22 February 2011

a strong contender for "best idea ever" has appeared

in my small linkspam of earlier today, i linked to the opencongress report on the vote to defund planned parenthood. i am not going to go into the reasons why this vote was stupid, meaningless, and counterproductive to actually improving things for anybody in this country, but behold, it is as though the Gods of Internet Feminism heard and were moved by my unvoiced cries of woe.

thus i present to you: http://boehnerforpp.tumblr.com/
You can donate as little as $5, or as much as you want! For every person who does this, John Boehner will get a card saying a gift has been made to Planned Parenthood in his name.

i would also suggest making donations in the name of antichoice congressthings, especially your own, if you have been cursed with one as i have.

reminder: find and contact any congressperson here


there have been lots of things happening lately to piss me off. in fact so many things to piss me off have happened lately that i could have made every word in that sentence, as well as every word in this sentence, into a link to something that pissed me off!

frankly, i'm afraid to open up my news feed. i still do it, but there's that shameful little moment of hesitation before i can click the "reader" link, wherein i wonder if i wouldn't be better off if, maybe, just this once, i could take a day off from caring so goddamned much.

yeah, yeah, i'm such a martyr.

anyway, in lieu of choosing one thing from the very, very many things that make me angry to talk about, i'm going to write about this:
She's her district's pony-tailed, 112-pound champion wrestler, boy or girl, kangaroo or camel. She's not a tulip, isn't a Jane Austen character, and doesn't wilt in the heat.

So why did her first opponent in the Iowa state high school wrestling tournament default rather than wrestle her?

Because "wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," said 16-year-old home-schooled sophomore Joel Northrup, in a statement. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner."

it's a good column, and the columnist is unlikely to fill you with rage. go read it.

anyway, i very unsurprisingly have thoughts about this. first among them is: man, that dude's dad must be a real piece of work. because sixteen-year-old star athlete dudes, no matter how devout and gentlemanly, as a rule do not come up with that shit on their own, and the fact that said star athlete dude left the tournament literally in tears would seem to lend credence to my highly scientific (not scientific) theory that he cares more about winning than he does about engaging girls in appropriate ways.

second among them is: man, i have never heard of someone saying "she's my son" about a (presumptively) non-trans child. actually, come to think of it, i don't think i've ever heard of someone saying that about any child with pride or affection.

it would seem to me cassy herkelman is one lucky kid. maybe her family wouldn't mind taking in one more? i think that joel northrup needs new parents.

also, i hope that they meet again in the tournament next year -- she's a freshman and he's a sophomore, so they've both got years of high school competition left. i can't tell you what would happen, because i know next to nothing about wrestling in general and absolute jack SHIT about iowa high school wrestling in particular, but i'm willing to bet it would at least be an interesting match.

18 February 2011

today in lols

a stunning bit of inadvertent self-awareness from al cardenas, chair of the american conservative union:
“If you are a group, and this has got nothing to do with your orientation,” said Cardenes, “of straight couples, and you advocate gay marriage, that’s not within the scope of what we believe the three legs of the stool of the movement are.”

(emphasis mine)

i love it when they just lay it out for us like that. who says there's no straight talk (lol) in politics anymore?

15 February 2011

honor killings: coming soon to a south dakota near you!

mother jones reports:
A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.
all flippant one-liners aside, though: what the fuck?

if you click over, you will see that rep. jensen's response to the internet at large asking that very question is "it's only if the person being justifiably homicided is trying to commit a crime!" and that sounds great until you remember that this is a state that actually had a total abortion ban signed into law in 2006.

i've had this article kicking around my inbox with a "blogqueue" tag for the past week and a half while i tried to decide exactly what i wanted to say. i still can't really organize my thoughts about it; just rereading it now has made me sort of sick to my stomach.

all of these efforts to make abortion more difficult, dangerous, and expensive are textbook studies of the law of unintended consequences. a zygote is a legal person? whoops, a woman who miscarries has just committed manslaughter. your daughter wants an abortion? south dakota wants to make it legally justifiable for you to kill whoever's taking her to the clinic and every person who works there.

i have a lot of trouble believing that anyone could be evil enough to intend these effects. but honestly? i think evil would be a much more comfortable explanation. as it is, the conclusion i keep drawing, over and over again, is that these statutes come into being not because antichoicers are evil, or even because they're stupid. it's because they don't care.

they don't care that pregnancy can kill us. they don't care that even with all contraceptive due diligence, accidents still happen. they don't care that an egg can't tell your boyfriend's and your rapist's spermatozoa apart. they don't care about the millions of single mothers living in poverty, and they don't care about the millions of children in the foster system who despair of ever finding loving families.

