Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Pretty Much Called It

Apparently I am a political psychic. Or it was glaringly obvious. Either way, John Edwards has dropped out of the Presidential race. He isn't endorsing any other candidate at this time. That's smart. Which ever one of them wins the nomination (*cough*Hillary*cough*) will need a running mate, and no one plays a better second fiddle than John Edwards.

In other news, Giuliani has dropped out as well. He is not playing the running mate waiting game, however. He openly endorses McCain, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, if the country all gets collective amnesia and decides to "elect" a Republican in November ("elect" is in quotes because, well, you know, Florida) McCain would be better than, say, Huckabee or Romney. On the other hand, I think he's the only Republican who's duped enough people to have a snowball's chance in hell of actually beating Clinton or Obama (or, in a more beautiful world, a Clinton/Obama ticket).

But hey, Rudy, you didn't really think you could ride the 9/11 train all the way into the White House? I mean, SRSLY.


Right-Wing Morons Actually CAN'T Do Whatever They Like

Bastion of all things psychology Dr Phil is in trouble. Apparently he visited Britney Spears in the nuthouse and ("allegedly") offered her counseling. And possibly an opportunity to appear on his show, you know, 'cause he's such a giver and would get nothing out of that. Well, it may come as a complete shock to all, but he's not licensed to practice psychology. He has never been licensed in California, where Brit's looney bin is, and he gave up his license in Texas. A complaint has been filed against him, presumably by an actual psychologist who practices (with a license) at that facility. Oh, yeah, and the kicker? If he really WAS counseling Britney, we shouldn't know about it. That's a violation of HIPAA.

I love when right-wing talk-show idiots get into trouble. It's like a hug from Snuggles the bear. Cozy and soft, with a delightful scent.


Creepy, Crazy, and Bad For Us All

According to the New York Daily News, in 2006 Tom Cruise spent a million dollars on gasoline alone. Because he loves fast cars. You know, 'cause he's so butch.

Maybe he's just practicing for his space ship. Why worry about this planet? We're all going to be taken aboard a ship and flown to whatever planet it is Xenu came from.


Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Utne Reader has an awesome article about body image. It's actually an excerpt from Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin.

I just started the book and let me tell you, it's like free therapy for anyone who has ever had weight or body issues. I highly recommend.

Also, to offer up a plug, Courtney Martin is a regular writer on Feministing, which is pretty much the best blog out there besides this one (insert coy wink).


Hillary Takes Florida!

It's about time Florida gave us promising election results. After 2000, they owed us.

So Hillary took Florida by a pretty decent margin. She received 49.7% of the votes compared to Obama's 33% and Edwards' 14.4%. I think Edwards should just pack it in and go home. He's not going to get the nomination. Maybe he should just go spend time with his wife, who as we all remember has inoperable cancer.

Not that anyone cares or anything, but McCain is the Republican winner of Florida. I don't like that, because he seems like the only Repub with an actual prayer of winning in November.


Hillary Clinton. Really, no other title is needed.

OK, so this is sort of recycled. But it's the last one. For reals this time.

Why I am voting for Hillary Clinton

I'm already getting *ahem* dissent for supporting Hillary. I chose her because of her platform and record. She's also incredibly intelligent, level-headed, well-spoken, etc. But I'm going to put up several points from her platform that will explain why I am voting for her.

I figure since the media enjoys raking her over the coals I could put up the truth about her and maybe a few people will realize how much better she than what they've been fed.

-Lower taxes for the middle class.
-Tax credits for college tuition.
-Retirement plans for every American.
-Affordable, available, reliable health care for all. By choice. If you are happy with your current coverage, you can keep it. But if you are one of the millions with no insurance, or with lousy coverage, you will be taken care of. ***without discrimination for pre-existing conditions***
-A three-step plan for ending the War in Iraq starting her first 60 days in office.
-Using economic and diplomatic means with Iran instead of resorting to war.
-Stricter fuel efficiency standards for auto manufacturers as one of many steps to reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
-Heavy investment in improving public schools, including Pre-K and ending the despicable No Child Left Behind.
-Making financial aid for college easier to get.
-Restoring America's image in the world.
-Advocating Women's rights:.
-Grants to get childcare for working parents.
-Upholding Roe v. Wade to ensure that EVERY woman has reproductive freedom.
-Equal pay for men and women (right now women make on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes in a comparable job)
-Access to family planning for low-income women
-Ending Bush''s war on science.
-Allowing ethical embryonic stem cell research. (you know, so people with terminal diseases have a fighting chance...perish the thought!)
-Fair and honest elections with a paper trail and impartial officials.
-Making Election Day a national holiday (meaning no work) so that everyone can vote.
-Same sex civil unions with the same full rights as heterosexual couples.
-Ending Don't Ask Don't Tell.
-Stricter hate crime laws.
-Strengthening our borders without breaking up families.

