Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Emily Gould - Exposed - Blog-Post Confidential - Gawker - NYTimes.com

i wish i had time to write about this today. often, i've thought about the random way i stumbled onto blogging. (yes, a boy was involved.) often, i wonder why i continue - some of my friends wonder why i say things here i've never said in conversation. the only thing i can do is shrug and say, 'It's different. I don't know.'

remind me to come back to this when i get back from ITALY!

enjoy the beginning of summer and i'll see you in about 10 days.

Monday, May 19, 2008

who gets to be american? a jeremiad.

Well, according to Kathleen Parker, it's all about the blood.

From her column:

It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots. Some run deeper than others and therein lies the truth of Fry’s political sense. In a country that is rapidly changing demographically — and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century — there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity.
We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants. But there’s a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.

The blood that somehow conveys heritage, values, national identity and civic belonging. If you don't have the right kind of 'blood' then you're not a 'real' American. You're a wannabe, a poser, a fake. You have no claim on this American birthright because you aren't 'pure-blooded' American.

You're a mutt, impure, Other.

Is any of this ringing anyone's bells? Even without graduate degrees in history?

Because we should know about bloodlines and blood spilt for sacrifice. Sweet holy jesus, this Parker woman dares to tell anyone in this country (who isn't white) that the sacrifices their families were forced to make because they were Other in this great country of 'opportunity' and 'plenty' don't count.

Who hasn't sacrificed to be an American? Who?
Have black people not sacrificed?
Have the Chinese not sacrificed?
Have the Japanese not sacrificed?
Have the Native Americans, for god's sake, not sacrificed?
Have the Mexicans and the South Asians not sacrificed?
Who is not sacrificing so that they can participate in and assume this American identity?

All our histories in the past two hundred years have all been litanies of the sacrifice and 'blood' of Others. Why does our 'blood' not count and other 'blood' does?

This column so infuriated me, the only thing that could make me feel good about my anger was this Lincoln quote:

"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy."

I knew this election season would bring out people's subterranean ugliness, the thoughts that whisper around their heads they would never dare bring out into the light, but I thought folks would treat this historical moment with a little bit more class. How naive of me. Once again, the white supremacist underpinnings of this country have jumped the leash.

You are killing me, America!

I keep giving you chances; I keep thinking, this isn't everyone. It's the media; it's some snaggle-toothed nutter living in the woods; it's just some run of the mill white person who doesn't know any people of color so they're just sort of stupid; or it's Fox News (see nutter). But this came out in a nationally syndicated column. This piece of xenophobic, nativist trash (which reads no different from the xenophobic, nativist trash from the 19th and early 20th centuries) was approved by someone. Someone's lizard brain read this and thought, 'Eh, what's the big deal? It's just an op-ed.'

Gah! If America was a person standing in front of me I'd slap them!

Pat Buchanan wants me to 'be grateful.' He wants me to shut up and be grateful I live in a place that suffers from the worst case of degenerate racism, a place that makes no significant movement toward recognition of or reconciliation for its white supremacist past. But here's our chance! Here's a moment - a gorgeous, breathtaking moment! And what do we do with this moment? We say he is not (and by extension, we are not - I am not) a 'full-blooded American'!

Oh, America, you make we wanna holler!

I can't be grateful when I keep waiting for this country to grow. the fuck. up. I keep waiting for it to do some frakking introspection. Look back at OUR history and make some little effort to change. But this country, rather than look backward with a critical and repentant eye, looks behind like Lot's wife and can't feel its limbs turning to salt.

[h/t: Too Sense: Oh, Hell No.
And here's that excellent post on the Buchanan 'black gratitude' mess at Obsidian Wings.]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ask A Working Woman Survey 2008: do it!

when i was in college i turned up my nose at Woolf's A Room of Their Own. i thought it was classist, elitist and bourgeois.

ah, youth. now i reread it and, yes, it's still so very British Public School, but the main point of Woolf's essay is still important: women require economic autonomy and fiscal stability to have the lives they want (and need) in order to support themselves, as well as those who depend on them.

when poverty strikes (and, these days, it's striking more and more often) women are particularly vulnerable. as the traditional caretakers within communities, we juggle children, jobs, healthcare, and education needs; poverty makes it more difficult to shoulder those responsibilities. poor women, in essence, need to be superhuman just to make a few frayed ends meet. but this isn't a situation that just affects poor women, or women making below $15k/year. this is now a reality for middle class women. wages are flat, industries are shrinking and working mothers and women still aren't being paid what men in our same positions are making. basically, if you're a woman, economic instability is a very real possibility.