misogyny is undoubtedly evil, but the thing about an oppressive system is that it makes tons of people, who given the choice would not choose to be oppressors, complicit in oppression. and the rhetoric about protecting life -- in which my esteemed congressman is apparently so well-versed -- is a smokescreen that exists to maintain that complicity. and it is a mistake to tar all antichoicers with the same brush. possessing the privilege of being insulated from poverty, the fear of sexual violence, and inadequate health care doesn't make someone a bad person; only refusing to own it does. and if someone doesn't care about you, it is wrong to condemn them without giving them the chance to care by using your voice.

so i guess what i'm trying to say is hooray for mother jones. hopefully that article will separate a few more of the well-meaning but ignorant prolifers from monsters like phil jensen.

11 February 2011

a quick word

so yesterday, charlie parker of san antonio's first news was commenting on the christopher lee debacle, and he made me very angry!

and i wrote his co-host and asked for a transcript or recording of the show so that i could source this post, but apparently they don't keep them around (or just don't make them available to random ladies on the internet, more likely). thus you have to take my word for it when i report that mr. parker called mr. lee's would-be ladyfriend a skank and a snitch, and said she should have kept her mouth shut.

also, she apparently shouldn't have been suspicious that he was lying to her, because everyone on craigslist lies, so she...? should have just stopped talking to him, i guess, and not exposed him for an adultering sack of shit.

i wonder what mrs. lee would think of that!

there was some speculation on wednesday afternoon and evening on what the republicans would do to spin this so it wouldn't make their social conservatism act look even more ridiculous and hypocritical than it already is. what i want to know is why they even bothered asking, when the scandal comes with a built-in person to blame!

...the lady, of course. what, you think they'd actually blame a rich white dude for something?

10 February 2011

republicans are dumb, film at 11

from the los angeles times, dateline about a month ago:
"We want to promote economic freedom, a strong national defense and social conservativism. We think these policies are indivisible," said Mike Gonzales, the think tank's vice president for communications. "It's not a boutique. You can't pick one and not the other."

translation: "we want the government to enforce an inflexible and oppressive social status quo so that nobody will whine as we steal their money and kill brown people."

alright, but seriously, folks...

actually, i can't think of a more charitable way to translate that statement. possibly i'm not creative enough. or maybe the dude is just that big an asshole. your call.

09 February 2011

more fun with congressthings!

so mr. canseco wrote me back. and by "wrote me back" i mean sent me an "i'm sorry you're pro-choice :(" piece of shit form letter.

Dear Rachel:

Thank you for contacting me to let me know of your opposition to H.R. 3 the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.” While we don’t see eye-to-eye on this issue, I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts on this issue.

It is my ardent belief in the sanctity of life and the right to life for every unborn child. I am a strong believer that life begins at conception and that innocent lives must be protected. Our Founding Fathers believed that all Americans have certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that these rights must be protected. As a Member of Congress, it is my duty to defend the rights of all Americans, especially those who cannot stand up for themselves.

As you know, the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act” (H.R. 3) would establish a government-wide prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion. This legislation ensures that millions of Americans who believe in the sanctity of life do not see their tax dollars used to destroy innocent life.

Again, thank you for contacting me. In the future, if there is anything else with which I may assist you, please feel free to contact me. To keep track of what is happening in Congress, I encourage you to visit my website at http://canseco.house.gov/, my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/RepCanseco, or follow me on my twitter site http://twitter.com/RepCanseco.

Francisco “Quico” Canseco
Member of Congress

and because i am objectively better than he is, i wrote him a response. too bad i couldn't add "and if you would actually engage with my arguments this time that would be great, thanks in advance" to the end.

this is so difficult. how utterly insulting to be told that we as women matter less than any potential lives we might temporarily house in our uteruses, and then easily dismissed or ignored when we protest this indefensible injustice because we...have uteruses. it's like a grandly unfunny chicken-or-egg question, except that you can't look clever by remarking that dinosaurs laid eggs.

i don't know, maybe i'd be less bitter if i were talking to a woman.

Mr. Canseco,

Thank you for taking the time to write me back. I appreciate the response.

I do not appreciate, however, having my concerns about the rights of rape survivors dismissed with a list of pro-life platitudes.

You say that as a member of Congress, it is your duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I strongly agree with this precept, but if I may be so bold, do you extend that duty to all of the oppressed and voiceless? Because I see no reason why women who are victims of rape, poverty, and utterly inadequate education are less deserving of your protection than the unborn.

