Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Volunteering for Change

The bf and I went and volunteered at the Everett Obama Field Office. We got some voter registration forms and pens and went to a nearby Target and asked people if they were registered to vote.

For an hour we stood out there, and most of the people we talked to were registered (except a couple of people who were quite vehement about not voting) and excited about the election (except one woman who called Barack "a black asshole" who should "go back to Africa -- I don't understand how people, anyone, could think that stuff let alone say it out loud to someone they didn't know!). And of course then Target asked us to go away...

But there was a heartening aspect to this adventure: most of the people we talked to were registered. I did register one guy, and handed out several forms to people who really just wanted to get home, but did need to update information or register. I think we both feel good about volunteering tonight, and I hope we do it again. (I meanwhile, will be doing some more NARAL volunteer work tomorrow and next week.)


Seriously? You're really going to go with the sexism tac? "Beer guts are for boys"? Really? You don't see anything wrong with that statement?

Oh, I forgot, you're trying to make money preying on the insecurities of us "fat chicks". The saddest thing is that the "fat chicks" in the ads you place aren't even fat! Excuse me, but a size 6 isn't fat. Hell, a size 14 isn't fat! That's right, I'm saying it, I'm not fat. Size 14 isn't fat. I'm healthy and shaped a little differently, with a little flab here and there, but there's nothing wrong with my body.

Quite frankly, a woman who is a size 18 and exercises regularly isn't fat either. Ladies of size, we need to stop allowing this thin-ocracy to affect how we feel about ourselves! You don't have to be a single-digit dress size to be beautiful or sexy. And you certainly don't have to wear a burlap sack instead of a hot dress because the thin-ocracy prevents stores from carrying nice dresses in your size.

Regarding our friends of petite size, let them be their size too. There's nothing wrong with a girl who is naturally skinny. There's nothing wrong with a woman who has small breasts. Ladies, we all come in all shapes and sizes and we can't continue to let people denigrate us because of it. Nor is it the least bit productive for us to harass each other because someone is a size 1 and someone else is a size 20. Doesn't matter.

Over and over again it's been proven that skinny isn't necessarily healthy. You're just as likely to have the kind of fat that wraps itself around your organs if you're thin as a rail as if you are wide as a barge. So, exercise, because regular cardio burns off that dangerous fat (that doesn't show in your jeans, but can stop your heart) and you're healthier. You don't have to lose pounds and inches to be healthy. Just exercise and eat well.

I've struggled with the fat issue my whole life because certain female members of my family pretty much constantly harassed me about my weight during my teen years. It didn't serve me very well, and tendencies toward self-harm cropped up partly because of that harassment and partly because of other abuse. So, here I am, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm okay the way I am. My shape doesn't conform to the standards of beauty espoused in the mainstream media (or the ad above) but I can look pretty hot in a short skirt and cami top or a little black dress -- or hell, in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Not only that, I'm healthy -- my doctor has never commented on my weight or shape and he doesn't have any concerns about it at all.

So, ladies of all sizes, let's not put up with being called fat. Hell, maybe we should stop allowing the word "fat" to have so much control over us. There are a number of reasons to eat right and exercise, but the chief among those should be that it makes you FEEL good, not that you think you have to be skinny.

Eat dessert too. Have a cookie. Or a goddamn milkshake. There are a lot of reasons not to eat these things all the time (mostly because, yeah, milkshakes are bad for you and they usually make my intestines mad, but that's me), but there's nothing "bad" about having dessert when you go out for a fancy dinner, or having a piece of cake when a co-worker has a birthday. Or when you do!

Oh yeah, and beer.

So, how's financial armageddon treating you?

Yesterday the House defeated the $700,000,000,000 bailout bill and the Dow plummeted 778 points, the largest single-day drop (point-wise rather; averaging out to something like 7%) in the history of the stock market. People predicted that if that bailout bill didn't pass it would equate out to nothing less than Financial Armageddon.

And today, the stock market has rebounded by about half that drop. Which begs the question... why aren't chunks of the sky crashing through buildings as I type this?

The bus was on time this morning. My phone works. I got paid. My debit and credit cards work. We still have our house, electricity, internet, cable, natural gas... it seems that the sky, in fact, was not being propped up by an imaginary-figure bailout. What's actually happening is that the top 1% who own 80% of our wealth are starting to feel the pinch that the bottom 99% of us have been feeling for years!

But people are still buying groceries. Banks are still open... money is still worth something (maybe not as much as it was), and you and I aren't hurting any more than we were before this so-called crisis.

Let me share something with you: if there was a real crisis going on, it would still be on the front page of Yahoo. And while small businesses are suffering (gas stations can't borrow enough money to buy gas in various areas in the South), the world has not, in fact, ended. It seems... that 700 billion dollar bailout wasn't nearly as necessary as President Bush wanted us to think so that we would give his friends, so that we would give Hank Paulson 700 billion dollars to do with whatever he wants.

