Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

I'm Pro-Choice For Dudes Too

Meaning that they should have more options than condoms or vasectomies, not that they get veto power on abortions or baby having. (Obvs, in a healthy relationship these things would be discussed by a couple, but every woman should get to decide what she wants done to her body).

So male birth control. What's the hold-up? Why don't dudes get the option of a long-term, more reliable form of birth control than just condoms. Aside from the obvious no-baby benefits, there is a hidden benefit for us ladies. Fewer MRA douchenoodles could claim that women were tricking them into fatherhood not paying child support.

On that note, an Indian scientist has developed a reversible method for killing sperm before they are ejaculated. (fair warning, link is to Jezebel)Longer term and less fallible than condoms, reversible and fewer side effects than vasectomies, I think we all need to signal boost this idea asap.

It's Friday, I Got Nuthin.

Tapped out, writer's blocked, you name it. So if you're floating around out there, what do you want to know/read about the world. I am open to suggestions. Or we can just have an open thread. Tell me a story. In the mean time, enjoy this song from Grizzly Bear

Thursday, June 02, 2011

You parasites can tap this

....................../´¯/)
....................,/¯../
.................../..../
............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../
..........''...\.......... _.·´
............\..............(
..............\.............\...

re: the Obots latest campaign donation email. I am sure you all got one too. Think they were trying to send this before the abysmal May disemployment numbers came out?

Just a reminder, a shit sandwich with pickle is still a shit sandwich.

It's time for another post where I overshare info about my girly bits.

I went to get an ultrasound Tuesday to determine if I just have the world's most atrocious periods for fun or if there is some nefarious cause. Also, as a precursor to getting an IUD! Yay! I've had internal ultrasounds before, and have always gotten a "huhmm that's a unique shape" reaction from docs and techs. So I asked the lovely tech to explain. I have a kinky uterus. No, a literally kinky uterus. It tilts in one direction while the cervix tilts in the opposite direction, causing a kink where the two meet. I also, apparently, have a cyst on one of my ovaries. The cyst, and not the kink, is what is making my monthly communist invasion seem like the actual communist invasion.

So the IUD (Mirena, hormonal) will help with the cyst, hopefully. But getting it inserted will be tricky(straight stick, U shaped angle, tricky tricky). I am asking, begging, pleading, for an rx for valium to take prior because there is no way I'll be able to "relax and drop your knees" through that shit. No fucking way. And smart me, I scheduled the procedure for 4:30 in the afternoon. So I can go right from uterine torture to the bar across the street.

This is a Blog Post About Scientific Article Writing

Actually it's just a link to an piece about how to write a scientific article. And awesome piece actually. Go read.

Sharing Netflix Now A Criminal Offense In Tennessee

Tennessee just past a law making it illegal to share your Netflix login.

It's not enough that entertainment companies vastly overstate the damages from downloading in court cases but now, at least in TN, I'd have to get the Kid his own Netflix account so he can watch anime.

And of course we can trust entertainment companies to not abuse the courts to nail us little people. I'm sure that there must be one actual song in the world where a digital copy is worth $2250. Like perhaps a version of I Feel Pretty sung by Little Richard. (No seriously, that shit is the bomb. Thank you Gidget!)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Finding Joy

I read a quote from bell hooks once about when dealing with such intensely crappy shit, day in and day out, you have to find something to be joyful about. Y'all know I'm bad with the exact quotes, but that was the gist. And I'm working really hard on the joyful lately. Yeah, money sucks, money always sucks. And yeah, our government is full of lying, hateful douchebags in tacky blue suits. And yeah, corporations won't be happy till we're paying them to let us work. And rapey rapists keep raping. And jerks keep being jerks.

But I have these lovely friends, both in meat space and cyberspace, who just keep being there when I need them. And I am sitting on my own couch, in my own apartment, listening to Joe Strummer on my own compy while staring out the window at an evening that is both grey and rainy and sunny all at the same time. And the Kid just keeps becoming more and more of this awesome person who I am so lucky to know. And there's a boy in the world who makes me giddy and mushy and toe-curlingly happy.

It's so much good that I am teary-eyed happy thinking about it. (Or I am just pms-y, wevs). Sometimes the world sucks and blows at the same time and sometimes there are these little pockets of joyfulness that I can just curl up in. And that's where I am right now.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty, Unless You're Poor.

So the governor of fucking Florida (damn I hate that state with the passion of a thousand fiery furnaces) has decided that poor people are guilty of drug use and must be tested first before they can qualify for TANF (temporary aid to needy families, or welfare).

