Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain chooses AK Gov Sarah Palin for veep

So, this morning when I logged onto the internets, I am informed that John McCain, notoriously anti-woman John McCain (yes, that John McCain) has chosen a woman to be his running mate. 44-year-old Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. This is the first time the Republican party has had a woman on any presidential ticket -- and the second time in history that a woman has been nominated for VP (although, we all know that that didn't work out so well for Walter Mondale, now did it?).

Never heard of her? That's because she's only been governor of Alaska for two years, and before than that she was on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (but she thinks that we should drill in ANWR, of course). She has no foreign policy experience. She has no legislative experience. Apparently, John McCain thinks this is a good thing when it's within his own party.

This means, however, that the debate about whether Barack Obama has enough experience to be President is over. With a person who has very little national experience, very little executive experience, and NO foreign policy experience only one heartbeat (that is, John McCain's heartbeat) away from that prospective presidency, I think we have endorsed Barack's level of experience and this debate is over.

This also means that the Republican party thinks that Hillary Clinton's disgruntled supporters are stupid. They think that people who supported pro-choice, pro-woman, pro-equality Hillary Clinton are going to vote for John McCain because an anti-choice, anti-woman, (relatively) anti-equality woman on the ballot with anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-equality John McCain. Get that PUMAs? John McCain and the Republican party think you are stupid.

I have no problem with Palin being McCain's VP. More women should be nominated for big national offices. I don't think she's going to fare well in debates with Joe Biden -- who has an ability to tear someone to shreds without insulting their honor, as we saw in his speech on Wednesday -- and I'm not totally convinced that she's going to do a whole lot to help the McCain ticket. That is, unless those PUMAs really are stupid, which I'm pretty sure they're not (oh, and they don't really exist anyway).

More is going to come out on Palin in the next few days, but in the meantime, I'm getting back to celebrating our breakthrough moment last night where Dr. King's dream came one giant step closer to being realized.

The speech

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama speaks...

10 minutes of applause, with Obama saying "thank you" over and over again. Chants of "O-BA-MA" and "Yes We Can!"

"I accept your nomination."

10 more minutes of applause.

That's about what I expected. Stay tuned for YouTube video.

Live blogging 6:24p Pacific

There are 10 people sitting in my living room, and Joe Biden is speaking to 70,000 people at Mile High Stadium in Denver, as well as the people here and in living rooms across the country. I found my flag and put it up. Stewie is wandering around trying to get favors and licking the floor -- he's the second center of attention.

This is what democracy looks like.

OMG! People showed up!

I'm hosting a Yes We Can Party through, and I guess they didn't let me know people had RSVPed, but I've got 5 people sitting in my living room watching Al Gore speak on C-Span.

Crazy! There's two more on the way too!

T-minus 3 hours 33 minutes to the big speech

I've already posted a few thoughts on this when I talked about Dr. King's speech, but I cannot reinforce often enough just how monumental tonight's event will be. This country has had 43 Presidents. 43 white men have held the chief executive office of the United States, some good, some bad, but all white and all men.

For a nearly a hundred years after this country was founded, all those of African descent were slaves. Property. Not human beings, but property. They were not allowed to learn to read, they were beaten, kept down, and as a white person I have to admit that I do not fully understand the ethnic memory of this slavery and I know I never will, but damnit do I sympathize. For a hundred years after Black Americans became people rather than property, they still didn't have much of the same rights as their white counterparts. Voting was impossible for too many of them, they couldn't go to the same schools as their white neighbors and get the same caliber of education. And while not still legally property, they were treated as objects, as the "Other", and still not as human beings. In 1964 we passed Civil Rights legislation and began trying to stamp out this institutionalized racism, but it wasn't easy and hasn't been since. A lot of racism still exists.

Dr. King had a dream that one day his children would be judge not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. Dr. King had a dream that we could all face each other as human beings, not stand with our group and stare across the street at the Other. Dr. King's dream was not just about justice for those who had the same skin color as him; not just about justice for those who went to his church; his dream was about freeing everyone, regardless of their skin color, regardless of whether people talk about their plight or ignore it or pretend it's not there (Native Americans and Roma, for instance). Dr. King was not about Black people. His message began and took shape in the Black community because he was Black himself, and he used the power of the faith that had been handed down to him for generations, a faith and a tradition within Christianity that began when African slaves could do nothing but work and sing; but Dr. King was not about black people. Dr. King was about all people.

And I know there's a strong tendency to want to anoint Barack Obama as the next Dr. King, the next Moses, the next Messiah. I know a lot of people want to scoff at this and tell us that we're all getting our hopes up, that we should be wary of the promises of false hope. But, to quote Barack, in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

I come from a background full of people who couldn't let go of their privilege. Not just let go of it, but acknowledge it. I have a sadness in my heart that remembers various people in my family and background who talk about other Americans as the Other. I have heard people in my family and background use the word "nigger", and it makes me very sad that there are people in my own family who don't understand just how much more alike we are with Barack Obama, despite his skin color. They don't understand it, they won't accept it, and they don't comprehend just how huge a victory for the American people last night's nomination and tonight's speech will be. I hope that some day they do understand it and will let go of this idea of the Other long enough to take a look at Dr. King's speech, and the state of this country, then and now and smile at how much justice has been done.

But the dream is not fulfilled. Justice has not been done fully, and the check has not yet been fully reimbursed by the Bank of Justice. Yet tonight, a large chunk of that check will be returned to the American people. We will have our first non-white nominee for President of the United States. Black people will have someone who looks like them (in skin color, at least) to vote for this November (whether they do or not is up to individuals and I don't want to accuse Black people of group think) and my generation who has been taught for the last 20 years that we need to accept people for who they are not what they look like will be taking over government and society.

Barack Obama must be our next president. It's time. This is our time. This is no longer the time of privilege. Joe Biden said it nicely last night, no one is better than you, everyone is your equal. I believe that Joe Biden and Barack Obama believe these things. I know they do. They are the leaders of my party who believe these things.

Dr. King will be smiling down on us tonight as Barack accepts the nomination.

Quick hit: holy shit!

