Tuesday, January 29, 2008

election 08: does being 26 count as experience?

NPR: Tracing Hillary Clinton's '35 Years' of Experience

a friend of mine sent me an email this morning that ranted, basically, "I'm so sick of hearing about Billary's experience! My god! If she had 35 years of experience, she was 26 years old!"

i have to say that i never really paid that much attention.
but good point.

why isn't our media calling bullshit on that?

(yeah. i'm no fan of the Billary lately.)

well, i've *been* to Canada

Southern racists adopt "Canadian" as a euphemism for "black" - Boing Boing

are you frakking kidding me?!

hm. i wonder what could be a useful euphemism for racist asshat...

Monday, January 28, 2008

hey, don't forget about the SOTU tonight!

The State of the Union Address Drinking Game 2008

you can pretty much get plastered if you just take a shot every time he says 'freedom.'

Sunday, January 27, 2008

US to contractors: rape? what rape?

remember that story i posted about a month ago? the one about jamie leigh jones, the woman who was working in Iraq for a Halliburton subsidiary, was drugged and gang raped by her colleagues, imprisoned by her employer and only released when her Congressman contacted the State Department?

well, two years later, there's still no action about this case. the Justice Dept is silent; there is no investigation and some women on the Hill want answers why no one has been under investigation and where her rape kit disappeared to.

feministing has a progress report from one of the Congresswoman who is pressing for some resolution. with Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Slaughter sent two letters to the State Department and the Justice Department. join them and contact your congressman to keep applying pressure.

no woman overseas should have to suffer what this young woman has.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

the economy: i don't get it (and not because i'm a girl)

Take these three articles and tell me what you think:
Tentative Deal on Economic Stimulus Plan - New York Times (today)
Make the Tax Cuts Work (yesterday)
How to Stop the Downturn (yesterday)
(The guys over at Lawyers, Guns & Money have a little post here, too, that I liked.)

From the first article we find out that a compromise has been reached to give ordinary folks like you and me a $300 check - a rebate, I guess. But to get that check, a couple of concessions had to be made (and this is where my confusion comes in):

A House aide close to the negotiations said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and the Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, reached an “agreement in principle” after Ms. Pelosi agreed not to include two proposals that had broad support among Congressional Democrats: an extension of unemployment benefits and a temporary increase in food stamps.

In the op-eds from yesterday it's pretty clear to the economists that aid to the lower- and middle-income strata would help out the most. (The Times has a nifty summary of why this could be here.) One of them even mentions how expanding unemployment could help. But while a $300 check is ok, how much of a financial bulwark is it against a scaled back food stamp program and no extension of unemployment benefits?

I mean, let's say you've spent the $300 - to pay rent, pay off a credit card bill, buy some groceries or buy some gas, whatever. Now what? You're still on insufficient food stamps or you're still unemployed and your benefits are about to run out (or you didn't qualify for it in the first place.)

Since I'm not a theory head when it comes to economics or business, what's the long view of this issue?
I mean, is a $300 rebate check really the best that can be done? (I'm assuming, too, that if one qualifies for a federal and state EITC, then one would receive those checks, too, so maybe we're talking about more than $300 for a family?)

And what did you do with the last rebate check in 2001?
Shit, I don't even remember getting one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blog for Choice: there's no right without access

Let's talk about a great big elephant in the room before folks start celebrating the decreased need for abortion: access. From the Chicago Tribune article:

Bill Beckman, director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee, said he sees the national decline in abortion numbers as a victory for anti-abortion efforts."A number of states over the last five or six years have enhanced their pro-life laws, such as requirements for informed consent and parental notice," said Beckman. "When those laws take effect, the rate of abortion drops. I think the data they're getting is reflecting that change."

What Beckman calls an 'enhancement', I call 'building a financial box around women to make sure they're forced to give birth.'

Clinics offering abortion services are in a decline all over the country; in fact, since 2000, 77 clinics have closed and only 29 have opened. For some women in urban areas - with private doctors and access to a wide range of family planning options - access might not be such a hardship (yes, I know there are other circumstances that could slow down access to abortion in urban areas, like cash, but let's just deal with this.)
But for women in rural areas, travel could mean driving up to 50 miles to get to the nearest abortion provider. To get there and back, that woman would most likely have to schedule time off work taken as a sick day (perhaps an unpaid sick day and perhaps more than one day, particularly if that state requires a nonsensical 'waiting' period), loss of wages, perhaps arrangement of childcare for her other children (which adds to that woman's economic burden), increased travel expenses (i.e., gas) and just the physically wearying fact that she is driving to another county or state for a doctor's appointment.

I don't know about you, but I get pissed off if I have to go outside of my area code to see my ob/gyn, much less another state. And what does it cost me? A walk down the street from my office for a few blocks or, at most, a $7 cab ride if I take a cab from my house.

It is an undue hardship for a woman in downstate Illinois, or another rural area, to take two days off work for her abortion. Roadblocks to access basically put a woman needing an abortion between the proverbial financial rock and hard place. It's neat how the anti-choice folks have cut off a woman's reproductive rights from other realities in her life, like the economic ones. For them what's important is the unborn child; nevermind that there is a material cost to a woman's life if she has a child her life can't support (for whatever reason that it can't.)