People are suffering. We know this. They're suffering a lot, and the Bush Administration doesn't care about those people. Losing your house? Too bad. Declared bankruptcy cause you or a family member got really sick last year and you couldn't keep up with the bills even though you have health insurance? Too bad. Give more money than most people can imagine to those at the very very top and maybe they'll make sure some of that gets down to you.

Trickle down economics... still doesn't work. Didn't work in the 20s. Didn't work in the 80s. It's not fucking working now. If you want to solve a foreclosure crisis, you have to help the people being foreclosed on, not the banks doing the forclosures.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Analysis of tonight's debate

As per request by my sister-in-law:

J: ...He cant think that the phrase "doesn't understand" is going to win this debate when Obama totally disproves it with every word.
Me: It's like Paul Begalla said, you can't just say "George Clooney" and instantly become more attractive. Nor can you make Grampy's claims and really expect people to believe he's George Clooney rather than George Bush.

That's what I think of the debate.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So wait... my rights are dessert?

I wonder if this conceited little fuck Googles himself when no one is looking. If he does, I certainly hope that this blog comes up, cause I've got a lot to say to Benjamin Ledford of the Idaho Argonaut who wrote this trivial little piece about why the rights of "humanity in general" are more important than the rights of a full half of the human species.

After comparing women's rights to dessert, and proving once again that conservative and conservative leaning men are horrible with analogies (sorry, sexism sucks doesn't it guys?), Ledford goes on to say,
"Of course, I will say it is better to have women’s rights than not to have women’s rights, but the only way to put women’s rights first is if we are willing to say — which I am not — that women are better and more important than humanity as a whole."
Hm... wait, don't women make up 51% of the species homo sapien?

Our irrelevant little idiot goes on to say

"If we agree human rights are actually better, then what does it mean for how we think about current issues? Well, there is one major implication which comes to mind immediately: abortion."
Okay. I'll bite, why is that?

"Whether we want to call them people or not, embryos are human, and they are a separate organism from their mother, not a part of her body. From its conception, an embryo is alive, has a different DNA structure than its mother and is of the species Homo sapiens."

Alright Ben, I've got a quick little quiz for you.

1. True or False: the meaning of separate in this instance is, as used in the adjective, "unconnected; distinct; unique: two separate questions. "
2. True or False: the process of pregnancy fits the dictionary definition, as above, for incubator and incubatee being "separate".
3. True or False: prior to the third trimester, a fetus can survive outside the womb.
4. True or False: women aren't part of humanity and therefore don't deserve as many rights as men, who are part of humanity.

You have the audacity to talk about human rights and then start off on a Logical Fallacy of the Year award winning diatribe about how women don't deserve their rights because they... what? aren't human? Please. Human rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and legally only apply to humans that are breathing. Do dead people have rights? No, they don't. Rights cease after the heart stops and respiration comes to an end, and the rights of the corpse are conferred upon the executor of their estate who provides for whatever care needs to be taken. The corpse is thereafter treated as property, which itself does not have rights.

Fetuses don't breath either. They just don't. Ergo, they do not have rights, and the rights they would have are conferred upon their incubator, whose own rights supersede the rights of the not-yet-born-human.

And for fuck's sake, the skin that just flaked off of my ass while I was untwisting my panties after your retarded argument (no offense to the mentally impaired), that skin can also be classified as biologically human. Does that mean that I am violating the rights of my Skin by scratching myself? Hey, you wanted fallible arguments -- as a student of Logic and Reason, I've got a million arguments that can be tailored to match your "women's rights are equitable to dessert: great, but totally not necessary and it makes you fat" argument; the difference being that I make stupid, fallible arguments on purpose to weed out the hoi moroi like yourself, Ben.

Back to the question at hand: are human rights more important than women's rights? Gee, well, in order to answer that question, which Ben mind-bogglingly answers in the affirmative, you have to make an extremely illogical leap in reality and decree that the rights of humans and the rights of women are mutually exclusive because women aren't, in fact, human. Which brings out one more little detail in the "fetuses are human" argument: what about girl fetuses?

Since we're discussing the pre-born, and it's a well known fact of biology that during development those with XX and XY pairings being their development the same: as gendered females. Later on during the development of the endocrine system, the ovaries drop to become testicles and the vagina folds itself inside-out to become a penis, but only when there is an influx of testosterone as determined by the programming set in motion by the determination of XX or XY.

Ergo, since women aren't humans, that means that fetuses aren't humans until after their endocrine system has decided that they are male. Right? That is what you mean right? Cause that's what you fucking wrote.

