Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday cat blogging--time-out edition

Roxie relaxes on top of her time-out crate, where she sometimes has to spend a few hours in the early morning. It has a little bed in it, and there used to be a teddy bear in there, but Tarzan stole it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

That's some gaydar!

Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear were looking for a reasonably priced place to stay for a while, so they went to Affordable Suites of America in Sumter, South Carolina. At the desk, they asked about rates, deposits, and things of that nature, and then were cut short by the clerk, who said "We don't rent to multiple people of the same sex." "So you don't rent to gay couples?" Pickel asked her. "No," she said, "we don't rent to gay people at all."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Language and sexism: a glimmer of hope

As regular readers know, I am chronically outraged that people are quickly called down when they make racist remarks and use racist language, but not when they make sexist remarks and use sexist language. However, a recent unpleasant incident in New Orleans actually has a silver lining.

Ralph Lupin, chairman of the Vieux Carre Commission, who--along with many others--is angry that Sanitation Director Veronica White will not budge in her decision to use a trash pickup system that is difficult to negotiate in the French Quarter. Lupin, speaking at a VCC meeting, said: "I don't understand Ms. White's obstinance, other than that she's a bitch."

In his always-insightful column, Jarvis DeBerry made the point that not only was Lupin's statement an example of misogyny, but--given that White is African American--it was also a nasty reminder of how men react when black women dare to be assertive. (Lupin, for his part, is oh, so upset at being called racist.)

And behold! Take a look at today's Times-Picayune letters to the editor, here, here and here.

Indeed, why aren't there more women's groups--all over the country--protesting this kind of remark?

By the way, the reference to the City Council spokeswoman who was fired for making an insensitive remark concerns a racist comment made by a public relations woman. She lost her job right away, but as a rule, you can say anything you like about women and girls and not even be reprimanded. You can even be a sex criminal and be elected governor of the largest state in the U.S. Anything goes. But at least, today, there is a little tiny bit of hope.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not ALL men, Chris

Speaking on MSNBC's Imus In the Morning show today, Chris Matthews said: "You only hear criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton from smart, college-educated women. They're the ones that always have a problem with her." Matthews then explained that men "are afraid to talk like that."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Jerks on a bus

Inductive fallacy--it's not just for conservatives

This morning, I saw a post on a message board that went something like this: "Clinton and Giuliani--what's the difference except for the plumbing?"

The poster was understandably fed up--who of us isn't?--with Sen. Clinton's pandering to the right. I understand the frustration. Like most Democrats, Clinton does not understand that she will not be elected or rejected based on whether she suddenly distances herself from gay marriage or ending a war.

But the poster's question is also ludicrous. Clinton's championing of civil liberties, while not quite where I want it to be, is nevertheless impressive. Giuliani? He was sued over two dozen times over civil liberties when he was mayor of New York, and he lost every case. And he has never figured out what church/state separation means. That alone makes Clinton far and away a better candidate than Giuliani (unless, of course, you don't give a damn about your civil liberties).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Women are not safe anywhere

From Tennessee Guerilla Women, I learned about this, which is way too disgusting and alarming for me to even discuss.

Homeland Security up your butt--for real

A fistula-in-ano is an abnormal connection between the rectum and skin that can cause pain, bleeding, infections, and discharge of fecal matter through openings in the body other than the anus. The condition is generally caused by infection of a gland within the anal canal. Bacteria multiply and create an absess that goes through the rectal wall to the surrounding skin. The condition can also be caused by cancer, Chron's Disease, and an episiotomy that does not heal.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Riddle me this

Barack Obama says he cannot support gay marriage because of his religion. His religion supports gay marriage. Does anyone have a clue about what is going on?

"Just Vote For the Bitch"

That's the slogan printed on T-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers promoting the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Perhaps I have finally turned into the much-criticized humorless feminist, but I am nothing but disgusted by this. Can you imagine Edwards T-shirts that say "Just Vote For the Faggot"? Or how about Obama T-shirts that say "Just Vote For the Terrorist"? If you can, your imagination is the only place you'll see these shirts. Because to print them would be offensive, yes?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Another dissatisfied lesbian comes forward?

Sgt. Marcia Ramode told a gay man via email that "being gay is disgusting and immoral." She also suggested that African Amerians "Go back to Africa and do your gay Voodoo limbo tango and wango dance and jump around and prance and run all over the place half naked there." Ramode is a recruiter for the U.S. Army, and she said these things in her capacity as a recruiter.

I'm sorry, but when someone risks her job to tell a gay person that being gay is disgusting and immoral, I have to think that somewhere, there is a girlfriend who needs to do some outing.

In (very weak) defense of Ray Nagin

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I think Mayor Nagin is an idiot who should be recalled. He is a spineless hypocrite. But the stopped clock theory nevertheless prevails, and while Nagin has been bashed by every possible critic on each end of the political spectrum, it is New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist James Gill who gets it right: Everything Nagin said when he recently spoke to a group of black journalists was correct; he blew it when he over-stated it and, once again, sounded like an idiot.

From Gill's column in yesterday's paper:

Of course Nagin is right to assert that black people get the short end of the stick, in New Orleans and elsewhere, and that the mass Katrina evacuation was not greeted with universal regret in some white circles. He is not the only public official to have suggested that federal aid would have been more promptly distributed in a community with more whites and Republicans.

