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.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"

This quote is total bullshit, and I hate it, and have always hated it.

Usually it's said by parents or teachers, to children. Children. I guess they're hoping kids will somehow learn through this how to shrug words off? How?! The entire way the quote is phrased says it's talking about a current, existing, reality. But seriously, words don't hurt? I would challenge anyone reading to find no time when they have been hurt by words.

Words DO hurt, they can hurt very, very, badly.

That's not to say we should tell our children "the world should be nice to you." Or lead them to believe that the world is a nice place, that you don't need to deal with hurtful words, or that you should let them bring you down for long. The world ISN'T nice, part of growing up is learning to deal with things that hurt, picking yourself up from it and continuing on.

But when someone comes to you, hurt by words, quoting this saying at them trivializes the way they are feeling. It disregards the pain they're feeling, telling them to "suck it up." That's not how you teach them to actually deal with what they're feeling, that's how you get them to bury their pain even deeper inside. And that never ends well, not to mention that it's entirely counter productive to helping them to grow.

Engage the fucking material people. Don't trivialize. Don't minimize. Don't disregard. Engage their pain, do your best to empathize even if those words wouldn't have hurt you, do your best to help them learn to pick themselves back up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Short But Sweet

I want my "Strength Through Diversity" post to stay at the top for a little while longer. It's important to me and I'd like people to read it. :) Also I'm rather tired from work this week so far.

However, I was reading an article today in the New York Times about Michelle Bachelet, which I found interesting. I was rather inspired when she won the Presidency of Chile, it felt like a good step forward for South America in general.

I was also reading this article on the cost of contraceptives on college campuses. The story about how the prices on these are going to shoot up came out a while ago, but there is a measure that's been put forward to insert College Health Centers into the new rules so that they can continue to dispense at a discounted rate to students. Please, please, please take a second to contact any of these Congresspeople (each of whom is sponsoring a bill to allow this to happen) to let them know this measure is important to you; Representative Joseph Crowley, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Claire McCaskill.

Also, I love Kevin Smith. And I love Seth Rogen. And I think their styles are awesomely compatible. Thus, this is one of the best things I've heard in months!

**Update** Check out this fantastic piece from one of the founders of my favorite magazine, Bitch.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Strength Through Diversity

I have recently realize, that while this very important philosophy has come up in more than one place on my blog, that I don't actually have a post dedicated solely to it. Since this is so important to me, I think that fact needs to be rectified. However, as simple as this concept appears to be, it's a rather complex web of interacting, interwoven concepts.

What is meant by strength?

I went first to the dictionary to see if it held any helpful hints for me. A few definitions popped out at me.

2. mental power, force, or vigor.
3. moral power, firmness, or courage.
4. power by reason of influence, authority, resources, numbers, etc.
6. effective force, potency, or cogency, as of inducements or arguments
7. power of resisting force, strain, wear, etc.

I think all of these apply more or less to what I'm talking about. A movement, a philosophy, a society, gains strength in all these ways, through diversity.

So what is meant by diversity?

Differences. Of perspective, of experience, of opinion. In my post grappling with my own white privilege I say:
I think every person, by virtue of their families; politics, money, race, ethnicity, religion, education, social standing, geography and life experience (for a brief list) has a perspective absolutely unique to that person. Thus every single voice in the chorus has something to add. Each perspective brings something different to the party.

I go on to note:
Connected to this though, is the fact that people will thusly speak out about what matters to THEM, which will leave issues that aren't at the forefront of their minds to others to cover. This can be, and is by some, considered a weakness of the feminist movement (and paganism, actually)[...]Yet, I don't think this phenomenon is a weakness. Truthfully, I think this is the best way we can go about making a true feminist movement.

But whatsername, won't that encourage divisiveness and arguments!? Yah, it can. The "problem" with diversity is that people in general seem to have this need (I absolutely believe encouraged by our patriarchal society) to be Right. We want the Truth. But the Truth is, there is no fucking Truth. And, if there is, we can't fathom it. We see our lives through our own lens. No two people will ever see it the same, even if their backgrounds are identical. Yet people more or less strive for uniformity. The idea of strength through diversity flies directly in the face of these common and encouraged perspectives. It even flies in the face of the "us vs. them" mentalities most of us buy into. Even me. How do we reconcile the Rush Limbaughs' of the world with the Mike Malloy's (whom, btw, I love)? Only by swallowing the jagged pill of knowing each is coming from their own truth, and trying our best to listen before we react. Only by realizing that it is through the polarity of two such opposites that new thoughts emerge.

