -- or any liberal other than Hillary Clinton, for that matter -- then you need to hand back your feminist card . . . pronto.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Take Action

Might as well post again while I'm here.

Defend online freedom in China.

Tell Tyson foods to denounce discriminatory hiring practices.

There's a way to support an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without crazy proclimations from Pat Robertson and weird prophecies from John Hagee. Sign this petition and learn more!

Show your support for permanent marriage equality in California.

Congratulate farmworkers for their successful fight for a pay raise from Burger King.

Thank the presidential candidates for promising to do something about the genocide in Darfur once elected (yes, John McCain too.).

Promote diversity in media ownership.

Tell your Congresspeople to vote for the Save Medicare Act.

Test your reproductive rights knowledge.

What's Important to You?

I'm on the family computer, which is equally crappy, but at least it doesn't turn off by itself!

Anyway, the band Against Me did another video for their song Stop. It takes place outside a voting booth, and show what people base their vote on, like the war in Iraq, healthcare, immigration, and poverty. It's an admirable attempt, and I think they succeed in almost all of these depictions. It's a pretty great video. Where do they fail? Why, reproductive rights, of course! The director's idea of basing one's vote on reproductive freedom (or lack thereof) is a pro-choicer and an anti-choicer going at it holding signs. I don't know about any other pro-choicers (and trying to speak for the antis will just make my head explode), but my desire for reproductive freedom doesn't really encompass my freedom to hold a "Keep Abortion Legal" sign.

This depiction takes women out of the equation. Ultimately, the loudmouths outside of Planned Parenthood are completely irrelevant to women seeking birth control. There are better ways to illustrate this issue. I mean, they didn't show someone against immigration and someone supporting immigration pointing their fingers at each other and yelling. Instead, there should have been frightened young people walking into the voting booth with a bunch of pro- and anit-choice demonstrators on either side. It would show people how difficult it is for women and men to get birth control and other reproductive healtchare services, which is why people need to vote for these issues in the first place.

On the plus side, they show an interracial gay couple kissing. *thumbs up*

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Computer is Busted

My computer is acting up. It keeps shutting off by itself. So, I'll probably be posting less frequently (not that I post that frequently anyway) until I get another computer.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Omigod, Omigod, Omigod!

Meet the Press had four women on the show today! Which means it was a very woman-friendly show with no sexism, right? Maybe? No, not really.

What really bothers me about the role of women in this country is that we're supposed to be really happy with what little we have all the time, and pointing out any completely reasonable negative feelings you may have makes you a real killjoy. Hillary Clinton said this to a reporter for the Washington Post last week:

The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted. And I think there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when and if it ever raises its ugly head. But it does seem as though the press, at least, is, is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments and the actions of people who are nothing but misogynists.

I do think that Clinton has a bit of a point here, although I don't totally agree with it. I think the way people react to being called a sexist ("Pfft. Yeah, right. Whatever.") and the way people react to being called a racist ("What?! How dare you imply that race even exists in order for someone to even make a racist statement to begin with!") doesn't leave any room open for meaningful discussion either way. Neither does getting getting into any oppression Olympics. Anyway, first, Maureen Dowd's response:

I think it's poppycock, really. I mean, Hillary Clinton has allowed women to visualize a woman as president for the first time, in the way Colin Powell allowed people to visualize an African-American. And she dominated the debates, she, she proved that a woman can have as much tenacity and gall as any man on earth. We, we can visualize her facing down Ahmadinejad. But the thing is, Hillary hurts feminism when she uses it as opportunism. And she has a history of covering up her own mistakes behind sexism. She did it with health care right after health care didn't pass. She didn't admit that she was abrasive or mismanaged it or blew off good advice or was too secretive. She said that she was a Rorschach test for gender and that many men thought of a female boss they didn't like when they looked at her. And now she's doing the same thing, and it's very--you know, in a way it's the moral equivalent of Sharptonism. It's this victimhood and angry and turning women against men and saying that the men are trying to take it away from us, in the same way she's turning Florida and Michigan and riling up and comparing them to suffragettes and slaves. And it's very damaging to feminism.

And now, part of an editorial by Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be elected the first female president--not this year, anyway. The reasons for this outcome have gratifyingly little to do with her gender. ...

The notion that Clinton was the victim of unrelenting, vicious hatred because she is a woman--is it safe to call this reaction overwrought? Clinton managed to win more votes than any primary candidate in either party ever had before. It's hard to square that result with the notion that her candidacy exposed a deep vein of misogyny. ...

From a feminist perspective, Clinton's was not a perfect candidacy. Part of this stems from a fact outside Clinton's control, that her route to power was derivative, the Adam's rib outgrowth of her husband's career. Hillary Clinton had been elected to the Senate, twice, in her own right, but the fact that her road to the White House involved standing by her man, no matter how badly he behaved, made her a flawed vessel for the feminist cause.

And Clinton's least attractive campaign moments came when she took up the gender card and chose to play it as victim instead of a trailblazer. The notion that the male candidates were ganging up on her because she is a woman instead of--remember back when?--because she was the front-runner was silly. The complaint that asking her the first question in debates was evidence of a double standard was even sillier.

Both responses could be summed up in six words: "Look on the bright side, Hil!"

