Saturday, September 06, 2008

In their quest to win the Dems continue to prove they are losers

With all the talk of presidential spawn, doncha think it's a wee bit funny that all we hear about are the girls. Obama's girls. Palin's Bristol. McCain's bloggette. Sure we hear a bit about the down syndrome baby, but only in relation to Palin's uterus.

So I am here to break with feminist tradition and cry "but what about the mennzzzzzz".

Specifically, McCain's son Andrew who has recently resigned from the board of Silver State Bank, a bank that federal regulators shut down Friday because of its failings.

Now while the Dems all have their panties in a bunch over the possibility that estrogen might actually come near the White House (and not just to design the new Oval Office rug) they seem to have missed Andrew's little career failure.

If Andrew shares daddy's views on economic policy, and a bank that Andrew worked for fails, does that perhaps mean that the McCain family idea of winning economic policy is failure? Shouldn't the Dems be spending their time pointing out the Republican economic policies are failing our country, using Andrew as a prime example of "What would daddy do?"

But Andrew, alas has no uterus to control or shame. Poor Andrew. If he had only been born a girl, he could be taking the center of the political stage right now while the Dems point out that "girls suck at math" or economics or something. Though truthfully, Obama and McCain both share a hands off the money of the rich approach to economics, the Dems would more likely take the tack of saying that Andrew had to leave banking cause his uterus couldn't be in two places at once, caring for his family and working a job.

But boys will be boys and banks will fail when run with little oversight and regulation. And the NeoDems don't get off their ass to fix the country unless there is some slut shaming to do.

(HT to Lambert, who is quickly becoming my latest blog crush)

ETA: Oh my gawd- bank failures really are the McCain family business. I was just a wee 14 year old girl when the Savings and Loan failures happened and so I didn't know that McCain was part of the Keating 5. Holy shit, Batman, you would almost think the republicans believe that robbing from the poor to give to the rich is sound fiscal policy. .

Inner 3rd World: Reproduction

If you listen to WOC talk about reproductive rights, you get a profoundly different view from the dominant white feminist talk that centers on abortion. For poor women and brown/black women, choosing to parent is seen as an affront to decent society.

There is a long and sad history of eugenics and forced sterilization of "undesirables" in this country. While white babies are considered a treasure, brown babies are considered a burden on society. You could even posit the idea that the insanely high prison rates for black and brown men is an underhanded attempt at keeping them locked up so that they cannot reproduce.

But there are more obvious racist and classist eugenics programs that are already in place. And several of them spring from Welfare reform. Ronald Regan started the idea of the Welfare Queen, a woman so diabolical that all she did all day was spread her legs so she could pop out more babies to suck on the government teat. Welfare reform decided to deal with this mythological beast by putting in blocks to additional aid when a woman already receiving assistance gets pregnant while on assistance. If you are a poor single mom on TANF and you get pregnant, you will not receive any additional money. And as I've written before, it's not like TANF gives you all that much to begin with. In WA state the amount for a mother and child is $440 per month and it's been the same for decades. And we're one of the higher states. $440 doesn't cover rent anywhere, it barely covers the cost of diapers and laundry soap. Add a 3rd person into this budget, and kids are spending a long time in a wet diaper simply because there is no more money for clean ones.

But it doesn't stop with TANF. The same rules apply to housing grants.

Now part of Welfare reform did include provisions to provide post-pregnant women with birth control. But it's only birth control. If during the course of a routine pelvic/papa smear to get you the pill they discover cancer- you're SOL. They don't actually care about keeping you healthy. They just care that you don't bring anymore snot nosed brats into the world. And don't you forget it.

Besides- we all know that birth control is infallible. Right?

Very few states have figured out that it is cheaper to pay for abortions for poor women than it is to not pay for them. Washington is one of them. If you walk into a Planned Parenthood in WA state to take a pregnancy test, and you are poor, they help you apply for Medicaid. If, during the application process you tell them that you want to have an abortion, the application is speeded up. But you still get Medicaid, temporarily, whether you decided to parent or not. As soon as you are not pregnant either via birthing or abortion, you lose all medical coverage except for birth control.

Personally- I think having the option of abortion is a good thing. And it's one of the things the WA state does right. But for a majority of states, abortion is not covered by Medicaid. As a poor woman you have the choice of finding a way to pay for it yourself (upwards of $400 for an early procedure, substantially higher the later you go- and remember that most women on Welfare receive less than $400 a month to begin with.) or having a baby. But if you choose to have a baby, you won't get any additional money from the state. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't position. And that's before we even get into personal choice.