And if we can come at being part of society, or at least part of a movement, with this perspective of strength through our differences and not just our samenesses I believe we will be stronger for it. I think it's the only real way to come to mutual understanding with, to grok, the people around us. Only when we respect each other enough for the communist to see where the libertarian is coming from even though they still disagree can we find a middle ground everyone can live well within. And shouldn't that be our ultimate goal as social beings?

Nooses and Jena 6

I heard on the radio today that the judge on Mychal Bell's case has opened the trial to the media. Good. The idea that they were really going to try anything around this case behind closed doors makes me twitch. And apparently it made the Chicago Tribune twitch as well, thankfully.

I also read yesterday on The Wild Hunt about other noose cases. The latest one being in front of a pagan store in Bakersfield, CA. How lovely. Add that to the hanged Hillary witch at Samhain time and you just have an incredibly lovely time that we seem to be coming into right now.

Going back to the Jena 6, thinking about this case again brings to mind when it first hit my current events board (I understand now, quite late into the game), I was on my honeymoon and saw the protests on TV that were happening at the time. From watching the news and reading one (now I realize to be quite biased) story here were my initial thoughts at the time:

Certainly these boys did not go about this in the right way. However, the idea that a death threat like hanging nooses could go un-reacted to by those targetted by it is absurd. That that action did go un-reacted to by the authorities, I find disgusting. And the "attempted murder" charge is absolutely ridiculous. They beat up someone for threatening their lives. That's not attempted murder.

Everyone should be punished in this case, but the way things have gone so far, from the articles I've read (which weren't much, admittedly), I have a strong feeling I'm going to end up in the Jena 6 camp.

And the more I've learned, the more disgusted I've become. Looking back over the thread and reading people's responses as well I am struck by seeing the way an all white (as far as I know) audience dealt with it. From the stories quoted to the responses to those stories... Just, interesting. I was very glad to see that a few of us did realize this whole case didn't smell right, and one poster especially tried very hard to derail the side tangents of the people defending the authorities.

Very honestly I think this will be one of the defining issues of the state of civil rights in this country at this time. And that so many of the people I read just a) jumped to the conclusion that the case was overblown because of the involvement of Al Sharpton and b) jumped to the conclusion that 6 black students would try to "beat to death" white students over *just* nooses, I find...Um, naive? At best? That they wouldn't immediately think there had to be more to the story was astonishing. I'm interested to see what will happen when I post the updates around this case.

Also, if you don't mind, any PoC readers I may have, how do you feel about Wikipedia's recounting of the facts of the case? I am currently reading through the entire entry, and it doesn't seem to be exactly the story I've read on some blogs by PoC.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Censure Feinstein, and Protestors in Olympia!

Apparently I'm not the only Californian whom Feinstein has utterly betrayed. Check this out. Sign up, let's hold her accountable for her actions!

And some protesters in Olympia, Washington appear to be making a difference. I think this is damned cool.

Late Friday afternoon, approximately 50 members of Olympia Port Militarization Resistance (OlyPMR) sat down near the main gate of the Port of Olympia in Washington State. Two tractor trailers, one carrying two Stryker combat vehicles, another filled with military cargo, were blocked from exiting the port. Police arrived on the scene and after failing to persuade the demonstrators to allow one truck through, ceded control of the entrance. The 2 trucks were forced by these circumstances to back up - returning inside the port gate. At this point, OlyPMR controlled movement into and out of the port.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Further Thoughts on Privilege

I can tell already, that this topic is going to be one which will continue to evolve. There is much thought, contemplation, musing and reflection that is going to go into this topic over, gods know how long. An aspect that has stuck in my head after reading another WoC blog where a white feminist ran into similar issues in the comments as I did, is that PoC do not (according to the commenters I read) feel comfortable expressing themselves, unless they are in a group. That revelation was rather profound to me. I have never felt intimidated to express my opinion by anything. Ever. Being derided for my opinions, being mocked for my questions, that didn't stop me. It never stopped me. Contemplating this rather subconsciously for days, has resulted in this expression of articulated sentiment, scribbled quickly before it vanished, as I sit and watch my second lecture by bell hooks, whom I just discovered had such things up on youtube and her website this very night.