I didn't want to put in every detail, this note would be a novel, but there's more on her website.


Princess Peach and Her Potential to Rock

I promise this is the last post recycled from an old blog. Pinky swear.

Super Princess Peach

That's right, folks. Princess Peach is the heroine of her own video game, available on Nintendo DS. She has to battle the typical villains of the Super Mario Bros. world in order to rescue both Mario and Luigi from the clutches of Bowser.

So what's wrong with that?

Nothing. The concept of this game is fantastic. It's nice to see the chick saving the helpless male for a change. However, the problem I have with this game lies in Peach's weapons. She fights with her emotions, further perpetuating the myth that woman are crazy emotional beasts incapable of rational thought or action. You tap on the icon for the screen to use one of the four emotions: calm, gloom, rage, or joy. Each of these emotions causes something different to happen, and yes, there are tears involved. If Peach uses "gloom," she starts to cry, causing plants to grow and lift her up.

Peach does have a non-emotional weapon: her parasol, Perry. The main way to kill enemies is to beat them with an umbrella.

So, the video game world almost made a terrific advancement by giving Princess Peach a game in which she saves the helpless Mario and Luigi. But they ruined the buzz that comes from seeing a woman kicking some serious patootie with her emotional weapon arsenal. For now, I think I'll stick with watching Princess Zelda in disguise telling Link how to get through Hyrule and teaching him Ocarina songs.



In this deliciously heated election season, it's important to look at the candidates closely. Especially if they are crazy Mormon Republican morons with no respect for animal life.

I didn't write this article, I found it online.

Romney's Cruel Canine Vacation

The reporter intended the anecdote that opened part four of the Boston Globe's profile of Mitt Romney to illustrate, as the story said, "emotion-free crisis management": Father deals with minor — but gross — incident during a 1983 family vacation, and saves the day. But the details of the event are more than unseemly — they may, in fact, be illegal.

The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out." The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it's against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and "if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal." And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said "even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we'd hope that people would use common sense...Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate...I can't speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation."

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney's candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident "a lesson in cruelty that was ... wrong for [his children] to witness...Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who's under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured." Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign refused to comment about the treatment of his dog.

As organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Romney came under fire from some animal welfare groups for including a rodeo exhibition as part of the Games' festivities. At the time, he told protesters, "We are working hard to make this as safe a rodeo for cowboys and animals as is humanly possible."


Yes, I Am A Geek. A Raging Loser.

I suppose that I should warn you, if you haven't read all of the Harry Potter series (including book 7), there will be spoilery plot points here. But it's been out for six months, so why haven't you read it yet? Schmuck.

*This was written shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows*

Allow me to be a nerd here for a few minutes. The recent release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has had the wizarding world on everyone's mind, including my own. Something I have noticed in reading all of the Harry Potter books is how incredibly awesome and feminist the character of Hermione Granger is.

Take the third book for example (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). She is issued a time turner, which could easily be abused, but she uses only to get to class, and then at the end of the story she uses it to go back in time and save the lives of two innocents. Also, during this life-saving mission, she completely takes the lead. She is most likey terrified out of her mind, but she keeps her cool. She also demonstrates here and throughout the series and amazing ability to think rationally under pressure (Devil's Snare, anyone?).

But she's not perfect. Like everyone else, she is flawed in many ways. Her incredible intelligence makes her somewhat of a know-it-all (though that is a trait that has saved the asses of her, Ron, and Harry on several occasions). She also loses her head a little as her feelings for Ron grow. Think about the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Or Ron's relationship with Lavender Brown in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Or Ron's betrayal in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But she still manages to pull herself together and get on with the task at hand.

Think about Deathly Hallows for a moment. At this point we've established that she's madly in love with Ron, even if they haven't officially gotten together yet. When Ron walks out on she and Harry while they are in hiding, she could easily betray her mission to follow the man she loves. But she doesn't. She risks that relationship for her friendship with Harry and the fact that what they are doing is what will ultimately save the wizarding world.

With all of her strength, she is not simply a female version of male heroes. She is a unique character, and is incredibly feminine in her own way. Her strength isn't "justified" by making her a tomboy, she is smart without having to play the stereotypical nerd. She is allowed to be strong and intelligent while still being attractive and having friends. She is even shown as being attractive to boys in the stories, something that is usually not given to intelligent female characters. She blurs the line between the "pretty girl" and the "smart girl," showing a sampling of both that actually reflects real life. Hermione is an empowering character and a good role model to young female readers who can learn that it's perfectly OK to be pretty and feminine while still being the smartest kid in school.