So, since women aren't human, and fetuses aren't human until about the middle of the second trimester when gender begins to appear, abortion prior to this time is not a violation of human rights. This deduction is made using your "logic", Ben. Generally accepted logic proves that womne are, in fact, human, and that her rights as a sentient, autonomous being trump those of the not-yet-born, not-yet-sentient, not-yet-autonomous being within her womb. Of course, sentience is no measure of rights, but being born and becoming able to survive outside the womb is a measure of rights.

Infants have rights, I agree. But it's not an infant, not a child, and does not have rights until after it has passed through the birth canal (or been otherwise extracted from the uterus) and takes a breath. Still born infants, as sad as they are, do not have rights, and no court in this country, nay the world, would confer rights upon it.

You want to talk about human rights? Let's talk about them, but make sure you're talking about the rights of those who are capable of having rights conferred upon them. There's on criteria for being able to have basic human rights: respiration.

Finally, in the words of the Immortal George Carlin
"If you think that fetuses are more important than women, you try to get a fetus to scrub the shit stains out of your underwear."
Don't forget your hat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Fleecing of the American People

Is the media going to stand by and let this happen? I fucking hope not. So far, the news results are encouraging. And while you can't exactly expect everyone to read the article on Alternet "10 Things You Should Know About Bush's Trillion Dollar Fleecing Plan", (to steal a turn of phrase from Shark-fu) a bitch can tell a news article is important when it's on the front page of Yahoo, (see screen shot -- NYT article linked from the Yahoo homepage here.)

So, what the hell is going on? Why is everyone panicking? Why is everyone panicking about the panick?
America, the Bush Administration is asking you to bend over, again, and take it... again. Blaming the current financial collapse, congress is once again being ordered, yes ordered to pass a piece of legislation drafted by members of the Bush Crime FamilyTM , specifically Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen, former CEO of GoldmanSachs. That's right. Someone who benefited tremendously from the circumstances that lead directly to the current financial collapse, and who stands to benefit even more if this fleecing plan does pass congress (god forbid!) ...drafted ...the ...plan? Yes. Welcome to America. Those who benefit most from proposed policy are the ones drafting said policy... kinda like the Secret Energy Meetings Darth Cheney had with the likes of Enron and Haliburton (we think). Only back then it was so antithetical to the American people that those who would get all the money draft the legislation that the meetings and the plan had to be secret.

No more. Nope. Since the Bush Crime FamilyTM has managed to pull this stunt so goddamn many times in the last 8 years, they're not even being coy about it. Fortunately, Americans aren't as dumb as the Republican party wants them to believe they are, and people are getting pissed. Fortunately, Chris Dodd (D-CT), who today called the 700 BILLION dollar bailout "unacceptable" (amoung other things), is the chair of the Senate Banking Comittee... and pissed. Matt Stoller reports that a number of other congress members are pretty pissed off about this nonsese too, including Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama who is the ranking member of the Senate Banking Comittee), who called the plan "un-American" (amoung other things).

Radio Goddess Randi Rhodes has a good round-up of other articles in today's homework that you should read in order to get up to speed on this whole mess. Meanwhile, on today's Thom Hartmann program, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), theorized that this bailout (which is pretty much doomed to failure) is the "October Surprise", an attempt to tie Democrats to Bush and the economic collapse with this bailout since Democrats are in charge of congress. As noted above, congress isn't falling for it. Congress thinks this is bullshit too.

But just in case you're concerned: contact your congressperson (you have one) and your senators (you have two of them) and tell them that you don't want to pay for the mistakes made by Wall Street. Also, keep a weather eye on the news-reportage of this whole thing... and just remember, that 700 BILLION dollars is coming out of your pocket and going into the pockets of people like Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Best. Analogy. Ever.

For those who are totally clueless, here's a taste of why I'm gay for Rachel Maddow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What to say when people ask if Obama has enough experience

(Just heard on Randi Rhodes, if you don't believe me, feel free to visit the Google.)
  • After gratuating from Columbia University, he was a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago for three years, before going to Harvard Law
  • from which he graduated at the top of his class.
  • He also was the head of the Harvard Law Review (the first black man to do so), where he managed a staff of 80.
  • After returning to Chicago he taught Constitutional Law for 12 years.
  • Then he was a State Senator for 8 years, before running for the US Senate
  • Where he has served for 4 years.
  • And he's also run the largest, most successful (in terms of number of contributors) presidential campaign in US history.
Yeah, I think he's got enough experience.

Edit: It was Columbia, not Princeton (Michelle went to Princeton). For more, take a peek at Barack's bio.

A few thoughts on polls

I have a problem. I'm addicted to politics. Even when they depress me so much that I cry myself to sleep over the disastrous policies of the current administration, I can't tune out. I'm addicted to information and I know there are a lot of people out there with similar inabilities to disconnect. Luckily, I'm connected to people like Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann; people who care more about the truth than partisan party politics -- and all three will attack Democrats when they do something wrong; their counterparts on the right, your Drug Addled Gas Bags, Sean Hannities, Ann Coulters (anyone ever notice how the right-wing pundits vastly outnumber the left-wing ones in our "liberal" media?) don't do that. They don't. Limbaugh still supports Bush. So does Hannity. So do O'Reilly and Coulter. But that's not my point.