I've given this rant before, but let's do it once again for the newbies.

We don't require business owners to pee in a cup before receiving government welfare checks (in the form of tax credits). Nobody made TARP recipients line up to have bits of their hair cut out for drug testing (though I am pretty sure that Bolivian marching powder is a main part of many a bankster's day). But poor people, particularly poor, single mothers, are assumed to have committed a crime (probable cause for search needing to exist before the government gets to test you) and must pee in a cup so that their kids can be housed and fed.

Fuck that. No seriously, fuck that. The government has no fucking right to treat its citizens, ANY of its citizens, like criminals for simply applying for assistance. Do fucking lobbyists have to get drug tested? They are doing the same damn thing on a grand scale. How about the fucking Chamber of Commerce, are they peeing in a cup? No.

Requiring poor people to be drug tested is a GROSS violation of the constitution. What will the government do with the results? If you test positive, will those results be turned over to the police? What happens to people who've been self-medicating for depression (poverty is fucking depressing) or anxiety or bipolar or pain? What if they are applying for benefits specifically so they can receive medicaid and get actual medical relief? Will it be a hearty "fuck you" from the state. So sorry you've lived without healthcare and had to treat yourself, but because of that you can't qualify for healthcare and will have to treat yourself.

I've been pretty damn lucky that the things I use(d) to self-medicate (caffeine, nicotine, the occasional bottle of wine) are legal. But that doesn't mean it think it's okay to violate the constitutional rights of poor, mostly women, almost always parents just so Rick fucking Scott and the douchebags in tacky blue suits can feel superior.

Inefficient Systems

There is a lot of fancy talk among economists about efficiency and productivity. From a business standpoint, maximum efficiency means more profit, lower expenses and that is often achieved by increasing worker productivity and decreasing labor costs. There's some fucking irony there, work harder, better, faster so we can eliminate your job.

But as we can see from the current economic wreck, that's just straight up fucked. The more unemployed workers you have in a society's economic system, the less efficiently it runs. We have, as workers, increased productivity by 20% in the last 30 years. That's an entire day's worth of work every week. That's permanent Fridays off. Or it could be, if we were the ones benefiting from our own increase in productivity.

We have seen, over and over again, that our government that is supposed to work for us, chooses to side with the kleptocratic masters of the universe. There is a really simple way to fix our inefficient system of allotting jobs, and that's by decreasing the number of hours in a full time week to 32. That's the 20% we've gained in the last 30 years. That is part of the reason why there are so many part-time jobs compared to full-time jobs now. So why not consider that full time work? What would you do, full-time workers, with an entire extra day a week to yourselves? It seems only fair since we haven't seen wages keep up with inflation over the last 30 years. Health and welfare benefits have been cut and slashed so that we're lucky if we have full-time employment and an insurance plan that will only pay for basic emergency treatment and nothing else. What do we get for being better workers than our parents were?

If economists were honest (and let's face, most are not) then they would be looking at this massive surplus of labor and seeing the huge flaw in the system. I think it was in Mary Barton that Elizabeth Gaskell wrote "If the masters earn interest on their money, where is our interest on our labor?". If the idea is that the masters take a risk by plunging their cash into business (and with TARP, etc they really aren't taking much of a risk) and receiving interest and rents above their original investment as payoff, then where is our interest for the hours spent working? We aren't even guaranteed a basic living wage, yet it's still our labor that has improved the productivity more than the masters' money has. This system is inefficient. It has to change. And shortening the work week to modern productivity standards is the fastest way to fix that inefficiency.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dear Kid:

Breaking my sunglasses and lying about it is not cool dude. Mommy is blind without them.

When I get home tonight with a rocking migraine due to sunlight exposure, I hope you feel shitty enough about it to fess up. Not cool.

Feministes de Paille (Straw Feminists)

This is a guest post by The Other Elizabeth (Elizabeth's are generally the best people, in my humble opinion.)

Tiger Beatdown used a recent protest against sexism in France to muse on feminist ethics. Without communicating with the women involved, Tiger Beatdown constructed and knocked down a straw feminist, a hypothetical creature whose protest was a hollow neocolonialist exercise—and this based on a single slogan, NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES FEMMES DE CHAMBRE (We Are All Chambermaids.) Tiger interprets this as false equivalence leading to erasure, saying that the white protesters are sidestepping the colonialism inherent in Dominique Strauss-Kahn's act of domination over a woman of color's body.

