Saturday, August 30, 2008

Working for the American people

This was the tagline from an MSNBC story on Gustav:

"Police plan to go street to street with a tough message about getting out ahead of Hurricane Gustav: This time there will be no shelter of last resort. Those who stay will be on their own."

Small government: FAIL.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All DNC all the time

Schweitzer, Kucinich, and Clinton all delivered barnburners. The three of them each got the audience on their feet and screaming. It was great.

Mark Warner's speech was, I thought, brilliant, but a lot of people seemed to find the delivery boring. I was honestly disappointed in Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius--I've heard so much about them that I was really looking forward to their speeches, but they didn't hold me.

Looking forward to watching video of Deval Patrick's speech. I've heard good things.

ETA: Patrick was good. I also forgot to mention that Bill looked like he was going to explode with pride and affection during Hillary's speech, and it was nice to see.

Primary angst

I just can't take it anymore.

Clinton gave a great speech. I refuse, I absolutely refuse, to listen to or participate in any more discussion about how she didn't do enough, she should have said this, why are Obama's people letting the Clintons take over the convention, it's not good enough, some are still unconvinced, she's just setting herself up to run again in 2012/2016, Obama was dumb/too proud/sexist not to make her his veep...


The more people talk about how much there isn't unity, the less united it looks. The more people talk about the Clintons taking over, the more true it becomes. The more discussion of how Obama's not good enough or didn't assert his primacy over hers, the more it becomes a reality. Could everybody stop being such whiny-ass baby brats and LET. THE PRIMARY. GO?!

For crying out loud. I was ENJOYING this damn party until I started reading the news/the blogs and listening to people be SOURPUSS ASSHOLES.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I feel like hell.


This is the only thing that ever made me consider teaching in my irrational heart. Still not happening, but definitely worth reading--comments as well.

Apparently the nation's largest bike-sharing program will kick off at the Democratic National Convention (sorry--couldn't get the link to work).

Finally, this is a fascinating essay on capitalism, feminism and social justice.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Okay, for anybody curious about why some people are upset about the VP pick, read this.

Me, I'm sort of indifferent.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You may remember that I posted a while ago about a proposed rule for the Dept of Health and Human Services that would redefine many common forms of contraception as abortion.

Well, despite Sens. Clinton and Murray doing their damnedest to stop this, it appears that HHS has gone ahead and proposed it.

Click here to read about Secretary Leavitt's repeated deliberate efforts to ignore the opposition to the rule; and to be reminded that abortion rights are important all the time, not just when somebody's trying to bully women into voting for him. (I agree with her--where the fuck is the party nominee on this, if the party cares so much about women?)

Also, why does Secretary Leavitt hate Americans?

ETA: Emphasis mine.
"Americans Should be Concerned that Bush Administration’s Proposed Rule Will Jeopardize Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Care

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The regulations proposed today are nothing more than a blatant attempt to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care. This is a desperate attempt by an Administration in its waning days to impose one set of religious and moral views on the nation’s women, depriving them of their right to make their own informed health care decisions.

This dangerous regulation would give any person – physicians, administrative staff, volunteers – working at institutions receiving federal funds the right to refuse to provide services, information and counseling to any patient. The providers who refuse services would have no obligation to refer patients or give them other options for care.

This draconian regulation means that women can be refused care and information by the very people they trust to provide it. It undermines the doctor-patient relationship because women will now have to question whether their health care providers are giving them complete and unbiased information, and the best care possible. It even opens the door to denying patients contraception.

At a time when women’s health clinics are woefully under-funded, and women in this country experience millions of unintended pregnancies each year, the Bush Administration should be searching for ways to give more women access to the family planning information and services that can help them avoid unintended pregnancy.

Anti-choice politics and rightwing ideology must not determine health policy in this country. We urge the Bush Administration to rethink these regulations and instead put more funds into Title X clinics. There is no need for this regulation, no problem to solve. It should be withdrawn.”

Here's a petition on Hillary Clinton's website you can sign:

And as to where's Obama--well, he's getting an anti-choice pastor to deliver the closing prayer at the convention. Thanks, Barry! Signed, Future Vagina Voter.

ETA: Go here for more on the exact ramifications of the rule for health care providers, and for some thoughts on the classist nature of the rule in practice. ("Go to another health care provider" is real easy when you have a car, money for gas, a job that allows you the time, and the resources to find another provider.)


