Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There Are Not "Two Kinds of Feminism"

Here's an interesting column by David Mendelsohn for The Daily Princetonian about feminism. I think it highlights how people with good intentions can still miss the mark (emphasis mine):
While setting up for a party a few weeks ago, I noticed one of my female friends trying to hoist a large oak table and carry it into the next room. Appropriately enough, I asked if she needed my help. After all, the table was heavy and she was just one person. I never thought that such an innocent offer would warrant the kind of whoopass that my friend was about to deliver.

Among other things, she exclaimed, “My biggest pet peeve is when people ask if I need help with something. I’ve done more labor-intensive work than anyone here, but people insist that I need help just because I have boobs!”

Needless to say, I haven’t offered her help with manual labor since then.

Let us ignore science for a moment. You know: the empirically proven fact that males, on average, are physically stronger than females. Let’s examine this from a simple human-interaction point of view. One individual tries to do something, another offers help, and the pair usually manages the work more efficiently and effectively as a result. This is the way Neolithic human society has always worked. And although gender roles have traditionally shaped this distribution of labor, they have absolutely no bearing on the communal instinct to help one’s fellow human. I would have made the same offer to a male friend.

There seem to be two major camps of feminists. The members of one group believe in equality and focus on very real modern issues such as disparity in wages between men and women. They serve an essential role in modern society, in which feminism has come under attack because of the irrational and circular arguments made by members of the second group. These individuals, who represent a highly vocal minority of the feminist movement, have learned to extrapolate feminism to every domain of daily life. They are hypersensitive to criticism, actively look for evidence of sexism and find it everywhere.

As one who cares deeply about equality issues, it pains me to see legitimate issues hijacked by those who use the movement as a method of personal vindication, like when my friend felt slighted that I offered her help moving furniture.

She is one of those “feminists” that bandy about the term without demonstrating a true understanding of what it means. On account of their frenzied finger-pointing and paranoia, feminists as a whole have come to be perceived as extremists that eschew showering and relish their armpit hair.

Along with giving real feminists a bad name, the pseudo-feminists alienate men as well. Hypersensitized by the narrative that they have imagined, they are quick to accuse a man of implicitly belittling a woman when he offers to help and ignoring her plight when he refuses. The innocuous act of kindness, generosity or even apathy is interpreted as an intentional and malicious attack on the sovereignty of women everywhere. I’m not saying that a man’s actions are always absent of ulterior motives; I am saying that as adults we should be able to tell the difference.

The irony is that not enough individuals at Princeton are willing to publicly proclaim their feminism, as Caroline Kitchener pointed out in her column “Where have all the feminists gone?,” and I think it’s at least in part because of this vocal minority. The stigma caused by this minority is a real one, as evidenced by many of the comments on past ‘Prince’ articles related to feminism. While varying in content, the general tone of these comments is, “Enough already. There is no conspiracy to put women down. Get over it.” In this way, a very vocal minority of extremists have effectively pushed the issue beyond the sphere of reasonable discourse. In complaining about unimportant issues, they are reducing the urgency of the real ones. No one wants to hear any more about feminism once they’ve learned to associate feminism with complaining. Once this association is made, all bets are off; real feminism has no chance.

Feminism is not a selling point, nor is it a label that automatically legitimizes what you are saying. Feminism is a school of thought and philosophy that must not be used as a street corner soap box, lest everything it stands for be cheapened or destroyed.

It is easy to make a point by shouting the loudest or by inundating your opponent with a mass of statistics that he or she cannot possibly begin to decode. But the fight for race and gender equality is not one that is won by attrition, by wearing your enemies down until they no longer have the energy to fight. It’s a hearts-and-minds campaign in which you aim to turn those who once stood in your way. I understand where they’re coming from. But gender extremists cannot hope to effect real change without first learning to pick their battles.
At the risk of being "one of those" feminists, I have a few issues with Mendelsohn's assertions. For one, I think it's a bit silly for Mendelsohn to assume that he can dictate the conversations of feminists. Mendelsohn is basically trying to invalidate the concerns and input from "those other feminists" by making them out to be extremists. Just because he doesn't like what they have to say doesn't mean they aren't allow to identify as feminists. And his insistence that feminism has to be pleasing to men, you know because those facts and statistics are just so darn complicated, is egotistical to say the least.

Also, there are not only two kinds of feminism. There are countless. Beyond the idea that women are not inherently less than men, there is no "one way" to do feminism. Feminists are like atheists in this regard. Beyond the one central idea that is the essence of the movement, there is no right or wrong way to be a feminist. It's not like some feminist overlord hands out little red books telling you how to be a good feminist or how to toe the line. I disagree with the ideas of other feminists quite often and yet I strongly identify as a feminist. For Mendelsohn to even assume that this is the case is ridiculous.  This, along with the idea that radical feminists are what's really holding feminism back, is pretty indicative of his reluctance to actually learn anything about the evolution of feminism. From the beginning, feminism has come in many shapes and sizes and there have always been radical feminists inside feminism. Ironically, it is the radical feminists of the second wave that created the feminism we have today.

