Monday, December 31, 2007

Something awesome

OK so allow me to be giddy and fan-girl for a moment...

I heard this song on the radio two nights ago and was like, huh, is this a new Arctic Monkeys song? Sounds sort of like them...


It's a new GREEN DAY song, but not!

Apparently, Pinhead Gunpowder and The Network (and doesn't Mike Dirnt have another side project of his own too??) weren't enough for these guys... So they have formed Foxboro Hot Tubs.

The song I heard that night was "Mother Mary," I think I would have recognized Billie Joe if it would have been one of these other songs. But seriously, how cool?! Three songs are available for listening on the Myspace page. If you go to their main webpage there is just a ticking clock. HOWEVER, I looked up their wikipedia and you can still download their six songs if you go directly to this link. Bwahahaha!

I will anxiously await the secret Network, Foxboro, Green Day show that will someday appear, I'm certain. I am starting to also wonder if there isn't a type of rock music they WON'T tackle...

Political Hair...again


This soldier, Kim Andrews, has been in the Air Force for seven years, but her mother says she's being threatened with a dishonorable discharge because of her hairstyle, which involves twisting her hair into cornrows, a style that's allowed in the Air Force. Dreadlocks aren't allowed, and apparently Kim's commander thinks they're dreadlocks.

How does someone not know the difference between corn rows and dreadlocks? Seriously, am I missing something? The two hairstyles aren't even remotely alike....

Related post: Political child hair!

Edwards, CIGNA and Nataline Sarkysian


Nataline Sarkysian died last night at UCLA Medical Center after complications arose from a bone marrow transplant to treat her leukemia. Her insurance provider, CIGNA Healthcare, first denied the potentially lifesaving transplant, but relented after a loud public protest and outrage. By that time, though, Sarkysian passed away before the procedure could be performed.

"Are you telling me that we're gonna sit at a table and negotiate with those people?" asked a visibly angered Edwards, challenging the health care companies. "We're gonna take their power away and we're not gonna have this kind of problem again."

You know, I'm still a die hard Kucinich supporter, but seriously, go Edwards.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"The Fringe"

I want to talk about "the fringe" for a minute.

It's an interesting thing, this "fringe." The way it's used in conversation, usually by someone trying to put down a point you're making. I've apparently been interacting with it a lot the past week, due to suggesting the prejudice+power=racism/sexism definition... "Some definition developed by irrational and at times irrelevant minority" "on the fringe" is what I was told.

As though being on the "fringe" means you have nothing useful to say.

Interesting, that.

I suppose if they had agreed with me, I would be on "the cutting edge."

And I find it sort of, amusing, this choice of word, given it's dictionary definition: something regarded as peripheral, marginal, secondary, or extreme in relation to something else. Amusing because, isn't basically the whole point how people of color and women have been pushed to the periphery? How we have been systematically marginalized by society in our different ways?

By default then, our opinions on that MUST come from the fringe! Mustn't they?? We've been put there! YOU put us here! And then the place where you have put us, you use against us, to discredit the thoughts that arise out here.

But of course the predominantly white men who used these words against my suggestion don't see the irony of any of this. I thought I would share the joke with my small circle on this fringe anyway...

A related post...Extremists and Polarity

Another Dose of Anarchy

Original story

Published: December 24, 2007
Shopdropping is the practice by anti-consumerist artists of leaving fake products with political messages on shelves.
At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., local authors have been putting bookmarks advertising their own works in books on similar topics. At Mac’s Backs Paperbacks, a used bookstore in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, employees are dealing with the influx of shopdropped works by local poets and playwrights by putting a price tag on them and leaving them on the shelves.

At Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., religious groups have been hitting the magazines in the science section with fliers featuring Christian cartoons, while their adversaries have been moving Bibles from the religion section to the fantasy/science-fiction section.
Ryan Watkins-Hughes, 28, a photographer from Brooklyn, teamed up with four other artists to shopdrop canned goods with altered labels at Whole Foods stores in New York City this week. “In the holidays, people get into this head-down, plow-through-the-shopping autopilot mode,” Mr. Watkins-Hughes said “‘I got to get a dress for Cindy, get a stereo for Uncle John, go buy canned goods for the charity drive and get back home.’”

“Warhol took the can into the gallery. We bring the art to the can,” he said, adding that the labels consisted of photographs of places he had traveled combined with the can’s original bar code so that people could still buy them.

“What we do is try to inject a brief moment of wonder that helps wake them up from that rushed stupor,” he said, pausing to add, “That’s the true holiday spirit, isn’t it?”

Personally, I find this highly amusing. Right up there with the art restoring anarchists. I almost wish I shopped more so that I had come across one of these.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Benazir Bhutto.


What a fucking waste.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I don't know how you do it.

I don't know how you do it.

When I first started seeing through a feminist lens, I started to think I might go crazy with all the things I saw that people marginalized, trivialized and generally ignored.

Seeing through a racial lens, an imperfect as mine is I'm sure... I feel it all over again. And the racial issues are even worse, even more disheartening.

Truly, I don't know how you do it. But I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Help from readers?

Hey all,

I know there are a few of you. And if you don't mind, I'd like to enlist your help.

I want to put forth a submission for Yes Means Yes, on the topic: * How good sex (where women’s pleasure is central) can mean an end to rape culture, and how a society that values genuine female sexual pleasure will make it easier to identify and prosecute rapists.

Now, I intuitively understand how this would work. It's similar to why I think recognition of the Divine Feminine would lead to more respect for women in society. But I think I need to bounce some thoughts off of people to get my creative juices really flowing (too much damn time spent on debate boards...). So if you don't mind, give me something to bounce off of.

Initial thoughts:
Good sex is pleasurable for all involved. It is non-judgmental, genuine and open. You are not critical of yourself or others during good sex, because your thoughts are consumed by the experience.

Genuine sex includes enthusiastic consent. There is no possibility of misunderstanding. No pressuring, no convincing, and no taking advantage of someone through intoxication. Actually valuing a woman's pleasure would end all of these all to common tactics because they interfere with that pleasure.

For the woman, society placing value on her pleasure as a sexual being means she has no reason not to give enthusiastic consent. No social moors telling her "good girls don't do THAT" would prevent much of the guilt and insecurities experienced when trying to embrace her authentic sexual identity and desires.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Saints Are Coming

I am still so unbelievably fucking proud of Green Day for doing this song, and especially this video. It reduced me to tears the first time I saw it, and many times since. But the overwhelming feeling I feel whenever I see it is the first shot of the "troops," a THIS IS WHAT SHOULD HAVE FUCKING HAPPENED, overwhelming, feeling. And no matter what you think of their previous work, give some props for this.

A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief,
how long now?
Until the weather change condemns belief,
how long now?
When the night watchman lets in the thief
Whats wrong now?

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
I say no matter how I try, I realize that there’s no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming

Major props go to brownfemipower for reminding me of this...

Happy Yule!

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Closet of Fear

Go check out this amazing story about works for the LGBTQ community in Iraq. It's eye opening and moving.

THE CLOSET OF FEAR: The systemic execution of gays and lesbians in Iraq.

The nature of the work to save gays and lesbians is so secretive that it cannot be coordinated through the Iraqi government or the NGO coordinating council. All the gays and lesbians I talked to confirmed that there are security risks at all levels; it seems unlikely they would all share the same unfounded paranoia, so I believe them. Unable to coordinate relief efforts through the NGO coordinating agency or the Ministry of Civil Society, gays and lesbians are left entirely on their own to operate a rogue underground railroad.

The otherwise personable and even liberal Iraqis and Jordanians with whom I talked, found homosexuality extremely unpleasant to even talk about. Faiza, an Iraqi refugee who is helping to organize empowerment programs for women in Jordan and Iraq, was dismayed when I told her I was looking to work with a relief agency to help gays and lesbians. "Why they help lesbians? Widows and orphans need help, and they help lesbian???" she said in broken English. Her perspective was one of complete disdain for any group of crazy westerners who would actually want to help gays and lesbians amidst such an enormous humanitarian crisis.