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of encouraging Georgia to attack South Ocetia (which is how the conflict began, btw) in order to benefit John McCain. And the press is reporting on it!

Dr. King's dream one step closer to being realized

Today is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

Today, Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Barack, the first half-white-half-black man to accept this nomination, and will be elected the first half-white-half-black President of the United States. Barack, whose life story is much like yours and mine, who has lived the American dream, will today make history and take one giant step toward making Dr. King's dream a reality.

This isn't just a breakthrough for Black Americans. This isn't just a breakthrough for racial minorities. It's a breakthrough for America. Whenever justice is done, it is a victory for all Americans. Whenever adversity is overcome, it is a victory for all Americans. No matter who you supported in the primary, no matter who you support in the election: when Barack Obama accepts the nomination tonight, it is a victory for all Americans. For you and for me.

Don't let hate come between us. Don't let the color of our skin make us less proud as Americans. We are all Americans. In the words of Barack, there is no white American and Black America, there is the United States of America.

Let us remember Dr. King today. Let us rejoice when his dream comes closer to being realized. I have a dream today! We have a victory today!!!

DNC Day 3 -- Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden

President Bill Clinton

John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts

Joe Biden, VP nominee, Senator from Deleware
"Since I've never been called a man of few words let me say this as simply as I can: Yes, yes I accept your nomination to run and serve with Barack Obama, the next President of the United States."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is why they wanted to do a roll-call vote

Quick hit: Blogging live from (watching) Obama's acceptance speech

Tomorrow after work I'm heading straight home to watch the Convention, including Barack's acceptance speech which starts at 5:30 Pacific time. If you want to watch it, you'll be able to see it on PBS, MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News (one vowel movement away from what they do to the news), and of course, C-Span. If you want a recommendation from me, watch it on the Span.

Remember, 5:30 Pacific time, C-Span, Obama's acceptance speech.

More speeches from th Convention so far...

Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana

Dennis Kucinich, Congressman from Ohio

Ted Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts

Nanci Pelosi, Congresswoman from California

I'm still looking for Kathleen Sebelius' speech, but this should keep you held over until I do. By the way, what's with the 30+ year old music? Is this the 21st century or what?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A proud mother, a proud Senator, a proud America, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama

I love Hillary. I love her speech. I love Peter for having MSNBC on when I got home tonight so we would watch the rebroadcast.

Watch the speech. I have no words. She says it all.

Some thoughts on Michelle Obama's speech last night

I laughed, I cried. I was touched by the earnestness with which Michelle delivered her speech. She seemed real and honest, and all those who knew her said that that was the real Michelle who delivered that speech.

Afterward, Sasha and Malia (the Obama girls) came out on stage with their mom and Barack appeared via satellite from Kansas City MO. It was a little strange, I think to see that kind of a family moment in front of all of those people (their daughters are so adorable). This was a great introduction of the Obama family to the American people.

And, if you didn't see it, here's Michelle's speech

Monday, August 25, 2008

On the Formation of Opinions

A person with whom I am familiar recently posited a two-part hypothesis:
  • that all opinions are based on emotion
  • any opinion that is not based on personal experience is "stupid"


By this so-called logic (and I use the term incredibly loosely), those who have not been in war, or more specifically, the Iraq War, are not entitled to their opinions about said war in Iraq -- or at least, those opinions are not as valued as those who have been in war. The opinions of Vincent Bugliosi (whose book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder is a very informed and informative critique of the Iraq war and its lead up), Randi Rhodes, and even the venerable Rush Limbaugh are stupid, regardless of the facts that inform these opinions because none of them has ever been in war. (Randi Rhodes served in the Air Force, but not during war time. Limbaugh got out of Vietnam because he had a cyst on his ass, and I am not sure of Bugliosi's military experience, but I believe he was in law school during Korea, and putting Charles Manson in prison during Vietnam.)

By this so-called logic, the opinions of Supreme Court Justices are not based on intellectual interpretation of the Constitution; not based on precedent, but on the emotional whims of 9 quite fallible human beings and our very livelihoods as Americans are based on the emotionality of these 9 people who were chosen for their intestinal fortitude rather than their legal experience and expertise; who were confirmed by Senators who asked them emotional questions rather than legal ones, deciding whether to confirm them based on some emotionality rather than the actual answers to actual legal questions. By this logic, 8 of the 9 Justices are not qualified and ergo should not be forming legal opinions on such vulgar things as women's sovereignty over their own bodies for lack of any experience as being women. By this logic, 8 of the 9 Justices have no standing to form legal opinions and thereby set precedent on such things as race and class discrimination for lack of experience as racial minorities or having been poor.

Why, I'm amazed we ever get a goddamn thing done in this country!

Contrary to what certain zealots might have us believe when they are feeding their emotionally based opinions to us; a good, solid, informed, respectable opinions, be it political, legal, social or what have you, are based upon FACTS not emotions and simply having experience with a given subject does not automatically make one's opinion more important or right than someone who is forming their opinion on the basis of facts. Claiming otherwise is an intellectually lazy and dishonest non sequitur debate tactic and all those whom employ it should be locked in a library so as to inform their opinions with reason and facts.

Throwing out the non sequitur, for instance "well how many times have you been raped?" into a debate about rape in our current culture is not an adequate debate technique, and you will never see such a thing said by any reasonable or rational human being. (Full disclosure: I said this once in an internet chat room while discussing this very subject. The moment I had typed the statement, however, I was so disgusted with myself I immediately apologized to all participants begging them to forget I had written such a thing.) Such tactics would never be employed, as my relative claimed, in a law school setting as utilizing the "I know more about this than you because I have an unverifiable, un-emperical life experience with this subject" (in lieu of actual facts that is) strategy is likely to get a person laughed out of the debate and possibly the room. It is the intellectual equivalent of a three year old sticking out her tongue and screaming "NU-UH!!!".