Goddamn it, you idiots.

Iraq's recent stability has been in large part due to the support of Sunni militias, previously insurgent, who decided to support the government and the effort for peace. Our precious surge would most likely have amounted to nothing without them. Now that the Shi'ite dominated government is feeling confident that their military is capable, and now that the Sunnis are starting to look for some political rewards, the state is arresting members of the Sunni "Awakening" movement.

This is seriously beyond stupid. Doing this just as it looks like American forces are starting to pull back aggravates instability. What's more, many of these guys were formerly allied with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia--the last thing anyone should want is driving them back to AQM. Breaking promises to the Sunnis is not only in bad faith, it's inflammatory. It's like they're trying to compromise their security and start up civil war again.

"Some people from the government encouraged us to fight against Al Qaeda, but it seems that now that Al Qaeda is finished they don’t want us anymore," said Abu Marouf, who, according to American officials, was a powerful guerrilla leader in the 1920s Revolutionary Brigade west of Baghdad. "So how can you say I am not betrayed?"

Is it possible that they're this stupid, or is there something else going on here?
"Iraq and the U.S. have reached preliminary agreement to withdraw American forces from Iraqi cities by next June, six years into the increasingly unpopular war, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

That's not breaking or anything, but I figured it's the kind of thing people would want to know if they missed it.

Gaydar may actually exist, which makes me feel like less of a fraud.

Fascinating article on how stained glass windows also purify air. Medieval goldsmiths were also into nanotech, apparently. [H/t Shakesville]

In closing, I finally read Watchmen and it was incredible.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Go. Read. NOW.

It's sort of nominally about John Edwards but it's much more so about Washington, D.C.

"in d.c., women are famous for being fucked.
the government is famous for fucking.

and there’s really something fucked up wrong about that."
Oh, man. Oh man oh man oh man. SO MUCH FUNNY.

(It's a takedown of an essay about how blue jeans are "proletarian garb" designed by feminists and the Rockefeller Foundation to ruin feminity and the family. No, I am not joking in any way.)
this is a fascinating unpacking of the Olympics and the concept of "representing" a nation, on many levels.

Also, sometimes I really despair. How such idiotic, white-and-gender-privileged drivel can get PUBLISHED in the FUCKING LA TIMES is beyond me.

The Gates foundation, see, has a wide-ranging program of college scholarships for disadvantaged ethnic groups--African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islander Americans. Apparently, one Ernest W. Lefever just couldn't handle the injustice:

"America's most celebrated college dropout had a great opportunity to boost higher education, help needy students and strike a blow against racism, but he blew it. If Bill Gates had been able to chat with Teddy Roosevelt before launching his breathtaking $1-billion program of college scholarships, America would be a better place. Unless significantly amended, Gates' 'minority' scholarships will further inflame racial tensions, delay the achievement of a colorblind society and subvert the cherished virtue of reward by merit. The Gates Millennium Scholarships for thousands of high school seniors over the next 20 years are intended to produce more scientists, engineers, doctors and educators from among American minorities, who, he claims, are woefully underrepresented in college. His commitment to arbitrarily preferred groups is bound to increase racial resentment. Gates' vague concept of 'diversity' confuses the laudable diversity of cultural talents that strengthens the nation with the self-conscious racial diversity that divides it by breeding arrogance and envy."

Now, look, race-based affirmative action has its problems and its controversies in many different spheres and communities. I am not here to give testimony to its glories, because it is certainly flawed. But honestly, this guy is grade-B nuts (grade-A is reserved for House Representatives who say we don't need environmentalists to save the world because Jesus already did it). Honestly, column summary:

"I am mediocre and not particularly good at anything. In a world where white guys are on top, I do just fine. Start letting in those uppity...everybody else, and I'll be fucked. STOP FANNING RACIAL RESENTMENT, BILL GATES, BECAUSE I KNOW I'M GETTING PISSY."

(By the way, this is not current events--the op ed was written in 1999. I came across it doing research on Gates Foundation and just couldn't even get over it. Oops, I forgot--"get over it" is what everybody but the poor poor white male victims of the occasional act of protest are supposed to do in order to solve all problems!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feministe links to a Washington Post series on the working poor.