And why not look on the bright side, when people accuse you of rolling back women's rights for having a human gaffe machine for a husband (because Obama's wife never said anything potentially damaging)! I mean, don't you like living in a society where you're judged based on your relationship with your husband? Don't you like people judging your leadership abilities based on your adherence to gender roles? Don't you like people worrying about the inevitable PMS-induced nuclear bomb attack if you become president, despite the fact that you're 60 years old? Don't you like people expecting even a powerful and intellectual woman like you to get back in the kitchen or iron shirts for a living? Don't be such a Debbie Downer!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Arizona Wants to Ban Multiculturalism

You read that correctly. Arizona wants to ban teaching multiculturalism, whether that be through academic curricula or student groups, at all public schools, universities, and community colleges. But here's the kicker: This ban is an amendment to their homeland security bill. Because if you're not only learning about White people, you're one step closer to flying an airplane into a skyscraper! First, I'll tell you what the bill states. Then, I'll offer you helpful translations.

A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship.

Translation: Repeat after me, boys and girls -- White is right! White is right! White is right!

Public tax dollars used in public schools should not be used to denigrate American values and the teachings of western civilization.

Translation: Harriet Tubman was a dirty Commie. So was Sacajawea for that matter. You know what? Throw Shirley Chisholm on that list too. And don't even get me started on Bayard Rustin. Oh, who am I kidding? Nobody learns about these people in school anyway.

Public tax dollars should not be used to promote political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values as truth when such values are in conflict with the values of American citizenship and the teachings of western civilization.

Translation: American civil rights movement = political ideology. Europeans coming to a land uninvited (but nonetheless welcomed) and then murdering, raping, and enslaving American Indians and Africans = values of American citizenship.

A public school in this state shall not include within the program of instruction any courses, classes or school sponsored activities that promote, assert as truth or feature as an exclusive focus any political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values that denigrate, disparage or overtly encourage dissent from the values of American democracy and western civilization, including democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious toleration.

Translation: You can be a lesbian if you want to. Just don't bitch to us about how you have fewer rights than your heterosexual counterparts, and don't even think about learning how to fix that. Not that I'm saying America needs to fix anything . . . . Um . . . go Yankees?

This section does not prohibit the inclusion of diverse political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values if the course, class or school sponsored activity as a whole does not denigrate, disparage or overtly encourage dissent from the values of American democracy and western civilization.

Translation: OK, so you can major in Women's Studies, but you can't talk about America's misogynistic past and present -- especially not the present! I mean, present? What misogynistic present? America has no faults! Never has, never will! U-S-A! U-S-A!

A public school in this state, a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and a community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state shall not allow organizations to operate on the campus of the school, university or community college if the organization is based in whole or in part on race-based criteria.

Translation: Sorry, Black Student Union. Try out for the basketball team instead. Black people like basketball, right? Let me ask Mitt Romney. He's talked to more Black people than I have, and it shows!

But there's something you can do! Even if you don't live in Arizona, you can still contact Arizona's Speaker of the House and tell them what you think.

Start the Weekend Off Right

If you live in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, or Virgina, at least one of your Senators did not vote in support of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. So you have to contact them and tell them to change their minds.

Support the REAL Act and comprehensive sexuality education.

Urge President Bush to take action to help the people in Darfur.

Tell Senator Leahy and Congresswoman Lowey that you support increasing international family planning funding.

Tell John McCain to fire the lobbyists who work for dictators and human rights abusers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Take Action Friday

Post number 350! Whoo! I don't know if that's an official milestone. Whatev!

Urge your Senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass S.J. Res. 28, which will end media consolidation

Tell the Embassies in Myanmar to allow aid to reach those who are affected by the cyclone.

Stop Bush from nominating crazy judges.

Urge Congress to invest more in family planning.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

George W. Bush: A Special Kind of Asshole

It takes a special kind of asshole to let your wife decry the inaction of Myanmar's government to the recent cyclone that has killed thousands of people. George W. Bush is that asshole. In a press conference yesterday, First Lady Laura Bush said the following:

Although they were aware of the threat, Burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path.

The response to this cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta's failures to meet its people's basic needs.

I wonder if anyone heard the name "Katrina" blowing in the wind. I know I did.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Who Counts?

Keith Olbermann outlines what kinds of voters count, according to the Clinton campaign. Honestly, if we could harness the power of the Clinton spin machine, we'd be energy independent yesterday.

Friday, May 02, 2008

"D.C. Madam" Killed Herself

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam of a high class prostitution ring that has served government officials, hanged herself yesterday. The article mentions that Brandy Britton, one of the sex workers involved, also killed herself before going on trial. Maybe she didn't want to go through the extra humiliation of being asked invasive and irrelevant personal questions, like how do they serve Washington lawmakers while they were menstruating. Put that on top of the fact that Sen. Vitter still gets to keep his job and never had to go on trial, and now even I kind of feel a bit dead inside.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stuff to Do and Read

A mining company in Ghana wants to expand a mine that will destroy low-income housing and schools. Sign this petition telling the company to consider the rights of the people.

The World Food Program is cutting it's food donations to Darfur in half. Tell your Congressperson to support full funding of food in Darfur.

Urge your lawmakers to end abstinence-only education funding.

Life expectancy for women in poor counties decreases.

Multiple Pap and HPV tests are needed to assess one's risk of getting cervical cancer.

Mammograms are effective for early detection of breast cancer at any age.

Trading sex for net neutrality
. How does prostitution make the Internet any more neutral?