I begin with this rather rambly preface because I've been, through a twitching eyelid (work stress+political stress= twitching eyelid) checking in with Gallup's Election 2008 Coverage daily, despite being fully aware of their incompleteness and fallibility. And, of course, McCain got a bump in the polls during the Palin thing, proving once again, as Rachel Maddow reported last night, that McCain does well in the polls when no one is talking about him. Then the market crashed.

Since Monday, Obama has been gaining. On Friday McCain was ahead by 1. By the end of Tuesday, Obama was up by 2. Yesterday he was up by 4. And today, the Obama lead continues to increase because people aren't as stupid as the Republican party wants them to think they are. Americans realize that the economic collapse is beause of the policies of the current president, who is a Republican, the current leader of the Republican party; ergo, Americans are coming around to the idea that this shit is mostly Republicans' faults.

Now, polls like Gallup, whose daily poll calls up 500 Democrats and 500 Republicans, are not a reliable source for absolute numbers -- and it's not because of the "Bradley Effect" which states that people will tell a pollster (out of guilt) that they're going to vote for the black guy, but then go and vote for the white guy out of sheer racism; I think with the economy the way it is right now, people are going to pay more attention to the issues and less attention to the whispers behind closed doors of "did you know Barack Obama is black?" (Noting of course, that if Hillary had won the nomination, the screams about her feminine instability -- despite the fact that she is passed menopause and her testosterone levels have gone up dramatically in relation to the estrogen and progesertone levels, hormones that sexists like to attribute female instability to -- and screaming "she's a woman! what if she starts crying?!" rather than whispering about the color of her skin. The media is tainted sexist and always has been -- but the racism exists too and is much more subversive; just look at how they're treating Michelle Obama.)

Ahem, getting very rambly today. Gallup, by polling 500 of each registered party is, in effect, skewing results toward the Republicans because, while a majority of voters are registered as Independent (and in Washington, you don't register as affiliated with a party), 11% of the country are now registered as Republicans, and 30% (or thereabouts) are registered as Democrats. That means, that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by 19%, making the Gallup Daily skewed because it's not taking an accurate sampling of voters.

The other issue is that poll companies like Gallup only call landlines, and most people under 30 (the demographic who support Obama by the greatest margin) only have cell phones. That means a huge demographic of people aren't being represented accurately in these polls. These two factors combined predict that Obama's numbers are actually a LOT higher than the Gallup Daily would have you believe. (I won't get into the stupid questions, because the questions pollsters ask often skew toward Republicans as well.)

So, if the polls aren't acurate, why am I compulsively checking the Gallup Daily? Because they do accurately represent (well, sort of) shifting trends amoung Americans. The poll numbers have indicated that Obama's lead is gaining momentum because of the economic collapse. The media is telling people about just how shitty things are right now, and Americans are waking up and saying "you know, things are shitty right now, and Republicans are lying to me about it not being shitty", and that results in gains for Democrats in general, and the Obama/Biden ticket in specific. (The "how can John McCain fix an economy he doesn't acknowledge is broken" ad didn't hurt either.)

The trend here indicates that Americans aren't as stupid as Republicans want them to believe they are. That's a good thing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The McConomy in McCrisis

Harry Reid (D-NV) may be the most boring Senator in the history of our bicameral legislature, but when you're as right as he is in this clip you don't have to be interesting.

Monday's McCain said our economy is strong. Tuesday, McCain said our economy is broken. Wednesday's McCain said it's because of lack of regulation.

The thing that Reid left out is that on Monday McCain claimed to be "fundamentally anti-regulation" then said that we needed more regulation just hours later. Proving once again that not only do I know more about the economy than the Republican Presidential candidate, but that that same candidate is fundamentally a panderer. He will do anything and say anything, including contradicting his own statements, his own record, in order to get people to like him.

The other thing that Reid neglected to mention, and that I fear too many people are neglecting to mention here is that John McCain's economic adviser (the one that was fired after calling us a "bunch of whiners", the man that wrote McCain's financial plans and policies) Phil Graham is one of, if not the person most responsible for the lack of regulation that McCain says is to blame for this economic disaster.

It's Reaganomics people. Pure and simple. Put all of the money into the hands of the big businesses, let them do whatever they want (make loans to people they know can't afford those loans; tack on $5,000 in extra closing costs every time a house gets sold; give tax incentives to American businesses who want to "save money" by having their products made elsewhere) and in turn over-regulate the regular people who want to simply live their lives. A business can ban people from forming or joining a union, but unions can't solicit new members. What?!