Opinions, my friends, are based on facts, influenced by theory and ideas of others, and conviction (the emotional bit) is maintained by personal experiences. Those who take the time to research their facts, drawing conclusions after the facts have been analyzed (using additional facts as well as the opinions of others); it is they whose opinions are, or at least should be, held in higher regard and despite whatever right-wing screaming match is currently in the public light, it is those with the FACTS who win debates, often because they are right and prove with FACTS to others that they are, in fact, right. A person is not automatically right because of their conviction. A person is not automatically right based on their personal experiences. Human conviction and personal experience are subjective and therefore subject to interpretation and fallible.

A person is right when facts and emperically verifiable evidence (if there is any to be had) agrees with her opinions.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Stop using "science" to tell me how to dress

Yesterday, I posted a link to an article on Alternet called "The Things Women Go Through To Attract A Man", and while at the time I posted this link, I was too tired to post a full response, I wasn't too tired to get a little pissed at the assumption throughout this article that everything we women do has at least a subconscious ulterior motive of reproduction.

The first problem I see with this article is that it is titled "the things women go through" but is really all about what men like. And yes, it addresses the corset thing, the high heel thing, but the overall theme is that women subject themselves to the male gaze as a means of procreation and there is no room herein for any other reasons why women choose to do various things for fashion and the purpose of being pretty. According to the author, and too goddamn many other people (anti-makeup rad-fems, male chauvinists), the only reason women look and dress certain ways is because they need male attention.

I've talked about this stuff before, but I have to say once again that I completely disagree with this assumption (and remember, whenever you make an assumption you make an ass of yourself and Uma Thurman) and wish to stand up right here and now in my short skirt and makeup and say that I'm not looking like this to attract a man with whom to mate and propagate the species. First of all, I have a man whose praise of my physical form fulfills my need-of-male-approval glass up just fine, thankyouverymuch, and secondly I'm just fucking vain, okay? I'm vain. I like being pretty. I'm attracted to myself and I like to dress in ways that make me feel sexy to myself. I could give a fuck what other people (including my boyfriend some of the times) think about how sexy and reproduction-able I am based on my hip-to-waist ratio (my waist is NOT 70% smaller than my hips, in fact, I'm straight from waist to hips, the only reason it sometimes looks otherwise is cause I've got a belly).

The other thing I take issue with here is the use of "science" to say that men are genetically programmed to like certain things like long legs, high and tight asses, and a 100:30 ratio of hips to waist. That's not science, it's people who have noticed certain behaviors in the boners of men and decided to make a broad, overarching statement about how "men are programmed to think that these aspects in a woman will make her fertile" or whatever. Notice how there's nothing in the article about how men love the huge tits and how that's supposed to signify fertility. That's because this whole "men and women are programmed to seek the most fertile/virile mates with whom to make lots and lots of babies" is complete and utter BULLSHIT. There are three things that are essential to a woman's ability to procreate, and two of them are her tits!

Certain things crop up in species (en mass) when an area becomes overpopulated, at least that's the going theory. These things, like homosexuality (this may or may not be "science", but it's an interesting idea) are meant to curb the rate at which the population continues to expand. Now, if we take as a given that this is the reason there are gay people (yeah, sure), then we have to stop and think about the way straight people are "programmed" to seek each other out and make more people. Come on. We can't keep reducing the very complicated social mores of dating down to the over-simplified version of biology that does it's damnedest to keep women (and gay people, actually) in cages and say "see, they like being in there" because they're supposed to want to reproduce.

People who know me know that I don't even want to reproduce on a subconscious level. Moreover, if you listen to these wackjobs who claim that men only find women who have long legs, high and tight butts, and wide hips acceptable for mating, you'd also have to come to the conclusion that I have a hard time getting laid. Let me tell you I don't. If I'm single and I want someone to fuck, I will go find him. And while, when on these escapades, I will dress up in a way that pleases me I'm not going all out because I subconsciously want to make furry little babies with someone. (While not single, as I currently am, I still get all dressed up once in a while. I like it. He likes it. I do admit that I like it when he likes what I'm wearing, but my purpose in wearing what I wear is to think that I look hot for myself.)

This brings me back to the initial point I had about having the male gaze imposed on women. There are a lot of women out there. There are a lot of women who like to play dress up. And while there may be women who play dress up with the sole ambition of landing a man, settling down, and popping out babies, this is the 21st goddamn century and the sole ambition of most women is not simply to land a man and get married and propagate the species. In fact, even though we're trained to believe that bullshit thanks to "science" that is trying to tell us how to dress (and that's what this is), most women aren't buying it.

Believe it or not, in this society, we have to wear clothes. Now, we could all walk around wearing burlap sacks, but those are remarkably uncomfortable and since humans actually do have a natural tendency to want to one-up each other (both men and women) clothing is a kind of status symbol. And while you can claim that seeking status is really only a way to land a man, get married and have babies, there is something to be said for just wanting to look like you have money... or look like you're creative. Or, if you're like me, make yourself up in a manner that would make you want to fuck you.

Nothing wrong with that, ladies. And if you're wearing clothes that you like because you like them, stand up and holla back at these assholes who keep claiming that you're wearing them because you want to attract a mate. There are a lot of super sexy single women who dress the way the do because they like it, and aren't, in fact, looking for a mate at all. There are a lot of super sexy single women who aren't looking for a man, but a woman, and still wear fashion that we heteros call sexy -- wow, those women must be confused!

In closing, I just want to yell at these idiots who try to use "science" to tell us how to dress and that we're dressing that way because we're allowing ourselves to be subjected by the male gaze. Just shut up already. I like being pretty. I don't have a male gaze, not being male, and I dressed in a short skirt and wore makeup today because I like it and am completely free of reproductive ulterior motives. End of discussion.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quick Hit: We the People Town Hall Forum

My local progressive station puts on a town hall forum featuring many of its hosts each summer. This year Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes (!!!), Sam Seder, Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller all came to Seattle and sat down with moderator Ron Reagan and talked about issues important to people around the area. I didn't get to go this year, but it is up online and you can watch the video here. It's funny and informative and nothing beats listening to all of our favorite liberal hosts all at once.

Quick hit: eugh, can't I just be pretty?

I don't have the energy to properly respond to this article about what women go through to attract men, but I do have this to say: not everything women do is meant to attract men and propagate the species. Some women just like to play dress up.