It is also true that the demographic changes wrought by the storm emboldened white candidates who would never have thought they had a hope of winning office before the storm.

Nagin is correct to suggest that black people were alive to the threat and turned out to vote for him because they were not about to relinquish "what we have fought for over many, many years."

Gill continues:

But he couldn't leave it at that....One must hope that he was just being provocative in suggesting that shadowy figures organized the diaspora to "change the electoral process" and that their "model" is being studied in other cities where black voters are regarded as an inconvenience.

Gill is spot-on, as usual. I firmly believe that people should speak out, even if what they have to say makes other people uncomfortable. I am sick and tired, for example, of so-called feminists watering down their message until it sounds like their only purpose is to kiss the ass of the patriarchy. I don't have a problem with Nagin's calling racism racism. But every time he says something completely ridiculous that he cannot back up with any proof, he gives people permission to dismiss everything he has said.

Also in yesterday's paper, columnist Jarvis DeBerry suggests Nagin employ a speechwriter and use some notes.

Larry Summers was right about at least one female

From a "Fresh Air" commentary by Geoffrey Nunberg, via Feminist Law Professors: Dr. Louann Brizendine's book, The Female Brain, which David Brooks thinks is wonderful, and which has been discussed and "reviewed" cutely and positively throughout the news media, has a flaw--everything in it is fabricated. Brizendine, instead of relying on available research, pulled the "facts" out of her ass and got away with it. Not one media outlet columnist chose to check actual scientific research before discussing the book.

You will recall that Brizendine asserts that women talk significantly more than men, that women talk faster than men that women think about sex once a day, etc. None of it has any basis in fact. None.

There are some conclusions (not based on research) that can be logically drawn from this: 1. Members of the news media are lazy and couldnt' care less about accuracy. 2. The news media is very happy to present ridiculous stereotypes about women any time it can. 3. Americans do not have the slightest interest in whether "information" is factual.

Oh, and conclusion number 4: Dr. Brizendine is an unethical doctor who will do anything for fame and money.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

" have to trust us, it's not about transgenderism"

That's what the city commissioners of Largo, Florida said after they finalized the dismissal of City Manager Steve Stanton today in a six-hour meeting. After Stanton announced he was planning to live his life as a woman, the commission voted to dismiss him last month. The mayor and one commissioner voted to keep Stanton, but the other five members of the commission voted to fire him.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Just a reminder

The Canadian seal hunt begins next week. Last year, Canadians clubbed and shot 350,000 seals, most of them babies (some under two weeks old), and many of them still alive when they were skinned.

Here is more information, as well as a pledge you can sign to boycott Canadian seafood.

Friday cat blogging---dust mop edition

Roxie has always enjoyed helping dust-mop the floors

But Ziggy Stardust has made dust-mopping a priority task

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is there someone who can beg the prosecutors to appeal this case?

If ever someone belonged in prison, it is James Tobin, whose conviction has been reversed by an appeals court.

The Ohio slime gets thicker

As if the intimidation, roll-purging, law-breaking, and machine-tampering in Ohio in 2004 were not enough, Kos gives us this.

This is a good start

But how about also restricting membership to those who are not whackjob rapists?

In the UK, they must be falling down laughing

Over this. Because in Parliament, you can say close to whatever the hell you please.

And isn't it interesting that Congressman Taylor spoke truth, and not even in an uncivil way, and had his speaking privileges removed, but former Rep. Bob Barr called Rep. Barney Frank "fag" and didn't even have to miss dessert?

Wolfgang Puck finally comes around

It took seven years of educating and campaigning by Farm Sanctuary (overlooked by the New York Times) and the Humane Society of the U.S., but Wolfgang Puck has finally removed foie gras, battery-hen eggs, and crated veal from his menus. This is not, of course, a real "victory" for humane eating, because all farm animals, no matter how well they are treated, end up at the same sloppily run nightmare slaughterhouses. But it is a start.

A bit of good news

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" is coming back!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

UK national security priorities similar to ours--oh baby!

A terrorist can look like this. Or this. Or maybe even this.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Azaleas are everywhere

Nothing says spring (not my favorite time of year, by the way) like azaleas. Here is a stand in the wild part of our yard that I used to have to walk a good distance to see. Now that so many trees have been removed because of Katrina, I can see it through my home office window. The people who built this house planted several azaleas in the wooded areas of the property, and they are nice surprises to come upon when you are strolling through the pines and oaks.

There are also azaleas in our side yard. There used to be three large ones right outside my kitchen window, but something mysterious happened to them that caused them to die, which was quite sad. My favorite is the Japanese azalea I planted several years ago, which blooms about three times a year.

During March, walking or riding around our community is a treat because of some of the dazzling displays of azaleas. All I have to do is walk outside--our neighbors have multiple stands of them. There is also a public garden not too far from here that is open only during azalea season.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blanco decides not to run again--leaves with a reputation somewhat worse than she deserves

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco announced this evening that she does not intend to seek a second term as governor. Only a few days ago, she announced her intention to run, but had a change of heart. She will be remembered as the governor who bungled both Katrina and post-Katrina, and that is not an accurate picture of her governorship.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Just in case you haven't read it...