I can guarantee you that no one would applaud a poor black woman's choice to knowingly have a downs syndrome baby like Sarah Palin did. The first thing they would say is that she was trying to milk the government for extra money for the disabled kid. And the kind of hoopla surrounding Bristol Palin's pregnancy would be changed to something about how young brown women are too lazy to get an education and opt out with pregnancy instead.

But if we really do believe in choice, then the poor have just as much right to choose parenthood as everyone else does. If we put a mandate that people can only have the number of children that they can afford right now, then the entire world would depopulate within a generation. In an ideal world, we would all get to parent only when we wanted to and with enough resources to raise healthy, well educated, future paragons of society. But this isn't an ideal world. And pretending it can be isn't much different from fundies thinking that they can brow beat everyone into heterosexual marriage where everyone stays virginal till the wedding night.

What we can do is provide the resources so that only women who want children have them, and that they have enough resources to raise their children without the violent punishment of increased poverty.

This hoop skirt makes my balls sweaty

Sarah Haskins- can I marry you? Will you be my replacement mommy in similar pants? Anything just so long as you keep bringing teh funny.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friends, Co-Bloggers, Feminists

I come to bury McCain, not to Praise him

Okay- seriously. Two people who I love to bits are having a screaming comment battle over voting for a goddamned Republican.

On my very progressive, very feminist blog.

The Queen is not so happy about this.

It's like this. Imagine that McCain and Obama are credit cards. McCain starts with a really high interest rate, but a low available balance. A balance that you could say pay off in 4 years time. The interest is going to kick you in the ass. But not forever.

Obama starts out with a shiny 0% interest rate, at first. But then the rates skyrocket and it will probably take you 8 years to climb out of the hole that using that card is going to create.

Both choices suck hard.

Both choices suck hard not just for us Americans but for everyone else in the world.

Everyone who writes here and comments here (trolls excepted) gets this.

But I cannot, in good conscious, let this become a pro-McCain blog. I can't. I've let it go on for far too long already. So no more pro-McCain stuff. No bullying people because of their perceived race. No bashing thoughtful progressive people who actually get how American neo-colonialism works for not being large enough in numbers to stop it. Not all of us are coddled rich brats who are ignorant to how our government works.

We all get it here and this level of discourse is NOT GOING TO CHANGE A DAMN THING. But it is hurting people I care about. And that is not okay.

So I am no longer approving comments from the cranky making posts.

Sorry kids. But you are fighting allies instead of the enemy. It's become a circular firing squad of crap and it ends now.

What's that word again? I can't seem to remember...

I think it rhymes with "voice".  Like we should all have a...voice?

of schooling

Here's how I would remake the educational system in America:

1. Nationally standardized curriculum. Make it at international equivalent level. Remove the fluff. To hell with this "holistic" shit that ends up having parents do the kids' homework. Have homework that is doable by the kids. Keep the "build this and that shit" stuff in kindergarden. It's not working anywhere else. Have teachers discuss the national curriculum at yearly professional forums. Update as appropriate.

2. Teachers. Regulate them. Pay them decently. Make being a teacher an actual career. Give them the respect the people who mold the future of a nation deserve. Create a system in which teachers are hired by exam. Even substitute teachers should be qualified and have pedagogy degrees. Have the teachers undertake bi-yearly courses to actualize their knowledge. Offer tenures even for highschool teachers.

3. Have skills training in highschool for various trades so that kids come out of highschool with a tradeskill they can make a living from. Specialize the highschools according to what they offer.

4. Nationally standardized tests at the end of highschool that meet the requirements for college entry.

5. Offer serious funds for schools. Provide them with all the materials they need. Free books, free school computers. Fuck the sports, put the money into books and computers and educational materials. Remove highschool performance sports altogether.

6. Free school dinner. It will work wonders in bringing poor kids to school.

7. Remove all politics from schools. Have qualified teachers run schools, not obtuse managers saving money on pieces of paper

Just off the top of my head. Add yours.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Oh Lambert, how perfectly put

From Corrente:

Seems like the “progressive” blogosphere isn’t all that progressive; four days making running “mate” jokes and going after 17-year-old girls and babies with Down syndrome and at the end of the day it didn’t fucking work, as Biden rules the family “off limits.”. Four days out of the what, sixty-some, that are left. If that’s what they thought would be effective, that’s bad. If they were acting as Tier Two of the Obama campaign (my view), that’s even worse.