in this primary season, the conversation around economic issues has been presented as a white, male, middle class issue - or a white, male, blue collar issue.

where are women in this issue? what are our economic concerns? what are our needs? what are our burdens?

well, now you have a chance to share what those concerns are.

the AFL-CIO and Working America has launched the 2008 Ask a Working Woman Survey; they are looking for women to take this survey. you can check it out on the ALF-CIO news blog here or take the survey directly here.

i think survey results will be available next month so go do it!

whew! crazy pastor not my dad.

Too Sense: Black Pastor Says Obama, Oprah, and Wright are 'Trinity of Hell'

so imagine the shudder of dread i experienced when i came across this post:
Let's see, according to this guy: Oprah betrayed white women (who put her
where she is today) by supporting Obama; Wright and Obama are closet gays, and
Obama stayed at Trinity United Methodist because he was having a gay
relationship with Wright; George Soros gave $200 million to Obama's campaign,
and Obama spent all of the money on white hotels and white media; in the
"Trinity of Hell" Wright is the Father, Obama is the Son, and Oprah is the Whore
Girl, looking to be President, Vice-President, and Secretary of State.

my first thought was, 'Please, lord, don't let it be dad, caught on tape saying something totally crazy on his website...'

and it wasn't! it was some other black pastor who doesn't like oprah winfrey!

sorry, dad. (you know i love you!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

are pigs flying?: the religous right leaning to obama?

via Jack & Jill, this article seems to posit that the Religious Right is cracking up and the flotsam are breaking for Obama.

my first reaction was to go, Hmm. Really??

a few months ago, we saw the Religious Right (R2) go slightly nuts with their rejection of Romney, their pragmatic shunning of true-blue, 'not electable' fundamentalist Huckabee and their reluctant embrace of McCain.

but does that mean the R2 is going for Obama?

i'd say no. rather, what this article demonstrates is that the term 'evangelical' is just as diverse as the term 'progressive.' (as this primary season has demonstrated, there are schisms and fractures all over the liberal/progressive community. class, racial, sexual orientation and religious differences have uncovered a shifting and discomfitted coalition that hasn't had to face the fact in a very long while that not everything is about holding hands and singing Kum Ba Ya, you know?)

there are an emerging group of evangelicals (like Jim Wallis) who, rather than focus on hot button issues like abortion and homosexuality or whether or not dinosaurs existed, tend to look at other 'values' issues like the care of the earth, the treatment of the poor, war, or human rights issues (like trafficking, immigration, rape in the Congo and Darfur, genital mutilation, etc.) through a lens that we would say is more 'progressive' than their counterparts in the R2.

but i'd be very comfortable in saying they don't represent the R2. who's the Religious Right? look at james dobson, hagee, and the current leader of the southern baptist convention. that's the religious right. and there is no way in frakking hell their constituents are going to break for the Dems.

i'd say this group the article, and the other links in the Jack & Jill post, describe moderate evangelicals. these are evangelicals who believe in actively spreading the gospel (as well as the power and necessity for conversion) by focusing on issues that can make the most impact on a person's life now, rather than later. with issues like poverty and the environment, they're not necessarily already preaching to the choir about issues that are 'easy' rallying cries for those already hanging out inside the fundamentalist clubhouse . these are folks who just built a different clubhouse - same tree, different branch.

can the Dems depend on this emerging moderate evangelical bloc?

no. well, maybe the Dems can depend on these folks for those issues that speak to a moderate evangelical sensibility - like AIDS, global poverty, war/peace, the environment, or human rights (outside of abortion and/or gay rights, unless the Dems can find a way to message reproductive justice and gay rights as part of human rights, or social justice, issues. which they haven't successfully been able to do for the moderate evangelical crowd because the Dems just haven't taken the time), etc.

(i keep drawing a line between moderate issues and hot button issues because i think those moderate evangelical issues are 'missionary' issues; you can build a nice youth trip or awareness raising campaign around these things. you can't necessarily do that around reproductive justice or gay rights without looking like, well, the Religious Right.)

this isn't to say that i think moderate evangelicals don't belong under our progressive big tent. quite the contrary. but if the tradeoff is to give on some fundamental progressive issues, like abortion or gay rights, just to curry favor with some moderate evangelicals as part of a measly electoral strategy, then i'm more than wary.