And so, much shorter than that introduction, I say this to you, any women of color who read this blog, or who stumble across it, or come to it from the conversation that started my contemplations...

If I disagree with something I see written, I disagree because I am thinking about the topic. I express my disagreement, or critiques, or agreements, because it is my right to do so. It is YOUR right too (!!!) and I expect you to express it (know, KNOW that I believe this, and want it from you). Though I know, I take for granted that I have always known I can disagree and cannot fully appreciate that this is -not- your life experience.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Def Jams

I fucking love def jams. Just like modern art (which I also love) def jams can be spectacular or they can blow, but I love that they exist. Here is a sampling of my favorites so far...

Stacyann Chin - Feminist or Womanist?

Ishle Park - Pussy

Kendra Urdang - To Every Man Who Never Called Himself a Feminist

And more:

Suheir Hammad - We Spent The 4th Of July In Bed

Cameron Bartolini, Ullses Dorantes, Isaac Miller - This is For You

Lisa Arnold - I'm Not Anti-Feminism

Shihan - Sick and Tired

Frenchie - Fuckin' Ain't Conscious

Andrea Gibson - Blue Blanket

Erykah Badu - Friends, fans and artists must meet, which one are you and which one are me?

Dave Chappelle - Fuck Ashton Kutcher and How I Got the Lead on Jeapordy

The newest Feminist Carnival is up!

Check it out! On the muchly admired Dizzy Buzzkill's "Ornamenting Away." My post on being assumed to be anti-male made the final cut!

Friday, November 09, 2007


I've found myself, over the last few days, being in an odd position. Being the one with what must be largely unacknowledged privilege. And from that I have been contemplating a whole slew of things...

The extremely over-done issue of feminism being white-centric.

People care primarily about what matters to them personally, does that mean they don't care about what doesn't?

Trying to come at an issue from a perspective you have absolutely no way to experience.

Having my opinions disregarded as irrelevant.

Struggling with my constant need to have my opinions heard, and realizing how they might indeed be irrelevant.

I don't know how many times I can reiterate what is quickly becoming my philosophy on life... "Strength through diversity." The importance of polarity. I believe firmly in that. It's why I believe many, many of the things that I believe.

As it relates to feminism what this means for me is... Well, kind of the same thing it means for everything else it applies to actually. There's a place for everything. A time for everything. A purpose for every perspective. (Perhaps this is why I try not to discard outright even those commenters here whom I disagree completely with? And why I responded so defensively when my comments were disregarded?) This is why I have sympathy and understanding for the rather infamous "woman only" spaces. For spaces solely for women of color. For safe spaces and strict, no victim blaming spaces.

I think every person, by virtue of their families; politics, money, race, ethnicity, religion, education, social standing, geography and life experience (for a brief list) has a perspective absolutely unique to that person. Thus every single voice in the chorus has something to add. Each perspective brings something different to the party. Connected to this though, is the fact that people will thusly speak out about what matters to THEM, which will leave issues that aren't at the forefront of their minds to others to cover. This can be, and is by some, considered a weakness of the feminist movement (and paganism, actually). This is especially true in the case of race relations within feminism, which began, as we all know, with middle to upper class white women, and thus addressed primarily their concerns. Yet, I don't think this phenomenon is a weakness. Truthfully, I think this is the best way we can go about making a true feminist movement. What is required to make that happen though, is participation from everyone. More on that later...

Isolating your specific group ("women's only" spaces being an example) has it's benefits. It certainly is easier to talk to people when they already share your point of view. Hell, one of the reasons my relationship with my husband works so well is because we almost always know where the other is coming from. It also gives your group a chance to discuss issues you share in a safe space, which is invaluable.