I also want to take this opportunity to call your attention to a new feature. I have added a 10 item list of posts I have recently read and wanted to share. It's near the bottom of the column to the right, and as I'm reading through my Google reader I simply click "share" and it it moved there. It's a nice way for you all to see what I'm reading any enjoying, as I simply can't blog coherently about everything I'd like to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Feminist Carnival #50!

Welcome everyone, to the FIFTIETH Carnival of Feminists!

As usual, some very interesting posts on various topics in the blogosphere have been gathered here for your reading pleasure. I actually had a lot of fun looking through everything submitted, and I want to thank Natalie for choosing me to host this round, as well as everyone who submitted for inclusion! And without further ado...


Jon Swift presents Jamie Leigh Jones Undermines the War Effort posted at Jon Swift.

If the terrorists wanted to undermine the war effort and destroy Western Civilization as we know it, this would be the perfect way to do it. Find an intelligent, attractive young woman to claim she was gang raped by contractors who work at the Vice President's company, and then get a Republican congressman and the State Department to back up part of her story. It's brilliantly evil and almost foolproof! There was just one thing these clever terrorists didn't count on: bloggers like Shackleford, Curt and Ace who would see right through their fiendish plan.


Tali presents What's Up with Women and Money? posted at BlogHer.

The older I get, the more I understand, the lack of female role-models, in my life, when it comes to money. It's great that you can learn about money from dad, but it's very disturbing, to me- as woman- the general apathy, of all the women in my life, towards money issues.

Nina presents Susie Bright on Suze Orman: The Lesbian Approach to Getting Rich posted at Queercents.

Last summer, I met Susie Bright at a blogging conference where she was snarky, vocal, and loved the fact that we had a site dedicated to queer money. After participating in our Ten Money Questions series, we had an email thread that lingered on the topic of Suze Orman’s sexuality. Susie Bright is known as the sexpert and one of the first writers/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist… who better to opine on Suze’s financial advice for women.


Deborah Siegel presents Bella Studies posted at Girl with Pen.

No matter what you think of her, you couldn't ask for a better book promoter than Rosie O'Donnell (ok, maybe Oprah, but Rosie's not far behind). And watching Rosie talk to a group of 11 year olds at a feminist anniversary conference, well, I'll admit, it gives me the chills.

Tacithydra presents Mass Extinctions posted at Venturesome.

In 1993 there were 124 feminist bookstores in the United States. Now only 12 remain.

They provided access to feminist books, but more importantly, they offered physical safe spaces and gathering points for like-minded people. Political action groups, support groups, and book clubs flourished in these stores in ways that would be impossible in the modern-day Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Now one of the last remaining independent feminist bookstores in the U.S., and the only one in Texas, is in trouble.


Susan presents Girl Travel And More posted at The Innovative Traveler.

Those of you familiar with Bust Magazine probably know it best for its femme slant on everything from bands to women entrepreneurs to she-commerce and their boobtique. I didn't realize that they've added their own travel section. Encouraging a communal beat, you can add your own haunts and favorite activities, and even cities, to their Let's Go Girl guide.


Sage presents Same Shit, Same Pile posted at Persephone's Box.

The pervasiveness of the subtle teaching that boys can't help behaving boyishly, and/or that boys must behave boyishly doesn't seem to be diminishing in the least. The expectation that all guys want to use the penis for harm, but they deny it to be politically correct, or worse, play the sensitive guy to get more chicks, may seem extreme, but I don't believe it's that uncommon. I've been told too many times by men that their behaviour must be excused because "All men humiliate strippers at clubs - or want to," or "All men would have an affair if they had the brains or balls for it." The implication here is that men who don't harm women just don't have the guts to act out their true nature.

Queer Issues

Jender presents Gay Rights Have Gone Too Far? posted at Feminist Philosophers.

A likely response, I expect, to news that a UK man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple, now separated, is being required to pay child support. The truth, actually, is precisely the opposite.


Roja Bandari presents How do you turn off compassion? posted at openDemocracy.

Activists in Iran can be easily marginalized by accusations of ties to western countries or to Iranian political groups that work against the Iranian government outside of Iran. It is understandable why many inside Iran are very cautious about any harmless stranger who offers them help or even solidarity. Despite this, my very first email asking about how I could help was replied with an open heart and open arms and I was touched by this accepting behavior which I later found was a general attitude of the campaign. I continued to have email contact with a few of the people who were more comfortable with email and English and who had some time. One of these women was Jelveh Javaheri.

Shea asks Does PA System stifle leftist blogs? Posted at New Freeland.

Last week Tze Ming Mok gave her farewell to PA System. She is off to Europe to work and cites this as a major reason for her departure from PA System. But a little of her writing and reactions around other blogs reveal a deeper malaise in the “left wing” blogs. Something I would contend is the result of the stifling and virtual conservative nature of PA System, despite its supposed left wing bias.

In a related post, Deborah discusses Ideals and reality. Posted at In a Strange Land.

So like it or not, even if the ideal is that there are women writing on Public Address, the reality is that the voices most frequently heard, and indeed dominantly heard, are white male voices.


Kristina Gupta presents Watch Out World: Here Come the Unmarrieds. Posted at Womenstake.

The survey of 865 unmarried women found that 77% believe the country is headed on the wrong track (compared to 72% of American voters). And unmarried women are determined to do something about it –- 85% said “I am so frustrated at the way things are going in this country, I will make a point of voting in next year’s elections.”


Debs presents The foetus is not a patient. Posted at Abortion is a Woman's Right.

In this article, Dr Jean Guimond, one of the seemingly increasingly rare abortion providers in Canada, states (and his very wonderful quote is used for the title of this piece), “The foetus is not a patient. The patient I am helping is the woman who is pregnant.”
In contrast to Dr Guimond, members of ‘Physicians for Life’ will try to counsel the woman, send her elsewhere or just downright refuse to help at all.

Sex and Sexuality

zohra presents Damned if you do and also if you don’t posted at openDemocracy.

The many contradictions of anti-abortion arguments serve only to reinforce to me the extent to which the anti-choice agenda is actually about undermining women's right to have control over what happens to their bodies.

Holly Ord presents Purity and Integrity...Balls posted at Menstrual Poetry.

Refusing to accept that abstinence-only education does not work, the religious majority have been holding formal events depicting what a traditional wedding would more-so look like for young girls and their fathers. The Father-Daughter Purity Ball, Sponsored by the Colorado Springs’ Generations of Light Ministries, are basically young girls pledging to their fathers that they will remain pure and virginal until the day (or most likely, night) they marry.

And from myself, Enthusiastic Consent Could Change Our Rape Culture.

In a society that genuinely valued female sexual pleasure, in a society that expected enthusiastic consent, a man would never get away with the bullshit around rape that they currently do. There would be no "well let's look at how many partners she's had," "I thought she was saying yes!" "but omg she's a prostitute, obviously sex doesn't mean much to her"... On and on and on... If we truly VALUED women's sexual pleasure these things would be laughed out of court, because it wouldn't matter how many partners she's had, there would be no mistaking silence for consent, there would be no deriding women for choosing sex work. It would be impossible for these things to exist because it would be understood that what a woman does to have pleasure (or work) is OK.

Enthusiastic Consent Could Change Our Rape Culture

So, I'm not going to respond to everything from the original entry because that would just make this post huge, and I would end up repeating concepts a lot, so know that I am picking and choosing, and please go read the OP, it is a great post.

Alright, let's start with the title. The title, my god. I read the title and was thinking, where have I seen that before? No, not this book of the same name, which I haven't read but seems to be going off in the same direction; maybe the editors of this one would be wise to read Albury's book and see what exactly they're doing. However, wasn't there a Doonesbury strip somewhere in the early seventies about men insisting something to the effect of 'liberated women say yes'? (I'm pretty sure it was that era and that it was Doonesbury, but I'm not finding the strip at the moment.)[...]Anyway: this is nothing new, folks. Feminism goes in ripples as well as waves, as does the backlash, and the backlash constantly comes with men saying to women (and sometimes men, but I'll get to that later) "No may mean no, but yes means yes, so let's do it. What are you, a prude?"