Salon's "The private war of women soldiers," by Helen Benedict, is a comprehensive look at what our military thinks of women who are risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today's gift of whimsy and beauty--a little fairy dust

Because I am heartsick about this, sickened by this, disgusted by this, and frightened by this, it is with gratitude that I can have a cup of Prince of Wales tea and watch my friend Diana's new music video, "Fairy Carousel," featuring Diana and the Fairydust Ensemble. Because delightfully soothing music and fairy dust can take away the pain. You probably need a break, too, so you can watch Diana's video here.

Mauresmo out for a month--what a bummer

Just two days after President Chirac pinned the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur medal on her, Amelie Mauresmo complained of stomach pains. On Sunday, she pulled out of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and had surgery for appendicitis. She will be out for a month, and will miss the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida (where she was seeded number 1), the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, and probably her Fed Cup matches.

For weeks, I have been looking forward to finally getting to meet Mauresmo and see her play in Charleston. Mauresmo is a wine collector, and we had even planned to get her a gift from our local award-winning vineyard; Family Circle Cup officials were facilitating this for us.

So I am as disappointed as I can be. There is a great lineup in Charleston, and I was realistic enough to know that at least one top player would pull out, but why, oh why, did it have to be my favorite player in the WTA? All I can do now is hope that Martina Hingis stays healthy.

A reminder about Easter candy

Last year, 125,000 pigs died so that children could "celebrate life" at Easter by eating 800,000,000 Marshmellow Peeps.

Meatout is today

Today is the annual Meatout, with art, educational and activist events held all around the world. The goal is for people to refrain from eating meat for just one day, and to learn about healthy, nonviolent ways to eat.

My own meatout has been in progress for 30 years, and it still amazes me when people ask "What do you eat?" "The same things you do, I tell them, "but without the meat."

It is extremely difficult to be vegan in a consumer society (for example, my feet are so narrow, I am forced to wear leather shoes--human-made ones do not fit; some of the capsules I have to take are made of gelatin; and I would have to travel 80 miles to buy vegan wine, and even then, the selection is very small). As someone pointed out to me a few years ago, many organic farmers kill garden invaders, so growing one's own food is the only guarantee that even organic produce is actually cruelty-free.

But we can all strive to be as vegan as possible, and the first step is to adopt a vegetarian diet. If you are at a loss about preparing vegetarian food, there are many good cookbooks available. Kathy of What Do I Know? is providing a number of resources for this year's Meatout, so be sure to check them out.

And if you are still unaware of the unspeakable horrors of factory farming, here is a good place to start learning.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chatman resignation raises questions not answered by sports features or gossip columns

The sports world was stunned recently when LSU women's basketball coach Pokey Chatman announced she was resigning her position to "pursue other career opportunities." There was no mention of being lured away by another school, such as Florida, who had shown an interest in hiring Chatman, nor was there any talk about a failure to negotiate a better contract, something Chatman could have realistically fought for. The vagueness of the announcement caused most people to suspect that something else was up, and indeed it was.

The news was all the more shocking because Chatman is one of the most respected coaches in the country, she is a legend in Louisiana, and she is nothing short of a folk hero in Baton Rouge. The band played the "Hokey Pokey" when she walked onto the court, and Chatman never minced words with either the media or opposing coaches. She was known, in fact, for being one of the most open and accessible figures in American sport. As a student athlete, Chatman broke twenty records, five of which she still holds, and her coaching record is equally impressive.

But the Lady Tigers' coach, it turns out, engaged in "innappropriate behavior" with a former student. There are no details as to who the student was, how long ago the behavior occurred, or for what duration it occurred. What is known is that an LSU employee learned of the behavior and informed the LSU athlethic department about it. For its part, the LSU athletic department appeared completely stunned by Chatman's announcement, and took no move to denigrate her reputation in any way.

More than likely, we will never know what really happened. Did a recently enlightened parent give Chatman an ultimatum? Did a disgruntled employee decide to reveal Chatman's indiscretion? Or did the student in question not get what she thought was rightfully hers and made the relationship public? Whatever happened, it seems obvious that Chatman crossed a serious boundary with a student and is now facing the consequences, which is as it should be. But there are other troubling questions about the incident that need to be answered.

The people of Louisiana are aware of the open secret that other LSU athletic department figures have engaged in sexual relationships with students, yet these LSU employees have not felt the pressure to resign from their positions. I am not formulating an apologia for Chatman, but—feeling quite certain that she is not the first one at her school, and in her department, to cross a forbidden boundary with a student—I do feel we need to ask why she is leaving, and her peers get to stay.

There is more than one obvious answer. First, Chatman is a woman, and women are expected to be able to curb their sexual appetites—at least by those who believe that women even have sexual appetites. As we have seen over and over in rape, sexual assault and sexual harrassment cases, men are generally considered "unable to help themselves" when it comes to the temptation of heterosexual sex. We still tell women not to "dress suggestively," and our military women who are raped and assaulted by their male peers are told in various ways that they "should have seen it coming." The message that women and girls get is: Men cannot control themselves, so it is up to you to prevent criminal sexual activity.

The next answer involves Chatman's sexual orientation. There is already a sizeable portion of the population who believes that all LGBT people are predators, that every lesbian or bisexual woman is—as Laura Dern fans know—just waiting to be awarded that coveted toaster oven for getting new "converts" to the "homosexual agenda." To those people, the news about Chatman's indiscretion just reinforces that belief.