Tiger's point about colonialism, and the domination of colonialized women's bodies, is true. Colonialism in France is as thorny a subject, as deep a trauma, as slavery in the United States, and will require the same multigenerational political and social process for its resolution. Like the US, France has seen wave after wave of immigration—Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Sephardic Jewish, North and sub-Saharan Africans, and Chinese—and experiences xenophobic convulsions in response. And just as in the US, women in France are not a monolith. They have a wide range of experience and are divided by class and race conflicts. But Tiger speaks of the French feminist as a single type.

Feminists in France did exactly what the Toronto Slutwalkers did: respond to an anti-woman emergency. When Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested, the mask momentarily fell from the faces of many in the elite. Women listened horror-struck as top journalists, intellectuals and political figures shrugged off the crime of which DSK stands accused. Jack Lang, a prominent Socialist and minister of culture under Socialist president Mitterand, decried a “lynchage” (note to Tiger: this is what outrageous appropriation of an oppressive, colonialist phenomenon looks like) and said it's not so serious, “il n'y a pas mort d'homme” (No man died.) Purported intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote as impassioned a defense of DSK as of his teen-raping friend Roman Polanski—and the mainstream media saw fit to pay attention to him. Jean-François Kahn, cofounder of the political magazine Marianne, went further (translation mine): “I'm practically certain there wasn't a violent attempted rape. He just felt up the help, which isn't good, but...” Felt up the help: the phrase he used was un troussage de domestique. That hit a nerve. No one was fooled. “Bonnes à tout faire”, women “good for anything,” were common in bourgeois households up through the 50s and 60s and sometimes her duties included enduring assault from the man of the house and his son. “Troussage de domestique = viol” (rape) tersely commented one reader of L'Express. The phrase appeared in news stories and stickers attached to lampposts alike. The outrage was so palpable he resigned from the magazine he founded and quit journalism altogether.

French women are coming forward to tell their stories. Clementine Autain, feminist and former Communist elected official, revealed on her blog that she had been raped. The newspaper Liberation ran a major cover story on sexism in politics, with testimonies across the spectrum, from the Greens to the right-wing UMP. A female UMP député made a point of not being in the National Assembly when the député seated next to her was present. She would ask him for documents and be answered, “Je te les donne si tu baises avec moi” ( “I'll give them to you if you fuck me.”) Another official, Georges Tron, was just forced to resign after charges of rape and harassment. Rachida Dati, former justice minister, hopes the door won't slam too quickly on this story, because there's much more to tell. And these are powerful, privileged women. There's a sense of before and after DSK here—that somehow shit has got to change.

It's also come to light that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was an equal-opportunity rapist. Social position meant nothing to him if he sensed an opportunity to overpower a woman. A French journalist from a highly privileged background, Tristane Banone, recounted her assault by DSK—the ex-husband of her godmother--on television as far back as 2008. Her own mother, Anne Mansouret, a Socialist elected official, dissuaded her from pressing charges; they went to then leader of the Socialist party, François Hollande (now a leading candidate after DSK's downfall). He listened sympathetically and did nothing. She had depression and professional problems as a result, and DSK's arrest has re-traumatized her: she will not speak to the press or testify. The fact that Banone is not poor, an immigrant, or a woman of color does not make her assault any less life-changing than Diallo's was.

Yet Diallo has exercised a power that the most well-off of DSK's French victims could, or would, not—she pressed charges. The fact that this was even possible is due to the groundwork laid by American feminists a generation ago; New York City's Special Victims Unit, which handled this case, was established in the 70s. This has not gone unnoticed here in France. I attended the rally that Tiger dismissed and spoke with several women. One told me American feminists have done good work (“elles ont fait du bon travail”).

Let us return to the anonymous sign-bearer, a pretty ordinary looking person in a crowd comprising militant lesbians, trans women, leftist parties and male allies, all present to speak out publicly against the sexism and in defense of the victim. When, in the few harried days of organizing, between work, dinner and laundry, was she supposed to resolve France's colonial legacy? The promulgators of Françafrique, the dictator-friendly policy of France towards its former colonies, were all men with names like DeGaulle, Mitterand and Giscard D'Estaing, but it's an anonymous woman bearing a sign who is singled out for scolding. Tiger's attitude towards her isn't dialogue-opening or coalition-building. It's just more of, You're a woman, you're supposed to solve the world's relationship problems, you didn't do that, so you fail.