"Yes means yes, so let's do it" is missing the point behind the "Yes means yes" title, I think. The basic idea being enthusiastic consent, and that it's OK for women to say YES to sex. It doesn't equate not saying yes with being a prude. What's behind it is the idea that if we say yes enthusiastically it puts the clear "no" into even starker contrast, and it makes it clear that resignation, "I don't know," and silence, are not "Yes!" Hugo has a great post about this concept that I would encourage everyone to read through.

Yes Means Yes! will fly in the face of the conventional feminist wisdom that rape has nothing to do with sex. We are looking to collect sharp and insightful essays, from voices both established and new, that demonstrate how empowering female sexual pleasure is the key to dismantling rape culture.

-sputters- Yes, I know there's a field that says it's only about power and that rape is the same as wife-beating and refusing to hire women and that all male/female penetrative sex is rape anyway, but to my knowledge plenty of 'conventional feminist wisdom' is explicitly aware of the link between rape and sex, of the way that women are deemed different from men first by sex (physical sex and as 'sources' of the act, both intensely personal) and that the act of rape is a reminder of male 'supremacy' through violation of the intensely personal.

Truthfully, the point has been made, yes. But as far as mainstream feminism, I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Rape has nothing to do with sex." I've heard it, a lot, and very adamantly. Does that mean everyone has been saying it? Not at all, and I know I'm still learning, but it IS a dominant message. Addressing rape culture (I emphasize culture because it's not so much the individual act of rape, as the cultural attitudes which form understanding of rape that the book is addressing) as it relates to sex from myriad perspectives would add, if it gets attention, a valuable differing perspective.

And empowering female sexual pleasure equals dismantling rape culture? NO NO NO NO NO. Don't get me wrong: empowering female sexual pleasure? Do it. It's great to have a dynamic by which women can engage in sex that is pleasurable.[...]And if all you're doing is teaching women to have pleasurable sex during some shove-cock-in-gooshy-part-of-sex-object type action that was going to happen anyway, the only people you're empowering is men. Have we all forgotten the word 'consent'?

I could not agree more with the italicized portion. If that's all this concept was, I would be just as critical of it. However, it's not empowering female sexual pleasure. What I believe the concept of this book is going for is demanding that our society value genuine, empowered, female pleasure. Currently, our society does not value this on any real level. And I do see the link between societal valuing of female sexual pleasure and rape culture. In a society that genuinely valued female sexual pleasure, in a society that expected enthusiastic consent, a man would never get away with the bullshit around rape that they currently do. There would be no "well let's look at how many partners she's had," "I thought she was saying yes!" "but omg she's a prostitute, obviously sex doesn't mean much to her"... On and on and on... If we truly VALUED women's sexual pleasure these things would be laughed out of court, because it wouldn't matter how many partners she's had, there would be no mistaking silence for consent, there would be no deriding women for choosing sex work. It would be impossible for these things to exist because it would be understood that what a woman does to have pleasure (or work) is OK.

Now, where has empowering female sexual pleasure been high-activity work for decades? Centuries? Oh, right, the whole history of female-female sexual interaction that in more recent centuries in western culture has been driven underground by homophobia taken out in the name of Christianity and has, more recently, fought its way back up (Side note: while some feminists were busy arguing that rape has nothing to do with sex, other feminists were already busy having sex with each other. And making great porn out of it); these women have been ignored and rejected by large portions of the feminist movements and clearly their work continues to be forgotten by some.

Yes! So true! And later on the writer responds to one of the potential topics for essay in the book:

* On pulling out the invisible lynchpin of rape culture: homophobia

AAAAAAAAAHHHHH. Say what? Maybe I don't understand their use of lynchpin: is this to mean that homophobia is the actual root of rape culture?

No, this is referencing EXACTLY what you're talking about in the above quote. "the whole history of female-female sexual interaction that in more recent centuries in western culture has been driven underground by homophobia". Unless I totally misunderstand, I think this is exactly one of the things they mean.

What has also been important accross history? Women fighting back, not by saying 'yes!' but with fists and feet. Women's self defense classes have been a small but building force in the last few decades; why is this effort not being put towards increasing that?

Now, this sounds good, and I am behind women fighting back. But at the same time, I come back to an article I read in Bitch: Fall '06, "Kicking and Shrugging—Why do we resist self-defense?" I would love to quote it, but I don't have my copy anymore. In the end, Anastasia Higginbotham's point is that ultimately this is not where our primary energy should be going, because teaching women how to fight rape is still a measure of holding them responsible for stopping it. While I think self defense classes are still valuable, I agree with her.

I know their intent is good, but the title alone is a problematic framework that recycles a male supremacist argument against women's consent being relevant to sex, and everything is downhill from there.

I can only totally disagree. A woman consenting to sexual activities is, at least from my perspective, totally necessary for her enjoyment in those activities. And from a larger cultural perspective, consent is central to female pleasure for the same reason.

* Taking Back the Porn: How changing the pornography industry can stop rape

See what I said before on feminist porn being nothing new but it being, like many other things, ignored by mainstream feminism as too gay/dirty/body-friendly/giving feminism a bad face.

I totally agree with you here. I truly hope that this aspect will be talked about in the book, because there HAS been GREAT work on this, and it has been largely ignored.

Seriously? Seriously, changing the porn industry will stop rape?

Well, if you support feminist porn, I'm sure you must already have your own ideas on how it is helpful to our cause? But yes, to a point, I think changing the porn industry would definitely help in stopping rape. There is so much misogyny and focus on the pleasure of the male and generally degrading crap that is in porn (even though, I do enjoy some porn)... Changing those things can only help change the attitudes I listed earlier that contribute to rape, can't they?

* How good sex (where women’s pleasure is central) can mean an end to rape culture, and how a society that values genuine female sexual pleasure will make it easier to identify and prosecute rapists.

-flails- PLEASURE IS NOT CONSENT. Rape doesn't happen solely to deprive women of pleasure. It happens to remind women who gets the final say. How many years of activism pushing the importance of consent are being completely squashed and forgotten in the interest of giving fighting rape a Cosmo face?

You're right, pleasure is NOT consent, and rape doesn't solely happen to deprive women of pleasure. However, that's not what I think they're talking about. And so I want to just briefly repeat what I said earlier; if our society genuinely valued female sexual pleasure and experience many of the attitudes we currently see around rape could not exist. Specifically because, they disregard the importance of her consent and pleasure.

And because I've been avoiding tackling it: this concept that women can fight rape by self-empowerment through pleasure sends a really clear message: the problem of rape can be solved by changing women's response to sex. It's the fault of the victim, right? YOU DON'T NEED TO EMPOWER WOMEN TO SAY YES!

Again, totally disagree, it's partially about changing women's response to sex, but it's more about changing society's attitudes to women having sex.

* An analysis of the economics of female sexual alienation/oppression, and an economic model for resistance

Hm, didn't Emma Goldman and even Marx and Engels write a mess of work on this? Why do I somehow suspect that that's not where this will be going?

I'll use this quote as my example, but there are a few times where this is pointed out here, basically that "someone else has already done this." And that's true. But I don't think that invalidates the work. As the original writer stated earlier in her criticism, feminism goes in cycles. Those cycles, I think, have a lot to do with public opinion and consciousness of issues. For better or for worse, Valenti has become "the new hot thing" and thus she is getting attention, because of that attention, she has the ability to reach a wider audience, who probably hasn't read what's already been written. That's a good thing, and that's why this work is potentially so important. It doesn't at all invalidate the work that's already been done, it can only raise more consciousness about it, and hopefully (with a very good reference section in the back) bring more people to it.

* Desegmenting the Market: overcoming commercially enforced sexual stereotypes to organize across race, class, gender, and difference

...Historically, the feminist movement has aimed to organize women across lines of race, class, and 'difference' by assuming that all women deal with identical oppressions, which has lead to such things as the framework of domestic abuse whereby primarily straight white women wind up actually able to access services that only really help a person 'rehabilitate' into a straight white woman anyway...