(and why is our first inclination to tradeoff, anyway? let other people tradeoff if they wanna vote for us!)

and if the Dems really think it's going to be a good idea to climb up on that slippery slope and begin to couch our values in even stronger language of religion, then i wonder what kind of weed someone's smoking up there in Democratic headquarters.

Jack and Jill Politics: Religious Right -leaning towards Democrats?

The New Republic has an excerpt of Jeff Sharlet's The Family that will give anyone pause about the benefits of mixing politics with religion. [via The Revealer]

Friday, May 09, 2008

he has a point: The Huckabee Option

As the interminable death march to the convention continues, we have to ask ourselves a question:

Why is this happening to us? Where did we go wrong? Why has the spectre of political unity forsaken us?

It's because Hillary Clinton didn't go to church enough.

Everyone who goes to church knows you're supposed to turn the other cheek. Some of us are better at this than others. (Not me. Oh, I turn the other cheek but then I seethe inside just waiting for some righteous justice to fall on someone's head. You hear that, anonymous men of UConn?) Mike Huckabee, though he scared me as a presidential candidate, apparently internalized this golden church lesson, as this post from Shakesville makes apparent:

Shakesville: The Huckabee Option

But what are the chances that Clinton will suddenly have a 'come to jesus' moment and back off her wacked out scorched earth campaign strategy?

About as many chances that those asshats at UConn who assaulted Melissa Bruen will be identified and prosecuted.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

asshat: the entire state of Missouri

The Initiative for the Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortions (via Bitch Ph.D.)

This is how I imagine a conversation to go if such a law was established in Illinois:

Ding: I need an abortion
Nurse: Hm. Really. Why?
Ding: Because I'm pregnant and don't want to be. (Ass)
Nurse: Hm. I'm afraid that's not good enough. Are you being forced to get this abortion?

Ding: Yes. I'm being forced by the very fact that I am pregnant. If I wasn't pregnant, I wouldn't ask for the abortion.
Nurse: You're rather hostile.
Ding: I'm hostile to you because you are standing in the way of me not remaining pregnant.

Nurse: Would you like an ultra-sound?
Ding: No.
Nurse: Have you received counseling?
Ding: Have you?
Nurse: I think we might need to order a psych evaluation. For your safety. Just in case you're being forced to get this abortion against your will.
Ding: I'm not. Have at it. Abort away.

Nurse: I'm sorry. I can't. I'll need to refer you to our social worker who can evaluate your state of mind and then recommend -
Ding: How long will that take?
Nurse: Her earliest opening would be...next month.
Ding: So I'd have to wait another four weeks for my abortion.

Nurse: Yes. Then, perhaps another couple of weeks for an appointment.
Ding: So maybe another 6 weeks until I can get an abortion, pushing me further out of the window to get an abortion before it's considered a 'late term' abortion and not able to get one at all. You're basically going to stall this thing as long as you can until I'm forced to either give birth or rip this fetus from my own belly.
Nurse: Definitely a psych exam is in order.

(Ding lunges across desk.)

Nice fantasy, huh? Unfortunately, Missouri is taking steps to make sure you don't just have to imagine having asshat conversations like this; they actually want to legislate it.

People, it's time for a revolution.

[Note: Dad, I'm not really pregnant. That was totally made up. Do NOT get excited. There are no grandchildren on the way over here.]

another asshat: the men of UConn

What kind of world do we live in when a woman, who's in the middle of her own sexual assault, fights off her attacker (in a rather bad-ass way, too), then when she's calling out for help, a group of male bystanders then SEXUALLY ASSAULT her for defending herself??

This is what we mean by rape culture. Rape culture says that women's bodies ought to be available. Rape culture says women's default answer to sex is 'yes.' Rape culture says it is unnatural and punishable for a woman to defend her body. Rape culture says it is appropriate for a man to violate a woman's physical space. Rape culture says it is men who can have physical autonomy but women none. Rape culture says that these anonymous men have more legal rights to protection than the woman who fought off her own fucking attacker.

Rape culture says it's ok to raise your sons like this.

This is rape culture and I'm frakking sick of it. Someone needs to track these guys down and take a hammer to their testicles. Really.

