Quick Hit: The Stupidity of Stupak

November 9, 2009

Note: I have no idea when I last posted, nor when I’ll get the chance to again. Turns out I haven’t abandoned you all after all.

It’s all over the feminist blogosphere, and until I get the chance to clear my head (read: the PTSD-induced reactions subside and I can feel safe leaving my house again), here are a couple of You Must Read takedowns of what I like to call the “Throw the (Poor! Middle Class!) Women (of Color)! Under The Bus” Amendment to the “Health Care Not-Really-For-All” Bill.

Pilgrim Soul @ The Pursuit of Harpyness: You Can Put Down Your Champagne Now (a quick overview)

Cynematic @ MOMocrats: The Stu-Pitts of Congress, and Women’s Healthcare From the Waist Up (in depth discussion, with estimated effects if the bill passes)

Meteor Blades @ DailyKOS: 64 Democrats on the Wrong Side of Stupak-Pitts (a list of all Dems who voted for the amendment; a list with demographics and website links is here.)

I’m cutting this off here, sans commentary, because I literally feel like my head is going to explode with rage because YET AGAIN women are the first to vote for Democrats and the last people Dems in office give a shit about.


disgusting

May 27, 2009

I don’t know what to say. Not that I’m awash with words these days anyways. I was actually a little surprised. fuckers. Just when the eastern states starting to grow up California goes retro.

“The court said it was OK for a majority of voters to treat a minority unequally and that’s a pretty frightening proposition,” said Jon Davidson, legal director of Lamba Legal, a gay-advocacy group.

exactly.


One less asshole in the Legislature

May 13, 2009

If you recall, which will be difficult since there are soooo many posts between this one and that one *ahem*, I had posted about a local homophobic politician being taken to task for being, well, homophobic. Well the provincial elections were tonight and I’m quite happy to say that there is at least one dumbass homophobe who WON’T be getting that kick-ass pension and voting against my rights! Yes, he lost, thankfully. However, his party won the overall election. But, like Obama, I’m sure Premier-elect Campbell’s lack of speaking out against his bigoted party member will in no way indicate that he doesn’t actually care about LGBT rights. Hmph.

One of the other things we British Columbians were voting for tonight was whether or not to drastically change our voting system. Instead of our standard, first-past-the-post system wherein even a slim majority in many ridings will result in a vast majority in the legislature, we were offered the chance to vote for a Single Transferrable Vote system.  This would mean that a Radical Feminist Party, if such a thing existed *swoon*, could get seats! No more domination by a slim majority! This was also the second time that the referendum was offered to BC citizens.

Well, it failed. Now, if it had followed the usual rules for referendums, then it would have passed the first time in 2005 (though maybe not this time). Instead, then as now, it needed to win 60% of the ridings, and win a majority of 60% in votes cast overall in order to pass. A double majority, in other words. A double majority of more than just 50 + 1, in fact. Would that Proposition 8 in California have had the same rules! Funnily enough, the same guy who set up the whole think tank to travel the province and hold meetings and research which system would be best to use is also the same guy who changed the law for this particular referendum only, and is also the same guy staying in power tonight. Huh. I wonder how he was wishing it would go? Hoping for accolades without actually doing anything maybe? Couldn’t be.

So we have a third straight majority win for the provincial Liberals. Which is pretty unusual for BC – I mean, our politics are kind of craaazy. Look at the riding of Mr Bigot: usually it’s a contest between a Conservative and a New Democrat. Not a Conservative and a Liberal, or a Liberal and an NDPer, but the right right wing against the left left wing (for those who don’t know, the New Democratic Party is so far left of Mr Sparklepants Obama that Obama would call them commies). We usually change Premiers the way others change their pants. Wackiness over here, kittens. The guy who essentially made sure that BC became a province? Had changed his name to Amor De Cosmos . Srsly.

Anyways. More Gordon Campbell. But at least, no Marc Dalton! FUCK YOU, Marc Dalton. We’ll remember you.


Prospective Provincial MLA Being Taken To Task for Bigotry

April 30, 2009

Fancy!

You know, it’s hard seeing the shit in the world everyday, being faced with people’s bigotry at every turn. So often we come across some kind of dumbassery and are faced with trying to explain why it’s crap to those who will make excuses for it. It can be maddening. It can be depressing. Those of us who work for social justice, whether officially, unofficially, or just interpersonally, can get bogged down by seeing all this shite. Sometimes, fleetingly, I wish I didn’t see what I see, or know what I know. Surely I’d be happier going along with the patriarchy? Being a social justice advocate of any stripe hurts because we see what others and/or ourselves are subject to. We see hate being ignored, or seen as funny. It can be depressing, being this awake. Of course, we would never change it, because by being awake we are also getting free.