SELF magazine poll shows nearly 2/3 of women are disordered eaters.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dan Rather Reports: Wal-Mart & Dalits

As a Verizon FiOS customer, I no longer have MSNBC, but I do have HDNet. I record Dan Rather Reports every day, and this morning, I watched a heart-breaking episode. The first part of the episode is about tapes that have been leaked of the meetings of Wal-Marts managers. According to Wal-Mart lobbyists, every dollar that is donated by a Wal-Mart employee to Wal-Mart's political action committee is matched by the corporation and put into a trust fund for the employees. I don't know what anyone else thinks, but I find that to be clearly unethical.

The second part is about Dalits in India. Dalits are the lowest citizens of the caste system and are oppressed by Indian society. Even though such treatment is illegal, the caste system is still alive and well. I don't even want to explain how these people are treated. It's absolutely disgusting. But you can watch the entire episode for free here. I have to warn you that this portion of the video is highly disturbing, and I bawled throughout the whole thing. Viewer discretion is advised (I've always wanted to say that).

WTF, John McCain?

As we know by know, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act failed to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate. I was pleased to see that several Republicans voted yes, but not enough did. Someone who did not vote at all was Senator and Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are also running for president, made it to Washington for the vote. Yesterday, I listed John McCain as someone who doesn't give a shit about women because he didn't vote on the Act at all. And because Clinton and Obama are running campaigns just as much as McCain, I can only assume that McCain would have voted "No" had he voted this week, and what a blemish that would have been on his record. Here's McCain's reasoning for not supporting the bill (but not why he was too cowardly to vote at all):

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems."

Lawsuits such as Ledbetter vs. Goodyear, perchance? That's the point, jackass. If pay inequity based on gender is illegal, and a company pays any woman less anyway, that is breaking the law, and breaking the law opens you up to a big, fat, well-deserved lawsuit. That was pretty bad, but at least he has hundreds of years of conservative philosophy backing up his reasoning. But why, oh why, didn't he just stop there?

"They [women] need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else. And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them.

It's a vicious cycle that's affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this [Kentucky], where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least."

Um, no. More women than men are enrolled in college. And no matter where you go or what your profession, women are making less than men. And maybe more women will become miners once Elaine Chao stops screwing them over.

If you want to take John McCain to school, sign this petition.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Republicans Fillibuster Fair Pay Act

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act failed to get 60 votes in the Senate yesterday. Here are the Senators that care about women (i.e., they voted YES to fair pay):

Lincoln (D-AR), Pryor (D-AR), Boxer (D-CA), Feinstein (D-CA), Salazar (D-CO), Dodd (D-CT),Lieberman (ID-CT) Hey! How 'bout that!, Biden (D-DE), Carper(D-DE), Nelson (D-FL), Akaka (D-HI), Inouye (D-HI), Durbin (D-IL), Obama (D-IL), Bayh (D-IN), Harkin (D-IA), Landrieu (D-LA), Collins (R-ME), Snowe (R-ME), Cardin (D-MD), Mikulski (D-MD), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Levin (D-MI), Stabenow (D-MI), Coleman (R-MN), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Baucus (D-MT), Tester (D-MT), Sununu (R-NH), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Menendez (D-NJ), Bingaman (D-NM), Clinton (D-NY), Schumer (D-NY), Conrad (D-ND), Dorgan (D-ND), Brown (D-OH), Smith (R-OR), Wyden (D-OR), Casey (D-PA), Specter (R-PA), Reed (D-RI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Johnson (D-SD), Leahy (D-VT), Sanders (I-VT), Webb (D-VA), Cantwell (D-WA), Murray (D-WA), Byrd (D-WV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Feingold (D-WI), Kohl (D-WI)

Here are the Senators who don't give a shit about women (i.e., they voted NO or didn't vote at all):

Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Murkowski (R-AK), Stevens (R-AK), Kyl (R-AZ), McCain (R-AZ -- didn't vote), Allard (R-CO), Martinez (R-FL), Chambliss (R-GA), Isakson (R-GA), Craig (R-ID), Crapo (R-ID), Grassley (R-IA), Brownback (R-KS), Roberts (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), McConnell (R-KY), Vitter (R-LA), Cochran (R-MS), Wicker (R-MS), Bond (R-MO), Hagel (R-NE -- didn't vote), Ensign (R-NV), Gregg (R-NH), Domenici (R-NM), Burr (R-NC), Dole (R-NC), Voinovich (R-OH), Coburn (R-OK), Inhofe (R-OK), DeMint (R-SC), Graham (R-SC), Thune (R-SD), Alexander (R-TN), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Hutchison (R-TX), Bennett (R-UT), Hatch (R-UT), Warner (R-VA), Barrasso (R-WY), Enzi (R-WY)

Harry Reid (D-NV) voted NO for "technical reasons" but strongly supports the bill and will bring the bill up at another time. I don't know what those technical reasons are . . . .

Contact your Senators and thank them or tell them you're disappointed, depending on how they voted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Polygamist Compound, or Fashionista Think Tank?

I know that's what I've been asking myself ever since I heard about the story about that polygamist compound broke. Thank goodness for those liberal wing-nuts at MSNBC for this gem! Here's some stirring analysis that I'm sure every journalism student looks forward to reporting to the masses someday:

Celebrity stylist and salon owner Ted Gibson thinks [the old-fashioned hairdo] gives off a "homely" impression.

"It says 'I don't really care very much. I really don't have time to worry about the way that I look, because I have 20 children,'" Gibson said. "He's going from wife to wife to wife, so why should I look any better than the other ones?"