[h/t Feministing; read the post and read Melissa Bruen's original post. Her bravery is astounding and exemplary. If UConn doesn't take suitable action, they need to be sued. Here's a thought: has anyone ever thought of bringing a class action suit on behalf of campus rape victims against a university for not suitably protecting its female population?]

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

'crossing the line'

From The Revealer, I came across a little item pointing me to an interview between the Family Research Council and religious right activist Janet Folger about some electioneering activities the FRC has planned.

The usual (non-tax status threatening) stuff: pre-packaged sermons on hot button conservative issues, candidate comparisons (hmm) and then comes this:

"We're going," he said, "to prompt pastors and say to them that, you know, we really believe that they need to challenge some of the things, some of the thinking that we have going on in our society, which is that separation of church and state doctrine, that we really need to preach the Bible on these issues and apply them to the things that are going on in the culture today." [emphasis mine]

Uh-huh. Pastors really need to challenge that separation of church and state thing. Yeah.

You heard it, people. Right from the right's mouth.

Talk To Action Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

the other shoe drops: anti-choicers don't want you to have contraception!

Feministing has a story here about the campaign from the American Life League to stop folks (uh, women) from using the Pill. It's called The Pill Kills!

Yeah, well. It DOESN'T. Basic science, people. Basic. But who cares about basic science when you can write frakked up stuff like this:

The birth control pill does not reduce the number of abortions. The only difference is that you are killing the baby earlier.
[T]he pill and other contraceptives can stop a tiny child’s implantation in his/her mother’s womb because the pill irritates the lining of the uterus so that the tiny baby boy or baby girl cannot attach to the lining of the uterus and the newly formed human person is aborted and dies. This is called a chemical abortion.

Never mind the fact the Pill prevents ovulation so there's no egg to be fertilized. Never mind the fact the Pill cripples the sperm to prevent it getting to the egg. Never mind the fact ... oh, hell. These people are ass and facts mean nothing to them.

Personally, I cannot extoll the wonderfulness of the Pill enough. It regulated my periods, it cleared up acne and, taken in a super concentrated dose, it also backed me up after a condom malfunction. (Yay, Plan B!)

So frak off, sex-hating old Bible thumping ign'ant prudes. Leave our contraception alone.

(And did I not call this 4 years ago?? I totally called it! Not satisfied with messing about with abortion, the 'I hate women' crowd goes for contraception. Arrgh.)

But what am I thinking? They don't even think married people should use contraception.

Ok, you know what my issue is? It's this: If these people really believe that the Pill kills tiny, cute, little homonculi, then fine. Be stupid. That is their right to be so ignorant, they think a fertilized egg is a person. Fill your quiver, baby. (And then home school the quiver and form a militia and get on the ATF watch list. Whatever.)

But they need to stop telling the rest of us to get on board with their freaking weirdo religious ideas!

Because that's what this is: it's a religious idea about when life begins. Religious freedom means they can do whatever they like; but it's a frikking imposition on MY religious and personal freedom when their actions can negatively impact my ability to control my Supreme Court-supported ability to control my own frakking fertility - according to my own religious ideas.

So. Whose religious ideas win? Mine? Or theirs?

Jeebus. I got so worked up I need a cocktail.

Monday, May 05, 2008

a must read

Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

I really can't say enough about this blog; it's like a refresher course on feminism that I can go back to again and again. Even now, when my current thoughts on feminism and my place in it is sort of shaky.

(Oh, Feminism. Never fear. I will never completely desert you. But I will be that annoying woman in the corner raising her hand and asking really annoying questions about some folks who stand next to me, under this so-called Big Tent.)

So. On this very busy Monday, wherein I will be swamped until the wee hours of the early evening, refresh yourselves at the well of feminism and reacquaint yourself with why you call yourself one.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man: my new boyfriend

oh. my. god.

i don't care if you've never heard of Iron Man, never read a comic book (what are you, a philistine?), never even knew comic books existed and don't give a crap who Stan Lee is. i don't care if your boyfriend owns all these weird dolls (oh, action figures) and they're taking over your apartment and all you want to do is pile them in the backyard and set them on fire.

this movie is teh bomb.

it's better than the X-Men movies (not that hard); better than Spiderman and his tired adolescent angst; and gives the recent Batman a serious run for its money, if not totally surpassing it with the quality of the script, acting and action. this movie made a man encased in titanium erotic. hello!

favorite bits:

1. Robert Downey, Jr. - how hot is he? how funny and witty and sad can he be? and when his eyes get all teary and he's regretting all his life decisions in a cave in Afghanistan? sigh.