Finally, Chatman is African American. Though there is no reason to believe that a white lesbian would have fared any better, being black automatically makes Chatman one-down. Let's be honest: If Pokey Chatman were brilliant in physics or American history, the chances are slim that she would be at the top of her profession. Women have a rough time of it in academia, and our well-known set of cultural biases tells us that being black and lesbian can only make the journey more difficult.

Chatman says that part of her philosophy is to have an attitude that creates excitement when failure occurs because of the great challenge that failure presents. Her philosophy is now being put to the test. Pokey Chatman should not have done what she did. She crossed a sacred student-teacher, student-coach boundary, and abused her privilege as an authority figure. Whatever happens, she brought it on herself. But if Chatman is taking a fall while heterosexual white men at her school get a pass, that is also wrong. Every professor or coach who has sex with a student is equally guilty, and they should all face the same consequences.

Looking for women

Check out the Google directory of websites under the category "society," sub-category, "activism." No "feminism," no "women's rights." Now look under "society," sub-category "issues." No "feminism," no "women's rights." The only place you see "women" is under the general category, "society." Then, under "women," you can find "feminism," "women's studies" and "women's rights."

If this seems picky, check out every other issue and activist subject, and you'll find each of them in all of the sub-categories.

Perhaps we should take them out to dinner and buy them gifts, too

Now that Louisiana is the last state to permit cockfighting, an activity our governor once called a "rich cultural tradition," Louisiana house speaker Joe R. Salter says he will finally vote for a ban on the activity, but only if the "industry" is given a few years to "adjust."

It's bad enough when, on those rare occasions a cruel factory farming procedure is shut down and the industry has to be given years to adjust. But in the case of cockfighting, do we really need to cater to the "industry"?

Last year, there were plenty of votes to ban cockfighting, but instead of placing the law in the judiciary committee where it belonged, it was given to the agricultural committee, where it was sure to die, which it did. This year, the governor, in the briefest of statements, has announced that she, too, supports the ban.

Poor state Nick Gautreaux. "It’s a way of life in our area," he explained with tears in his eyes. Cockfighting, according to Gautreaux, could "lead a young man away from a life of crime and degeneracy and toward a more productive existence." I'm not making this up. This idiot, an elected official in Louisiana, believes that intensive cruelty to animals can prevent crime.

French Open to award equal prize money

I forgot to announce this last week.

Anti-war protesters arrested in Colorado Springs

Seven Iraq war protesters who had a permit to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Colorado Springs were arrested Saturday for refusing to cooperate with the police. The protesters wore green "peace" shirts and carried signs that said "Kids Not Bombs" and "End This War Now." Despite the possession of a permit, the marchers were halted by police when parade organizers saw their signs and asked the police to intervene.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

It isn't just the White House

If you want to see some strange and twisted definitions of "morality," you have only to look to Louisiana.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hantuchova has a message for the WTA: "I'm back"

In her first tournament win in five years--and only the second in her strange career--14th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova defeated 2nd-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the finals today at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California. Hantuchova got the job done in straight sets--6-3, 6-4, which was no surprise to anyone who has been following this tournament. She saved a match point and took Martina Hingis out in the quarterfinals, and won a grueling three-hour semifinal against Shahar Peer.

As the commentators noted, this is a new Hantuchova, who can move a bit faster, who now has a forehand to go with her powerful backhand, and who--most of all--believes she can win, and isn't caving under the pressure of her own perfectionism. Hantuchova's only other tournament win was also at Indian Wells, in 2000. After that huge success, she began second-guessing everything she did. Her parents divorced, which caused her significant psychic pain, and the sports press speculated that she had an eating disorder because she became so thin. Hantuchova remained silent about her problems, but later, said that she became thin because, after learning about her parents, she could not eat. She also said that she did not discuss any of these matters with the press out of regard for her parents' privacy.

It has been a slow climb back for Hantuchova, who was once number 5 in the world. After today's win, she will be number 12 in the world. The Daniela Hantuchova of even a year ago would have choked today's match away, but this new Hantuchova stayed as cool as the desert was hot throughout her match with Kuznetsova.

Oh, so shocking

Sometimes The Raw Story's headlines are very yellow, other times they are flat-out misleading. But there is one today that is just plain naive--STUNNER: WHITE HOUSE DIDN'T PROBE LEAK. Right...because we all expected an investigation.

Justin Timberlake video a misogynist throwback to Production Code times

If Will H. Hays were alive today, he would love Justin Timberlake. In Timberlake's video for "What Goes Around," Scarlett Johansson plays the love interest. Actually, she is with another man when Timberlake picks her up. They hook up, and later, Timberlake discovers her with the first man. He is physically violent with both of them, but Johansson--in true Hays Commission fashion--dies in a car crash. Such a death was common for film "bad women" (at least they called them "women" then) who "transgressed," usually by having sex.

The Production Code ruined, or almost ruined, several really good films. One that comes to mind is the great film (which many of us consider the great gay film) "Gilda," made in 1946, and starring Rita Hayworth. At the end of "Gilda," Hayworth was forced to go completely out of character and atone for her "sins" so that the film could be shown to American audiences.

No problem with "What Goes Around," though. The man goes all violent on the woman and the other man, and the woman gets a fitting punishment by dying a violent death.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Congratulations again to Amelie Mauresmo!