Again, I agree. I truly hope to see that aspect addressed in this book. I think, with the gathering of diverse perspectives for contributors, this could happen, and I truly truly hope it will.

* Creating accurate media representations of rape

Step 1: Fight male supremacy that prevents progressive women from working in the media and acting contrarily to enforcing male supremacy without risking their jobs
Step 2: Fight male supremacy that causes the majority of society to be complicit with positive sexualization of rape by presenting images of women as complete humans and NOT just sexual beings who aren't doing anything else, anyway
Step 3: Wonder how saying 'yes' has anything to do with creating accurate media representations of rape. Perhaps they are proposing that a media industry promotions system based on sleeping with those in power is feminist after all?

See to me, this just sounds like a great outline for an essay for the book! And while I will grant that very specifically saying "yes" doesn't contribute to media representations, incorporating the ideals of enthusiastic consent and valued female sexuality into the media is definitely related, and potentially invaluable.

Just to finish, I have high hopes for this book, obviously. Will it deliver? I don't know. But I think the ideas and format of an anthology (thus, hopefully containing diverse and divergent opinions) are good and potentially incredibly important. I look forward to reading it (and plan to submit something for consideration myself).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just say no!

By P.J. Huffstutter
The Los Angeles Times

Sunday 08 April 2007

More are refusing grants to teach chastity, objecting to restrictions.

In an emerging revolt against abstinence-only sex education, states are turning down millions of dollars in federal grants, unwilling to accept White House dictates that the money be used for classes focused almost exclusively on teaching chastity.

In Ohio, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland said that regardless of the state's sluggish economic picture, he didn't see the point in taking part in the controversial State Abstinence Education Program anymore.

Five other states - Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana and New Jersey - have dropped out of that grant program or plan to do so by the end of this year. California has refused all along to participate in the program, which is managed by a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Strickland, like most of the other governors who are pulling the plug on the funding, said the program had too many rules to be practical. Among other things, the money cannot be used to promote condom or contraceptive use. Students are to be taught that bearing children outside wedlock is likely to harm society and that sexual activity outside marriage is "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects."


States have used the money to help public and private schools with educational programs, to develop classroom instruction for nonprofits, and to pay for advertising and other media campaigns.

"There are kids who don't want to know how to put on a condom, because they don't want to have sex," said Leslee J. Unruh, founder and president of the South Dakota-based Abstinence Clearinghouse, the nation's largest network of abstinence educators. "So why can't kids who want to abstain have equal time, funding and education in the classroom as kids who are having sex?"


In an Oct. 3 report that surveyed abstinence programs in 10 states, the Government Accountability Office concluded that such programs were not proved to work, and at times contained inaccuracies about condoms and AIDS.

In the report, one state official described an instance in which educational materials "incorrectly suggested that HIV can pass through condoms because the latex used in condoms is porous." The official also showed that the state had "had to correct a statement indicating that when a person is infected with the human papillomavirus, the virus is 'present for life' because, in almost all cases, this is untrue," the report said.


From 1995 to 2002, teen pregnancy rates dropped 24%, according to a study by Columbia University and the Guttmacher Institute. The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health in January, attributed 14% of the decline to teens waiting longer to have sex, and the rest to contraception. [*But let's all not forget the study we looked at recently saying that in 2006 it's started on the rise again! See below.*]


William Smith, vice president of public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, called the memo "an utterly desperate and disingenuous response to a crumbling program. The language is clear: If you get this money from the government, you teach only one thing: abstinence."

Though most states publicly say they will continue to apply for the grants, a growing number are said to be privately considering giving up the aid - or trying to find ways to fund a broader curriculum.

In Colorado, state senators last week passed a measure that would force school districts to incorporate science-based material in their sex education courses. Districts could still teach abstinence, but they would also have to include information on such topics as the benefits and possible medical effects of different types of contraception.


Initially, there was a public and political uproar when Congress set aside $50 million a year for states to build abstinence education programs. But when the money became available in fiscal 1998, most states had their hands out.

Not in California. State lawmakers determined that the state's abstinence-only program had not been effective.


Among the points that unsettled some state officials: Applicants "must not" promote contraceptive or condom use, nor even "refer to abstinence as a form of contraception."

In the months that followed, states started to turn away from the program. In October, New Jersey said it would do without the $800,000 it had been receiving. Wisconsin followed in March, when Democratic Gov. James Doyle said the state would no longer accept nearly $600,000.

"There are kids who don't want to know how to put on a condom, because they don't want to have sex," said Leslee J. Unruh, founder and president of the South Dakota-based Abstinence Clearinghouse, the nation's largest network of abstinence educators. "So why can't kids who want to abstain have equal time, funding and education in the classroom as kids who are having sex?"

Well gee whiz Leslee! There are kids who don't want to know how drinking will impair their ability to drive because they don't want to drink too! And I'm sure there's lots of kids who don't want to know math because they don't want to do math! Yet, WE TEACH THEM BECAUSE THEY SHOULD KNOW JUST IN CASE THEY NEED IT!!

And I love the second part too. Let's give EQUAL TIME to the kids who are abstaining. Because you need equal time to explain what abstinence is, versus the myriad of other issues involved in comprehensive sex ed. Clearly. Not to mention how ENTIRELY misleading that is, suggesting that an abstinence only program (which is the only thing this money can be spent on) gives abstaining kids EQUAL time. It gives them ALL the time, not bloody EQUAL time!

I can't seem to find a list of all fourteen states who have opted out of the money, but it should be noted as well that Washington state, along with Ohio, has agreed to take the money, but said they will be using it for Comprehensive sex ed, which makes them ineligible. I would personally like to congratulate them all.

I also loved this quote, from the Washington Post article on the same topic:
"Our critics would have governors believe that these programs are just somebody standing in front of the class wagging a finger and saying, 'No. No. No. Don't have sex.' That's not what these classes entail," Huber said. "They are holistic. They include relationship-building skills and medically accurate discussions of sexually transmitted diseases and contraception."

First, hate that he co-opted the word "holistic," there is nothing holistic about these programs. Second, I've had one of these presentations, and there was not medically accurate anything, or relationship building anything. It was people coming in and talking about their disastrous consequences from having sex, and so you should wait to have sex otherwise you'll end up like them.

Also from that article:

But Koutstaal, the federal official, took issue with critics who blame abstinence programs for the increase in teen births, noting that rates have continued to decline for 10-to-14-year-olds -- the ages typically targeted by the programs.

"I think it's awfully hard to blame abstinence education for the increase in birth rates," he said.

Well gee, y'all were perfectly happy taking the credit for their continued decline.

I'm really hoping this will send a message to Congress to stop funding these programs and funnel that money into Comprehensive sex ed again.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Treason Watch!

More Senators are signing on to the idea of holding hearings to look at Cheney's impeachable actions.

Please help support these efforts!

This country is sorely in need of people standing up and forcing this Administration to be accountable for it's actions. Cheney is as good as anyone, and probably better, to start with!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

CA Budget Emergency & Carnival Reminder!

Schwarzenegger to Declare an Emergency Over Budget
Published: December 15, 2007

LOS ANGELES — With several costly policy problems awaiting a legislative repair, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that the state’s budget deficit had grown to between $10 billion and $14 billion and that he would call for a state of fiscal emergency next month.


The deficit stems from a variety of factors, including the state’s heavy debt, the governor’s decision to cut a fee on cars and trucks when he came into office — which removed billions of dollars annually from state coffers — and the mortgage crisis and weakness in the housing market that have caused budget problems in other states.


The impact of declaring a state of emergency is limited. It would prompt a special session after the regular session begins in January and would require lawmakers to present Mr. Schwarzenegger with a bill to address the shortfall within 45 days of the declaration. But he is not required to sign it.

Mr. Schwarzenegger will meet legislators next week to discuss the budget.

The shortfall occurs as Mr. Schwarzenegger pursues an agenda that includes a comprehensive water management program and a health care plan to cover all Californians, at a price tag of about $14 billion.