This isn't zero-sum. Colonized women need freedom, rights and agency. Women need to be able to participate in society without attacks on their person. Degradation, violence and oppression based on sex is always wrong.

Do feminists relish the opportunity to become more self-aware and aware of others, increasing our effectiveness in the world? Yes. Is it easy? No, it's hard. Do we respond to local problems with locally appropriate tactics? Yes. Should we worry about bloggers half a world away while we're busy fighting a wildfire? Probably not.

A rape occurs in France every 15 minutes. We are all chambermaids, indeed.

I will close with another, media-unfriendly sign I saw at the same rally:

"In a Catholic bourgeois milieu
- Beaten by her father as a child
- Raped by a stranger at 16
- Attacked by an aroused voyeur at 19
- Subject to raciste and sexist ostracism by a boss at 45
I DID NOT BEND
I GOT MAD
I DON'T STRUGGLE WITH IT ANYMORE
BUT I AM NEITHER ASHAMED NOR AFRAID"

I said to the bearer “Vous êtes une femme de courage.”
She answered, “C'est mon coming-out.”


-----------------------------

“Ophelia”, le comité de soutien à Nafissatou Diallo. Text in French and English equally condemns the sexism, racism and Islamophobia revealed by the reaction to DSK's arrest.

“La Françafrique: 50 années sous le sceau du secret” Documentary on French policy in Africa. The one female name on the DVD cover is Eva Joly, formerly and investigating judge who put the CEO of a major oil company behind bars and now a prominent Green.

Comité de soutien à Nafissatou Diallo - comité de soutien à Nafissatou Diallo
Site officiel de l'écrivain Claude Ribbe

Best Present Ever

When I first met Semi-Boyfriend (Turbomuffin to you all, but we're going with Semi-Boyfriend now) I joked to Sylvie that "his voice is so sexy, he could read me the back of a cereal box and my panties would hit the floor."

So today I get an MP3 in my email of Semi-Boyfriend reading me the back of a box of Kellogg's Oat Bran.

Peeps, I don't know that I've ever met a person who made me giggle and guffaw and straight up belly laugh quite so much.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Maybe I'm connecting wild dots?

There's a breakout in e-coli poisoning in Germany that has killed 11 people.

The produce responsible for the outbreak is thought to have originated in Spain.

Spain is currently experiencing mass protests against government austerity measures.

My wild dots lead me to think that perhaps those austerity measures included cuts in food safety monitoring. Or perhaps overworked farm laborers are even more fearful of taking bathroom breaks when there are few jobs and no safety net. Or. Or. Or.

Maybe the dots aren't so wild when businesses MUST cut every possible corner and a few dozen deaths are thought to be just the invisible hand of the market pointing a finger at what not to buy.

Memorial Day

Today is the day we are supposed to think about the troops who have given up so much to protect us. It's a bit like Mother's Day, one day a year so we can push their existence to the back of our minds the rest of the year.

Or you can go the other way. You can angrily rail about the troops and war crimes. But I find people who blame low level soldiers for high level murder to be a bit classist. They are, after all, picking on mostly poor kids for taking the designedly ONLY job where they have a chance of promotion and education. I can't fault them for that.

We ask these men and women to risk their lives and to follow orders above all else. It is therefore our job to make sure that they are only risking their lives for noble causes and only following orders that will not make us ashamed. We fail them on those lines all the time. We are now at war in 4 places. Because our soldiers cannot question their orders to go into these places and fight, we MUST. That is the job of all citizens, that is our responsibility. And we fail them. Over and over. We fail to give them opportunities to do something other than soldiering. We fail to keep them from being sent in to war for financial betterment of our elites rather than the safety of ourselves and/or our allies. We are their protectors as much or more so than they are ours. And we fail them every time we let shady politicians find new ways to expand warfare.

Barack Obama was supposed to be the anti-war candidate. Some of us knew he was full of shit from the very beginning, but we should hold him to his lies none the less. We need to come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to stop bombing Libya and droning Pakistan. It's been 10 years of war. 10 long years, with no end in sight. Our troops have sacrificed lives and limbs and families and too often sanity. We have sacrificed our tattered social services to pay for never-ending war. We are not safer. It is long past time for us to end this. Think about that this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Rapture No One Is Talking About

Found yesterday in Seattle's Central District. Perhaps Satan has deleted all references to the rapture so that us evil sinners will continue on in our wicked ways? That's my theory anyways.