In the last year or so I’ve been distinctly aware of needing to see some kind of progress, somewhere, if only for my sanity. How else do we not give up on humans altogether? So I try to note the good, along with the bad. Remembering the good can be helpful in arguments as well, as it can function as a contrast to what you’re fighting against, thus highlighting the inequities further. The comments made by legislators in Iowa recently, for example. After California’s Proposition 8, to see states come around to recognizing the legitimacy of gay and lesbian relationships gives us hope. It can also give us a place to live in our own country that’s somewhat less bigoted!

For myself, being Canadian, I don’t need to move to somewhere else in Canada to be able to marry my girlfriend, thank god. It was only in 2005 that Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same sex marriage federally. Our MPs voted on it twice, actually, the first time as the federal Liberal Party, headed by Paul Martin, tabled the bill initially, and the second time as our current PM, Stephen Harper, held a re-vote as he had promised in his election campaign (the Conservative Party had argued that the first vote wasn’t a free one, that Liberal MPs had to vote along party lines). For the record, the second, free, vote resulted in more MPs voting for same sex marriage than the first time around, even with the Conservatives in power. Ha!

I don’t mean to imply that Canada, or even my little corner of it, is free from homophobia because it most certainly isn’t. Violence is still an issue for the LGBT community, as is public harassment. However, on the bright side of things – as an indication of how things are getting better – Marc Dalton, a local politician who is running in our upcoming provincial elections has been outed (ahem) as saying some crap about homosexuality being a “moral” issue, like… oh I dunno, abortion! or adultery! So them gays shouldn’t be allowed to have gay clubs in high school (what his old email was in reference to, apparently). He’s a religious man, you see. Well, he said this some time ago, and someone has brought it to light. And he’s been getting a lot of crap for it and calls to step down from running in the election! He’s running for the provincial Liberal Party, who, while they share a name with the federal Liberals, aren’t really all that Liberal – so apparently his bigotry isn’t a problem. Their leader, Gordon Campbell, asked another political candidate to resign after some inappropriate FaceBook pictures came to light. But he’s said nothing about this guy. Goofing off on FaceBook = fired!  saying gays and lesbians are inherently immoral = fine no problemo. Now if it had been Paul Martin’s federal Liberals, we might have seen a call for resignation.

I had started this post thinking that a lot of “regular” folk were pissed off about it, but now I’m not so sure how true that is. Someone from another political party (the NDP, thankyouverymuch) has publicly called for his resignation, and the Province has framed their article in a way that sounds pro-lgbt rights. Some of the comments to these articles are frustrating and dismaying, of course. But there’s good stuff there as well. But the over-all impression I’ve gotten is that it’s generally seen as problem for this politician. That what he said is bigotry in action and as such, he should resign.

I was wanting to write something really hopeful, that the social tide was changing, slowly, to match some of the legal realities. But the more I think about it the less impressed I feel. I had started out thinking the glass was half full; now I’m thinking the glass is half empty again, and draining out of that crack down at the bottom.

But that’s the way fighting for social justice works, doesn’t it? Keeping hope alive is hard. Perhaps the election results will shore up my initial hopeful feelings about this issue and the Maple Ridge/Mission riding will kick Dalton to the curb, because bigotry should never be awarded or shrugged off in our politicians. May the citizenry will remember that.


The “images I’ve been meaning to blog” blogaround

February 14, 2009

These are all images that made me stop and think, “That’s interesting. I wonder what I could say about that.”

Let’s start with some economy!!1

A graph charting defense spending in the U.S. over the last decade. The area of interest is the last two data points, which show an increase from 494.3 billion to 527 billion, but which is being referred to as a "defense cut."

You really ought to read the article for this one, which is from Salon. Basically, there’s been a lot of right-wing hand-wringing about how Obama is cutting defense spending and that now terrorists will kill us and eat our puppies! Except that is a total lie, and Obama is increasing defense spending. This is a common thing for Republicans, isn’t it?

Speaking of politics…!

Above, Obama signs the Lily Ledbetter equal pay act, surrounded by happy women of several races, who are wearing a lot of red. Below, Bush signs the partial birth abotion ban, surrounded by a cadre of old white dudes in gray suits, standing at attention.

I found it here, on The F-Word. Even their expressions are so telling. Those women just look so happy! (I was going to specify, “the women photographed with Obama,” to clarify, except, oops!, Bush somehow forgot to include any in his photo…) This picture’s just here because it makes me smile, and provides a little hope that things will change.