2. The bromance - at last, masculine friendship that isn't totally about measuring the size of one's dick.

3. The pacing - hail to Jon Favreau for making a movie that actually captures the 'ohmygod what's going to happen now???' spirit of comic books. every beat in the story was struck blam blam blamblamBLAM!

4. The script - wow. dialogue that was actually character-driven and not merely 'cartoony.' it was sly, spry and wry. loved it.

5. Women I could like - ok, there's only one woman who really matters and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) wasn't a screamer, a frail chick who needed to be rescued or a belligerent neurotic with issues. she was capable, supportive, knowing and decidedly not foolish. (the other woman in the movie just needed to be recast. the actress was awful and bland.)

6. Humor - at last! a comic book movie with a sense of humor! i'll chalk this up to Favreau and Downey's snarky sensibilities. yeah, the Christian Bale Batman has a certain hangman's noose humor about it, but it's so...heavy. blah. and the X-Men movies? pullease. dour, overbearing and way too earnest about its own allegory. give me the wink and the sharp quip delivered by a guy you can actually believe can carry it off.

7. Robert Downey, Jr. - sigh. really. he is just so...yummy. sure, he's short; he's in his 40's; he's a little worn on the edges. that's history, baby! and sure, when he takes off as Iron Man there's a little balletic grace to that little hand flip he gives that might not be really very macho. but i don't care! he's hot!

i'm about to start babbling about this movie. i should stop.
oh! but one more thing!

now i'm gonna have to start reading Iron Man - and isn't *that* the measure of success for a comic-based movie?

(thank goodness saturday is Free Comics Day.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

countdown to italy

4 weeks.

then i'm blowing this pop stand and lolling in the hot Tuscan countryside, drinking wine, eating pizza and saying things like 'Non sono Americana. Sono Canadian. Whatever.'

4 weeks and i will leave this horrific primary season behind me (only to come right back to it); i will try to leave behind our nation's unexpiated racist past and present.

(come on, sean bell's killers get off completely?? no punishment at all? people go to jail for accidentally killing someone with their motor vehicle! 50 rounds! unarmed! LORD JESUS!)

4 weeks and i will be on fricking vacation from this frakking mess of a country that i love with all my heart, even though recent events are making me struggle with my affection. it seems like every little privilege i enjoy feels like a bribe. or like a stack of crumpled bills on the side of a bedstand, at the very least.

in 4 weeks, i will sleep deeply, i will explore eagerly and i will float lethargically in the villa's 4 ft pool that Roomie chose so i can't drown.

thank god there's italy because lord knows here is riding me like a pony.
there's so much still to do.

i know we're 4 weeks out but i have a running list in my head of the things that need to be taken care of: i have to hold the mail, unlock my phone, alert my bank, transfer funds, wrap up work stuff, make a list of things to pack, actually pack, copy recipes, learn a bit more italian (i'm actually not bad with the accent!), and resign myself to the fact that, yes, i will be on my period while in italy. dammit.

(forget that summer fantasy of white linen and a summery light wardrobe. i will be bleeding like MacDuff's mam.)

an acquaintance last night gave this piece of advice: "Never pass up an opportunity to sit, eat or pee. You never know when you'll get another chance." i will take that advice to heart, slowing down my group of friends as i take every opportunity to sit, eat and pee. perhaps all at the same time.

and did you know urban outfitters has really cute, cheap cameras? unlike the coldly perfect pictures taken with digital cameras, these take really wonderfully lo-fi photos, sort of blurry and saturated with light and all sorts of imperfections. i'm thinking about getting the Diana+Edelweiss or the Holga.

and i need to get my hair done. i think i'm officially over being completely 'natural.' not for anything political, but for danged expedience. the summer is around the corner and i do not want to mess with the frizz. Tia at Shake Your Beauty mentioned something called a 'conditioning relaxer' and i think i need to try that. i just need to loosen the curls here and be less frizzy.

wow. a whole post on totally frivolous crap.

[crossposted at my other blog, too. no, i won't link there. my dad reads this space!]