I mean, for crying out fucking loud! Can't I just be pretty? Why do I have to have a reproductive ulterior motive?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Gavel time: veep nominees

I am going to go out on a limb here and formally make my prediction for the running mates of the Democratic and Republican nominees for President.

Barack Obama is going to choose Joe Biden. There are a number of reasons, but the most compelling is Joe Biden's history in the Senate. Biden has been in the senate for 36 years (that's 6 terms, btw -- he's up for relection this year, and since Deleware has a Democratic governor, of Biden wins his Senate bid the Democratic governor will appoint a Democrat to fill his slot, cause that's the way it works), he is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Comittee (and we all know one of the biggest criticisms of Obama is that he lacks foreign policy experience); he also serves on the Senate Judiciary Comittee. We all recall Biden's own bid for the Presidency this year, and the best one-liner from a presidential debate ever when he said of Rudy Giuliani, "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11," proving that he would be adequate to fill the traditional role the veep plays and that is that of bulldog.

John McCain will choose Joe Lieberman. McCain is a Bushy, and we all know that the one thing that Bush's people value above all else (including competence) is loyalty. Lieberman has been McCain's shadow for the longest time. Lieberman has been going everywhere with McCain during the entirety of his Presidential campaign, and it would make little sense for McCain to pick someone who is less loyal and less omni-present.

So, it's gavel time. I'm calling it.



In other words: minority and old white guy v. old white guy and minority. Don't you hate it when people break it down into those demographics like that? I won't be the last.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Watch my language -- it puts on a great fucking show

One of my favorite bloggers, Ren from Renegade Evolution, is guest-blogging at Feministe this week. True to form, she starts off her guest tenure with a "controversial" post, which includes a rant about language and swearing. When you read this post, you will understand why I love Ren so much -- she's strong, she's opinionated, and she's certainly not going to let anyone get by without knowing what she's about. Upfront, honest, clever, intelligent, and a fucking potty-mouth: everything I want to be. I look up to Ren, and I just want everyone to know it.

In the above-linked post, Ren also links to a post on the old ell-jay with a great rant about language and swearing. The gal who wrote the post on ell-jay also puts the language rant in awesome terms. I have been inspired.

Language is always an issue when you're dealing with the written and spoken word, but especially if you're a woman. For example, we loud-mouthed (usually feminist) women are almost constantly told that we need to watch our mouths, because no one wants to marry a potty mouth. Because swearing isn't "ladylike".

Well, I disagree. My friend Erich defines a lady as a woman who has full control of herself and understands her surroundings enough to know how to act -- that is to say, a lady is a woman who acts mindfully and has reasons for everything that she does. I like this definition of lady better than the prescribed behavior to which one is expected to adhere in order to be ladylike. In this new, feminist, enlightened definition of a lady, swearing to your goddamn heart's content is not un-ladylike, provided you are being mindful of why you are swearing. I would bet my rice that ladies like Ren (and recent guest-blogger on Feministe, PhysioProf -- who is in fact male), who use more swear words than proper adjectives, are doing so with mindful intent.

That is to say, in a society that thinks that nipples and the words shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits are more dangerous to the well-being of the children (won't somebody PLEASE think of them?!) than gratuitous violence -- a society that rated The Dark Knight PG-13 when it should be rated R, if we're going for any measure of consistency. In a society as uptight about shit as this one is, it's pretty hard to swear by accident, cause when you swear someone, somewhere, without fail is going to tell you to watch your language.

I've ranted about "fuck" before. In said rant I explained that the word FUCK draws attention to the other words that a person is saying. It's an expletive because it's loud, hard, and when you hear someone say FUCK you start listening to what they have to say. However, with this not-so-new censorship, people make a big deal about the word FUCK in order to ignore what the person who is saying it is actually trying to say. In my past rant, I talked about the NWA song "Fuck tha Police", a song that talks about white policemen's intentional prejudice toward young, black men in inner cities. We all know that the kerfuffle surrounding this song was about the word FUCK and not about the actual content of the song.

This is also intentional. People don't want to know that their white police officers are prejudiced against young black men in inner cities. Ergo, a word which was ignored before becomes the center of a content censorship battle that rages to this day and still no one has bothered to fucking care about the actual issue. The ironic thing, of course, is that after the kerfuffle began, "Fuck the Police" soared upwards on the music charts... sadly, still, because of the word fuck. But, at least, because of the word fuck there are people like me who know about this song (and NWA in general -- who were pretty much before my time) because of the word fuck.

It is undeniable that words like FUCK get attention to the person who is writing or speaking them, if only because of the big fucking deal that is made of them. If FUCK was just another word, it wouldn't be as powerful, and there are people who speak and think and fuck like that: fuck is just another word -- it is also the most versatile and volatile word in the English (as well as a number of other) language. And so it is unfit to be used by women because women are not supposed to be either versatile or volatile.

*BZZT* WRONG AGAIN! The only reason the long-standing, common definition of what is "ladylike" excludes aspects of a personality such as volatile is because being demure makes someone easier to ignore, easier to abuse, and easier to shut up. Telling a woman to watch her language is only one more of many billions of ways that people (that is, men and women who seek to uphold the power of the patriarchy) who don't want to hear what a woman has to say about herself, her rights, the world around her, her children, the fact that she is more likely than a man to live in poverty, the fact that there is almost a 20% chance that she, her sisters, or daughters will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime; or any number of other things that get women (and, credit where credit is due, many men) pissed the fuck off about sexism and gender prejudice.

Human beings have a natural predilection toward justice and seeking justice. That's why over the course of human events we have been able to come up with such documents as the Declaration of Independence, The UN Declaration on Human Rights, even all the way back to Hammurabi's Code; that's why above all, we seek to ensure that the Rule of Law is protected, and that government is of and by laws rather than men (persons, in this case).

Humans also have a natural dereliction toward wanting to subvert the power of others, to enslave, to create a need for our propensity for seeking justice. These two things go hand in hand pretty naturally, and they show no tendency or intention toward abating. As a woman and a feminist I experience this quite often, when I speak on justice, social, criminal, economic, I am often told that I don't understand what I'm talking about or excuses are made such as "that's the way it's always been" or "I just don't get the hubbub around the N-word if they can say it"; and naturally when someone seeks to dismiss one's desire to speak, be heard, and effect justice and change for the better, one tends to get fucking pissed off.