I’m generally of the opinion that our system is flawed, though, which is why the following image really made me think:

main_animals

The website, More Party Animals, advocates for, well, more party animals. I’ve long felt that the two-party system is better than a one-party system, but still provides insufficient options. It leads to lazy thinking, as if every issue has exactly two sides. It makes it much easier for one party to have power over everything and completely steamroll the opposition (as opposed to in a minority government in Canada, say, where the leading party has the most representation, but still less than half, so that it must be able to compromise to accomplish anything. I know that “bipartisanship” is driving me crazy right now, but largely because the Republicans went so far with the power they had before, and because there’s no one further to the left of the Democrats with a loud enough voice to keep the discourse from shifting permanantly to the right. In general, though, I would be willing to put up with compromises from the liberal leadership as long as I could be sure that the conservatives, if/when they had power again, would be subject to the same need. So in an idea world, the particularly right-wing Republicans would greate a conservative party, the rest of the Republicans and the majority of the Democrats would merge to form a moderate party (i.e., what they already are), and then an actual liberal party would exist on the left. Because having just the center and the right represented in my government is going to drive me crazy.

Speaking of crazy!

mullarkey

(From this article, at Towelroad.) Apparently the artist, who likes to use gay pride imagery in her work, donated a thousand dollars to the Proposition 8 campaign. You know, the anti-gay one. It seems she doesn’t paint pride parades and such because she actually cares about the subjects– no, it’s just that Teh Ghey makes for great “spectacle.” The artist says, “Art is not about ‘appreciating.’ It is about looking. People get accustomed to viewing art through a filter of words: theories, press releases, the pieties of art appreciation. Spectacle cuts through the static…I’ve never really liked parades that much…But when the majorette is a middle-aged man in a tutu and sneakers you know you are not in Kansas and you might want to stay awake.” So, that’s sweet of her.

And, finally…

scifi_channel_2

It appears to be a promotion for something on the Sci Fi channel, but I found it here at L’image Blog (oh, stumbleupon!). I particularly like that it’s a cute, sweet-looking white girl scaring the “monster” in this one, since so often in these old movies (and, uh, current ones), it’s exactly that kind of character who would be the “fragile” victim. (Other kinds of women get a ton of crap in movies, too, obviously, but not usually this particular brand of crap. You have to “deserve” victimhood– the other, less wholesome women aren’t victims, they were asking for it.) The look on her face here really fascinates me, like she knows it’s a “hilarious” reversal because of its impossibility, but she still wants to take revenge for all the indigities she and women like her have suffered in film. I also feel like there’s something about the racial undertones of such movies, but I haven’t really seen enough of them to know (before my time)… King Kong was, uh, pretty awful, racially. And the lips on our lagoon creature here makes me suspect that not too much has changed, and makes me wonder more about the “woman getting revenge” aspect that I liked earlier.

So, ending on that ambiguous note, I am off to return to my life. If you have come across any other interesting images lately, please share in the comments! Or just add your thoughts about the ones I put up here.

Happy blogaround, everybody! And, uh, Valentine’s Day too, I guess.


“Oasis” music video and conversations about abortion

February 11, 2009

Regarding the “Oasis” controversy (explained in full at Shakesville), I wanted to point out something awesome but off-topic that I’ve noticed about the music video.

Pay attention to the abortion scene–

Isn’t that just a huge crowd of people around her? She’s got the nurses and the doctor, and her friend, and her boyfriend, and in the background the guy who raped her, and all the Christians marching around… they barely fit in one shot together!

I thought it was a really telling representation of the current discourse around abortion, which is to say, a ton of people’s opinions are involved in abortions that have nothing to do with them. Our lovely liberal president says, “historically I have been a strong believer in a woman’s right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family” (emphasis mine). People who aren’t (theoretically) pro-choice add a whole host of other decision-makers, including the fetus, God, and the angry protesters themselves. If you tried to put them all in the room when the abortion was taking place, it would be crowded!

So when I saw the video, I thought, “Let the poor woman breathe! It’s her decision– the rest of you are irrelevant!” I’m not sure if the video was trying to make that particular point, but it’s awesome nonetheless.


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…Don’t Delay!

February 5, 2009

So, I saw someone refer to this over on Shakesville the other day… Obama to delay ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal.

To which I say: WHAT.

I repeat, WHAT.

You see, I formed my opinion of our dear prez’s position on DADT from this video:

“Is the new administration going to get rid of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy?”

“Thaddeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s ‘Yes.'”

To me, that meant, well, YES. It didn’t mean THIS:

President-elect Barack Obama will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military’s decades-old ban on open homosexuals in the ranks, two people who have advised the Obama transition team on this issue say.

… However, Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus and then present legislation to Congress, the advisers said.

(from the Washington Times article linked above; emphasis mine.)

I thought we already reached a consensus, Mister President? The consensus was YES. You said so yourself! And I was so proud of you, too, to actually support something progressive without apologizing for it and using right-wing framing to talk about it. “Yes!” you said, and “YES!” I said, and all was gaiety and light!

Except… not, apparently. It needs more “analysis” so he can “assess” what do do about it (actual words taken from other headlines on the issue!). He should be ready to start talking about it in late 2010.  Nearly two years from now. After all, it’s “not in the top five priorities of national issues.”

WHAT.