In this next election there are some things to think about, the most important of which will be deciding which candidate will be able to ensure women have access to full reproductive health services. A lot of my friends are comfortable that Roe v. Wade will stand, but can we rely on that? Speaking with a lawyer friend tonight, she said that Roe v. Wade is probably one vote short of being knocked over in our forseeable future. We can also probably anticipate 2-3 Supreme Court vacancies in the immediate future. Which Presidential candidate will have the best chance to appoint Supreme Court justices willing to uphold Roe v. Wade? Can we safely rely on a Huckabee, a Romney, an Edwards or an Obama to act in women's best interests? Or can we only rely on a Clinton?

And action on the SCOTUS isn't the only thing to worry about. At the state level, over the past decade, states have become more aggressive in introducing legislation to limit, if not outright ban, access to abortion; states like Kansas, Missouri, The Dakotas, Wyoming, Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas either already have, or are in the process of introducing, some of the most restrictive laws to affect a woman's right to control her own fertility. States aren't backing away from this fight; anti-choice grassroots lobbying has proven most effective at this level, while we scramble to keep a fricking clinic open in Aurora. (You can check out the states with the least access to abortion at the Abortion Acess Project website here.)

And what will happen in Illinois if our next governor is Republican? (Not so inconceivable, considering how Blago is alienating absolutely everyone these days.) Will the women of Illinois still enjoy access to birth control without the interference of pharmacists? Will we be able to rely on timely access of Plan B birth control? Will we be able to rely on the shrinking number of clinics that offer a wide range of reproductive health services to women? Or will we suddenly have to familiarize ourselves with the days of the underground Jane network, like back in the day? Will we find our family planning needs taking a back seat to a man's outdated, patriarchal ideas of female sexuality and autonomy? Will we suddenly find ourselves planning group trips to Canada or New York or California for a simple doctor's appointment?

The right to control our fertility does not exist if we do not have access to the services that allow us to control our fertility. Access isn't just for the women who have good medical benefits and live in a city and can rattle off where the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is; it's for women who make barely minimum wage and live in places like Bloomington, Alton or Aurora and there's no one around to help them.

And that's what the issue of access means to me: helping women get over the situation they find themselves in, not making them stew in it for months or years because it justifies a stranger's religion. How does it help that woman to wait days to get done what she already decided? How does it help a woman when we make her empty her wallet to visit a doctor? How does it help a woman when you force her to give birth and take away her ability to control her own fertility?

I guess it doesn't.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

uh, totally bizarro

Ex-Lawmaker Charged in Terror Conspiracy

and he was a Republican!
how crazy is this??

there is a really good diary on Kos here (where, if you follow the links, pretty much fills in the blanks.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

poverty in illinois

the ctba released a study on illinois' economy in december and here it is. (well, the executive summary, anyway.)

major findings:
job creation in the state lags behind other states
wages are declining
low wage jobs are replacing good ones
there are real differences in workforce populations, skills and experiences
(race is not unimportant here)

these are the issues that should be burning underneath presidential candidates' feet, rather than hillary's 'shrillness' or obama's 'magical negritude.'

don't you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Baltimore Finds Subprime Crisis Snags Women - New York Times

well, this is going to put my condo-buying dreams on hold for a while.

i'm curious to find out how women home owners in chicago are faring; during the housing boom (which is still quietly booming) a lot of my single coworkers/friends bought homes on their own. the crisis that finds some of these women now is startling; the path to economic security has now become shaky.

Monday, January 14, 2008

ugh, dating again

so how are things on the 'dating' front?

well, there was a brief setback last week when i discovered that, horror of horrors, B- is now in a relationship. my horror and dismay was not from jealousy; there was no regret that things hadn't worked out between us. (though there is much evidence of my inconsistency here.) no, my dismay and shock came from an irrational sense of competition.

"how dare he, the most lonely and dysfunctional of men, have a relationship while i don't! at least i'm working on my issues, dammit." i'm not proud of my pettiness; i just acknowledge that it exists.

anyway, a friend reminded me of my many vows to leave B-'s eeyore-like specter behind and so, finally, i am. (it helps that i'm confident B-'s inherent lack of generosity will doom his relationship in a few months no matter how often he goes jogging.) as i leave the weirdo behind, i look to the future and what do i see?

i see more weirdos.
i'm on a black networking site and, lord help me, it's sort of depressing. it's almost as bad as those christian dating sites i tried years ago. my kingdom for a man who can spell and use punctuation correctly!

and i'm tired of telling black men no, i don't have kids. make of that what you will.

are the men i've met there weird because they their writing skills are a little lacking? no. most of them are weird because they live in the burbs and can't say anything that doesn't sound like a R&B cliche. i'd also give my left nipple for a decent bit of banter.