I think it says "I'm in a cult, and my husband, who's old enough to be my father and who rapes me every day, makes me look like this. Please get me the hell out of here."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Anti-Choice Federal Judge Nomination

Dubya just doesn't learn, does he?

Bush has nominated another anti-choice weirdo for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. His name is Robert J. Conrad, Jr., and he's called Planned Parenthood a "radical pro-abortion fringe group." Considering that a whopping 3% of all people who received services from Planned Parenthood received abortions from them, it looks like he's the out-of-touch one. And while the White House says that Conrad is "a highly respected jurist who is widely praised by lawyers and fellow judges alike for his intellect, fairness, and judicial temperament," he actually served on the board of a crisis pregnancy center in Charlottesville. So you have to contact your Senators to reject his nomination.

Things I Forgot to Post About

Since I've been spending most of the weekend writing my paper on Planned Parenthood, I don't have much time to write in-depth posts about things that have happened this week. So here's some light reading for you.

Leslie Bennett on household chores, child-rearing, and married life. "I admit that my husband helps out more than many men, but here’s another news flash: It isn’t because he’s such a fabulously enlightened being. Left to his own devices, he would doubtless park himself in front of the TV like some sitcom male-chauvinist couch potato while I did all the work. The reason Jeremy “helps” as much as he does (an offensive terminology that itself suggests who’s really being held responsible) is simple: He doesn’t have a choice." It's highly disappointing that, in the right margin of this article, is a little slideshow featuring "31 ways to meet a quality man."

The non-story of the so-called abortion artist leaves people feeling duped. A Yale art student claims to have artificially inseminated herself and then induced bleeding -- and it's caught on tape. "Miscarriage" and "abortion" are thrown around in this article, but no one, not even the artist herself, can possibly know for certain that she was ever pregnant to begin with. And isn't that the point?

One student at King Middle School in Maine was prescribed birth control in the last 6 months. I guess that means the presence of birth control options makes kids have sex without birth control. *rolls eyes*

A sheriff at a women's jail in Oklahoma raped enough inmates to possibly be sentenced to 467 years in prison. But his bail was a whopping $50,000. Hmmm . . . .

Some of the women in that polygamist compound might have given birth at 13.
A dirty old man having sex with a 13-year-old = Ewwwwww.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fun Fact of the Day

And by "fun," I mean "quite disturbing."

Did you know that the United States is one of the only countries that doesn't provide paid maternity leave? Present company includes Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, and Liberia. Yup. I've heard of some of those countries.

Wow, right? I got that bit of information from this article about women leaving the workforce for maternity leave.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Take Action Friday

Tell your Senators to support Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. They vote on it next week!

Endorse the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

Urge your Representatives to support the GROWTH Act, which helps women get out of poverty by loaning them money to start their own businesses and by giving them skills training.

Call Bill O'Reilly out
on his homophobic bullshit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Beautiful (According to the Patriarchy) Mommy

A new children's book written by cosmetic surgeon Michael Salzhauer seeks to explain to children the process of cosmetic surgery. But what does it really do? Shames mommies.

It features a perky mother explaining to her child why she's having cosmetic surgery (a nose job and tummy tuck). Naturally, it has a happy ending: mommy winds up "even more" beautiful than before, and her daughter is thrilled.

That's a happy ending? I don't know about anybody else, but I thought every little kid believed their mother to be the prettiest woman in the world, and it's not because she adheres to the patriarchal confines of femininity and beauty. This kind of behavior is often modeled by children, particularly daughters, and it can later develop into poor body image and eating disorders. But it's a happy story! Here's more on the book's description:

"My Beautiful Mommy" is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: "You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better." Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.

The text doesn't mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom's breasts to be fuller and higher. "I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself," says Salzhauer. "The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can't fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old."

The book doesn't explain exactly why the mother is redoing her nose post-pregnancy. Nonetheless, Mom reassures her little girl that the new nose won't just look "different, my dear—prettier!"

So is this book really teaching kids about why women opt for a tummy tuck after pregnancy, or is it merely an advertisement for Dr. Salzhauer's services for the next generation? Now on to the saddest part of the article.

Instead of being uncomfortable about the surgery, [29-year-old mom Gabriela] Acosta says her son actually spoke up about it at a big party. "Did you see her new belly button? It's so pretty!" he said of his mom.

Pretty belly buttons. Yes, I had to read that again too. Because you know your mama ain't shit unless she has the prettiest belly button on the block.

And how many people really believe that Dr. Michael Salzhauer is as buff as the "superhero" cosmetic surgeon called "Dr. Michael" in the story? Someone has issues . . . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are They NUTS??? Actually, No.

If you haven't heard, Randi Rhodes quit Air America Radio last week after being suspended for some sexist comments she made. So from 3pm-6pm, guest hosts have been filling in. And let me say, it's difficult to miss Randi.

This week, actor and conspiracy theorist Richard Belzer is guest hosting, and he had Joshua Kors of The Nation on the show. He broke a story about the US Military denying Iraq War veterans medical benefits, claiming that the physical injuries they suffered in battle were actually due to a Personality Disorder. I know. It doesn't make any sense to us. But it makes perfect sense for a government run by a Republican Commander in Chief, because Personality Disorders are considered preexisting conditions and aren't covered. And the government is saving billions of dollars by doing this. The military has done this more than 5,600 times in the past 6 years. Before you know it, the military will save enough money to pay the richest corporations' tax cuts that John McCain wants to give back -- $1.7 trillion in all! I swear, the most patriotic thing any of these Republicans have ever done is wear a flag pin on their lapels.