Oh, I forgot, Reagan=good, Unions=bad. Well America, how are the Reagan/Bush/Bush economic policies working for you? Our (under reported because the Unemployment agencies don't count all of the people who are out of work) employment rate, nationally has topped 6%! Before Reagan our national debt was about 2 trillion dollars. Now it's 10!!! (Reagan trippled it to 6 trillion, and Bush's dirty oil war has added another 4 trillion.) The policies of the last 25 years have set a precedent in American minds that we don't have to be responsible with our money because there's always going to be some other world power who will buy our debt. For individuals, there's always more credit cards, there's always another mortgage. Except that when the financial institutions (and countries) that own our debt go belly up and we lose our life savings and our homes, our jobs, AND CAN'T FORM A UNION to help fix things -- what then, oh mighty spectre of the so-called Best President Ever? What then President Bush? What then President McCain?

Don't you fucking get it?! The policies of the 80s, borrow and spend voodoo economics has landed you exactly where you are right now. The reason you don't have a cent of retirement money (except social security, whose "trustfund" Reagan may have created, but subsequently robbed; you know that "entitlement program" that the Bush/McCain policy seeks to turn into another welfare program so they can more easily kill it?) is because of the economic policies of the last 25 years. You even voted for these policies, America, by voting for people who told you that taxes were bad, and that it's okay to run up a 10 trillion dollar credit card because, hey, the taxes of my generation will pay for it.

This shit isn't going to fly anymore. Industry needs regulation. NEEDS it. People need less, industry needs more. Seriously. I can't smoke a bowl in the privacy of my own childless home, but Wal*Mart can sell unsafe toys to your children? Really? That seems kind of backward! That seems kind of corporatist! These policies aren't new either! I can't declare bankruptcy because of medical bills, but AIG can get a loan from the American people to bail their asses out?! Meanwhile their profits go straight into the hands of their corporate executives and shareholders? We can socialize the losses of the banking industry but we can't have socialized healthcare?!


John McCain wants you to believe that the reason we are perched on economic collapse is because of "greed", but he won't tell you that he and his closest friends have been instrumental in deregulating industry to the point where a financial institution that had been in place since the fucking Civil War was able to hang itself with its own unbridled greed. Regulations are placed on industry because greedy people lack foresight. This shit has all happened before, and regulations were put in place to keep it from happening again -- then removed or edged around by John McCain and Phil Graham.

And John McCain is trying to scare you with "Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes". He may, but ONLY if you make over $250,000 a year, and if you make that much, at least you'll still be able to keep your shirt and your rice because Barack Obama's economic policies will NOT continue the devastation of the last couple of days, and that $250,000 you earn will still be worth something.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Street activism

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." -- Mohandas Ghandi

Saw this one in the driveway of our condo complex.

And this one outside the Grand Ew right before I handed in my keys.

Monday, September 8, 2008


It occurs to me that a lot of people don't understand the hope that is inspired by Barack Obama. They think he's all flowery speeches and charisma. They think there's no there there... no substance, or that if there is substance the substance is ego; that this man is campaigning for president as a means of placating his own ego.

It occurs to me that over the past nearly-thirty years, a lot of people have lost sight of the American Dream to the extent that all those who offer hope, who speak well about it, who seek to provide change for this country, the change it needs: those people are just liars. They're not leaders, they're politicians. They're not leaders, they're just trying to get into power so they can... what?

It occurs to me that there are too many people who have become so jaded by the politics begun by the President many of the admire for his so-called greatness. That President did change the game. His advisers were fond of saying "I don't want everyone to vote; in fact the majority of elections are won [by Republicans] when people don't vote"; they said they wanted government to be so small they could drown it in a bathtub. Except that they and their progeny in the current administration have grown government exponentially, yet these same progeny continue to espouse goals of small government that stays out of American's business -- unless you're a woman of child bearing age, a homosexual, or some other undesirable.

It occurs to me that too many people have gotten so caught up in this whole jaded-about-politics-and-thereby-everything-else thing (that is, politics they don't pay attention to), that they've lost the message. They've lost the dream, and they've forgotten how to hope. These are the people who can derive no pleasure out of Barack Obama's historic presidential nomination, because they feel the deck was stacked. Because they weren't paying attention to the movement that had begun long before Barack Obama was able to get out in front of it and say more eloquently what everyone in that movement was already thinking.

There are others, too, who have forgotten how to hope. Others who hear the fears and smears in the media and nothing else because they don't have time to listen to progressive talkers, or because they aren't even aware they exist. These people aren't jaded so much as terrified. They see the media screaming about John McCain and Sarah Palin, and they get scared. Frightened almost into submission because they too have forgotten how to hope.