Today, Mauresmo officially received the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, which I reported last July. No one could represent France better.

When does gameswomanship go over the line?

Many people have complained about Maria Sharapova's unauthorized bathroom breaks, which always seem to occur when she is losing (in all fairness, her anxiety could actually cause the need for a bathroom break). But taking bathroom breaks is nothing compared to the stunt that Daniela Hantuchova has been pulling during the Pacific Life tournament in Indian Wells, California.

It is an unwritten law in tennis that people play at the server's pleasure. The server dictates the speed, no matter how slow, a la Mary Pierce, or how fast--for example, Steffi Graf and Jelena Jankovic (whose speedy service game has won her the nickname "JJ Express").

Pierce has a long-time habit of going beyond the 25-second time allowed for service preparation, yet few umpires have called her on it (though one chose championship point of the French Open to do so). What Hantuchova has going on, though, is something else again. She is turning her back on her opponent, in an elaborate ritual, before her opponent's serve. This is way out of line because it takes away the server's implicit authority to dictate the serve. The chair umpire should be telling her to stop, but this isn't happening. Her opponents have the right to ask that she be told to stop, but so far, they have not done so. This could be because it does not bother them, but it could also be because America's cultural climate--nowhere more on parade than in sports--dictates that complaining that someone is breaking a rule is somehow wimpy.

Hantuchova has come a long way. Once number 5 in the world, she has won only one singles tournament (she is a doubles expert, with a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles)--the 2000 Pacific Life Open--in her career. Family problems caused her to disintegrate, and only recently has she shown she can control her emotions on the court. She is a very gifted player and a good athlete, despite her relative slowness on the court. I want to cheer for her comeback. But her current court behavior motivates me to do just the opposite.

What I want is for her next opponent to serve to her back, and let the chair umpire deal with it.

Friday cat blogging--blanket wars edition

This is Velma's blanket, and make no mistake about it. She likes to take naps on it, and at night, if she isn't sleeping on the wicker chair in my home office, she gets on her blanket, props her feet up on my lap, and watches movies with me on television. Last night, while Velma was sleeping on the wicker chair, one of our kittens, Ziggy Stardust, got on her blanket and watched the Roddick v. Ljubicic match with me on ESPN2. After the match, I took care of a few matters, then did what I always do--lifted a sleeping Velma from the wicker chair to carry her into the living room (this is because I close my office door at night to protect my belongings from Roxie) and place her on her blanket--only the blanket was occupied! So I put her in her cat bed, another favorite place, but she would have none of it. She jumped onto the chair and gave Ziggy a look. When that didn't work, she gave him a swat. He hit her back, which is unusual, and soon, paws were flying. It goes without saying that the big, intimidating tortie cat won, so I carried Ziggy into the bedroom and placed him on the bed, where he could pout comfortably.

Velma's sister, Roxie is allowed to relax on the blanket with Velma.

And when Velma isn't around, Ziggy Stardust enjoys her blanket. Tarzan likes the blanket, too, but here, he's just glad to be next to Ziggy.

Could there be anyone more annoying than Patrick McEnroe?

Sometimes I think Pam Shriver is more annoying, but then I see McEnroe again, and the contest ends. From his uncombed hair to his poorly tied ties to his "cute" sexism to his relentless platitudes, McEnroe makes me nauseous. Tonight, he showed his ass all over again during a discussion of Sybille Bammer.

Ranked 33 in the world before she came into the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Bammer is having a remarkable run. She had a bye in the first round, crushed up-and-comer Anastasia Rodionova in straight sets in the second round, and beat the talented Peng Shuai in straight sets in the third. In the round of 16, Bammer dropped a set, but just barely, to phenom Ana Ivanovic (world no. 14), in a tiebreak, then ran over Ivanovic in the last two sets. Then she took out favorite Tatiana Golovin (world no. 19) in straight sets, winning 23 of her 24 first serves.

McEnroe's contribution to the discussion? "Sybille Bammer--a mother!"

Yes, Sybille Bammer has a little girl. Lleyton Hewitt has a child. Max "The Beast" Mirnyi has two children, Fabrice Santoro has a child, Jonas Bjorkman has a child, Sebastien Grosjean has two children, Tim Henman has a child, and several other less-known ATP players have children. And when one of them plays really well, McEnroe says "Lleyton Hewitt--a father!"

Sure he does.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Department of Labor ignores law, fails to protect nuclear industry whistle-blowers

Though federal law requires the Department of Labor to safeguard whistle-blowers from reprisal, the department has been ignoring the law with regard to those who have complained about environmental and nuclear safety problems. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Commission, is accusing the DOL of being compliant in blacklisting, which is a violation of federal law.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Is the Iraq war the Democrats' "guns, gays and God"?

More and more, I see Democrats and other so-called liberals saying they are willing to give candidates like Chuck Hagel a whirl if they continue their anti-war stance. Chuck Hegal, as I pointed out recently, has never once in his career voted to uphold Americans' civil liberties, nor has he ever voted to protect the environment. And, as I also pointed out, there are still many unanswered questions about his landslide win in a race he was supposed to lose or barely win, and his co-ownership (with Christian Dominionists) of the voting machine company whose machines counted the votes.