On another note, anyone interested in participating in the latest Carnival of Feminists should think about getting their submissions in soon! I've got some good stuff already, but I'd love to have more, and we've only four days to go! You can email me directly at; serenity DOT sedai AT gmail DOT com

Friday, December 14, 2007

Diva Cup reviewed


Feminist Review has acknowledged the awesome that is the menstrual cup (in it's Diva incarnation)!

I've used one of these for about a year and a half now, and I would never, EVER go back.

Couple this plug with the recent post from Samhita about DIY menstrual products which included Jessica Valenti's comment that she loves her Diva as well (I guess it's gone well since her initial questions about it) and I'd say cups are getting some very decent exposure of late. I can only hope that the commercials are not too far off, these things would change so many women's menstrual lives it's not even funny. Not to mention the positive impact on the environment!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ummm, wow

The better she looks to herself, often measured by the reaction of others, the faster she learns in iddy-biddy steps to like herself. So, women less successful as female should look to exercising greater self-control over what they can change—their self-image.


"Women less successful as female"

Wow. WOW.

Or, how about, instead of women reinforcing to themselves the idea that their worth is in their appearance, they work on things that actually MATTER. And how about you, and the rest of us, help that along by finding worth in ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

Our self worth is found in our brains, not our bodies! So let's put more effort there!

Part I, Part II

Housing in New Orleans

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A major human rights crisis exists in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It is a crisis that denies the basic rights to life, equality under the law, and social equity to Black, Indigenous, migrant, and working class communities in the region. While this crisis was in existence long before Hurricane Katrina, the policies and actions of the US government and finance capital (i.e. banking, credit, insurance, and development industries) following the Hurricane have seriously exacerbated the crisis.

One of the clearest examples of this crisis is the denial of the right to housing in New Orleans, particularly in the public housing sector. Since the Hurricane, the US government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has denied the vast majority of the residents of public housing the right to return to their homes. Unlike the vast majority of the housing stock in New Orleans, the majority of the public housing units received little to no flood or wind damage from the Hurricane. Yet, as of October 2007 only ¼ of the public housing units have been reopened and reoccupied. The Bush government refuses to reopen the public housing units in New Orleans because it appears intent on destroying the public housing system, demolishing the existing structures, and turning over the properties to private real-estate developers to make profits.

Based on the discriminatory Federal Court ruling issued on Monday, September 10th, all of the major public housing units in New Orleans are now subject to immediate demolition (the latest report from Monday, November 5th is that HUD will attempt to start the demolition on Monday, November 19th. However, this is being challenged by various legal advocates and will be delayed until at least Wednesday, November 28th pending a Federal court hearing). The first site on the schedule for demolition is the Lafitte housing project. Lafitte therefore, is the line in the sand that must be drawn by all peoples in support of the human right to housing.

Thoughts from someone I know who works for HUD;
Yah, the federal government’s response in New Orleans has been an embarrassment, particularly in regard to the lack of same to the poorest segments of that city. I would say this is a continuation of an attitude that emerged right after Katrina that ran along the lines of, “well, at least, we can get rid of those horrible people in the “worst” (read poorest) parishes.” Unfortunately, under this administration, HUD has been an enabler of such attitudes. It’s sad and I long for the day when we have someone who really cares about poor people setting the Department’s direction.

I can only echo these sentiments, and I'm glad that even the people working for them realize how badly they are fucking up.

Check out more from BFP, The North Star and Redstar, who has an awesome compilation of links to everything you could want (or not want, but need) to know.

Why is Net Neutrality Important?

Please watch this video, if you do not already understand the unbelievable importance of the neutrality of the internet.

Thank you Bint Alshamsa

Save the Internet: Click here

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Knocked Up Was Sexist?

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, actress Katherine Heigl says that Knocked Up, was "a little sexist."

"It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys," she says. "It was hard for me to love the movie."

My first response to this was basically, "huh, that's interesting." Personally I didn't find the movie particularly sexist. In a larger cultural context it most likely plays into sexist attitudes. But, that's not the same thing.

What interested me more, was reading the thread of comments following.

From secondhandsally;
Eh, I realize no one else agrees with me, but I just want to say a little bit about why I identify with the married sister.

I thought there was something really powerful about having an angry woman on screen. I feel like she doesn't take any shit from her husband or anyone. And I thought that was awesome. I guess though that I'm in the minority in finding her an angry and likeable character. It seems like most people are reading her as an angry and irritating character.

I guess I just identified with a lot of her feelings, concerns about ageism and wanting her partner to be around more often in particular. I feel like these are real weighty concerns. It's not like she was screaming about her husband about nonsense.

Am I the only one who was really moved by her emotions in the fantasy baseball scene?

From ShelbyWoo
I disagree. I think this movie was about men who have been living an extended adolescents and have to learn to give it up. The women in the movie functioned as their opposites (in other words, as adults).

Umm, yeah, that's kind of what makes it sexist. This stereotype that it's ok for men to have an "extended adolescence" and women are supposed to be their "opposites," all grown up and mature and there to keep those goofy men in line.

Also, when will these ridiculous pregnancy stereotypes going to die?!?! Women are emotional when they're pregnant, we get it. They think they're fat, we get it. They say they want "natural" childbirth, but change their minds the second a contraction hits (and it's always too late to get the drugs or epidural, so they are forced to have it "natural" anyway), we get it. I kept thinking is that what Judd Apatow really thought of his wife when she was carrying his child(ren)? Ick.

I thought the parts of it were ok, the rest was stereotypical crap right on par for this kind of film. I was hoping for more and got less.

Secondhandsally again,
I guess I thought the characters were drawn with enough dimensions that they weren't stand-ins for all women or all men.
I just didn't see this as a battle of the sexes movie, but rather a movie about particular people. (Though again, clearly I'm in the minority on this one.)

Secondhandsally, I was absolutely moved during the fantasy baseball scene. I thought it was a great depiction of how women are expected not to want a reprieve from their husbands and children, and how utterly selfish her husband had been.

I also didn't see the male characters as positive at all. It seemed to me that Ben's character felt lost and knew he was lost the whole time, and rather than making Alison tell him what to do, she (along with his father) told him that they accept him how he is. And it wasn't until Ben realized that until he found some real direction and owned his decisions that he was happy. He didn't want an extended adolescence; he wanted Alison, he wanted family, and he looked around at his friends and realized that he wanted more than that.

Ultimately the person I ended up responding to was Linda Flores. I'm going to put up my comments with hers that I'm responding to, in italics.

Linda, wow, I don't think I could have read this scene more differently than you if I tried.

"He also has not become sensitive to Alison’s needs and to the friendship and support shared between her and her sister, or developed any sort of remorse for his negligence (he admits freely that he never doubted she would take him back)."

He absolutely has become sensitive to her needs, and shows himself perfectly capable of being calm and reassuring to her, while yelling at doctors in the other room (advocating for the woman in labor) to get her what she said she wanted.

I also think he had a lot of respect for Leslie's character.

"Instead, he proves himself by asserting absolute ownership over Alison and the soon-to-be child. When Debbie, who went through birth-training with Alison, arrives to help her sister, he takes her into the hall. Out of nowhere he starts yelling, “That’s MY room now! Back the fuck off!” He points to the waiting room and says, “That’s your area. You stay out of MY ROOM and go be in YOUR AREA!”"

I LOVED this scene! The one thing with Allison's sister was that she was way too type A, and had to take over anything she was a part of. But Allison has invited him back into this process now, and he knows the only way he can control the situation (which is not his having ownership over Allison! At this point in the birthing process she needs an advocate) he needed her sister not to take the control away from him. I think he also knew that she (Allison's sister) would respect him for being assertive, whereas she would have thought him weak if he had backed off and deferred to her. If he's going to be anything in Allison's life, he had to show he was willing to own up to his responsibilities and the role she had chosen for him.

"Debbie, publicly insulted and literally “put in her place,” is speechless for the first time."