Now there’s a winger populist barracuda loose in the water, and nobody seems to know what to do. And it’s really too bad. If only… If only Obama had a surrogate, somebody who could speak to real issues in people’s live with real details about policy, and out populist the populist. Maybe even a woman. A Mama Barracuda to take out the cute little Baby Barracuda. Wouldn’t that be great?

Too bad the fauxgressives hate women sooooo much that they can't even act in their own best interests.

The Inner 3rd World- Educating The Poor

I am sure that I have written about some aspects of this previously, but I am way to lazy to go dig through 1000 plus posts to find it.

Education is supposed to be the great leveler in this country. Supposed to be. But we throw so many roadblocks in for poor students that even if they start a college education, finishing is a problem.

First, there is the atrocious way that poor kids are not prepared for college. When I went back to college I had to start with pre college level math. I'd taken the hard math in high school, all the college prep classes. But it had been so long that I had forgotten almost everything. To get myself up to college level required 2 quarters of remedial algebra. Each of those classes cost a little over $300, plus books (another $150) and a graphing calculator ($75). So I spent nearly $1000 of my paltry financial aid money on classes that won't count towards my degree but must be taken.

Now I'm an older student. It had been a while for me. But what was shocking was the number of just out of high school kids who were in my classes. This is a community college in an urban area. Nearly every student in the school is poor enough to qualify for financial aid. And a enough of them need remedial math that there are dozens of class options for it (there are 34 options for remedial math in the college catalogue right now and only one option for Math 102, the first college level course offered).

And then there is Welfare reform. Before Welfare reform, back in the 80's, my mom and dad split up and then she got laid off from her job as a cocktail waitress at a casino in Lake Tahoe because of a bomb. Someone blew up parts of Harvey's. She eventually went on welfare and between her monthly grant and financial aid she was able to go back to school and support two kids. She didn't get child support. She eventually got her degree in natural science and then turned her work study experience in the college budget department into a career as a comptroller for government funded non-profits.

But she got to stay on welfare the entire time she was earning her academic degree. We weren't rich by any means. But we were safe and reasonably comfortable for that level of poverty.

Welfare reform changed that. Now the only way that you can get welfare and go to school is if you are in am approved vocational program. I could get welfare money to become a nurse's aid, but not a nurse, for example, as long as I cannot receive an actual degree from the program. Lemme say that again. You cannot get welfare in a degree program. You can get it for a certificate program. So I could go to school to get certified in a job that would pay me less than half of what I can make as an unschooled secretary. Or I could be a baker. Or a dental hygienist. Or a hair dresser. The one thing all these jobs have in common is a lifetime of low pay and few advancement opportunities.

Now, if you are a poor student who wants to get a real college education, you must rely on financial aid and loans. My school stopped offering loans about 10 years ago because it wasn't actually doing much for the students besides putting them in debt. So financial aid was all I had to live on, plus the meager earnings from my job (at the school, not work study, whole 'nother post for a whole other time). Most poor students work full time. Not part time. 40 plus hours a week waiting tables or being security guards at night. Plus another 15 or so hours of classtime and 15 or so hours of homework. And as tuition keeps rising, financial aid does not keep up. My first year I got enough in financial aid to pay for books, tuition, and my rent for the 3 months of the quarter. My last quarter there I could afford tuition only. The financial aid amount hadn't changed, but tuition had risen so steeply that there was nothing left, not even for books.

So we start poor college students out with a need to take extra classes to catch up, plus the cost of those classes, then hit them with rising tuition, and require them to maintain grueling work/school schedules. When something stresses the system (say a job scheduling conflict) these students who are so close to the poverty edge already have to choose their jobs over their education. It seems ridiculous to worry about sacrificing an education in order to keep a minimum wage job, but that is what they have to do to survive right now. And it always comes with promises to themselves that they will go back when they can. The financial aid counselor told that it takes an average of 4 years for their students to complete a 2 year degree, what with all the remedial classes plus the stopping and starting. Shit, I've got one quarter left (and no further financial aid money till I transfer to a university) and I'm at the 4 year mark.

And there are lots of students like me. So close to transferring, but no money to finish. And that's at community college tuition rates. Cheap as far as education goes, but out of reach for the very students they are supposed to educate.

Jon, will you marry me?

These fucknecks can't even agree with themselves.

Sure, give them one more chance!

Everyone deserves a second chance!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Things that are important, things that are not.

All right my darlings, I have reached the end of my tolerance for the discourse level of this election. So here is a cheat sheet so you can tell if the candidates, pundits, news bunnies, blogging heads, and commentors are being of service to democracy or if they are just a bunch of whiny high school brats.