"We have been told that we cannot do this," Barack said when he lost the New Hampshire Primary. "We have been warned against giving the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

This has become my mantra. For so long, before Barack became this superstar in the Democratic party I was afraid that there was no hope for a future for this country. We would continue down this path that we have been dragged down by partisan politics that have divided us, unrelenting greed (that we were told was good for everyone, good for the economy) that has robbed us, unregulated industries that have poisoned us, and a group of people who seek to deny us our rights while demonizing those who seek to make the American Dream accessible to all the people who live in this nation not just those who have enough privilege to be handed the dream fulfilled.

There are a lot of people who have lied to you. They have told you you're better off than you are, better off than those people. They have told you that there is such a thing as "us" versus "them", and the "them" of the moment has to be defeated whether its Reagan's Welfare Queens (did you know that 70% of the women on Welfare are white?) or George W. Bush's "terrists" (did you know that by invading and occupying Iraq we have created more terrorists than we have killed?).

"But America's children are not those children, they are OUR children," Barack said. There is no US and THEM.

I don't know how to teach you how to hope. I do know that my heros have always told me that the person I should be listening to is the person who gives me hope rather than the one trying to scare me. I do know that hope has always been a driving force in my life, and even when things seemed the most bleak, there was still music that could help me. In that light, here are a couple of performances from the DNC that you may have missed.

Melissa Etheridge at the DNC

Yes We Can at the DNC

If you aren't weeping, you need to watch them again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Come on Cosmo, seriously?

This article was touted by a link on Yahoo as "The #1 Trick To Deepen His Love For You".

Rather than go and read the article yourself, let me tell you what their answer is: think positive!; ask yourself why you're upset when he does something annoying (and, of course, then deny that it bothers you); never bitch about him to your friends (in fact, just ignore all that stuff that you would say to them during vent-sessions); and turn around all those nasty habits, thereby ignoring them, and make them positive effects on your life. He's messy? No! He's "laid-back and not controlling", and you should be grateful that you're cleaning up after such an awesome dude!

There are so many things wrong with this article, but the first one is the title: "the #1 trick to deepen his love"? "The secret girlfriend weapon"? Excuse me, but the secret to a happy relation is emphatically not denial. Men may be complicated when it comes to their careers, their hobbies, their politics, but when it comes to relationships, the "#1 trick to deepen his love" is head. It sounds sexist for me to say that (both against men and women, wah, oh well), but it's true. The patented, trademarked Girlfriend Secret Weapon is oral sex.

See, the thing is, men are physically stimulated before they are mentally. If you do something that feels good, that he enjoys (and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that all men enjoy getting good head... in fact, I'll go out even further and say that all men enjoy getting even moderately adequate head), he's more likely to stick around long enough to get to know you well enough to realize that you're pretty awesome. Of course, he shouldn't be treating you like a fleshlight, and if he does, DTMFA, but that's not my point.

My point is, Cosmo is wrong. Not only is it wrong about the fact that denial being the secret to a happy relationship, it's wrong in even assuming that women shouldn't be bothered by the annoying things that their partners (of either gender) do. While, yes, women who get insecure about not getting an immediate response to a text message need to get the fuck over it, when your partner does something that bothers you rather than "question[ing] why you're upset" and subsequently ignoring being upset, do the unthinkable and talk to your partner. Tell him! (or her, because I try really hard not to pretent that lesbians don't exist -- quite frankly, I like my sister and prefer to acknowledge her existance and the existance of her wife, even if I do it in a seemingly-pandering sort of way).

In all honesty, the secret to a happy relationship is communication. Verbal is the most direct, but non-verbal body language (and understanding that the mess you left in the bedroom may be contributing to his overall demeanor of nastiness) is also vital.

And, of course, oral sex. Don't for get that.

Some Palin quotes

Care of The New Republic.

And no, I don't have a favorite, they're all equally dumb.

Sarah Palin versus Joe Biden: are you serious?

I had two reactions after John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate. First I was shocked. A Republican who hates women choosing a woman to be his veep? Then I learned a little more about Sarah Palin (namely that she kinda hates women too), and it started to make sense.

My second reaction was uproarious laughter, knowing that the Governor of Alaska who has only been out of the country once in 2007 would have to debate a man who has been in the Senate since before Palin was out of diapers; a man whose foreign policy experience and diplomatic statesmenship are second to none: Joe Biden. I laughed my ass off.

Let's put it this way: two years ago, Joe Biden was looking into the eyes of Slobadon Melosevich and telling him to his face that he was a war criminal. Two years ago, Sarah Palin was deciding what time the Wasilla, AK dump should close.

This is Sarah Palin, unscripted (clip is 7 min 33 sec, part one of several):

Pray for a pipeline? Seriously? Through all the rambling that occurs in this clip, the only point she's making is to pray for a pipeline. Moreover, what Governor of what State actually goes to a church and gives this kind of speech? Yes, officials have given speeches in churches. This past Father's Day, Barack Obama gave a speech in a church, but at least he prepared for it and didn't say things like "what the people need the most is to be right with God". She even admits in the video to having not prepared!