The idea that women should assume every man has good intentions is laughable too. Why didn't Mendelsohn assume his friend was being honest when she said men treat her like she can't do things because she's a woman? Why didn't Mendelsohn assume that his friend was just having a hard day? Why didn't Mendelsohn assume that maybe his friend is just an asshole instead of turning the encounter into some big message about the state of feminism today (way to turn her into the spokesperson for her entire gender there buddy)? We all make assumptions about the intentions of others and Mendelsohn's feelings will never change that.

In the end, as Mendelsohn proves, some people are just assholes. Do some people co-opt feminism for their own benefit? Of course. Just like every other group/movement. Do some people love to point out the flaws in others while vehemently denying their own? Duh. Feminism has nothing to do with it. But nice try.

Howard Dean on Rachel Maddow

I watch videos like this and I just don't understand. How do people fail to see these things? Why do we put up with these misconceptions about what the parties are and what they aren't. It's all a bit ridiculous.

I have to say I'm much more cynical than Howard Dean. I don't think most people do reject the idea that Republicans are fiscal conservatives. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people claim that as the main reason why they identify with the GOP in fact.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Savage on CNN

Here's an interview of Dan Savage on CNN about a new poll saying gays are the most targeted minority group:

We can start with that, we can also start with… really, we need a cultural reckoning around gay and lesbian issues. There was once two sides to the race debate. There was once a side, you could go on television and argue for segregation, you could argue against interracial marriage, against the Civil Rights Act, against extending voting rights to African Americans and that used to be treated as one side, you know, one legitimate side of a pressing national debate and it isn't anymore. And we really need to reach that point with gay and lesbian issues. There are no ‘two sides’ to the issues about gay and lesbian rights.

And right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on networks like CNN and then that really -- we really have to start there. We have to start with that type of cultural reckoning.

Father Loses Custody of His Children for Being Agnostic

And he's not even an full blown heathen. What would they have done then? Banned him from seeing his children ever again. Sheesh.

*Insert joke about Christian persecution here.*

Sarah Palin Thinks North Korea is Our Ally?

Yes, Sarah Palin said North Korea was our ally. Is she a total idiot or was it a simple slip up? As much as I think the verdict is still out on that "total idiot" option, I really think this was just an honest mistake. Kind of like when Obama said there was 57 states. Both of these things are so obviously wrong that it's hard to believe these are serious measures of their intelligence (though Obama has proved himself a hundred times over in my opinion).

It's kind of like when people make fun of the "magic underwear" Mormons wear. While it may be amusing, there are so many better criticisms to make that it seems kind of pointless.

So let's move on people. We really don't need to stoop to that level. Otherwise in a few months from now we'll be photo-shopping turbans on Palin's head wondering how we fell so far.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

What We Can Learn From Ireland

I got to admit I haven't paid as much attention to international economic news. I barely like paying attention to our own economic crap, but I just read two interesting posts about the crisis in Ireland.

I watched a lot of different videos trying to find one that would succinctly talk about the cause of the crisis and the state Ireland is in, but there wasn't really one that got the job done (in my extensive twenty minute search on youtube I should say). This is the best I could find (though it is quite alarmist):

I don't think he's much of a fan of America do you? Anyway, the reason i think this is so interesting is because Ireland's predicament is a real life scenario of what happens when you think less taxes is the answer for everything.

Also, don't forget neoliberalism is. It might not be what you think.

Solving the Irish Crisis:
What can we learn from Ireland? Lower corporate taxes don't lead to jobs and economic health, they lead to dangerous bubble economies that burst at the slightest threat, and even 100 billion euros isn't enough to bring back stability. Austerity won't help people who need jobs and homes. This is not the time to obsess over deficits, it's time to pull countries back from the brink.
Irish Home Rule?:
In addition to its entertainment value, the Irish debacle is worth paying attention to for the way it vividly illustrates the folly of neo-liberal economics. In case you’ve forgotten, Ireland, with its educated workers, weak unions, business-friendly tax regime and wide-open banking system, was supposed to be a model for the rest of us. Someday maybe someone will put together an anthology of the paeans to the Celtic Tiger—but here’s two examples worth highlighting. In February 2006 George Osborne, now Chancellor of the Exchequer and Britain’s budget-cutter-in chief wrote an article in Rupert Murdoch’s London Times urging his countrymen to “Look and Learn from Across the Irish Sea.” Osborne’s claim that “Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking” has proved irresistible to any number of pundits in recent weeks, but the article is well worth reading in its entirety as a compendium of the myths that still guide British policy making. But before American readers get too smug, take a look at this essay by Chris Edwards, director of Tax Policy at the CATO institute (and hence a big player in the new Republican-led House of Representatives on budgetary matters). Writing in March 2007 for the National Review on-line, Edwards asks whether Dublin’s boomtown atmosphere was due to “the luck of the Irish?” Not at all, he answers himself: “It resulted from a series of hard-headed decisions that shifted Ireland from big government stagnation to free market growth. After years of high inflation, double-digit unemployment rates, and soaring government debt that topped 100 percent of GDP, Irish policymakers began to cut spending in the late 1980s in a desperate bid to recover financial stability.” Again the whole piece is worth reading—especially if you want to know what kind of shit Congressional Republicans are still smoking.