Moreover, issues such as rape, pay parity, racism, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, xenophobia, all of those things which get up the hackles of the Social Justice Crusader tend to be illustrated in terms that are so utterly abhorrent if you're not offended you're not paying attention. Some swearing is absolutely necessary when Native American women are more than twice as likely to be raped by white men than are white women. Some swearing is absolutely necessary when Black and Latina women make 57 cents to a white man's dollar, and a white woman makes 73 cents to a white man's dollar -- some swearing is absolutely necessary when those who seek to subvert this fact twist the statistics and the perameters of the study to claim that the reason women make less than men is because the work fewer hours and take time off to have kids. (The actual facts of the perameters of the study is that the incomes of men and women are compared where each member of each gender works the same amount and does not take time off to have and care for children.)

In short, in the words of Brandon Boyd, if you're not affected you're not paying attention.

So while I may need to watch my fucking language when I'm in a professional situation (such as greeting clients at work), it is completely uncalled for for me to be expected to keep the shits, pisses, fucks, cunts, cocksuckers, motherfuckers, and titses to a minimum out of respect for people who don't give a fuck what I have to say in the first place. I don't have to watch my language. I'm an autonomous adult, I can swear as much as I goddamn well please, and it doesn't impugn my intelligence or my womanness when I do so. In fact, it actually insults my intelligence and womanness to imply that swearing does somehow affect or effect just how intelligent and feminine, or ladylike, I am.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Man who makes "kick me in the balls" t-shirt is surprised when he is kicked in the balls

My friend Jayar Jackson posted this post on his Myspace blog about a retailer who made anti-Obama merchandise promoting the assassination of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and also a cute one promoting slavery of all things.

Ew. Mr. Class even has a mullet.

Anyway, the story goes, Doron Braunshtein, aka Apollo Braun (pictured left), an Israeli born douchebag has been selling his line of anti-Obama tshirts, that include violence inciting slogans such as "OBAMA IS MY SLAVE" "OBAMA=HITLER" and "WHO SHOT OBAMA?"

And so, after a woman threatened to sue him after being assaulted while wearing one of his tees, (which, if you wear trash like this, you deserve to be assaulted -- slavery isn't funny, even if you're Jewish and have been treated as badly as Black people, although the two are hardly analogous), it turns out Braun himself was assaulted on Wednesday. He claims that two big scary Black men came into his shop, shouted some shit at him, one grabbed his hands/arms and the other kicked him in the testicles.

After this deserved assault (and I have to point out that assault is almost never deserved, but, come on, when you wear a t-shirt that says "kick me in the balls" you're gonna get a foot where you least want it), Braun is reconsidering his wares while whining about how people hate him for thinking that slavery is funny.

"This is very disturbing to me that I am living in New York City and that I own a boutique for more than five and a half years [in] neighborhoods which are suppose to be the most open-minded and tolerant to any kind of art, but instead, people don't understand me, hate me and don't let me express myself the way everyone should be able to in New York."

Via Livesteez

Okay, this next bit is very important, so listen very carefully: tolerant people abhor slavery and don't tolerate people who think it's funny. It's not that they don't understand you, [M]oron, it's that you're an asshole. Even tolerant people "hate" assholes. And just because you're Jewish and experience all kinds of antisemitism doesn't mean that you can get away with racism and making racist t-shirts. Not even in New York City.

Freedom of expression is a concept that is too often abused. Yes, you have political freedom of expression. You are legally allowed to express any sentiment you want, whether it's pro-slavery, racist, sexist, whatever. Legally. However, don't fucking expect people to just laugh it off when you make a t-shirt that says "OBAMA IS MY SLAVE" and wear it on the cover of a magazine -- the real crime here though, is that this tasteless line of apparel is being sold for $69 a fucking shirt.

Moreover, there are legal limits to this concept of "freedom of expression". For instance, if you make a t-shirt that says "I'm gonna shoot Barack Obama" (which is not being alleged here, but stay with me), you're going to be arrested because you're making a threat about the likely-next president of the United States -- whether you like him or not, [M]oron -- which is illegal. In my non-legal opinion (as I have not yet studied law in a full academic setting, nor passed a bar exam in any state) making or wearing a t-shirt that says "WHO SHOT OBAMA?" is an equally violence inciting action, and this asshole should be, at the very least, kicked in the balls several more times. But, due to the First Amendment, little else can be done because someone else is just going to cry "FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION".

So let's go over this again: making and wearing these abhorrent t-shirts is not illegal (except for the questionable violence-inciting one) and you will not be arrested, ergo your freedom of expression (which appears no where in the First Amendment, by the way, I don't know if you know that) and First Amendment rights are not being infringed upon. However, if you think that people are going to patronize your place of business after this (in a very liberal city that will overwhelmingly vote for Barack Obama) you've got another thing coming. If you go out of business and cannot have children because of your so-called art, your freedom of expression is not being infringed upon still, because the market is speaking for itself. Just because you make something this sickening doesn't mean that we all have to look at it. Most of all, we don't have to buy it and deserve to shut down your establishment and make you work a demeaning 9-5 job while trying to find the time to support your art on the side.

This is not art. Making t-shirts that say disgusting things is not "expressing yourself". It's furthering concepts that promote and uphold racism both institutionalized racism and cultural racism. I mean, for god's sake, Jews and Black people need to come together and acknowledge their mutual mistreatment by the white patriarchy and work together to end racism, not work against each other to promote racism against the other group. Look, we as Jews haven't been through and don't go through the same things that Black people do -- or gays, or Muslims, or Arabs, or any other minority group -- however, the people who hate one group pretty generally hate the other with equal vehemence.

Mr. Apollo Braun needs to check his privilege. He needs to examine why people are so pissed off about his t-shirts and realize, oh hey, racism and hate isn't the way to make money. And if he still wants to make anti-Obama shirts he could at least try to be a little more clever... I mean, make fun of him in a funny way... he's got huge ears. He admits himself that he's not even close to being perfect, I'm sure there's some way this person can make anti-Obama shirts without being a fucking racist or getting kicked in the balls.