Donations for Darfur

This past Sunday was the National Day for Darfur, and demonstrations took place all across the country. I attended one near my hometown. One of my best friends from the Darfur Rehabilitation Project sent me this information about what good your money can do.

  • $35 can provide two high-energy meals a day to 200 children
  • $50 can provide vaccinations for 50 people against meningitis, measles, polio, or other deadly epidemics
  • $100 can provide infection-fighting antibiotics to treat nearly 40 wounded children
  • $250 can provide a sterilization kit for syringes and needles used in mobile vaccination campaigns
  • $1000 can provide emergency medical supplies to aid 5,000 disaster victims for an entire month
Also, I sent my Save Darfur wristbands to David Cook, who is a contestant on American Idol. Hopefully, he'll receive them by tomorrow and wear one on the show. I asked him to wear one and give the other to an influential person of his choosing. So keep your eyes open on Tuesday and Wednesday for the green wristbands. I'm hoping that David Cook's fans (there are officially 876 of us as of today) will see that he cares about Darfur and will learn more about the crisis there and help to end it.

UPDATE: Not tonight . . . . I'm not worried though. They should get there by tomorrow.
UPDATE: Not tonight either, although last year's second runner-up, Eliot Yamin, was wearing a green wristband. I don't think it was one of mine or a different Save Darfur one, though, just a fluke.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Midnight Quickie: Question

If the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply in domestic military operations, then can that sort of reasoning be used to overturn Roe v. Wade? It seems to me that suspending the Fourth Amendment in this case is a bit of a surprise. It actually sounds like someone just made that up on a whim in order to, I don't know, justify warrantless wiretapping or racial profiling in airports and other transportation hubs. So how can I be be sure that someone won't conclude that the Fourth Amendment has no application when it comes to reproduction?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Update on My Planned Parenthood Presentation

A couple of days ago I told you that I'm doing a presentation on Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey for my Community Agencies class. That's on Monday, April 14. That's just two days before Pro-Life Day, which is next Wednesday. Perfect timing, no?

They're having a so-called "Pro-Life Baby Shower," and people are expected to donate baby items for a local crisis pregnancy center. I kind of want to donate a giant box of condoms.

John McCain on American Idol

This week, American Idol hosted their second annual "Idol Gives Back" benefit, which raises money for children in the United States and Africa. The three candidates for president taped messages for viewers urging us to give. Now, I've been told more than once to stop talking about politics on the American Idol message boards (I can't help myself -- a Barack Obama/David Cook ticket just can't lose!), but after listening to John McCain, talking politics should be fair game.

American Idol is a lot like a presidential primary election: Except for people who live in Michigan and Florida, their votes actually count.

Technically, no primary votes count. It's not like they're carried over to the general election (and McCain should be glad about that). I just find it hilarious that McCain can talk about Democratic primary votes not counting in Michigan and Florida being bad, but it's just fine and dandy that votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 presidential election or in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election. And what about the possibility of votes being switched by those voting machines? I'm sure the Republicans aren't trying to fix that kink any time soon.

Republicans rigging two consecutive presidential elections = Good.

The Democratic candidates not picking up delegates in Michigan and Florida = Bad.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Morning Quickie: Take Action

Farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for fast food chains are asking to be paid an extra penny per pound. Even though this is Florida, USA we're talking about, these farmworkers still only make on average $10,000 a year and are not allowed to form unions. Other fast food restaurants, like McDonald's, have worked with the Coalition of Immokalee workers, but Burger King refuses to do so. Go give them a piece of your mind.

Tell Jack Murtha "No more funding for the war in Iraq."

Gordon Brown is skipping the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics in China. Urge President Bush to do the same.

If you think Bush is going to attend the Olympics no matter what we tell him, sign this Amnesty International petition telling him to at least put pressure on China's government to improve human rights.

Tell the House subcommittee
to fund international family planning.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh, Only 10,000 People Have Been Killed in Darfur? Well, in that Case . . . .

I kept forgetting to post about this because I've been so busy with schoolwork. Rest assured, I compensate my lack of postings by presenting on feminist topics in my classes. I nailed a presentation that I did for my counselor ethics class. It was about ethical decision making in diagnosing potentially stigmatizing mental disorders, and I based the ethical dilemma off of a transgender child in Colorado that got some bad press from Neil Cavuto and his viewers. On Monday, I'll be presenting on Planned Parenthood for my Community Agencies class. Catholic university and Planned Parenthood -- woo hoo! I'm sure I'm going to get the look once I open up my PowerPoint presentation. You know, the Planned Parenthood look. So that's what I've been doing.

Anywho, human rights organizations and the Sudanese government have been quibbling over how many people have really been genocided* out of Darfur. Human rights groups have been saying that between 200,000 and 400,000 have been killed, but the Sudanese government says that the death toll is less than 10,000. I guess people have to choose between believing the organizations that provide aid to the refugees in Darfur and the government who arms the radical militias that are killing these people. That's a tough one.

But it's not just the government of Sudan that doesn't believe that the violence is so bad after all. Jay Williams, a former Harvard student who helped free thousands of slaves in Sudan, spoke at my college when I was a senior. I had the pleasure of meeting him (because I played an important and hilarious role in getting the college to sponsor the event), and he told us that some people that he talked to didn't believe that such a huge number of people could be killed. They were hesitant to donate money because they weren't sure if hundreds of thousands of people were indeed being slaughtered. Because I guess people have to see the bodies before they wake the fuck up. It's sad.