I also see some of these people say they are willing to look at "liberal" Giuliani. Right. When Giuliani was mayor of New York, he was sued over two dozens time for violating the civil rights of New Yorkers. He lost every case.

And there are those who want to bury the LBGT rights issue because the war is "more important."

is more important than people's civil liberties. Because people were willing to give up their civil liberties to "fight terrorism," we are in a gigantic mess. If we give them up to get out of Iraq, we are still in a giant mess. Liberals like to accuse conservatives of not paying attention to facts. Pot, meet kettle.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

California woman, kept alive with marijuana, again declared a potential federal criminal

Angel Raich has an inoperable brain tumor, a seizure disorder, scoliosis, severe chronic pain, chronic nausea, nd some other ailments that leave her unable to eat and cause her to be officially dying. You may recall that, five years ago, the 41-year-old Oakland woman sued then-U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft and the federal government over her right to use medical marijuana, which is legal in California. According to her doctors, she will die without it. According to a federal appeals court, she can drop dead.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The indoor winter garden

N. 'Thalia' in a crystal vase. 'Thalia' has been in our garden for years but has never done much. However, after the great post-Katrina tree removal, it is now blooming nicely, and it has a lovely scent. When the bloom season is over, our scattered 'Thalia' will be dug and planted in a new back yard bed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dear General Pace:

You poor ignorant thing...Do you consider any of the following things to be "immoral"?

  • U.S. soldiers who sexually assault other U.S. soldiers
  • U.S. soldiers who rape other U.S. soldiers
  • U.S. soldiers who threaten other U.S. soldiers they have sexually assaulted and/or raped
  • U.S. soldiers who cover up for U.S. soldiers who have sexually assaulted, raped and/or threatened other U.S. soldiers
  • U.S. soldiers who torture prisoners
  • U.S. soldiers who rape and/or kill non-threatening Iraqi civilians
  • a Commander in Chief who determines, upon unpacking his suitcase in 2000, that the U.S. will attack Iraq after he has told enough lies to get a lazy Congress and an ignorant nation to support him
  • an administration that slashes the budget for active-duty soldiers and their families, giving them poorer quality health care and less income
  • an administration that slashes the budget for veterans, giving them poor quality health care or no health care at all and leaving many of them homeless

Just checking...

University of Nebraska takes matters into its own hands

The University of Nebraska has a specialty in the study of indigenous peoples, so it decided to hire Bolivian expert Waskar Ari as an assistant professor of history and ethnic studies, to teach from August 15, 2005, to May 16, 2008. However, Professor Ari has yet to teach a class because the Department of Homeland Security will not process his paperwork.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Local "liberal" woman runs as a man

My community is very conservative, but there are liberals here, even serious liberals (like me). One of the big liberals in our town is a woman who served as Cindy Sheehan's attorney and sponsor, was president of the local NAACP, and even lost her scout troop. She is running for the city council--talk about a snowball's chance in hell--and her signs say we should vote for her for "councilman at large."

Give me a break. First, as conservative as people are around here, I don't think they object at all to women calling themselves women. And anyway, it is delusional to think that taking out the cursed "w" word is going to help you if you are already known as one of most evil liberals in the community. It's bad enough when women like Hillary Rodham and Teresa Heinz change their names to suit their husbands' candidacies, but for a woman in the 21st Century to change her gender is ridiculous.

Of course, there is also the outside chance that the candidate is one of those many liberals who does not include feminism on her liberal agenda. I don't know. I don't live in the city anymore, so the election isn't my business. But the cowardice of this woman's campaign sign makes me not respect her.

A big bouquet to Katie Couric

Katie Couric's March 8 commentary, "Words Matter," says so much in so few words. In just a few sentences, she explains why calling things "gay" and using other offensive terms to mean "stupid" or "dorky" is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's not about "political correctness," Couric says, "but about doing the right thing." You can download this great commentary here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I have good news and bad news

The good news is that Rev. R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has acknowledged that homosexuality is not a "choice," but is part of one's genetic makeup. We know that he has acknowledged this because of the bad news: Mohler says he would support medical treatment that would change a fetus's sexual orientation.

Given the consequences of the Fall and the effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation or link is found. After all, the human genetic structure, along with every other aspect of creation, shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God's judgment.

In other words, God is punishing the human race by making some people gay. But if we could get rid of the "sin" before birth, we could help God along.

All in all, I consider Mohler's statement to be good news. Somehow, it has occurred to at least one leader of the crazies that people don't wake up one morning and say to themselves, "Wow! What fun it would be to live in secret, get insulted, be shut out of my Constitutional rights, and get beaten up. I think I'll be become gay!"

Friday, March 09, 2007

FBI violated civil liberties repeatedly in issuance of national security letters

For some time now, the FBI has insisted that it is using the Patriot Act's national security letters function with caution and discretion. National security letters were used by the agency between 2003 and 2005 to obtain the personal records of U.S. residents and visitors, and a court order is not required to issue one. Corporations and other organizations receiving national securing letters are told that part of federal compliance is that they keep the request and the reply secret.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday cat blogging--Welome to the jungle!

