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.