With that said, the House and Senate are considering appropriations bills this month. Make sure they include critical funding for peacekeepers and aid to Sudan.

*That's not a word, but it should be.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rush Limbaugh on Feminism

I don't have MSNBC anymore, now that we've switched to Verizon Fios. So I've been missing my beloved Keith Olbermann every night. The above video is of last night's Worst Persons in the World segment. Rush Limbaugh came in second with this gem about feminism:

[Hillary Clinton's female supporters] think they're owed this, women have paid their dues, they married two or three times, they had two or three abortions, they've done everything feminism has asked them to do.

*gasp* Am I not a proper feminist according to Rush Limbaugh? I'm melting . . . melting. I don't even want to get married or become pregnant. I must be the perfect woman according to Rush then. Now I kind feel like I have to take a shower. Here was Keith's hilarious retort:

That's comedian Rush Limbaugh saying that, after being married 3 times and having had not children. Apparently he has done everything feminism has asked him to do.

Randi Rhodes Gets Suspended for Sexist Comments

via HuffPo

Air America Radio host Randi "I Don't Endorse a Candidate until the DNC Does (NOT!)" Rhodes has been suspended for calling both Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton "fucking whores." Was it the appropriate action? Of course. So why doesn't Fox News, CNN, and WABC* follow suit? Is it because their conservative commentators are entitled to make racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks? Honestly, as much as these so-called Christians of the religious wrong say they answer to a higher power, they can't even uphold any sort of journalistic integrity. It's like the party of God and personal responsibility has respect for neither!

Anyway, I listen to Randi. I don't think she's funny. She's just on when I'm driving to class. I actually prefer the people who fill in for her once in a while, Stacy Taylor and Sam Seder. I've been listening to her less and less, because she's basically the Rush Limbaugh of the left. But hey, I have to listen to something while I'm driving to school, and it ain't gonna be Hannity.

*That's the radio station that Rush and Sean Hannity have their syndicated talk shows. I'm not sure it's called WABC everywhere.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flirting Kills?

I just heard about the murder of Larry King, the out 8th-grader who wasn't afraid to be himself, from a commercial that I saw on MTV. Then, I found this article about it. Here's how it opened:

Larry King was a gay eighth-grader who used to come to school in makeup, high heels and earrings. And when the other boys made fun of him, he would boldly tease them right back by flirting with them.

That may have been what got him killed.

Really? Some bold flirting is what got him killed? Because I thought he got shot twice in the head by a homophobe. Maybe it's the lack of tolerance and downright hate of gay people that got him killed. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

The Feminist Majority Foundation has this informational video about who and what feminists are. It features both celebrities and regular people (Megan and I are noticeably absent!).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Morning Quickie: Take Action

Hold Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao accountable for her general lack of care about worker's rights.

Congress is trying to cut payments to Medicare doctors. Tell them not to.

Support the Fair Elections Now Act for public financing of congressional elections.

Demand equal rights for the spouses of gay and lesbian federal employees.

Blog for EC on March 25.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kick-Ass Old Lady of the Day

Bernie Garcia, an 83-year-old woman in Santa Fe, New Mexico, fought off three guys who were trying to steal her purse. The three men planned to rob an old woman at a gas station, but they probably didn't plan on getting beat up with the pump.

Reporter: You weren't going to let him get it.
Garcia: No, hell no.

Man, that lady needs to be on television all the time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Resigns After Racist Remark

Yes, and I'm calling them racist because they were racist. Here is the comment she made (and stood by) that caused her to resign:

If Obama were a White man, he would not be in this position. And if he were a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught in the concept.

He's lucky to be what? Black? Being a Black guy is better than being any color woman? Because White privilege doesn't exist? Because the only discrimination that can affect a person is sexism? Because it's OK to call Obama a Muslim and that terrorists will dance in the streets if he's elected, but it's much, much worse to call Hillary Clinton a monster?

It's pretty upsetting when the feminists of the second wave continue to be racist, but we as third wave feminists have to still kiss their asses. That seems to be the sentiment of way too many people who comment at Feministing. It's either that, or it's just more "sexism is worse than racism" or "But Obama does benefit from being Black!" I thought feminists were better than that.

Word, Colbert

Instead of reading this article from The Atlantic that tells women to settle for any man who'll have them (unless you want to know what it's like to have your head packed in ice while a rabid raccoon chomps at your ankles without actually, you know, doing that), watch the above clip from last night's Colbert and laugh.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Ol' Fashioned Clinton and Obama Hate

Can people be a little bit more creative with the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama bashing? Above is a segment of Real Time with Bill Maher about Hillary Clinton's response to her biggest crisis as she describes in her book (about 5 minutes in):

Bill Maher: Now I don't want to bash Hillary too much, but I just want to add this because we went back and looked at her book. She wrote a book called "Living History," which is her biog- sounds like my sixth grade social studies book, by the way. "Living History," I think was the book I had to study. But we wanted to find out, because she raised this topic of crisis -- what was her biggest crisis? And in her own words she said, "My biggest crisis was Monica Lewinsky," and here's the audio version. This is what she said was her reaction at the moment of her biggest crisis.

Hillary Clinton's audiobook: I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him.