These are things that are actually important to our country: The economy, health care, education, taxes, deficits, the war, national security, privacy, bodily autonomy, separation of church and state, global warming, oil, diplomacy, China, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, subprime mortgages, banking bailouts, corruption, military contractors, global food shortages, inflation, poverty, lax food and drug safety, the supreme court, telecom immunity, the Patriot act, HIV/AIDS, sex education, rising college costs, etc.

These are not important to our country: McCain's height, Obama's ears, Palin's tits (or ass or uterus), the candidate's children, the wearing or not wearing of flag pins, pantsuits, tie color, hand placement during the national anthem, the child rearing habits of the candidates, the beauty regimes of the candidates, which candidate gives which pundit a hard-on (Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews included)

These are just quick cheat sheets. Not meant to be comprehensive in any way, but just enough so you can tell if someone is acting in the best interest of our country and furthering democracy or if they are just hanging around spreading tawdry bits of crap like a cliquish teenagers.

A Post about Palin and Pregnancy that IS relevant to the campaign

Now my little chickadees- this is a legitimate reason to be pissed at Palin.

See- this is actually relevant. Can you really be pro-life and pro-family if you refuse to support programs that help poor, young mothers take care of themselves and their babies?

See, if you want to be pro-life you kinda have to be concerned about the families after the babies are born too.

Or you can be pro-choice and care about women, men, babies, children and teenagers all at once. Without being a fucking hypocrite.

I choose the second option.

That's the ticket--Good ol' number two.

That would be my wet dream ticket...because that would be too easy.  Too fucking easy.

B-b-but she's my gynecological twin!

FTR, I love Samantha Bee, my fellow Vagina American!

The Inner 3rd World- Being Poor is a Criminal Act Subject to Investigation.

I know, it's election season. It's all anyone wants to talk about. But I am bored to tears talking and fighting over politicians who could give a flying fuck about the people they are supposed to represent. So i am writing about something that is a bit more immediate.

You might be under the impression that we live in a first world country. For a lot of people, that is true. For others, the crushing poverty of less "developed" nations are daily realities. You may even intellectually understand that poverty exists in this country. But knowing a thing and understanding a thing are very different things.

The first thing you should understand about poverty is that being poor means you will be investigated. Your bank records, medical records, employment records, etc. all become open to the government. You sign away any rights to privacy when you ask for help. And you will continue to be investigated, as long as you get a single dollar in assistance. You will fill out the same forms with the same questions for various agencies, all of which will have a rules sheet telling you how you will be a criminal if you misrepresent yourself and exactly how many days you have to submit new forms for every tiny change in your life. Did you get a 10 cent raise at your job? Did a boyfriend move into your home? Did someone buy you a gift or give cash? The strict rules put in place make it nearly impossible to live as a poor person without becoming a criminal of some sort. That $100 some family member might have given you for phone bill better be reported so they can appropriately doc your food stamp allotment for the next month. $100 to keep the phone on means an extra week without groceries, if you follow the rules.

And you never fill these forms out just once. You fill them out over and over and over and over. You bring proof of income. 2 months worth of pay stubs, 6 months, bank statements, letters from those family members stating that the $100 was actually a loan and not a gift so you don't lose your food stamps. They check with your job. Regularly. It is difficult to have the Welfare office constantly bothering your boss about how many hours you work each week, and then having the Housing Authority do the same. Can you imagine your boss being bothered by a Welfare caseworker every time your hours change? There is more than a little bit of fear that even though your boss knows that you make poverty level wages, that they will be miffed by the constant harassment of those agencies that are supposed to fill in the gaps left by your tiny paycheck.

It is not unlike living in a totalitarian state.

Just a few of the things that I have to fill out the same information for are: Welfare/Tanf, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Housing, Utility Assistance, Childcare, Free Lunches for the Kid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Different agencies (or different departments in the same agency) all getting pretty much the same info. And with the exception of the tax credit, I have to fill these things out a minimum of 4 times per year for each service.

If I were rich, I could also apply for help from the government. It would be called a tax break. I would fill it out once per year at the same time and with the same information that the government already has. But I'm not rich, therefore I must submit to a much more thorough investigation, and I must do it more often.

For a lot of bureaucratic things in this country, we have a pretty decent system down. Standing in line at the DMV is no ones idea of fun, but you can be fairly sure that baring something really atrocious you will get your driver's license in a timely fashion. Same is true of passports and usually tax returns. But for poor people those things often don't go as smoothly (Georgia, IIRC, can suspend your license if your insurance cancels you. And insurance companies send copies of their letters of cancellation to the DMV- so you can effectively not own a car and not need insurance and have your license taken away from you). Poor people are much more likely to be audited by the IRS. My mom once explained that little factiod (she was an accountant and took more than a few organizations through auditing) by telling me the IRS just doesn't believe people can live on that little. And yet nearly 20 million Americans live below the poverty line.