I think this is the thing I disagree with the absolute most. She's not speechless because she's insulted, she's speechless because she's IMPRESSED. Being such a dominant personality, she respected his FINALLY showing some backbone as well.

"She softens. “I like him…He’ll make a good father and he’ll take care of her,” she says."

I didn't see this as her softening at all, she sits down with respect for Ben for the first time, and that's what this quote is expressing.

"Turns out, she was annoying and cold because there wasn’t a man in her life taking charge."

Well, yes. But only because she is a heterosexual woman. She's an alpha female who wants an alpha male to match. That's not sexist, that's just real life, for me anyway, as an alpha female who is with an alpha male.

"In the absence of male domination, she wasn’t allowed to be feminine and submissive the way she becomes in this final scene. It truly is a Promise Keeper moment."

Again, not remotely what I saw at all, for all the reasons already listed.

I loved Leslie Mann's character! Definitely angry but still likable. To be honest I think a lot of people are selling the movie short here. The characters were all a lot more complicated than it appeared with a first glance.

secondhandsally, you said it best I think: "I just didn't see this as a battle of the sexes movie, but rather a movie about particular people." A movie about particular people indeed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Political Hair Again

OK, one last thing before I go to bed.

Three-year-old Jayce Brown is being threatened with expulsion from Southern Maryland Christian Academy if he doesn’t change his hairstyle.

Ummm... What?!

‘‘Locks are not a current faddish hairstyle. It’s a culture for those of African-American descent, and that’s why I feel this policy is so blatantly racially motivated,” Brown said.


The policy in the school’s student handbook states that male students are not allowed to have ‘‘extremely faddish styles including the use of rubber bands or the ‘twisting’ of hair.’” The policy also states male students are not to have hair unnaturally colored, or covering more than half the ear. Hair also must not touch the eyebrows or collar or be more than two inches high.


The statement every parent is required to sign, according to the letter from Gaines, reads, ‘‘By signing below I acknowledge I⁄we have read, understand and are bound by all SMCA policies as noted by the contractual agreement. I⁄we have also read the Statement of Cooperation, and by signing, [are] in agreement to the terms therein.”

But nowhere in the Contractual Agreement and the Statement of Cooperation provided to the Maryland Independent by Brown does it require parents to agree to the dress code.


‘‘My clients will not cut their child’s African locks. They are a symbol of his ancestral heritage. Nor will they withdraw his enrollment,” she wrote in a letter to the school. ‘‘Assuming the registration form makes some vague reference to the policy at issue, which it does not, the fact remains that the policy is illegal.”

O’Neal also wrote that she has done some investigating, and several other students in the school who are not black ‘‘far exceed the stated policy. This finding compels but one conclusion — the Browns’ son has been singled-out for expulsion simply because he is African-American.”

I'm so sick of the "political hair" issues. Political hair?! The only possible way hair can be political is if it somehow challenges something integral to society. But our society isn't racist anymore, I mean, the blacks aren't slaves anymore! So of course it can't be that! No no, we want people of color to celebrate their heritage! Just you know, not with hair. Or clothes. Or music really. And definitely not in any way that asks us to embrace something different from the normative white way of doing things.

Seriously, why do dominant groups have SUCH A HARD TIME embracing something a little bit "different?" Or actually, not different at all, because half of the political hair issues (hairy vulvas or legs, afro's, etc.) have to do with letting our hair do what it NATURALLY does. But I guess being "natural" has been a "political statement" for quite a while now... *sigh*

Time to shift gears for a moment

So I generally reserve these sorts of posts for my livejournal, but really, I just had to share the news from my favorite astrology blog.

We astro-forecasters are issuing a high drama alert, effective immediately and lasting through the middle of December.

We advise you to be prepared for epic gestures at every turn, as those recently accelerating urges to put it all out there, to tell 'em what you really think, to draw a line in the sand and dare 'em to cross at last hit their apex… and we just can't hold back anymore.


Welcome to the next four years of earthly existence, people. They're tremendous, transformational, even potentially triumphant… and, let's be honest, turbulent as all hell. You think the 21st century has been zany so far? You ain't seen nothin' yet! And forget about crawling back into your pre-Y2K cave and reminiscing about 'those simple times'. There is literally no going back.


As if that weren't enough, the striking virility of this shift is further strengthened by the fact it's a movement into Capricorn, a cardinal sign… thus creating a square between both Jupiter and Pluto and the Aries point (or 0 degrees Aries), the single most supercharged degree of the zodiac circle. And within the next two to three years, transiting Uranus will leave Pisces and head straight for that Aries point—ultimately to form a colossally important square to Pluto (within orb from about 2009 to 2017), the defining astro-aspect of our times, slating this upcoming era to be as radically redefining and potentially turbulent as the 1960s. Yes, it's that huge.

I find this especially interesting for a number of reasons, one being a resurging interest in the 1960's in commercial sectors. The other is that I have been predicting a radical counter-culture type revolution stemming from my generation since I was in high school. So much has changed so quickly, I don't see the people I grew up with staying silent forever about the mess that is our current culture, both social and political. If it is time for the new counter culture, I welcome it, and am very excited to participate.

"Feminism Indicted"

Part II (see Part I) of what I believe will be an interesting series critiquing portions of this blog...

Femininity is the philosophy of attractiveness for men, the creed of faithfulness with men, and the gospel of devotion to one man. Its inherent virtue civilizes men, balances male dominance, suppresses male aggressiveness, inspires men to prove their worthiness, and rewards men for acting responsibly as both husband and father.

Simply what is in this quote is enough for me. Does anyone notice something? The entire definition of femininity rests on what women being traditionally feminine does for men. Do I really need to say more?

See Part III.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"The high cost of cheap sex"

As women go, so goes society. Men do whatever is necessary to have frequent and convenient access to sex. If women require marriage, men marry. Masculine-style sexual freedom practiced by females dooms marriage, faithful husbanding, and responsible fathering as institutions.

To read more.

There is just so much going on on this blog to talk about that I think I could have a good months' worth of posts just analyzing it all. I chose this one simply because it was short, and I'm exhausted.

Now, first, I must give the man who writes this blog some credit. The first post I read was on a technorati browse through "feminism" topics. After my response on it, he emailed me to talk further, and we actually did have a conversation. I don't think this guy is your typical "Men's News Daily" MRA type, therefore, I will continue to hope that he can be reasoned with...

That said.

As women go, so goes society.

Oh man, I'm getting flash backs to my first women's studies class... It truly baffles me that women are given credit for so much. Where is men's role in society? Don't they contribute to where it "goes"?? But what's more interesting to me, is that women are given credit, but what they do to "save" society is to act exactly as the patriarchy would have them act. So, really, it's not "as women go..." it's "as women obey what we tell them."

Men do whatever is necessary to have frequent and convenient access to sex.

"Whatever is necessary"? Really? I mean, certainly some men are extremely occupied by fulfilling their sexual needs. But aren't women as well? And what about all the men who will not do "whatever is necessary"? I've known quite a few of those... But either way, an interesting sentence - perhaps telling? - to follow the "as woman goes..." quote.

If women require marriage, men marry.

So basically, men marry women to have sex.

That ascertain disturbs me on a few levels. One, that men are really believed by other men to be truly this shallow. And two, that this is really what marriage means to men? A convenient way to get regular sex? Then why on earth are we keeping this institution around, really??

OK here's the big one;
Masculine-style sexual freedom practiced by females dooms marriage, faithful husbanding, and responsible fathering as institutions.

With the exception of responsible fathering, my question is, so?

The basic premise here seems to be that marriage is an artificial institution created by women to, I guess, keep a man? He explains the role for men, "they do it because women ask them to, to get sex." But what purpose is marriage serving for women then??

You see, marriage is a very important topic for me. And I see marriage as a formal agreement you enter into to adopt each other's families and to publicly recognize your commitment to each other, as well as providing an important framework for the law to negotiate with in the case of your demise or incapacitation or something. I like the idea of people choosing to commit to each other. I like the idea of having a party to celebrate that. I know what I'm getting out of my marriage, but seriously, what exactly would I be getting out of this type of marriage? A man who is with me because I am obedient and will give him sex regularly? I can't even begin to express my disgust at such a prospect.