Before Bill Maher could even get another sexist word in, Joe Scarborough of all people came to the defense. Seriously, though, this isn't an uncommon "Gotcha!" moment in the media. Maher's talking about the Republican Scarborough sticking up for Hillary, Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes (who always accuses Jon Stewart of stealing her jokes, even though her show airs and The Daily Show is taped at the same time) tried making the same point yesterday: If this is how Hillary Clinton reacts to her biggest crisis, she's obviously not fit to be president. Give me a break. That's how Clinton reacted to that crisis. More importantly, she reacted appropriately to that crisis. George W. Bush reacted to his biggest crisis (and I don't mean the tap going dry at the local tavern) by continuing to read My Pet Goat. Who's unfit to run the country now?

Now on to the Obama hate. Via the Huffington Post, Republican representative Steve King (IA) believes the following will happen if Obama becomes the next president:

The radical Islamists, the al-Qaida ... would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror . . . His middle name does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that.

"Hillary Clinton's weak. Barack HUSSEIN! Obama is a Muslim!" Please. It's getting old. Really old.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Women's Only Gym on Harvard Campus

To accommodate Harvard's devout Muslim women, the university has decided to have women-only hours at one of the campus's gyms. The hours have been set up so that Muslim women can work out without having to worry about men looking at them. One student columnist suggests that men-only hours be provided at the same time as the women-only hours in a different gym. That way, everybody has equal gym time and the Muslim women can still practice their faith freely. Problem solved, right? Well, not so much. A Harvard spokesperson said the general response has been "You're in America. Assimilate or get out." I know, because it's not like religious freedom is in the Constitution or anything.

Michael Smerconish has a problem with the hours too. He says that majority rules, and since only 6 Muslim women have complained, there's no point in inconveniencing other people out of their gym time. But what would be the general response from those male students who have to go to another gym on campus at that time? "Why should I have to walk to a different side of campus just to appease these Muslim women? Poo!" So which is more important? Preserving religious freedom or preserving some guy's usual walking distance between point A and the gym?

Help Save the USF Women's Studies Department!

So I've been M.I.A. from Feminists to the Rescue for a while. I've been a little busy with putting on the Vagina Monologues and counter-protesting the Genocide Awareness Project and now, trying to save my major's department from being the victim of state budget cuts.

Apparently, the state of Florida has cut the funding for education very severely, and this has had a huge impact on the University of South Florida. Due to these budget cuts, some university bigwigs decided that the Women's Studies Department here at USF no longer deserved to be an autonomous entity, despite the fact that it is the second oldest women's studies department in the nation, having just celebrated it's 35th birthday. They also propose cutting out the Africana Studies department as well, or possibly merging the two disciplines to create what those who oppose the idea lovingly call "The Office of Marginalized Studies" .

Apparently, the provost is going to be making the final decision as far as the budget and the fate of the Women's and Africana Studies departments are concerned. His website is here. The information regarding the budget as well as his contact information is all there.

It would be great to get some e-mails sent to the provost in support of Women's Studies and Africana Studies. We have a petition circling around, but it's a printed document. If we get an online version, I will post it here for others to sign. We are trying to get as many signatures and as much support as possible, of course. Gloria Steinem was actually the first to sign our petition, and Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards also added their names to the list. So please, send an e-mail of support for the USF Women's Studies Department.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Abstinence-Only . . . Dental Hygiene?

Some abstinence nut was on Dr. Phil on Monday to discuss why abstinence-only education is better than, you know, telling teens the truth. He uses this bizarre toothbrush analogy to emphasize his point:

"Nobody would stick one of these in their mouth. The reason they wouldn’t stick them in their mouth is because they don’t know where they’ve been, what they’ve been doing, or who they’ve been doing it with,” he says. He adds an untainted brush to his illustration. “I have a virgin toothbrush right here. Can you get back in your box and start over? Absolutely. Can you get your dignity back, your reputation back, your innocence back, your self-esteem back? Absolutely. A person can start over.”

So I guess we should change our sexual partners every six months?

Bush Vetos Torture Bill

President Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.

Let's just get this straight right out of the gate: Waterboarding is torture. It is not a "harsh interrogation practice", it is torture.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Bush often warns against ignoring the advice of U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq. Yet the president has rejected the Army Field Manual, which recognizes that harsh interrogation tactics elicit unreliable information, said Reid, D-Nev.

So we're going to torture people in order to obtain information that may or may not be reliable, yet Bush still wants to make statements like this:

"This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," the president said.
Sorry, sir, but I don't believe that demolishing our moral authority in the world is going to do much to keep Americans safe. It certainly wouldn't keep any captured troops of ours safe when we can't denounce any torture practices that those who have captured them might use to obtain information due to our own use of such tactics. If we authorize the use of torture tactics in order to obtain information, how do we have the moral authority to make sure other countries do the same? And if we don't have that authority, how can we make sure that our troops won't be tortured as well? In that sense, I don't see how we can claim that we're keeping Americans safe, unless we don't count our troops as Americans that need protection, which wouldn't surprise me.

But the administration has refused to rule definitively on whether it is torture. Bush has said many times that his administration does not torture.

The White House says waterboarding remains among the interrogation methods potentially available to the CIA.

"Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists," Bush said.

So apparently Bush won't torture you unless he feels like he needs to. Awesome. I feel so much better now. Here's the link to the full article.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Doggie Racism

Did you know that black dogs are less likely to get adopted from shelters than dogs of other colors? I know, looking at that picture of my beautiful Black Lab, Diesel, who is black from nose to tail, you'd think everyone would want a big black dog. The weird thing is, I wasn't very surprised to learn that. I've noticed that people are kind of frightened of Diesel when I walk him. I don't know. I guess there's just something about a big black dog that scares people. Wait until my dog hears about this! He'll be outraged.