So I may join with you in the chorus of screaming about Telecom immunity and medical records privacy, but the truth is that the government already has all of my medical records. And financial records. And employment history. And so on. In more detail than you think is possible .

Properly theirs.

As we saw earlier this week, Sarah Palin has come under attack for choices her teenage child has made.  It shouldn't have to be said at a fucking feminist blog that criticizing a woman for the choices that her grown children make is pretty fucked up, and for fuck's sake I would rather not be defending a right wing fuckwit, but here it is.  If we want people to believe that we think teenagers are old enough to make complex decisions regarding their reproductive systems and their sexuality then we need to start showing that we believe it.  That begins with recognizing that children actually have a right to make decisions that are properly theirs to make.

Psychologists Adler and Dreikurs (apart from their views on homosexuality which I thought were horrible, but I recognize that it was an older time and we have evolved in our understanding of humanity slightly) are pretty spot on when telling us that children respond and make decisions based on how equal they feel.  When a child is raised to believe that they have agency over what happens to them they will make better decisions.  The theory here is that by standing back and allowing children to make decisions that are properly theirs to make we are encouraging them to learn while giving them a safe environment to do so.  I don't know that they saw sexuality as a normal part of this learning process, I haven't read all of their writings, but I very much see sexuality and the choices regarding it in this light.

Sexuality has to do with their own bodies.  At some point as children mature into adults they need to know that they and they alone are responsible for those bodies, and that no one has a right to make decisions regarding their body other than themselves.  The choice to engage in sexual activity, while unpleasant to think about for some parents, is a choice that is properly our children's to make in their older childhood.  It is foolish for us to pretend that our children (our teenagers, if I am not clear about that) are not thinking about or already engaging in sex.  Applying Adler and Dreikurs here, instead of shaming them and pretending that our children are not sexual creatures we should be doing everything in our power to educate them and give them all the tools to properly make decisions regarding their own sexuality.  This is what we call giving them a safe space to make mistakes.

And the safe space is the most important part.  Sometimes we forget that making mistakes is part of growing up.  We didn't learn to talk in complete sentences and we didn't learn to walk without falling down a few times.  We learned by seeing these things done, and by trying.  As parents we need to provide a place where children won't crack their skulls open during their first steps, but we need to stand back and give them the room to take them.  Even if they fall.

Unfortunately for our children, sometimes that fall will result in an unplanned pregnancy.  Part of this safe space that I mentioned earlier is information.  Free from our judgement and free from our own inclinations to choose one way or the other we should be making sure that they have all the knowledge there is regarding birth control, and all of their options should they become sick or pregnant.  Knowing that we trust them with this knowledge is part of making them feel like equals in their relationship with us, their parents.  This encourages them to make good decisions based on good information when making decisions that are properly theirs to make.  Knowing that they are responsible for their own choices encourages them to make better choices, and knowing that they have our love and support should they screw up (no pun intended) makes them more confident.

We may not like dealing with the sexuality of our children, but we can no more ignore it that we can ignore the fact that they will eventually grow out of those clothes and may one day call our music lame.  At some point we need to realize that what they do with their bodies really is their own choice.  Children grow up and make choices that don't always fall in line with what their parents believe or want, however recognizing that children should be able to make decisions that are properly theirs to make also means that parents are not to be shamed for them anymore than we should shame a teenager for making a decision we don't agree with regarding their body.

And that is part of being Pro-Choice.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I fucking hate you

If you ever thought or wrote this about Sarah Palin:

Let's face it, if she had really wanted to spare her daughter the harsh
glare of the spotlight, she could have respectfully declined the job

then you are a piece of human scum and I fucking hate you. Bonus points if you are a woman.

What the fuck is wrong with you people? I can understand you are gung ho on voting the party that hates you and treats you like scum, but at least have the fucking decency of leaving others alone.

You know, I am starting to see Sarah Palin as a feminist hero, for the shit the so-called progressives and feminists lob at her for having the audacity to not kis Barky's ass while possessing boobs. They don't hate her for being a republican- behold the similar hatred Hillary got from them, they hate her for being a woman. Plain and simple. What is worse is that people who were upset when it happened to Hillary think it's OK to pick on Palin on those exact things.