We got fun 'n' games

We got everything you want...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Going out of our way to oppose Clinton

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not wildly enamored of Sen. Clinton as a presidential candidate, but I am not that keen on any of the Democratic candidates (I am not even a Democrat), save Dennis Kucinich. But as readers also know, I am a Clinton apologist because I think that a lot of the opposition to her is mean-spirited and sexist. And the sexist opposition to her often comes from women. Some of it comes, for example, from Ariana Huffington, who berates Clinton for doing the same thing that all of the male candidates do, only Huffington does not go after them. Gloria Feldt, writing in Women's eNews, breaks it down quite well.

The bottom line is, I want a woman to be president--it is way past time. Clinton is not the woman I would personally select, but she also has an excellent voting record in a lot of areas, and I do not reject her, either. We could do much, much worse under a system that rewards mediocrity and punishes individualism. I generally vote for the Green candidate, but if Clinton is the nominee, I will support her.

In the meantime, what Feldt says makes a lot of sense.

You can help Sibel Edmonds

Please go over to Let Sibel Edmonds Speak and find out how you can help remove the gag the Edmonds case. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Sibel Edmonds and what she has gone through knows that her case is probably the biggest story of the last decade, which is why the government wants her kept silent. Please help Congressmen Waxman and Conyers let Sibel Edmonds finally speak.

What is it with "liberals"' interest in Chuck Hagel?

Because Hagel is against the war, so-called liberals are looking at him as a "not so bad" Republican. That is ridiculous. First, there are the unanswered questions about Hagel's co-ownership (with Dominionist Christians) of a voting machine company, and his consequent landslide win in an election he was expected to either lose or win by a few votes. Hagel has removed this venture from his resume, and the news media has never talked about his opponent's lawsuit against him.

But beyond the scandal that the media will not call a scandal, there is the fact that Hagel has a 0% rating from NARAL, a 0% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and he has voted 95% of the time for Bush's agenda.

There is a component missing from some conservatives' brains

Something that causes them not to get that it's about the hypocrisy. Cpl. Matt Sanchez, writing for Salon, is all upset that the same liberals who are now blogging about his colorful career in gay pornography and prostitution would normally be celebrating his contribution to diversity.

Listen up, Matt: It's not about you. That's probably hard for you to grasp, since there appears to be a thread of narcissism running throughout your remarks, but it simply is not about you. It's about how the gay-hating, people of color-hating members of the right wing thought you were so cool when you were a soldier boy complaining about mean liberals.

But here's the deal, Matt: They hate pornography, not because it demeans women (they're into that), but because it is about sex. They totally loathe gay men, and they are not fond of Hispanic people as a group. That is why we are blogging, Matt. It's not about you; it's about them, and their mind-boggling hypocrisy.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Saving the children from words

Why can't young people hear the word "vagina"? I suppose for the same reason they cannot hear the word "scrotum."

Because their parents are ignorant buttheads who believe that anything involving sex is evil. Of course, most of them had sex (or some poor excuse for it) in order to have the children they are "protecting," so that makes them evil, too.

What is shameful is that a child would not know the names of her body parts.

Thanks to feministe for this.

U.S. Attorney in Arkansas known for committing voting rights crime

In December of last year, George W. Bush chose Karl Rove's assistant, Timothy Griffin, to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Greg Palast writes today that the House Judiciary Committee missed a major scandal when it omitted Griffin's appointment from its agenda yesterday: Griffin, according to reporters from the BBC, was behind the scheme to disenfranchise 70,000 citizens in Florida in 2004.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

More nauseating material

A collection of ads that are blatantly offensive to women, or in the case of Dior (a company I usually admire a lot--Dior refused to test on animals decades before there was pressure to not test), just offensive.

Dolce and Gabbana pulled its ads after women complained (it's gratifying for me to know that some women still complain) about them. The company called the images symbols of "an erotic dream" or a "sexy game." Yes, the dream is called gang rape.

Coulter has her work cut out, sorting out the faggots

It's obvious from recent and not-so-recent remarks that Ann Coulter holds gay men in contempt. Here is one whom she likes, however--Cpl. Matt Sanchez, who received the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award. The former Marine says that he was called a "baby killer" by Socialists when he attended Columbia University (note that when liberals are called names, they are told to stop being crybabies; when conservatives are called names, they get medals).

Sanchez, it turns out, has another name--Rod Majors (sometimes known as Pierre LaBranche), and Rod Majors was a porn star (take a peek only if you are interested in seeing Sanchez's "gun"). But a boy can't live on leather and tight asses alone; Sanchez was also a $200-an-hour prostitute, according to Tom Bacchus.

Sanchez is no longer a Marine, no longer a porn star, and presumably, no longer a prostitute. But there are still avenues open to him: He can become an insider at the White House or a fundamentalist minister.

Mike Himowitz walks you through the time change

I hate Daylight Savings Time, and the news that we now have more of it is distressing to me. And if you use a computer, a PDA, a high-tech phone or alarm clock, a pager, or if your offices uses time stamp technology, programmable thermostats, automatic locks, hourly pay clocks, or programmable calendars, you could be in for some trouble. Read Himowitz's column so you can decide what to do.

When sexism is legal

For a nauseating read on how much our culture hates women, I give you Kim Gandy's "Below the Belt" column: "Ancient Laws, Current Consequences."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Paul Krugman gets it

In his editorial, "Valor and Squalor," Paul Krugman states the obvious: that the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital is just a small part of a much greater scandal--the Bush administration's destruction of veterans' health care in general. Krugman compares the privatizing (at a greater cost to taxpayers) and destruction of the veterans' system with the similar destruction of FEMA.