Was this post just an excuse to talk about my dog? Yes. Yes, it was.

Mike Huckabee Ends His Campaign

From The Boiling Point!

Boo! We're going to have to wait at least another 4 years for this to happen! Oh, Mike Huckabee. We hardly knew ye.

Actually, I think we knew too much of ye.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Celebrity Feminist of the Day: Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon promotes Avon's new empowerment bracelet on The Today Show. Up to $1 million of the proceeds from the bracelets will go to the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Why stop at a million? I don't know, but it's better than nothin'.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Afternoon Quickie: Revirginization

Is it "quicky" or "quickie?" My spell check just told me "quickie," so I guess that answers that question. A much more philosophical question that has been asked lately is "What does it mean to be a virgin?" What with hymen reattachment surgery and revirginization ceremonies (there's a word that'll keep the spell check busy) that allow people to undo their sexual past, it's becoming more difficult to define virginity and what it means to "lose" it.

Author Brian Alexander discusses the issue of virginity in an article for MSNBC. It's very informative and thought-provoking. There was this one part that nearly made me puke, though. Guess which part, and if you're right, you'll get a cookie. Hint: It's on page 2.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Compromise and Anti-Choice Legislation

This is a uterus, and she doesn't haggle.

Yesterday, Eric Alterman was talking to Sam Seder about his upcoming book Why We're Liberals. He said that the majority of the country takes the liberal position on almost every issue. One of the issues that the majority of the country doesn't take the liberal position on: Abortion. He said that because women's organizations take a you're with us or against us stance on reproductive rights and put pressure on liberal politicians to do the same, the liberal position on abortion has become "abortion under any circumstances." Alterman says this hurts liberals, because most Americans support some sort of restriction on abortion and vote on this issue, and liberals aren't relating to them. Alterman's solution?

Compromise! Liberal politicians should compromise on this issue to pander to people who only believe in women's reproductive rights sometimes. It doesn't really matter if women's human rights are compromised in the process. Just as long as our Democratic majority lets us have a choice sometimes, it's all good. Of course, there is no pro-life organization that supports abortion under certain circumstances, nor do they support contraception. So, they don't reflect the mainstream, but that's okay.

But what about the ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, you ask? How can anybody not support that, you wonder? And what about parental notification and consent laws for pregnant minors? What's wrong with that? I'll tell you.

First, a lot of people think partial-birth abortion is the name given to an abortion performed during the third trimester and that the ban prohibits abortions during this time because, at this time, the fetus is viable. This is untrue. It's the name given to the procedure of extracting the fetus (intact dilation and extraction), and this procedure can be done in the second trimester as well. And it's the procedure, not third trimester abortions, that are illegal for almost any reason. What does this mean? Viability of the fetus has nothing to do with the ban on partial-birth abortion. I repeat, Viability of the fetus has nothing to do with the ban on partial-birth abortion. Viability begins at around 7 months gestation, but the procedure can't be done at any time.

Second, nowhere in the ban on partial-birth abortion does it say the frequency at which this procedure was ever done. "A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion . . . is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited." Actually, if there's a consensus among medical professionals that the procedure is never medically necessary, then there is no need make a special law to ban it. Performing an unnecessary operation on someone is grounds for a malpractice lawsuit, so there was never a reason to pass a separate ban. Also, the ban states that "there are currently no medical schools that provide instruction on abortions that include the instruction in partial-birth abortions in their curriculum." That means that any doctor who has ever performed the procedure did so outside the scope of their expertise, which is malpractice. All of the evidence provided to support a ban is also evidence as to why a ban isn't necessary.

One might argue that, because this procedure is considered unnecessary, banning it is a preventative measure. As we know from the upholding of the ban, however, preventative legislation is not exactly the Supreme Court's thing. Last April, the original ban was upheld, even though it didn't contain a health exception. The reason was because none of the experts could testify that the procedure was ever necessary to preserve the woman's health. If preventing harm was the Supreme Court's number one priority, they would have passed the health exception, just in case.

I was almost not going to say anything about parental notification or consent laws, because the problems with such laws are quite obvious. But because I think a lot of people are in favor of such laws, it's a good idea to share with you why I think these laws are wrong. Since notification and consent are the same in my view, I believe both laws are abortion bans disguised as laws to protect parental rights. However, if preserving parental rights were the objective of these laws, a pregnant minor would need to gain parental notification or consent to remain pregnant and, consequently, give birth. No such law exists anywhere. My smell test for laws like this (e.g., parental consent/notification laws, laws requiring women to see an ultrasound if they're considering abortion) goes something like this: "Would anyone ever consider making a similar law for women who consider pregnancy?" If the answer is no, which it always is, then it's anti-choice legislation.

There are plenty of laws regarding abortion that are designed to protect women and their families. I can sit here all day researching them and telling you why they protect no one. I don't think people realize the implication of these laws. Would those in the "pro-choice middle," those people who believe in choice under certain circumstances, support laws restricting abortion if they realized, like I do, that these laws are leading to a ban on abortion entirely? If they truly want women to have the choice, I seriously don't think so. So I think this idea that most Americans are pro-choice-to-a-certain-extent is kind of misleading. I think it means that most Americans have yet to come around.