And if that fails, he might be less likely to be assaulted by wearing a t-shirt that actually says "KICK ME IN THE BALLS".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quick hit: Obamart FTW

The Stranger (Seattle's ONLY newspaper) is running an article called Yes We Can Art this week, discussing how there has never been a presidential candidate who has inspired so much art.

This is my favorite part:
...the Wall Street Journal reported that 889 Obama-related art items had sold on
eBay since mid-May with an average selling price of $127. Six pieces of
art went on eBay, for an average price of $57.


Quick hit: DNC party platform for 2008

I'm reading the Democratic National Platform for 2008 (pdf), titled "Renewing America's Promise", and I've got to say it's pretty goddamn progressive, and there are some dramatic proposals in this year's platform. I'll go over it with you in more detail after I finish reading it, but here are some of the things that have popped out at me in the first 12 pages. (All italics are mine.)

  • "WE will provide an immediate rebate to American families struggling with the record price of gasoline and other necessities. We will devote $50 billion to jumpstarting the economy, helping economic growth, and preventing another 1 million jobs from being lost."
  • There are numerous mentions of supporting people with mental health issues and substance abuse disorders.
  • "We must end heath care disparities among minorities, American Indians, women and the low-income through better research and better funded community-based health centers. ... We will speed up and improve reimbursements by the Indian Health Services."
  • "Research should be based on science, not ideology. We need to invest in biomedical research and stem cell research, so that we are at the leading edge of prevention and treatment."
  • "We oppose the current Administration's consistent attempts to undermine a woman's ability to make her own life choices and obtain reproductive health care, including birth control. We will end health insurance discrimination against contraception and provide compassionate care to rape victims. We will never put ideology above women's health care."
  • "We also will reform corporate bankruptcy laws so that workers' retirements are a priority for funding and workers are not left with worthless IOUs after years of service."
  • "In America, if someone is willing to work, he or she should be able to make ends meet and have the opportunity to prosper. To tat end, we will raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit..."
  • "We will pass the "Lilly Ledbetter" Act, which will make it easier to combat pay discrimination ; we will pass the Fair Pay Act; and we will modernize the Equal Pay Act."
  • "We believe that standing up for our country means standing up against sexism and intolerance. Demeaning portrayals of women cheapen our debates, dampen the dreams of our daughters, and deny us the contributions of too many. Responsibility lies with us all."
It's nice to see some of my feminist ideals being represented in the platform for the political party which I support. Once I finish reading this I'll go through the important parts in more detail. So far, I'm totally excited. Go Donkeys!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

McCain flagship (uh... flagbus) sporting Obama sticker

via The New Argument and Huffpo
but first heard on The Randi Rhodes Show (which also features an amusing rant about all of McCain's flipflops)

So, John McCain was in Florida this week trying to woo Jews with the help of Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who is the Republican Veep nominee of my dreams! (more on that in a minute). But of course, while in South Florida the (poorly named) Straight Talk Express managed to do some damage to local drivers,
including running over a minivan. Lovely.

After the accidental destruction of an inconsequential "Security Mom"s gas-guzzling child-transporter, a camera began following the McBus and the images you see here were captured. That's right, the Straight Talk Express, after flipping and flopping over Florida drivers turns out to be supporting Barack Obama for president. If you're not laughing right now, you have no sense of humor.

And, from the looks of the bumper-sticker shaped discoloration on the other side of the bumper, this isn't the first time this has happened. In other words, people are so very fed up with John McCain, they're vandalizing his flagbus with the bumper stickers of his opponent. Fucking hilarious.

In regards to Republican Veep of my Dreams, Joe Lieberman there are two things that make me pray every night that he is given the veep nod:
  • A McCain/Lieberman ticket would almost assuredly lose. If Big Mac wasn't gonna get creamed by Obama in November already, adding Joe Lieberman to the ticket would put the pickles and onions on this sesame seed bun of failure.
  • Joe Lieberman would get creamed in 2012 by anyone (but likely Ned Lamont) in his bid for reelection to the Senate. You'll remember that Ned Lamont absolutely decimated Lieberman in the Democratic primary in 2006 because Democrats in Connecticut were so utterly fed up with this asshole (and I make no pretense at having even a modicum of respect for Joe) that they couldn't wait to vote for someone else. Lamont only lost because Republicans in Connecticut abandoned their own candidate in favor of the "Connecticut for Lieberman" candidate.
So, go Joe! Seek that nod! And John: he's your best only friend! Your best only chance of winning CT... and probably no other state... but that's good for everyone else.

Fucking hilarious. Keep it up Straight Talk Express...


I'm totally gay for Rachel Maddow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer Reading List

Here are a few books I've read, am reading, or purchased with the intent to read in the near future this summer:

Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica ValentiThis is a great guide for any woman, but especially young women, who aren't quite sure what feminism is about (3rd-4th waves baby), why it's still around, and/or why they should care. I've got a couple of people I'm thinking about getting this book for partly to help validate concerns, partly to influence the next generation of self-sufficient women.

How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David RichoI bought this one last summer, and tried to read it then, but I only managed to actually do so after I devoured FFF and started my reading again. It's a really great guide to thinking about your behavior toward yourself and your partner or partners. The title sounds a little condescending (especially if you recieve this book as a gift) but it's definitely not presented that way. As they say, you can't judge a book by its cover.

He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica ValentiI love Jessica Valenti. Her second book lays out in blunt language just how fucked up our society is in the way it treats women. I highly recommend it, espceially if you're starting to get a sinking feeling that something's just not right here.

The Vagina Monologues by Eve EnslerThis is the 10th Anniversary edition (which came out last year) and has a forward by Gloria Steinem. I have to admit that I read the entire thing (200 pages!) in about three hours on a Friday night (then proceeded to write for an hour and a half about my vagina). It's really a great read. Now, I have seen it performed (well, part of the HBO special), but I had never read the words. It's got a huge impact and is a must-read for all owners of vaginas.