The truth of 2008 finally comes out: Hillary didn't lose because she was Hillary, or wrong, she lost because she is a woman and women who run for political power are horrible people . Nothing they will ever do will be good enough for it. How dare they forget they are inferior, worthless and generally irrelevant?

Mind you, per se, Hillary didn't LOSE. She was robbed of the nomination. But that is another animal isn't it?

I fucking hate people.

Change of scenery

One of the weird aspects of becoming homeless and having to rely on the kindness of friends is that the kid and I have been in much swankier neighborhoods than we used to be. It is a bit like moving to a foreign city though in reality we are less than 5 miles from where we started.

Things are green here. Old houses are kept up. Gardens grow. Kids play outside. Actual kids, actually playing. It is something that struck me when we first moved to the Central District a few years ago, how few children there seemed to be. Sure there were plenty of teenagers acting much older and tougher than they should, but seeing little kids in parks and on bicycles was not a daily happening.

I have to wonder how much the constant threat of violence wore on us, on our neighbors, on their kids. Would I have become so depressed and housebound if I wasn't constantly afraid, not of some big attack (though I was certainly afraid of those for the kid) but of the tiny bits of daily verbal violence and threats of physical harm. Every trip to the store or to work became akin to running a gauntlet and hoping that today I wouldn't get hassled.

Safety is a privilege. We buy it with our zip codes. We turn the threat of violence that accompanies poverty into a an "other". We give it shape in a dark skinned man with baggy pants, though I bet that same man wants safety too. He's finding it the only way he can when there are no dear friends in nice green neighborhoods to run to.

Women will understand this. We live with the daily, back of the mind kind of fear of rape. Unless you're traumatized, it doesn't turn into something that is exactly crippling, it's more like a chronic cough you can't get rid of, this fear of violence. In poor neighborhoods, it's not just women (though we get a double dose) who are afflicted.

I wonder how much damage I've done to my son by leaving him in such an oppressive place for so long. I wonder how to fix those who are still there. How to make sure that they can get the openness and freedom that just having enough money to live on brings.

(I've been reading Elizabeth Gaskell lately. She's my new favorite Victorian writer. So if my writing has turned a bit flowery and prosy- blame her).

President McCain and the people who make it possible

While running my eyes thru leftbloggistan I noticed something I haven't seen in 4 years: leftie blindness and wishful thinking coupled with utter ignorance to the facts who disagree with their pinkie colored reality view.

1. "Troopergate"? seriously? she wanted to fire a guy who tasered her nephew and made death threats to her father, not to mention being a wife beater. GO ahead democrats, defend a wifebeater. Just do it. Then allow the republicans to run you into he goud by discussing real abuse of power, like Obama asking the state for money for Rezko.

2. Her daughter? Convenient how everyone ignores that Palin is pro contraception, not to mention that her daughter is 17 and thus entitled to her own choices. Or are you guys telling us that she can't possibly be making a choice if we don't like the choice? Morons!

3. McCain receives benefits plus a veteran pension and disability? Horrible guy that he is... why that's almost as Joe Biden spending 1000 dolars a week from the taxpayer's money to fly to and fro Delaware. Right?

4. Palin wasn't vetted? She sure has a lot less skeletons than Obama doesn't she?

5. Palin is irrelevant? Tell that to the polsters that have Obama not only lacking the much expected convention bump, but also the headlines his shitty speech was bound to have.

Wake up and smell the coffee: one of the parties has disaffected unhappy members likely to stay home or vote third party. After 8 fucking years of republican rule and against McCain of all people and Obama fails to have a lead bigger than the margin of error?

Say it after me, President McCain. The Obama campaign, the morons in the DNC backing Obama and the idiot sheeple following their lead have brought you this. I hope McCain thanks them in his inauguration speech.

More lies

Turns out Sarah Palin, while pro life, is also pro contraception:

Palin said last month that no woman should have to choose between her career,
education and her child. She is pro-contraception and said she’s a member of a
pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life.
“I believe in
the strength and the power of women, and the potential of every human life,” she

showing again that McCain made a good choice.

And cut me the "Match .com would have vetted her better" and other Kos talking points.

She has more experience than Obama- working with the canadian government constantly as opposed to the guy who didn't do his job in the Senate and did nothing about foreign policy, and never went to Europe before his rock star tour.

But this is not about that. Even if she had been an ambassador for 20 years it would not have been enough for the Obamazoids.

Because this is not about her. It's about the fact that regardless how much a woman does, it's never enough.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dear Hypocrites:

Choice goes both ways. Feminists get this.