Meanwhile, when Sarah Palin was rambling on and on about nothing in a church, Joe Biden was in the Senate. You're not going to find a lot of "unscripted" Joe Biden, because he actually cares enough about the people he's speaking to to prepare for speeches. Especially Senate speeches. Such as this one, (clip is 6 min 22 sec).

Compare these two people. They're both talking about things which they're very passionate about -- Palin about Jesus, Biden about ending the war -- but it's pretty easy to see which of them is prepared to be a heartbeat away from leading the most powerful* nation on the planet. Obviously, Palin isn't going to help the McCain ticket, and the more she's in the spotlight, the more stuff comes out about her, the worse the Republican ticket is going to do. Don't be afraid, Peter. This is actually funny.

*While our power and respectability has diminished greatly over the past 8 years, we remain the sole Hyperpower in the world... but we are about to be supplanted.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gloria Steinem speaks up on Palin

"Wrong woman, wrong message"

I love the Glo-Stein.

Couple more for the Round-up

Babies having babies is a bad thing Part 2 from Daisy at Daisy's Dead Air

And Jill at Feministe has a piece about the wonders of the Republican party finally discovering sexism.

I'm going to be comparing D&R speeches here pretty soon... I just have to get the intestinal fortitude to watch the Palin speech. But I will say one thing: having a uterus and a career does not make a person a feminist. Believing in women's rights makes a person a feminist; actively working against women's rights and general equality does not make a person a feminist, even if she has a job and working uterus.

RNC blog round-up

Bob Geiger discusses this year's employment of the old Republican strategy, "When you have nothing whatsoever to offer the American people, scare the crap out of them", and what the Republicans neglected to mention.
"For a party that wants to convince Americans that the entire Iraq debacle can somehow be reduced to the small amount of time spent on the "surge," every major speech was missing any acknowledgement whatsoever of the troops who have died and those still serving on the ground in Iraq -- except the couple of instances where they used the troops to lie about Barack Obama's record."

Meanwhile, Stirling Newberry over at The Agonist blogs about the RNC's Festival of Failure.
"John McCain looks dead, because the policy ideas, the political apparatus, and the ideology he comes from are thoroughly discredited by all but his remaining supporters in the Village-American ethnic group which adored him so much."
AmericaBlog's Joe Sudbay points out and discusses that Sarah Palin, with 60 days left in the general campaign, will be going back to Alaska to study.

And, Keith Olbermann had this to say about the RNC showing the video of the Twin Towers coming down:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On another note...

I have a backyard now. With trees...

Oh Johnny [McCain]...

"We will stand on your side and fight for you," he says.

Which side of my neck are you going to stand on, John?

"We will get the me-first-country-second crowd out of Washington," he says.

That must be why he's running such a poorly-thought-out campaign.

"I've stood up to corruption in Washington."

Which is why he's stood up to George W. Bush the last 8 years and supported demands for the Bush administration to be investigated for -- oh, wait, what? He hasn't?

"[Sarah Palin] knows who she works for," he says.

Yeah, the oil companies and the Alaska Independence Party (not to be confused with the Independent party) who want to suceed from the Union.

Kudos for CodePink for getting in two nights in a row and disrupting both speeches. I can't take this Republican Party... why is it they are the biggest war hawks when Eisenhower was the biggest anti-war advocate who, in his farewell address when he left office went down a list of things that our tax dollars could be spent on instead of the military-industrial complex (a term Eisenhower coined, by the way).

"We believe that everyone deserves the right to reach their god-given potential," he says.

*Unless you're poor and expect a decent education in a public school, expect to be able to take care of your sick kids/parents/spouse without losing your job. Clearly reaching our god-given potential does not hinge on having health care, education, roads, or not being in the middle of three wars.

McCain says that he's going to lower taxes and Obama will raise them (if you make more than $250,000 a year); lower goverment spending (by following the same plan as the Bush Administration) by ending failed programs (except the Iraq War and abstinence only education); it seems to me like McCain is reading from the wrong play book... that is, he's saying he's going to do all of the things it says in the Democratic National Party Platform rather than the Republican one.

"Equal access to a [good] education has been gained," he says.

No. It hasn't. And, "help[ing] bad teachers find another line of work" isn't the way to help the education system. Giving bad teachers better training will fix it.

"We're gonna stop sending 7 billion dollars a month to countries that don't like us..."

By continuing the Iraq War?

"We've dealt a serious blow to Al Qaeda in the last few years," not, "and they'll strike again if they can," be afraid, be very afraid. "Iran..." we already know what he's going to say.

"My administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability," he says.
Our standards are pretty low. You gonna limbo under the moon, too?
Watch him play the POW card now. How utterly honorable.