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent BugliosiYes, this book actually has the shortest title of all the books I've read so far this summer. Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecutor who sent Charles Manson to prison, and he's written a number of prescient non-fiction books about legal matters. He wrote about the idiocy behind the prosecution in the OJ Simpson murder case, as well as the Supreme Court precedent that allowed Jennifer Flowers' civil case against Bill Clinton to go forward while he was still in office. Bugliosi is a brilliant legal mind, and I have to admit it's nice to see some of my opinions about our "president" being validated by someone who is not on the side of the Democrats or Republicans, but on the side of the truth and the side of the people whose lives have been destroyed by this motherfucking war.

The Essential Feminist Reader edited by Estelle FreedmanI just started getting into this one last night. It's my bathtime book. As you might guess it's a collection of feminist writing (theory, poems, speeches, plays etc) spanning the last 500 or so years. I figure it should be in my library if I'm gonna call myself a feminist.

Sex, Time, and Power by Leonard SchlainThis is from the same author who brought us the very heady Art and Physics. I haven't started reading it yet (you can see I've had a few books on my table for the last few months... and I keep picking up new ones to read! I love reading!) but I look forward to it. (A friend of mine has another of his books The Alphabet and the Goddess and we're planning to trade when we finish reading.)

I don't know how I'm ever going to read all the books I have, but I think I'm just going to figure out how to do it. Books are so great. They promote ideas, they promote imagination. Plus, they alleviate boredom better than the internet!

So go check out a book! I highly recommend any of the ones above.


Monday, August 4, 2008

New object in mirror

It's me! Go check out the series in the photography gallery!

A note on conventional beauty and feminism (and assholes)

Originally posted sometime last week.


A number of respected (and beautiful) feminist bloggers have responded to this diatribe today, and I'd like to add my name to the list. For those of you who don't really want to read the "article" (I don't blame you, it's long and awful), Feminist Anonymous has taken it upon her(?)self to declare that all physically attractive feminists are not actually feminists. She cites specifically The Apostate (for daring to wear a bikini top!), Jill at Feministe ("the original Fake Pretty Feminist"), Natalia Antanova (who is "pretty for a feminist"), and Renegade Evolution (a sex-worker and feminist whom everyone hates because "she pisses people off when she waves her tits in their face"). All of these women are well-spoken, thoughtful feminists who also happen to be blessed with convetional beauty. However, FemAnon failed to mention the other bajillion feminists who are also pretty and therefore not feminists.

We can't can't a break can we? First we're not pretty enough. Then we're too pretty and allowing ourselves to be objectified and calling it empowering. Then feminism is just a means of allowing "ugly women access to the mainstream" (Drug-Addled Gas Bag, Rush Limbaugh's infamous quote). Then, it turms out that those of us who either a)care about our appearances, b)are blessed with genes that allow us to be "conventionally attractive", and/or c)post pictures of ourselves so that readers can put a face with the words; we're not really feminists at all!!!
Wait... what? FemAnon's version of subverting the male gaze is to the Patriarchy what Satanism is to Christianity. She still acknowledges that all the important tenets of the Patriarchy stand and must be upheld, but in her twisted view of subverting it, she's merely turning all those things on their heads. She still worships the Patriarchy, just backwards.

Women, and feminists in particular are always too much or not enough of something. We're too pretty, not pretty enough. Too athletic, not athletic enough. Too smart, not smart enough. The list goes on and on, but the one thing that all of these criticisms have in common is that they are made from the point of view of the male gaze. By stating "UNTIL WOMEN ARE NO LONGER SEXED UP THEY WON'T BE SEEN AS HUMAN BEINGS BY MEN ." you acknowledge and promote that a woman's worth lies entirely in her looks and that in order to be taken seriously we have to be ugly or merely "presentable" (but only if you work in an office). As a feminist, you are not allowed to wear lipstick, tight jeans, have boobs, or own any makeup or high heels because by virtue of doing or having any of those things you are not adequately subverting the dominant paradigm.

No ifs, no ands, no butts either.

FemAnon's philosophy is:
If an ugly woman posts her picture on her blog, she is being transgressive. But
a pretty conventional woman doing that is performing the exact opposite action.
If you're going to show off your looks to gain approval from men don't call
yourself a feminist.

This is me. I like to think that I'm pretty. I put a lot of effort into my physical appearance, but contrary to what some people might think, I'm not doing it for the benefit of the male gaze. While my boyfriend appreciates my red hair, I've had it for longer than I've known him and I keep it because I like what it says about me: I'm loud, confrontational, powerful, and sexy.

It's been insisted in the past that the reason I look the way I do is because I want to put on make-up and pretty shoes and allow myself to be objectified, then call it empowerment (by someone whose Feminist library consists of one book and only one book, you guessed it Female Chauvinist Pigs -- a fine work, but one's entire feminist philosophy cannot come from derriding other women who want to be pretty). I was told that because I do that, I'm not really a feminist, but rather someone who wants to look pretty but also believes in equal pay for equal work -- you know, cause since I spend time on my appearance, I'm automatically doing it because men like it and my entire worth and personhood is based on what I look like. I've also been accused of beign a bad feminist because I wear and sell Mary Kay products, but excuse me, if you've ever read anything about Mary Kay Ash, it is undeniable that she was a feminist. (The whole reason she started Mary Kay Cosmetics is beause she wanted women to have an opportunity to define themselves financially. You don't get much more feminist than that! Moreover, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants are strong, beautiful women who believe that they can support themselves and their families and bring some sunshine into the lives of other women in doing so. I just want to give a shout out to all my MK gals! You ROCK!)

People like to put each other into boxes. We're either A or B, and there is no C. This kind of binary viewpoint is what makes sexism, racism, ableism, sizeism, and any other anti-person-ism you can think of so powerful. You are either beautiful or a feminist. You are either successful or a woman. You are either polite or black. You are either smart or in a wheel chair. You're either in control of yourself or overweight. False dictomies like these are created and enforced and prejudices are maintained. And when people try to insist, for instance, that there are no pretty feminists the only thing being accomplished is the continued reinforcement of this prejudice.