What's really worthwhile about this one to me, though, is the comments. I am economically privileged, and as far as I know everyone who reads here is in no danger of economic struggle. We hear a lot about downturn/recession/inflation/consumer goods, and it's all very real and true, but what you don't hear are these stories, anecdotes, experiences. There are a lot of highly educated hard-working people--people with spouses and family support--barely scraping by.

The bootstraps are dead, as far as I can tell.

Annnd for some interesting thoughts on the tenuous link between capitalism and democracy/freedom, read here.

Finally, it seems that the new draft of the Democratic Party platform is actually pretty good on several feminist issues. Of course, very little is said about LGBTQ because Obama could hardly give less of a shit, and my faith that much of the platform will translate into action is...less than strong, but at least they said the words.
This is a fascinating and saddening study.

It demonstrates a shockingly strong link between teen pregnancy and sexual violence--that is, that girls who have been sexually abused or raped are likely to have sex earlier and engage in more dangerous behaviors, and, not surprisingly, get pregnant.

What's so incredible about this isn't the link--the link really isn't that surprising--but rather the sheer numbers. The disparity between groups of abused girls and not in terms of behaviors (age of first intercourse, use of protection) is incredible, and what gets even worse is when you look at the statistics by ethnic group. Teen pregnancy rates among Latina and black girls are much higher, as is the incidence of sexual violence. Native American girls experience sexual assault at TWICE the rate of other groups, mostly by people outside of their ethnic groups. (How much you wanna bet these guys are white? The more things change, the more they stay the same.) This has a lot to do with the way our culture positions these girls and their bodies (sexy, exotic, "spicy"; girls of color are seen as "bad" or not as buttoned up as white girls and so are sexually available; old colonial narratives about conquest and sex with conquered women).

A big part of why this is important is that teen pregnancy is largely seen as an issue of promiscuity--"Those durn teenagers just keep having sex! Weird!"--and morals ("OH MY GOD THEY'RE HAVING SEX AND SATAN WILL TAKE THEM FOREVERRRRRR! THEY MUST NOT HAVE CONTRACEPTION OR ABORTIONS SO THEY CAN BE PUNISHED FOR THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS WITH BAYBEEEEZ!"). This study makes it clear that in large part, the public debate on this issue is missing the point.

I highly recommend that everyone click through. And remember that a teen mother or young mother is not necessarily an irresponsible slut (and even if she is, it's none of your business); she's a person struggling, that's all. Or hell, maybe she decided she wanted a baby. Like I say, none of my business.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cliché warning

Cliche warning:

Internet and computer technologies are totes awesome because they (can) democratize media and give a platform to more voices.

And allow random dudes at home to come up with professional-grade ads that a campaign team wouldn't or didn't think of.

You won't learn anything new unless you're not familiar with McCain's voting record relative to Bush, but it's a well-done ad and hell, maybe somebody will send it to their undecided aunt. Not to mention it's more on-target than the Obama camp has been lately. (The election has turned into a referendum on Obama instead of a verdict on Bush/Republicans. This is bad. The campaign has not done very well at turning it around.)

In other news, I'm back from Greece--spending the day in Boston and then going home to work for another month or so before school starts.

I can't really pinpoint why, but I really wish it were autumn.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sigh. Rush Limbaugh sez:

"I've got a theory about the motivations. Well, I don't know that I could -- I don't know that I can put this one on the air." Discussing his "theory," Limbaugh said, "We know -- we've been told that Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards. That's part of the puff pieces on them that we've seen. Ergo, if Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards, is it likely that she thinks she knows better than he does what his speeches ought to contain and what kind of things he ought to be doing strategy-wise in the campaign? If she is smarter than he is, could it have been her decision to keep going with the campaign? In other words, could it be that she doesn't shut up? Now, that's as far as I'm going to go." Limbaugh later added, "It just seems to me that Edwards might be attracted to a woman whose mouth did something other than talk." Limbaugh went on to say in a subsequent segment: "my theory that I just explained to you about why -- you know, what could have John Edwards' motivations been to have the affair with Rielle Hunter, given his wife is smarter than he is and probably nagging him a lot about doing this, and he found somebody that did something with her mouth other than talk."

Via Media Matters.

Bah freakin humbug, you asshole. It's totally brilliant, talented, passionate Elizabeth's fault her husband cheated on her because she wouldn't suck cock.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Holy shit this is awesome.