I have chosen at different times in my life to stay pregnant or to not stay pregnant. I was barely older than Bristol Palin, at 19, when I decided to have to have the kid. I had enough pressure from everyone around me not have him. But despite the supposedly well meaning pressure from friends, despite being absolutely pro-abortion right down to my bones, I wanted him. I can't explain it without using crappy metaphysical reasons. But I knew I was supposed to be his mom. And so I choose to stay pregnant. At other times in my life, I have chosen not to be pregnant.

I would hope that those of us who call our selves "pro-choice" would give Bristol Palin the benefit of the doubt about her own choice. And for the love of pete stop picking on a stressed out teenager. Those of you who continue to make her pregnancy an issue are hypocrites and assholes. Her individual choice is exactly that. Hers. Not yours to second guess or make political fodder out of.

So kindly STFU.

(And seriously- I know I am not the only one who is already sick to fucking death of having to defend a fundy godbag and her family from people who are supposed to be allies. Dear god could you people hate women any more?)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stream of consciousness blogging

In the beginning, this was called The White Papers. It started from a comment made by a former blogger here who was a friend in real life. We were talking about healthcare and I said i had been turning the problem over in my head for so long I could write a white paper on it. He said "then why don't you?"

Well it turns out that I am more of a pamphleteer than a wonk writer. Much like with fiction, I get bored out of my skull about 20 pages into writing anything. But I still love me some political theory.I mean love.

Ruth, a mathematician, and i were talking about the different ways we learn things. She sees things from their smallest parts up. I see them as a whole and then tear them apart. The best way I can describe it is that the Kid was talking to us about how there is a mathematical way to take a solid sphere, cut it into small pieces, then rearrange the pieces so you get a much larger sphere. Immediately in my head there was a sphere getting blown to bits, twirling about and rearranging itself like a 3d puzzle. Ruth saw it as a graph and started talking about line segments. Neither of our methods were wrong, and we could both get to the same result.

So I am thinking about the different ways that we see problems and solutions and how to overcome my boredom at writing more than 20 pages on a single topic. I am also thinking about how fucking awesomely democratic the internet is and what a wonderful thing that Wikipedia exists.

I am also thinking that maybe all my struggles to do things the established way is a complete load of shit (for me anyways). I've never been happy doing things in the order I was "supposed" to do them. See- having a child at 19 and refusing to marry his father (or any of the other perfectly respectable men who came after).

And somewhere in this mess of thoughts I also need to find a way to support my kid and myself. Theory is all well and good, but I can't feed the kid a theory sandwich or tuck him into a theory bed at night. There must be a way to do the things I want to do while obtaining the things I need. I just don't know how yet.


More proof our government isn't doing its basic job of protecting the people is the atrocious way we "help" poor, brown people during natural disasters.

Via BFP comes links to get real help to low income WOC in New Orleans right now.

Kate Harding has some quotes from people who can't evacuate the city.

And Redstar brings us the Katrina pain index.

If I was a praying person, I'd have my eyes shut tight for the residents of the gulf coast as well as those already hit in the Caribbean. My thoughts are with them regardless.

The parties (and therefore the government) no longer give a rats ass about you

I was reading Quin's fabulous piece Good Cop Bad Cop about the police actions at both the Dem and Rep conventions.

It's official- there is no government for us lowly citizens.

So my little chickadees, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to take back what is ours and force politicians to be responsive to us mere voters? I know I keep asking this, but until some brilliant idea strikes me I am going to be painfully redundant.

How do we get our politicians to do the right thing and look out for the people?

Now I've made more than a wee bit of a stink about the fact that Obama is anti-Keynesian. There is a reason for that, other than my increasing dislike for the guy.

Keynes had this radical idea that governments should protect people not just from the physical violence of war but the economic violence of downturns. Huhm, imagine that? A government that protects its people. Keynes' rational was that you temper the boom times a bit with higher taxes in order to cushion the busts. A very moderate idea. He certainly wasn't some radical commy. But recent governments have fucked that whole idea up. They temper the bad times, sure. If you happen to be wealthy the government will do everything in its power to keep you that way through a recession. But the little people, the regular people, are fucked. In all the talk about the current housing crisis, very little is being done to help the actual homeowners. And the it's about to get much worse. It's been easy so far for the PTB (powers that be) to blame the current foreclosures on bad people with bad credit who should have known that the American Dream of homeownership was not meant for them. But people who have good credit and didn't get subprime loans but got ARM (adjustable rate mortgages) are next on the foreclosure block. Where is the government now? Is it freezing interest rates on these loans? Is it putting a temporary halt on foreclosures? Is it doing anything to fix the people's problems? Or is it too busy figuring out which bank it's going to bail out next?

