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.