Says Krugman:

Yet even now it’s not clear whether the public will be told the full story, which is that the horrors of Walter Reed’s outpatient unit are no aberration. For all its cries of “support the troops,” the Bush administration has treated veterans’ medical care the same way it treats everything else: nickel-and-diming the needy, protecting the incompetent and privatizing everything it can.

But the public has been told the full story, over and over--just not by the mainstream media. But the facts have been clear and available for several years now, and Americans who cannot be bothered to see them have no right to get all shocked over what has happened not only to veterans' health care programs, but all veterans' programs.

A pretty startling finding

In the current edition of Harper's, in the "Findings" section on the last page, is this statement:

Canadian researchers have discovered that dichloroacetate, or DCA, a cheap simple drug that has been used for years to treat metabolic disorders, also happens to kill almost all cancers; unfortunately, DCA is not patented, which means that most pharmaceutical companies will have little interest in carrying out clinical trials using the drug.

Sexism--alive and very well in 21st Century America

More than half of the 60,000 respondents of an MSNBC/Elle survey said that the gender makes no difference in leadership abilities, but the half that said gender does matter also chose men as more effective leaders. Of this group, 41% of males said men make more effective leaders, and 33% of women chose men make better leaders. 75% of this group of women said they would rather work for a man than a woman.

Says Professor Janet Levy of California State University in Los Angeles: "The enemy is omnipresent cultural messages, not women themselves."

The enemy, quite simply, is sexism, both internalized and otherwise.

We're sorry, but not THAT sorry

Suddenly, Sen. Sam Brownback wants to apologize to African Americans and Native Americans for generations of suffering. Such attempts have been made by Congress before, but the twist here is that Brownback, who is an extreme right-wing politician, is running for president in 2008.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

A video worth watching

As a feminist who totally supports PETA's use of nudity in anti-cruelty campaigns, I was glad to see that Kathy of What Do I Know? found this great video which provides an overview of why PETA does what it does. The video also just happens to contain footage of Governor George W. Bush during his campaign for the presidency, and his remarks pretty much sum up how most Americans feel when they are confronted with their support of factory farming.

Monday, March 05, 2007

In the "for what it's worth" department...

I meant to mention this last week. In the current season of The L Word, a show that has arguably the worst writing of any program on television, there is somewhat of an ongoing argument between Tasha, the Iraq war veteran, and her new love interest, Alice. Tasha is anti-Bush, but pro-war, and presented her arguments in last week's episode with articulation and passion. Alice, on the other hand, presented the "liberal" side pretty much as an idiot would. The writers have dumbed Alice way down this season, so her inability to articulate much of anything about the war suits her new character. An interesting development, however...

And today, Ellen DeGeneres defended hip hop lyrics against attacks from feminists. DeGeneres never takes a stand on anything, which is okay--her show is not about taking stands--but suddenly felt she had to defend her obvious love of hip hop. Her guest was Ludacris, and they talked about how hip hop lyrics tell a story, and while some stories are not very nice, they are realistic.

I'm all for that, but just imagine, if feminists began rapping incessantly about violence--real or fantasized--toward men, especially white men. When Sarah Jones rapped about how godawful hip hop lyrics were toward women, Michael Powell and his good squad at the FCC banned her record, and the media didn't even mention the case.

If you love animals called pets...

Why do you eat animals called dinner? My new Farm Sanctuary T-shirt.

The Raw Story needs to hear from you

Yet another "liberal" zine thinks women are men. Heather Wilson is a lot of things, but she is not a man.

The Raw Story is already suspect for pubishing yellow, misleading headlines, so I can't say this is a complete surprise. Please join me in writing to the editors:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Portion of Ryan White Act could remove $60 million from prevention budget

Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, according to his offiicial biography, is dedicated to "improving health care access and affordability, protecting the sanctity of all human life...." Not quite, if you consider his hat trick that could wipe $60 million of the HIV/AIDS prevention program. Coburn added a provision to the recently renewed Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Act that will divert $60 million from the Centers for Disease Control's HIV/AIDS prevention budget over the next three years into a fund for which no state qualifies.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday, March 02, 2007

The indoor winter garden

Pink camellias in a vase

N. 'Trevithian' in a vase in my home office

Friday cat blogging--cozy friends edition

Walter Reed Hospital

Some poetry.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Largo, Florida moves to dismiss transsexual city manager

On Tuesday, the city commissioners in Largo, Florida voted to dismiss City Manager Steve Stanton because he is in the process of changing from a man to a woman. The mayor of Largo and one commissioner voted to retain Stanton, but the other five commissioners voted to fire him. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this move is in direct violation of the city's own non-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Sexism on National Public Radio

Feminist Law Professors has a post which clearly illustrates the kind of chronic media sexism that the majority of people do not notice because (a) they do not have a clue what sexism is, (b) they are so accustomed to seeing sexist phrases and designations that they believe them to be acceptable, and (c) they are interested in "important" issues.

But the fact that the woman in question is identified only in terms of her having born a child or children who bore a child or children is as sexist as the day is long. The same writer would not have described a grenade-finding man as "a grandfather in Italy." Because women exist to bear children and cook potatoes, and whatever else we do is not that important, especially if we are older--even to NPR.