Equally important, although this part is not totally articulated in my brain, is the engaging in public discourse. One way of doing that are these blogs. The public discourse is important because it brings those ideas you've been working on to a larger audience (and often a critical one, which is repetitive, annoying, and frustrating). Public discourse is where those who don't share your experiences are exposed to them, and where they can come to understand them.

Something I see, and have seen with some groups, is the resistance to doing that. That because they feel they have been maligned (which they have, through history, circumstances within and without of the control of those who maligned them) that they are not represented, that they do not belong. And so, they do not address the larger group. And so, the issues continue to go un-addressed in the way they want. And so they continue to be left out, to not feel part of the group, and to thus not engage.

Around and around it goes... I think the cycle is vicious. I think it reinforces the divisions between race, class, geography and all those things that make us unique and different from each other (when we could be drawing strength from these things). I don't see how this cycle serves anyone who engages in it. I see how it happens, I see why, I sympathize with the how's and why's, but it continues on, and how does that help anyone?

Part II: Further Thoughts on Privilege
Part III: The Thinking Continues aka Donna Was Right

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Kucinich V. Cheney

So as you probably already know, Rep. Kucinich put forth a resolution to have VP Cheney impeached (and my longtime Rep, Lynn Woolsey, is one of his co-sponsors, go Lynn!!).

According to polls a majority of Americans support impeaching the VP, and naturally, I am one of them. I think Kucinich rules, and I hope the Judiciary Committee holds hearings immediately. Let's air the Executive's dirty laundry once and for all. I think this will be fun. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Health Care

I'm watching Michael Moore's "Sicko" right now. I'm 45 minutes in and I'm already ready to scream at the top of my lungs and I've already cried once.

People can say what they want to about him. But you know what, he'll compile facts like nobodies business, and you CAN come to your own conclusions watching his movies.

So far though, this one has nothing I can disagree with. The health care system in this country is DISGUSTING. It's FUCKING IMMORAL. Let me say that again just cuz, I feel like it should be said again. Our health care system is FUCKING IM-MOR-AL.

If you hate Moore, but haven't bothered to watch the movie, don't bother to comment, I will rip you a new asshole, and I might delete it.

Oh and did you know that people burned effigies of Hillary Clinton for her advocating for Universal Health Care for us? Isn't that nice? What a beautiful country we live in...

OMFG he's in England right now and everyone is LAUGHING at him when he asks them when do they have to pay for their stuff. Maternity, ER, they're fucking LAUGHING.

AND! There is a "cashier" who GIVES YOU MONEY if you had to pay for transportation to get to or from the hospital. o.O

And, what a concept, their doctors get paid more if their patients are healthy and getting healthier, instead of denying them treatment to save insurance companies money.

...The man who runs the largest anti-Michael Moore website had to shut it down because they couldn't afford his wife's medical treatment...While MM was busy making this movie... So MM wrote a check to cover her costs and sent it to them anonymously... Wow.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Where are you?

Posted on November 5, 2007 by Jessica Land

Feminists? Survivors? Lovers? Allies? Are you out there? Are you listening? Are you not mad as hell?

Ren’s previous post referenced Judge Deni’s infamous quote, but I really do not think that it can be reiterated enough: ” . . . [this case] minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”

Now, I’ll ask again, beloved partners in defense of women’s rights, supporters of sexual freedom, revolutionaries waiting for the reverberating call to action, are you listening?

Because I don’t think you are, and it pains me. Unlike Ren, I am still shocked by the deafening silence over this case. I know people are talking, but why isn’t anyone outside of the sex worker community screaming?!?!?!

We could really use allied forces right now. We don’t even have to engage in the ’sex work debate’. We can unite as sisters and brothers in arms against sexual violence.

Everyone, especially the revolutionaries whom so many of us call friends and lovers, should be alarmed by Judge Deni’s ruling. It sets a dangerous legal precedent and suggests that serial rapists can prey on sex workers with impunity.

You must ask yourselves, ‘Is there a category of person for whom rape is part of the job description?

Rape is a crime of violence in all cases, and should be prosecuted accordingly. Judge Deni, instead, has trivialized the crime of rape herself by refusing to acknowledge the bodily integrity of this survivor.