(there was this one guy who thought he was being funny when he said that he'd buy me dinner, drinks and give me a warm place to stay for folding his laundry. it took everything in me not to get snippy. enough women have been snippy to these guys, it seems but, lord, trying to communicate with these guys is drying up my very small well of patience!)

i'll keep looking, though. there's gotta be a black/brown equivalent to me out there, somewhere. right?

Friday, January 11, 2008

i just got back from the union league lunch where former secretary of state spoke. it was an awesome lunch and her new book sounds great. i was totally impressed with how she answered questions - fully, thoughtfully and smartly.

what a change, huh?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

um, shuck & jive is NOT 'bob & weave'

Pandagon :: Andrew Cuomo on Obama: ‘You Can’t Shuck And Jive’ at a press conf :: January :: 2008


that's like the time my white, liberal, lesbian dissertation chair said to me (while i was helping her carry some things for our seminar): "Ding, thanks so much, but I really can't have you be my step and fetchit."

oh, yes, she did! Step 'n Fetchit.

i suppose, nowadays, that would be synonymous with, um, ... what?

but, boy howdy, i sure am glad racism is dead, though.

are you kidding me??

Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House? - New York Times

"There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing."

really? was this really what was happening, or are MoDo's exegetics just a bit off? (or plain wacko?)

i swear pundits and columnists are all drinking the same jonestown kool-aid.
there isn't a single stereotype they aren't willing to trot out and 'discuss' while not really questioning the frakking thing in the first place.

everyone cries!

yes, even macho men with giant testicles cry! my dad was in a conflict with his congregation and he cried! he cried when our mother died, he cried when my sister got married, he cried when i came home for christmas last year!

i've seen men cry at corporate retreats, recalling their best golf outing with their fathers; i've seen male CEOs cry as they tell their employees how great it is to work for their crappy company; i've seen men from new jersey cry when they had to lay off a buddy in another office. and who hasn't fucking seen an athlete cry when they win some stupid championship?!

for cripes' sake, can we lay off the hillary crying thing already??

is it too much to ask our 'journalists' to stop being so g'dammed stupid? really? (oh, and don't think i wasn't paying attention when that war-mongering wanker, bill kristol, said that hillary was faking tears. geez. talk about someone in need of a good nose punch.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

election '08: iowa. wow.

incredible. obama wins the iowa caucus for the dems. who put him over the edge? women, young people and independents.

edwards (squee!) comes in second!

and (gulp) huck takes the GOP caucus lead. mccain got spanked; romney got schooled.

please, let this be the end of GOP hegemony.

Take the Plan B Survey!

hm. if women ran the world...

there would be a different culture around rape. definitely.
at the end of this most excellent post Twisty asks what you do when your (or a friend's) rapist goes free.

well, this is what we tried: we tried to get that bastard fired from his job (which put him in proximity to women and enabled him to sexually assault my friend) and run out of his building. we got his home address, photo, license plate, email address, phone number and were about to launch an all-out guerilla attack on his rape-loving reputation when our friend backed down. i still get mad when i think of this man (who was a drunken dickhead) and if i ever see him in a bar with a girl i will tell her he's a rapist.

what i really wished we did: got a group of women, shoved him into a dark van, took him to a remote location and beat him repeatedly, leaving him to make his own way out of the forest preserve.

there are worse things than jail. and for rapists, i believe in making sure they get them.

Its another Blamer Brain Trust Alert at I Blame The Patriarchy

election 08: huckish

while i have never eaten squirrel from a popcorn popper, i have eaten ramen from a coffee maker. (yay, grad school.)

anyway, this was the funniest political piece i read this morning. while poking a finger in the GOP's eye over class, it also says Huck ain't no threat to the moneyed establishment, much. (which says a lot about our country's entrenched capitalist ideologies.)

my favorite part:
"Huckabee revels in the class war. He’s Two-Buck Huck, and darn proud of it. He likes nothing better than playing the Hick from Hope. He and his wife lived in a trailer for a while, he points out. His son killed a dog one summer, “a mangy dog” at that, as Huckabee explained to the befuddled national press corps. He said he used to eat squirrels, cooking them up in his popcorn popper. Ewwwwhhh!
And what’s up with that Chuck Norris shadow, following him everywhere like a late-night rerun? To the establishment, Norris is a B-lister with a bad hair dye and a ’70s-era karate shtick. They prefer Bruce Willis – bald Republican action hero."

if the press corps actually watched tv, they'd know why pairing chuck norris with mike huckabee is brilliant. (and they'd know that norris came out on his own to endorse huckabee - and they'd know that the grassroots in the religious right read norris' blog and sent up a big Yay!) a plain talking, modest, anti-establishment texas ranger who could kick his feet up and hit you in the throat - and he had a black partner? he's the less mild-mannered alter ego of the 'garsh' huckabee. duhh. read the semiotics!

as for me, i'm done with the 'good ol' rube' routine.
hello! we've already had a fake rube in the white house for two terms; why go with a real one? it's not like it'd be an improvement!
why can't the american people vote for someone SMART?? jeebus! SMART!

Two-Buck Huck - Outposts - Op-Extra Columnist - Opinion - - New York Times Blog