And as for faithful husbanding... Honestly, monogamy is over rated. I think it is created out of a combination of the human desire to own, and society's desire to bind in our "dangerous" desires and easily establish paternity. But in our modern world, if the restraints of monogamy have become unnecessary, why do we cling to it? Doesn't it make more sense for us to re-examine it and decide for ourselves whether to be monogamous or not? As with marriage, why are we not thinking about what these things mean to ourselves as individuals, instead of trying to cram everything into the box provided for us by society??

Now, as for responsible fathering... All I can really say is, I think it is unbelievably insulting to suggest that men are responsible fathers because of the binding strictures of marriage. Personally, I believe most men want to be responsible fathers because they love their children! And because they realize how important being a good parent is. I simply cannot see men as a group as being so low as to only be good fathers because of marriage and monogamy. I will not sell men that short.

I am pondering making this into a series... I take his posts and debunk them... Might be interesting. See part II

Friday, December 07, 2007


I've been chosen to host the next Carnival of Feminists! So, dear readers, please send me your feminist themed posts, let's see what you all are talking about!

(Current carnival up at Days in a wannabe punk's life).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Having a Blast

I was recently listening to Green Day's Dookie while doing pet sitting rounds, and Having a Blast came on. Living in a post-Columbine world, and with the recent mall shooting, I wonder what would happen if this album had been released today. Would the song have even made it on the album?

I'm taking all you down with me
Explosives duct taped to my spine
Nothings gonna change my mind

I won't listen to anyone's last words
There's nothing left for you to say
Soon you'll be dead anyway

No one here is getting out alive
This time I've really lost my mind and I don't care
So close your eyes
And kiss yourself goodbye
And think about the times you spent and what they've meant
To me it's nothing...

I'm losing all my happiness
The happiness you pinned on me
Loneliness still comforts me

My anger dwells inside of me
I'm taking it all out on you
And the shit you put me through

Do you ever think back to another time?
Does it bring you so down that you thought you lost your mind?
Do you ever want to lead a long trail of destruction
and mow down any bullshit that confronts you?
Do you ever build up all the small things in your head?
To make one problem that adds up to nothing
To me it's nothing...

But haven't we all felt this way at some point? I know when I first heard this song, I was in Elementary school, about to be in Junior High. I hated life, and myself and generally other people too. It resonated with me on my worst days, I never wanted to kill anyone, but the idea of somehow being able to take out my frustration somewhere, on someone, was cathartic.

It doesn't seem like that's ok anymore though. I remember after Columbine, my school started irrationally cracking down on the dress of the Goths especially. No black trench coats on school grounds anymore. And how many times have I heard about a child drawing a picture or writing a story, that was seen as a threat?

I guess it's just one of those catch-22's, we want to find out which kids are actually dangerous. At the same time, isn't it most likely the restrictions we've been putting more and more on our kids, etc. that has led to feelings being bottled up and exploding this way?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My end of week wrap up...

The New York Times
December 2, 2007
San Francisco Fleet Is All Biodiesel

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 30 — Claiming it now has the largest green fleet in the nation, the city of San Francisco this week completed a yearlong project to convert its entire array of diesel vehicles — from ambulances to street sweepers — to biodiesel, a clean-burning and renewable fuel that holds promise for helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

Using virgin soy oil bought from producers in the Midwest, officials said that as of Friday, all of the city’s 1,500 diesel vehicles were powered with the environmentally friendlier fuel, intended to sharply reduce toxic diesel exhaust linked to a higher risk of asthma and premature death.

As many stories that I love coming out of SF lately, I think I need to add a new tag...

I have a LOT of stories that have piled up over the last week thanks to work. Among other things; Chevron's actions in Ecuador, a Q&A with Hillary Clinton from Our Bodies, Our Blog, welfare costs being deducted from child support payments, the case of an Oklahoma woman being charged with First Degree Murder for the stillbirth of her child supposedly due to drug use from BFP, and Katherine Heigl's comments about Knocked Up, the movie she starred in, being sexist.

Honest to gods, so many comments, so little fucking time. I will probably start with the Knocked Up story, only because I've already got some commentary stored up via the discussion happening right now about it at Feministing. But the most important ones are the story from BFP and the story on Chevron in Ecuador, so please go check those out!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Dose of Anarchy

This is one of the coolest things I have read in a while. I guess I can't help it, I love a bit of anarchy once in a while (people simply should not always be obedient!). Especially when it's cultural monuments that benefit.

Undercover Restorers

It is one of Paris's most celebrated monuments, a neoclassical masterpiece that has cast its shadow across the city for more than two centuries.

But it is unlikely that the Panthéon, or any other building in France's capital, will have played host to a more bizarre sequence of events than those revealed in a court last week.

Four members of an underground "cultural guerrilla" movement known as the Untergunther, whose purpose is to restore France's cultural heritage, were cleared on Friday of breaking into the 18th-century monument in a plot worthy of Dan Brown or Umberto Eco.

For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves.


Klausmann and his crew are connaisseurs of the Parisian underworld. Since the 1990s they have restored crypts, staged readings and plays in monuments at night, and organised rock concerts in quarries. The network was unknown to the authorities until 2004, when the police discovered an underground cinema, complete with bar and restaurant, under the Seine. They have tried to track them down ever since.

But the UX, the name of Untergunther's parent organisation, is a finely tuned organisation. It has around 150 members and is divided into separate groups, which specialise in different activities ranging from getting into buildings after dark to setting up cultural events. Untergunther is the restoration cell of the network.


"We would like to be able to replace the state in the areas it is incompetent," said Klausmann. "But our means are limited and we can only do a fraction of what needs to be done. There's so much to do in Paris that we won't manage in our lifetime."

The Untergunther are already busy working on another restoration mission Paris. The location is top secret, of course. But the Panthéon clock remains one of its proudest feats.

"The Latin Quarter is where the concept of human rights came from, it's the centre of everything. The Panthéon clock is in the middle of it. So it's a bit like the clock at the centre of the world."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Treason Watch! Also, Ghost?

All the reasons you ever wanted to know why liberals and progressives think The Administration has committed treason. Go Kucinich!

For fun, a possible ghost??

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Black Market Midwives

Via the Chicago Tribune
By Kirsten Scharnberg Missouri, where the Kerr baby was born in a carefully planned home birth, the experienced midwife hired to oversee the delivery was committing a Class C felony.
Even as midwifery grows increasingly popular nationwide, with an estimated 40,000 babies born outside hospitals last year, a handful of states remain severely restrictive of the profession. In nine states, including Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, some forms of midwifery are illegal, though not a felony. Missouri, the only state where midwives can be charged as felons, has long been the most hostile to the practice of midwifery, though hundreds of families like the Kerrs rely on an underground network of midwives who quietly operate outside the law.
At issue for states distrustful of midwifery is the credentialing and training of the midwives delivering babies, particularly in home births like the Kerrs'. "Lay midwives," unlicensed practitioners whose training usually consists of self-study and who have no state or national certification, are allowed to practice in a few places in America. Missouri and the nine other states go further, outlawing "certified professional midwives," practitioners who are nationally certified through the Midwives Registry in a highly selective process that takes three to five years of study, including one year of clinic practice and an eight-hour written exam.

All 50 states allow "certified nurse-midwives" to practice. These are midwives who are registered nurses, or nurse practitioners, who work under the supervision of doctors, almost always in a hospital. Millions of babies -- more than 300,000 per year in recent years, according to the American College of Nurse Midwives -- have been born in hospitals under the direction of these nurse-midwives.

But midwife-assisted home births are the ones that spark much heated debate. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said it "strongly opposes" home births. Opponents of midwifery often point to hazards that can accompany childbirth, such as a compressed umbilical cord or the need for an emergency Caesarean delivery. They often cite statistics that complications arise in up to 1 in 10 births.