I think this case is very, very important. Stand up to this judge my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Idealogical rhetoric on dominant reality perceptions

So Dizzy at Ornamenting Away has done it again. First, she wrote one of my favorite posts of all time, I'm actually surprised I haven't put it up before, but I saved it in my bookmarks for inclusion at Genuine Women. It's not a feminism 101 post, but, they can't all be.

But we were talking about what she's done again. She's once again voiced something that has been sitting in my subconscious, nagging at me. It would have formed into a coherent post at some point, but she did it first. In it she's discussing her own blog, for me, since I post in a lot of different places it's not quite that specific, but I've seen these folks all over. So, without further ado, alongside of the already introduced Fucking Pedantic Asshole I give you the Freshmen.

It appears that my blog (and many like it) has become akin to an intro women’s studies class where a few tardy, unprepared, dialogue-dominating, self-righteous freshman boys, who are taking it in order to get what they think will be an easy A and to sharpen their debate skills, only listen to female voices in anticipation of finding a faulty theoretical argument to attack and use against them.
Perhaps the Freshmen, as I will call them, think feminism is just a debate topic. An academic exercise. A set of well-defined theories, held uniformly by all of it proponents, for them to intellectually process and refute. And I’m getting the sense that they think women experience it that way too.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I experience feminism through my revulsion to popular misogyny.
This has nothing to do with intellectual processing, everything to do with my aversion to being instructed to hate myself and my refusal to accept that women are peripheral to the human experience. Feminist theories on gender and patriarchy have given me the ability and the language needed to put it all into perspective, but the raw, unfiltered physical reaction I have to such messages, along with the resounding ‘Fuck Yeah!’ feeling I get when someone voices a frustration that I haven’t been able to put words to – those are the things that make me a feminist.

That is so right on. It's not an academic exercise, it's an EXPERIENCE, it's a feeling, it's a gut reaction. And I had to laugh at myself, because once again I unearthed another piece to the puzzle. I have been trying to engage these people in their own way. Once again letting patriarchy dictate the rules of our interactions, when I knew there was something off about it. And this was it, this was it right here. It's no wonder that sometimes I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall, their speaking from a world view of academic exercise, and I'm speaking from intrinsic personal experiencing and feeling.

You rock Dizzy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Justice Nominee Gets 2 Key Votes From Democrats
New York Times
Published: November 3, 2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The confirmation of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general appeared to be all but certain on Friday after two key Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they would support the nomination despite complaints over Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to clarify his views on what amounts to torture.

The announcements by the senators, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York, came after Mr. Schumer met with the nominee on Friday afternoon and said he had obtained Mr. Mukasey’s promise to enforce laws that banned any of the harsh interrogation methods known to have been used on Qaeda terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Ugh, Feinstein, how have you forgotten so badly where you come from? This guy is almost as bad an Gonzalez, and you're going to confirm him? I'm disgusted. My dad, when he was in college, he CAMPAIGNED for Feinstein. And lately, I don't know who the fuck she thinks she's representing, but it's not California.

On Vegetarian/Veganism

I have been recently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and just last night was reading through Pollan's thoughts on vegetarian/veganism.

"But just as we recognize that nature doesn't provide a very good guide for human social conduct, isn't it anthropocentric of us to assume that our moral system offers an adequate guide for what should happen in nature?
To contemplate such questions from the vantage of the farm, or even a garden, is to appreciate just how parochial, and urban, an ideology animal rights really is. It could only thrive in a world where people have lost contact with the natural world, where animals no longer pose any thread to us (a fairly recent development), and our mastery of nature seems unchallenged.
The grain that the vegan eats is harvested with a combine that shreds field mice, while the farmer's tractor wheel crushes woodchucks in their burrows and his pesticides drop songbirds from the sky; after harvest whatever animals that would eat our crops we exterminate. Killing animals is probably unavoidable no matter what we choose to eat. If America was suddenly to adopt a strictly vegetarian diet, it isn't at all clear that the total number of animals killed each year would necessarily decline, since to feed everyone animal pasture and rangeland would have to give way to more intensively cultivated row crops.
The vegan utopia would also condemn people in many parts of the country to importing all their food from distant places.
To give up eating animals is to give up on these places as human habitat, unless of course we are willing to make complete our dependence on a highly industrialized national food chain. That food chain would be in turn even more dependent that it already is on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizer, since food would need to travel even farther and fertility-in the form of manures-would be in short supply. Indeed, it is doubtful you can build a genuinely sustainable agriculture without animals to cycle nutrients and support local food production. If our concern is for the health of nature-rather than, say, the internal consistency of our moral code or the condition of our souls-the eating animals may sometimes be the most ethical thing to do.
...the essential concession: What's wrong with eating animals is the practice, not the principle.
The death they suffer in our hands commonly is, and always may be, speedier and, by that means a less painful one, than that which would await them in the inevitable course of nature."