I am aware and extremely thankful that the "forcible rape" language was removed from H.R. 3, and I assume that change extends to H.R. 358, which duplicates it in its original form as accessible online. But there is a much larger issue at play here: is it really just to legislate safe and legal abortion out of the reach of the women who need it most, when that action may destroy their lives? Ensuring that women in poverty will remain there by denying them access to the contraceptive of last resort, especially when taken in concert with denial of access to decent preventative care, seems to me to be a poor way to represent them in government. If you are going to pledge to protect the sanctity of life, perhaps it would be wiser to begin with persons who are biologically independent.

And finally, while I respect your dedication to the founding principles of this nation and that references to the Declaration of Independence play well with your base, I must remind you that the Declaration does not and has never carried the force of law -- and even if it did, nowhere in that august document are fetuses mentioned. And furthermore, I implore you to consider how your rhetoric concerning the Life and Liberty of the unborn negatively affects the Safety and Happiness of 51% of your constituency.

Rachel K. Clair

his note had typist's initials at the bottom, like an old-school memorandum. i should have shouted out to him/her.

so, uh. A.F., do you actually believe all the fuckery he makes you type?

08 February 2011

boldly going!

reason #2837461827361 why sir patrick stewart is awesome:
"The entertainment industry has been extremely irresponsible in perpetuating and stereotyping the violent attitudes of men to women," said Stewart, best known for his portrayal of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek.

"I condemn utterly films like Kill Bill. We are told it is about empowering women. All it does is empower a woman to kill other women."

from the guardian

07 February 2011

addendum to last

it was brought to my attention that pittsburgh was not the only team with an accused rapist on their roster.

but at least green bay kept theirs on the inactive list the whole season, despite the circumstances surrounding the incident being somewhat murkier.

let's hope we unload him soon.

super bowl XLV: the reckoning

confession time: i am a dyed-in-the-wool, die-hard green bay packers fan.

you may surmise, correctly, from this fact that last night was a very good night for me. but as awesome as it feels to have your boys walk away from the biggest game of the year jubilant that they're bringing lombardi's trophy home, i likewise confess that as much as i wanted my team to win, i think i wanted the steelers to lose even more.

schadenfreude: i has it

there was a whole lot of talk yesterday during pregame (all eight hours of it) about all of the "obstacles" that ben roethlisberger has had to overcome this season, about what a hard road it's been, about how he's had to rise above "problems" in his personal life in order to lead pittsburgh to their third super bowl in six years. sub the word "injury" in for "suspension" and it would have been extremely difficult to tell whether they were referring to the two women who were brave enough to come forward with rape allegations against him, or a repeat of his 2006 motorcycle crash. i guess if he'd been injured, they wouldn't have suspended him without pay, so that's something. the problem, of course, is that "something" isn't enough.

it horrifies me that michael vick was crucified in the press and sent to prison for mistreating dogs, but ben roethlisberger got off with a six-game suspension that was reduced to four after he raped a human woman in a bar bathroom while his bodyguards stood outside the door. regardless of whether one thinks that vick got what he deserved, how in the sainted fuck is that in any way defensible?

oh, right, rape culture.

so to say that last night's game mattered to me is a huge understatement. at championship time, even the most rational of fans tends to take things a little too seriously, a little too personally -- and i've never claimed to be the most rational of anything. if a career-ending injury for #7 accompanied the humiliation i so dearly hoped that the pack could dish out to pittsburgh on my behalf, so much the better.

that i had that absolutely earnest thought process is appalling, but i did and do believe that on the field was the only way roethlisberger (and the steelers organization which continues to play him, even though there's plenty of smoke coming from that fire) was going to get any sort of comeuppance.

so. ask me if i'm happy the pack won. the answer: yes, absolutely. i may or may not have cried when they showed woodson after the game ended, i was that happy for him, for my team, and for the city of green bay.

now ask me if i'm happy the steelers lost.

the answer: couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

04 February 2011

here is a pretty good statement of purpose

discovered while playing linkfrog from sociological images:

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be "Why can't you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can't you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???"

If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is...

this is an attitude -- not the one that the redoubtable josh wimmer is expressing, the one he is railing against -- that i encounter all the everloving time and i don't think i've ever been able to argue against it quite this cogently. probably because i was too mad.

the entire purpose of creating and sharing art, for whatever definition of "art" one employs, is to say something about other things. this can be complicated or very, very simple, but when you put something of yours out there, you are starting a conversation. and you might not like all of the response, but that doesn't absolve you from dealing with it. it doesn't remove whatever consequences result from what you say.

the first step in effective activism is getting people who don't want to acknowledge this -- the fundamental responsibility of something as simple as having a conversation -- to accept that the discussion has already begun.

and we can't take for granted that it's something we've already accomplished.