That's just one example. I am sure you peeps can think of a thousand more where the government is not acting in our interest. (healthcare, tuition costs, food and drug safety, clean air and water- take your pick).

So how do we make them listen to us now? How do we make the people we elect responsible to those of us who elected them? Old methods are failing, we need new and bold ideas for holding their feet to the fire.

"Progressives" piss me off too

I keep having the same stupid arguments with "progressives" who have swallowed a few bits of upper class lefty "common sense" without ever having bothered to check what they put in their mouths to begin with.

I am sure I must have bitched to you all about how those earth lovers bitching about overpopulation are generally privileged white folks complaining about brown people in the world. Haven't I? Well if I haven't, next time someone starts talking to you about overpopulation take a good look at the color of their skin, their class and their nationality. Are they white? Are they middle to upper class? Are they from a "developed" nation. Then their arguments are a boat load of racist crap. They use more resources as a single person than those large families in the developing world use all together.

Next- market corrections. Today was the first time I heard a proggy pit poor Americans against poor people everywhere else. But when it happens once it is bound to happen again. Besides, whatever the arguments in favor of "market corrections" are, the argument against them is always the same. What stock brokers and bankers think of as the markets balancing themselves out is code for screwing poor people. Always. Screw them out of pensions, mortgages, savings, 401ks. Screw them out of jobs and healthcare and housing. Always the result of a market correction is an increase in the strain on the poor.

So the proggy's argument in favor of this recent economic downturn a bunch of us are calling the Second Coming of the Great Depression is that we poor people can't keep expecting to pay slave wages to poor people in other countries to feed our Wal-Mart habits. Seriously.

First, it's not increased wages that has driven the cost of food up by 25% in the last year. Really, we'd notice if we were getting paid more. It's not increased foreign labor costs either. We know that companies just move to the next starving job market to keep costs low. But it makes the tiny men of the progressive movement feel better knowing they overpaid for organic free range eggs at Whole Foods so they can blame us poor people who have to by cheaper eggs, probably imported from China where they were collected by prison labor.

The market does not need a correction because poor people are so damn greedy they want to have their mac and cheese at the cost of other poor people. The market is fucked up because our government is acting irresponsibly towards us, the people, in favor of passing bills helpful to corporations who want us, the people, to buy their products at any price but are not willing to give us, the people, a living wage that would allow for the kind of crap consumption they desire to meet their income projection,

(FTR- the last time I was in a Wal-mart was at least 2 years ago.)

of lies and classism

One of the things you will hear lobbed at Sarah Palin is that her husband works for "Big Oil".

The truth? Her husband, who is blue collar, used to work as an oilfield technician. In Alaska, a place where blue collar jobs are limited.

A certain blogger, who is a feminist and considers herself to be one, went on a mad rant at me when i pointed that, together with the fact that accusing a woman for her husband's choices is sexist. She made it a point to note on her blog that all sexist attacks on Palin were off limits except for those about her husband's career choice.

Wtf? The guy was an oilfield technician and is now working as a fisherman. So, are now all the poor people who have to gain a piece of bread working for oil companies horrible monsters that do not deserve to live, on par with lobbyists and Dick Cheney?

So, it is better to not work than work a blue collar job, just because you work for an oil company? The classism of this leaves me breathless. Does this mean that it's better to not work than work for an HMO because they are what they are?

If Todd Palin's job means that he works for big oil in scary quotes and thus his wife is not to be trusted since she would be more friendly towards big oil interests, do we get to call Obama on his wife's employer? Michelle Obama works for University of Chicago Hospitals, where she has a symbolic vice president role. Does this mean that she is in the HMO's pockets and thus so is Obama ( thus explaining his aversion to UHC)? What about her work for TreeHouse Foods Inc?

It's not nice is it?

Or is it just a lie packed in a nice sexist and classist envelope from the same people for whom Hillary wasn't good enough? Or is it that sexist attacks on women not allied with us are OK?

They aren't

Some other blogger went so far as to compare Sarah Palin with Elena Ceausescu. So, because she is pro life, she deserves to be compared with someone who, as my country's history tells, was a sadistic murderess? Wow.


A note on Palin: she seems to keep her beliefs and her job separately. When the alaskan senate wanted to remove the benefits allowed to same sex partners of state employees, she vetoed the measure. I know loud alleged LGBT friends who have done a lot less.

I am not even sure I can call myself a feminist anymore. The word has become dirty.