For your information, FemAnon, and anyone who agrees with her, a woman's worth is not entirely in her appearance. In fact, most people have several layers to themselves that include their appearance, personality, intelligence, work eithic, personal honor and integrity, and a number of other things by which they define themselves . I am a feminist because I seek to define myself as feminine, successful, strong, and beautiful and any attempt to subvert my definition of myself by redefining me according to the male gaze is anti-feminist. Period.

Good day to you, FemAnon. Don't forget your hat.

What do women want?

Originally posted June 20, 2008.

Abbey O'Reilly at The F Word wrote Do you love a bad boy? in response to an article in the Daily Mail about why women love so-called bad boys. She begins with a hypothetical situation: you walk into a bar. At one end, sitting alone doing a crossword puzzle (so he appears interesting and smart, rather than a boring loner), who seems polite but isn't exactly going to spark up any conversations in order to prove that one way or the other. At the other end of the bar is your typical James Bond type, with his arm around one girl and his eyes around another, but as soon as any other female comes near him it is his prerogative to rape her with his eyes. He's a schmuck, but completely surrounded by women because they feel special around him, flattered, and don't mind that he's going to try to "fuck and chuck" each and every one of them, all in the same night if he can.

After giving this hypothetical, O'Reilly asks, "If you had to, which one would you choose?"

Uh. Neither. Professors of psychology, experts in all fields, any given heterosexual man, and just about everyone on earth likes to hypothesize about what (heterosexual) women want -- because lesbians are no mystery: lesbians want other lesbians, mystery solved; but straight girls are to be analyzed and tested to see to which stereotype of the heterosexual man they react to the strongest. Nevermind that the author of the study cited in the Daily Mail article did this by asking 200 male college students how many women they had slept with. (Because obviously the best way to assess what kind of straight guy women like is to ask the straight guys. I guarantee you almost every single one of those guys said "women love me, just look how many I've fucked". That is air-tight logic right there.)

Let me tell you "what women want". Speaking as a woman who is more human than stereotype: I like a man who is more human than stereotype. Sure, the guy at the asshole end of the Straight Guy Archetype Spectrum may be pretty, but he's an asshole, and I guarantee you that assholes are resistible. Meanwhile, the guy at the emo-loner end of the Straight Guy Archetype Spectrum (hereafter to be known as the SGAS), is equally as resistible, because all told: he's an asshole too.

The emo-loner archetype is constantly underestimated for his asshattery, because women fail to understand that this guy sees you as an object too: the fulfiller of his every childish need until you become the breaker of his poor widdle hearwt. If he writes a song about you, it'll be more about him. He is just as self-centered as the guy who will try to take your clothes off the minute the two of you are alone: that's why he's sitting ALONE in a bar doing a fucking crossword puzzle. He doesn't have a friends because the degree of his self-centeredness is fucking annoying and no one wants to be around him.

The kind of guy who always wins the dating game is the kind who doesn't fit comfortably into any one archetype because he's mature enough to understand that there are many aspects of the self, and neither he, nor you, is an archetype or stereotype, but a person. What a concept! That's the kind of man women want! The funny thing is that any guy who fits an archetype from Prince Charming (riding to save the day and protect you from everything, because you're a precious object not a person), to James Bond (you're fucking gorgeous, wants to shag you all night and then never call you because you're a trophy not a person), to Emo-Loner (loves you so much, you're his everything, not a person; will write sad poetry about how you broke his heart and trampled all over him because now you're an evil bitch, not a person, but that poetry can get him laid cause it makes him seem "sensitive"), to Mr. Big (rich and independent, terrified of commitment, but knows that you can save him because you're a savior not a person), to any other archetype you might be able to think of; any of these archetypal guys can fake their way into the kind of guy who is more human than stereotype, but after a while it's really easy to see through his bullshit. (These things can go for all people, all genders, and all sexual orientations -- we're all disaffected to some degree and all have different ways of coping. People aren't stereotypes though, they're people. It's just that some of them are a lot more comfortable in their stereotypes.)

The point of all of this is two fold. First of all, if you want to know what a woman wants in a man: fucking ask her! Don't go ask all the guys she's slept with what kind of guy they are and then assume that if you act like those guys she'll want to be with you. There's a reason people break up. There's a reason for one-night-stands. People are as flawed as they are diverse, and just because I have a history of dating assholes doesn't mean I want my current boyfriend to become one!

Secondly, the kind of person a genuine person wants to be with is another genuine person. We don't force ourselves into societal archetypes because we're not comfortable with them, and so the kind of person who does force him or herself into an archetype is not the kind of person we want to be with. Maybe the James Bond guy does get a lot of ass, but I am willing to bet that the kinds of guys who exhibit this type of behavior have never had a truly emotionally fulfilling relationship. I'm also willing to put money on the guy who worships his girlfriend so hard she eventually feels like he's stalking her, never having had an emotionally fulfilling relationship either -- that's why all his songs are about pain and agony and how he cuts himself he's so destroyed over the elusive her.

So, back to the bar analogy. There's a third guy in the bar. He's talking and laughing with his friends, and doesn't appear to be there with anyone. He sees you at the same time the guy mobbed by Barbie dolls is trying to master telekinesis in order to take your clothes off, and crossword puzzle guy tries to look really interested in his puzzle while secretly hoping you'll be the next person to break his heart. Assuming you came to this bar to meet someone new, possible to get a date or get laid, which of these three guys are you going to talk to, offer to buy a drink for, or accept a drink from?

I know my answer. I know that if I wasn't already nailing the third guy, I would totally want to.


New stuff at

Okay, the newest of the new at is ...uh... this bloggie thing. That's right, new blog! I know, I've got a thousand of them now (okay, 3), but this one is specifically for things fit for public consumption, including, but not limited to:
  • Feminism and feminist ramblings
  • Politics and political ramblings
  • Art and artistic ramblings
  • Culture and cultural ramblings

In other words, just about everything but my private life.

While I'm letting you know what's new be sure to head back over to and check out the new series Objects in Mirror in the photography section. Next time I update, the update will have a post all to itself, but for now we have a catch-all for this.

So! Let there be blog!