Besides, she can hide out in the woods for weeks at a time with nothing but a little beaded evening bag.


I Used To Be A Fatty, Now I'm A Trophy Wife

The health risks of obesity are common knowledge. Most people are aware of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and joint problems as they relate to weight. So why are these concerns never addressed by advertisements for weight-loss products?

Women are constantly shown discussing how they’ve gotten down to the coveted size 2, or how their husbands love their new bodies. One ad for NutriSystem even contains a woman who gushes that her husband likes to call her a “trophy wife” now that she is thin. These ads consistently put across the message that the only reason we as women should try to lose weight or look better is so we can impress the men in our lives.

Why so tiny? Where is the woman who is happy to have reached a size 12? We as a culture are so inundated with images of skeletal celebrities that the idea of someone feeling great in a double-digit clothing size is ludicrous to us. In fact, if you do the math on many of these ads, the starting size of most of these success stories was barely a double digit. Someone who lost 30 pounds to get into a size 2 started around a size 8 or 10. So these ads feature people who really didn’t need to lose weight but have starved themselves down to unnatural standards.

One key group is all but missing: men. A Y chromosome does not make someone impervious to the effects of obesity, so why is it so underrepresented in commercials? The occasional man is shown, but in a completely different light. There isn’t a man in these commercials gushing about how his wife can’t keep her hands off him. You also don’t often hear them male successes talking about how tiny their waist size is. It is generally men who were morbidly obese and have lost enough weight to be relatively average. The standards applied to men to be considered a success are completely out of what with those applied to women.

So where does that leave health? It would be nice to see someone who lost weight because of the health risks. So many people who are morbidly obese have problems like diabetes and hypertension, and these problems often disappear or reduce with drastic weight loss. So let’s see someone who had these problems disappear. I think that is more impressive that going from a size 10 to a size 2 so your husband can’t keep his hands to himself.



This is something I wrote a while ago. I liked it, so I thought I'd put it up.

The Feminist Stigma

One way to discredit your opposition is to attach a social stigma to the very word that describes them. In recent years this has been done with groups like “liberal” and “immigrant” in an attempt to further the right wing and racist isolationist agendas. There is one word, however, that has had a stigma attached for so long that hardly anyone notices anymore. That word is “feminist.”

Many women today have personal beliefs that are similar to at least some feminist ideals. Most women believe they deserve equal pay to men, along with equal opportunities in work and life. These are core feminist ideals. So are reproductive freedom and choice, along with the right to decide whether or not you want to get married and have kids. In general, many women support these ideals; yet for some reason they are scared to call themselves feminists. This leads to use of the ever popular “I’m not a feminist, but…” preceding a statement of support for one of these feminist ideals.

So why are women so afraid to identify with feminism? It’s all about stigma. Our culture has placed such negative connotations on the word “feminist” that even women with ideals identical to the movement are afraid to identify with it.

We’ve all heard the stereotype of the feminist: frumpy, overweight lesbians who don’t shower and have hairy legs. This, of course, couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most feminists today are everyday women who look no different than anyone else. Being a feminist does not mean disregarding fashion, hygiene, or heterosexuality. Feminism is about beliefs and actions, not appearance. It is about choice. Not just choice in the abortion/reproduction argument, but choice in everything. If a woman wants to wear make-up and high heels, she should. If she would rather not, she doesn’t have to.

There is the argument that to conform to standards of beauty is anti-feminist. While this is an intriguing argument, it is not necessarily true. It is possible to be a feminist and follow beauty guidelines. Though it is beneficial to take time and think about where these standards of beauty came from and why they are in place. It is also important to understand why you as an individual are wearing or doing a certain thing. Whatever your choices, they should be done for you and no one else, which is the truly feminist way to live.

As far as equating feminism with homosexuality, that is completely off base. Being a feminist is not synonymous with being a lesbian. This is simply another attempt to create a social stigma by attaching feminism to a way of life that already has a stigma attached to it. While there are lesbian feminists, there are also straight feminists, and becoming a feminist in no way means you will also become a lesbian. Of course, that isn’t saying there is anything wrong with being a lesbian. Homosexuality has an unnecessarily negative social stigma that also needs to be removed.

Feminism has been turned into a dirty word by the very people who wish to see it go away. By making it seem like a bad thing to be a feminist, it makes people less likely to become one. If that’s the case, there will be fewer women pushing for social change and progression, and then the oppression of our sex can continue. We will be without equal pay, birth control, the freedom to choose, or any positions of power. Attaching this stigma is a sneak attack on an entire movement. The only way to fight this attack is to ignore the stereotype. So put on your lipstick and fight for change.



New blog. Welcome. And enjoy.