Basically, predation is a part of the natural order, and it has it's purpose too, to keep a rather precarious balance so that Animals (on the whole, not individuals) can continue to survive. What's wrong with meat eating in our world right now, and especially in the westernized nations, is that the CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) cut costs at the expense of the animals they raise, and in so doing, they deprive those animals of their natural inclinations and way of life.

However, a "good farm," a sustainable farm (example: does not deny animals that way of life. In fact it encourages it and uses the animals natural instincts to make the farm run more efficiently and more sustainably. For example, on Poly Face farms when the cows leave their pasture (daily) they let chickens loose in that pasture to scratch around in the manure. This does two things, it spreads the manure around so that it becomes fertilizer instead of breeding bacteria and killing the ground it sits on, and the chickens find grubs that they love to eat and which makes their bodies create the fat that makes them taste good later. This is just one example, there are many. The end result of this is that the animals quality of life is excellent, and (I think sometimes veg's forget this) their deaths are better than what they could probably expect in the wild.

I agree with the veg's that the CAFO system of farming is completely fucked up, abusive towards animals, and wrong. But that doesn't make meat eating wrong, it makes the CAFO system wrong, and that needs to change. As Pollan says "the essential concession: What's wrong with eating animals is the practice, not the principle." But, I personally don't think opting out of the meat eating system all together will effect that change. To my mind that's sort of like asking for feminist change while at the same time refusing to identify with feminism as a movement. If you want to effect change in this area, what to do is to seek out these sustainable farms (not necessarily organic but that is for another day) and if you don't have any, then find the best you can. Support them, give them your money, buy locally so that you can drive by and see how your animals live, and don't buy into the CAFO system. If enough of us do that, they will have to change.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Apparently this word is sweeping the nation! (I heard it started on Grey's Anatomy?)

So here's my thing with this word, and really, other pet names.

I don't have a problem with nick- or pet names for things on principle. I have nicknames for things. Even my own vagina (I go with "vaj").

Here's my thing with "vajayjay" though. Isn't it rather infantalizing?

The only reason I can see to use it, is to make the vagina seem less "scary." Like when you're a kid and these medical terms seem intimidating, or the bits and pieces you're talking about are "naughty." I've been there, I tried to find a euphemism I liked for quite a while. Until I realized the function of euphemisms. Should I, a grown woman, be intimidated by my own cunt? Do I think my vagina is naughty? Or something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of?


And so, I can't get behind these "cute" names for our vulvas/vaginas. It creates a protective barrier against knowledge, against grokking, of our parts. That's just not something I can support.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A forwarded forward of a forward

Via Essin' Em's blog

"I'm collaborating with the Lesbian Sex and Sexuality docu-series on Here gay and lesbian TV and will be doing commentary about women's sexuality issues.

*I'm looking for female sex workers who've had female clients, or women who've paid other women for sex work.* In other words, women who've been paid by other women for a sexual service (prostitution, sensual massage, fetish/dominatrix work). So far, we haven't found any, and I'll be talking about what this gender difference regarding sex work is.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS on to women who are involved in sex work or studying sex work in North America (especially NYC and San Fran). Any woman with something to say should please contact me ASAP at dianysia at gmail dot com with "Lesbian Sex Work" in the subject line. You could just give me input and leads, or be willing to speak on camera about your experience with female sex work clients, or as a sex worker with a lesbian personal life and male client base. Please also contact me if you have other ideas of where to look.

Diana Adams, Esq.