Read this


posted by ilyka at Off Our Pedestals

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The root of misogyny: superstition

It's no secret to us liberal skeptics that superstitions held by humans have done more damage to the species as a whole than anything else (eg. the whole "never have so many men done such great evil as has been done in the name of God" thing), so it comes as no surprise that misogyny is born out of this too.

I'm reading Leonard Schlain's Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, in which Schlain discusses the origin of the species and how gyna sapien (as opposed to homo sapien, Latin for wise man) changed the direction in which our species headed. I'm in the midst of a chapter about menstruation called "Periods/Perils". Allow me to quote something I found very interesting.
If a wounded animal bleeds excessively, a hunter anticipates that it will soon collapse. Animals that bleed intuit instinctively that they have been injured, and will retreat to the back of the cave or burrow to lick their wounds. A predatory homonid male would be acutely aware that copious bleeding in a wounded animal is an event preceding its death.

Imagine, then, the awe, fright, and confusion that men experienced when the furtively caught sight of a woman's menses. Women bled, but they did not grow weak. They bled, but they were not injured. They bled, but did not die. Sexual relations with a menstruating female would conclude with the male's withdrawing with a blood-smeared member. Feeding many male's innate castration fears,
this disturbing sight would tend to cool a man's ardor and make him believe that a menstruating woman possessed a power beyond his ken. Menses would seem to him to be some sort of magic. Perceived supernatural powers induce fear, and men began to fear women. This in turn led men to resent women, because, even though they were bigger and stronger, men were afraid of the otherworldly supremacy they imputed to women.
(Emphasis mine.)

In other words, ancient man's fear of ancient woman created a hatred of women that has been passed down through the generations and made just as innate as "many male's innate castration fears" because this fear of women (that turned to hatred) began at the dawn of our species when gyna sapien began menstruating.

For the record, guys, women's periods don't imbue us with special powers. In all honestly, no one's really sure what purpose menstruation does serve, but we do know that it doesn't make us magical, and that there are no "menetoxins" or "bad humors" being flushed from our bodies each month with our periods. Gynecologists aren't even that certain any more that women even need to have periods, which is probably why those of us who have decided that we don't want monthly periods (or periods at all) haven't imploded, exploded, or suffered any real health problems for lack of periods.

By the way, Sex, Time, and Power is an awesome book so far. I recommend you check it out. (Actually, I believe I already have recommended it. Twice.)

Sympathy for the devil

I've been contemplating the last 8 years quite a lot lately and I've started to wonder: what if the Bush Crime Family has taken on the role of necessary evil in order to provide a catalyst for the change this country needs? What if all of the shit in the last 8 years was done intentionally in order to wake up the American people?

That presents two problems: first of all that all of this shit was done intentionally. If it was, there are a few people who are going to have to serve jail time for playing the part of necessary evil.

The second problem is presented when we ask, what if it's not working? What if it's going to take a full on fascist regime to get the attention of the American people? What if they are still in such a stupor at that point that it takes a literal invasion of our land by the whole of the Civilized World in order to free us from this attempt to wake us up? Millions of people will die in meantime, and millions more lives will be destroyed.

I hope that the past 8 years have served as a catalyst and that Barack Obama wins the election thus demonstrating that the American people have woken up from the nightmare that has been the past 28 years (although, one could argue that the nightmare has been going on since Watergate). But I still wonder if it wasn't all done intentionally, in a backward sort of way, to create more progress. It's a little far-fetched, but I guess I want to entertain the notion so that I can believe that there has been a conscious purpose to the catastrophe that this country has become.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Art

See this and 6-10 other images in the Digital Photograhy album at RachelSetzer.com.

Trouble at the RNC...

First of all, who the fuck arrests Amy freaking Goodman?

Secondly, a number of people's 4th Amendment rights were violated by police officers brandishing "sub machine guns".

Okay, so the worst thing that happened in Denver was a Code Pink demonstrator being knocked to the ground by a Denver Police Officer who told her to "back up bitch". According to Randi Rhodes, however, one of the top cops in Denver said that either the cop or the protester was overreacting (still doesn't make it okay, btw), but the top cop that Randi talked to (I heard her talking about this on Friday, so I don't remember his name) said that it was unfortunate and he was sorry it happened.

This shit, on the other hand, is completely out of the scope of a functional democracy. Seriously. Journalists jailed for trying to perform their journalistic duties? Houses raided to look for dissenters? Without warrants? (Or with warrants provided them several hours later?) Is this really the kind of country we want America to be? Cause that's what's going to happen if we have 4 more years of the last 8.

I think that party conventions are a good way to measure how the party will act toward the public when they are elected. So, while the Democratic party may knock down a few people (and later apologize cause someone was being a dick or someone was over-reacting), they want the dream to be open to everyone (the convention was almost completely open to the public). Meanwhile, the Republican party is going to raid your house and put you in handcuffs, steal your personal, private information, and arrest Amy freaking Goodman! Hello Police State!!!

This is re-goddamn-diculous.