Despite the illegality of having babies at home with a midwife's help, a significant number of women in Missouri are doing it anyway, a reality that mirrors the growing popularity of home births nationwide.
She said many women choose home births with midwives to limit hospital pressure to use drugs for pain or to have a Caesarean; to have a more intimate, controlled and personal birth; or due to religious beliefs that keep them away from hospitals.

"The bottom line is that there is no more important or personal experience than giving birth," she said. "We believe we should have the right to choose to do that in the way that's best for us."
"If something goes wrong in the hospital, the attitude from everyone is, 'Oh, that's so sad, but sometimes tragedies do occur with childbirth,'" said Ivy White, a Missouri midwife. "But if something happens during a home birth, the attitude is, 'What were you thinking to try to do this on your own? How could you have been so irresponsible about the life of your child?'"

Midwifery advocates often cite what they see as the biggest irony of anti-midwife laws like the one in Missouri: that a good Samaritan who helps a woman deliver her baby on the side of a road or in a taxi cab is not subject to prosecution, but that a trained midwife who helps a woman carefully plan her out-of-hospital birth is. In one high-profile Missouri case, sheriff's deputies who had gotten word of a delivery by a midwife raided the home shortly after the healthy baby was born, confiscating bloody sheets and a video of the birth as evidence.

I can think of few women's issues more important than our health care. And for many of us, when, how, and if we give birth is central to that health care. The continued resistance to not only birth control in the sense of our controlling IF we have children, but HOW we have them, is only one more example of a largely white male establishment knowing better what is good for us, than we ourselves.

In the face of stories like this one, I can only ask once more, what is so threatening? Why is it so hard for people in general to "think outside the box"?

Fighting Over Chickens?

LIVINGSTON – What do chickens want?

Not so much, really: room for a dust bath, a place to perch, a nest. Absent those three basics – the nest especially – chickens get stressed, animal behavior experts say.

But most egg-laying chickens live without any of those things, in bare cages like the ones stacked four rows high in the J.S. West and Cos. barn in Merced County.

Nearly 150,000 white chickens pace and murmur here, eight birds in each 4-square-foot wire box. A fine dust sticks in the throat. It's 10:30 a.m. and the egg counter on the wall already has topped 59,000.

The Humane Society of the United States says caged chickens suffer – and it's gathering signatures to put a measure on the November 2008 ballot that would make California the first state to ban barns outfitted like this one.

From the Sacramento Bee

Can I begin to tell you how much I love my state sometimes?

Despite the fact that I am by choice not a vegetarian the life of a farm animal is something I have thought a lot about, and would like to see change. Truthfully I think pigs have it worse than chickens on the industrial farm, but I will take any progress I can get, and cage free eggs have been pretty successful in this area for a few years now, so I understand why they're starting with laying hens.

Naturally some farmers are arguing against this measure.

Europe's continent-wide experience in converting to cage-free egg production has already yielded thousands of pages of studies comparing the two systems, Mench said. Two key results:

• During their roughly two-year laying life, cage-free hens die at more than twice the rate of caged hens, likely the result of increased exposure to one another, and to their own manure.

• Cage-free hens suffer high rates of broken bones – 67 percent in one survey. Most modern laying hens suffer from osteoporosis, Mench said, and they're easily injured while jumping around a cage-free barn. On the other hand, she noted, workers often inadvertently break the bones of caged birds as they are removed before being euthanized.

The disease thing is an issue of lack of land, and pure laziness on the part of some farmers though. There are sustainable farms who manage not just cage free, but free range (what I try to buy) chicken farming without disease taking a big toll. But that's because they've completely changed the way they go about farming chickens. My hope is that to avoid the issues of disease, etc. more farmers will be forced to re-evaluate the way they farm, and certainly looking to tried and true sustainable methods will be the best place to look. If they do that, I think they won't be able to help noticing the big picture of the eco-system that is Poly Face Farm, and hopefully, hopefully, adopt it likewise.

Call me optimistic.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No babies please, they're not eco friendly

Via Daily Mail

Reading places like Feministing, where so many women are not procreators, sometimes I forget about the response we receive out in the "real world."

Yes, I am one of these women too. Not primarily because of eco concerns, although those perspectives have crossed my path, for me it's simply, I don't think I WANT children, period. But it still amazes me just how hostile some people are to this notion. Just look at the comments at Digg. Fox News also had a blurb on it, and I think I'm thanking the gods that they don't include commenters on their website...

What I continually don't get is what people find so threatening about this woman and women like her. So we don't like kids, so what? So we look at an over populated Earth and think, you know, I don't think I should add to that. So maybe we look at ourselves and decide that our life would change in ways we don't want to have children. For whatever reason (and does the reason really matter? There are people who have issue with it no matter what...) we just don't want children. How does that make us "crazy" or "stupid"?

The comments at The Daily Mail were slightly better, but still seem to be torn 50/50 people thinking she's on to something or looney.

This woman has her beliefs, she's active in pursuing them, and was sterilized as quickly as she could be in conjunction with them. Her belief is grounded in a rational system (whether you agree with it or not) and her actions are consistent with that stated perspective, what else do you people want?

Is someone choosing to be different for reasons you don't agree with really THAT scary?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Immigration and Hillary

Via the New York Times

The natural allies of immigrants have been cowed into mumbling or silent avoidance. The Democrats’ chief strategist, Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, went so far as to declare immigration the latest “third rail of American politics.” This profile in squeamishness was on full display at the Democratic presidential debate last week in Las Vegas, when Wolf Blitzer pressed the candidates for yes-or-no answers on driver’s licenses and Mrs. Clinton, to her great discredit, said no.

I would like to point out for the record for whoever reads this, that Hillary's supposed "flip-flop" on this issue is bogus. When she originally commented, the plan was drastically different, and was about giving regular driver's licenses' to undocumented workers in New York. After a mostly deafening silence from peers, the plan was changed to a tiered system, where undocumented workers could get the bottom tier license. Since pretty much no one else would get it (the other two tiers had advantages, for instance the top tier would function as good as a passport) this meant these people would basically have an ID that said "Hi! I'm undocumented!" Once this brilliant (*snort*) plan was unveiled, Hillary no longer supported it. No flip-flop, they weren't even remotely the same plan.

Mrs. Clinton was closer to being right the first time, when she haltingly defended Mr. Spitzer’s reasoning. Fixing immigration is not a yes-or-no question. It’s yes and no. Or if you prefer, no and yes — no to more illegal immigration, to uncontrolled borders and to a flourishing underground economy where employer greed feeds off worker desperation. Yes to extending the blanket of law over the anonymous, undocumented population — through fines and other penalties for breaking the nation’s laws and an orderly path to legal status and citizenship to those who qualify.

Yes PLEASE! People do not deserve to be treated the way many undocumented workers are, and immigrating here legally is ridiculously complicated and expensive. I realize we can't have a "free for all" open immigration policy, but my gods, let's make it realistic. And we simply can't get rid of everyone who's already here, that would be an absurdly ridiculous undertaking, not to mention that from a practical stand point California's economy would probably collapse (among others).

But at least San Francisco realizes these things...

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to an ordinance allowing municipal identification cards to be issued to anyone living in the city, regardless of their legal status.

the ordinance was intended to make life easier for the large number of illegal immigrants working in the city, many of whom cannot get access to services because they have no formal identification. The city already has a “sanctuary” policy forbidding local law enforcement or other officials to assist with immigration enforcement.

“I think it’s admitting the reality of the situation that we depend on, our tourist and hotel industry depends on, a labor force that’s supplied by, for lack of a better term, undocumented residents,” said Tom Ammiano, the supervisor who sponsored the bill.

“The victims are living in a cash economy, and they are reluctant to go to the police,” Mr. Trasviña said. “Having an ID card addresses both of those issues: it reduces the reliance on cash, because it opens up the opportunities for banking, and it takes away a barrier between community and police.”

Mr. Ammiano said the card would also be useful to other groups without government-issued identification, including the elderly, students and transgendered people

There are times that I am very, very proud to be from the Bay Area.