Now we know that the whole shining green edifice of Irish prosperity was built on a housing and banking bubble even less substantial than the towers of Oz—only here the men behind the curtain weren’t benevolent wizards but greedy and incompetent bankers who thought they were too clever to be governed by the laws of economic gravity. The best brief explanation of what happened can be found in the Financial Times, where columnist Martin Wolf explains that unlike Greece, where the government really had been spending money it didn’t have for years, and counting on endless growth (and rising tax receipts) to defer the day of reckoning, the Irish government had if anything been excessively frugal. Irish public debt in 2007 was just 12 percent of GDP (compared to 50 per cent in Germany and 80 per cent in Greece). As Wolf points out, “It was not the public but the private sector that went haywire in Ireland and in Spain”—a triumph of the free market which allowed Irish banks to rack up massive loan books in a Celtic version of our own sub-prime mortgage crisis. Here, too, the myth of infinitely sustainable growth covered a multitude of corrupt practices—all cruelly exposed to view once the US crisis yanked the cloth off the table.
Interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Adipositivity Project Calendar (NSFW)

If you haven't heard of The Adipositivity Project by now you must be living under a rock. (Or leading a very interesting life where you don't spend oodles of time looking for entertainment online.) If you haven't heard of the project, here's the basic run down:
Adipose: Of or relating to fat.

Positivity: Characterized by or displaying acceptance or affirmation.

MISSION:The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that's normally unseen.

The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.

The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they're looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance.

The women you see in these images are educators, executives, mothers, musicians, professionals, performers, artists, activists, clerks, and writers. They are perhaps even the women you've clucked at on the subway, rolled your eyes at in the market, or joked about with your friends.

This is what they look like with their clothes off.

Some are showing you their bodies proudly. Others timidly. And some quite reluctantly. But they all share a determination in altering commonly accepted notions of a narrow and specific beauty ideal.
Pretty awesome right? Well, I was super excited to share with you guys the Adipositivity calendar today, but it turns out the calendar has been pulled by Cafepress. According to Adipositivity's facebook page, Cafepress said the calendar was pulled for the following reason: "We recently learned that your CafePress.com account contains material which may not be in compliance with our policies. Specifically, we prohibit the display or sale of products which may be sexually suggestive or... contain explicit sexual content (including full body nudity and genitalia)."

As dumb as that policy is, rules are rules I guess. But there's one slight problem, there's at least a few other calendars that definitely fit that criteria that are being sold with no apparent problem.

It makes you wonder what the real problem here is. Is it because fat people's bodies are being shown in a way that doesn't reduce them to the punch line of a joke? I don't want to ju7mp to conclusions, but I think Cafepress really dropped the ball here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Ethics & Erotics of Sexual Consent

How brilliant is this?

Consent is not something you have. Consent is something the other person has to give you, and if the other person doesn’t give it to you, you don’t have it, no matter what you think the rules are supposed to be or what you think you’re entitled to. Ok? That’s the affirmative consent standard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Feminist Bloggers

Someone posted this in their tumblr and I thought it was brilliant:
I was following a blog discussion in an open thread on a mainstream cultural magazine's website when two commenters began talking about their negative experiences with a specific feminist blog. That criticism soon was expanded to cover "the problem with feminist blogs" as if all feminist blogs are the same.

But how can all feminist blogs be the same? All feminists are not the same. We may agree that feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression. But we often disagree about what sexist oppression is and what gender equality might look like. We are passionate about a variety of feminist issues--reproductive rights, political power, preventing violence against women, workplace equality. Some of us are men. Many of us who blog don't write about feminist issues in the common sense; we write about politics or sex or film or fashion or history or sexuality or gaming or race with a feminist sensibility. Some of us don't even call ourselves feminists.

Worse, the criticism of feminist blogs in this discussion seemed so typically sexist, dismissive of feminist thought and reflective of stereotypes about certain types of women. Feminist blogs paint women as victims and men as predators. Mean ole feminist blogs won't educate folks on feminism 101. Feminist blogs are humorless and one-note. Moderators at feminist blogs are strident, aggressive, argumentative and quick to ban or shun commenters who won't follow the party line. Feminists look to take offense at everything. Feminists use annoying academic-y language like "heteronormative" and "patriarchy."

Here is the thing, some of these "criticisms" are true, but for good reason. One could argue that "movement speak" makes communication with those on the outside harder, but what's the problem with using words like "patriarchy" within a space devoted to feminism? Many feminist blogs reject having 101 discussions, because demanding to be educated is one way that privileged folks use to derail real conversation. Most of the other criticisms are indeed true of many feminist blogs only in that they are true of many blogs, period. But, I think the world we live in dictates that Gawker will never be read as strident, but Jezebel will.
It was written by What Tami Said and I recommend you hop on over to read the rest. I haven't read any "feminist" blogs for the last month or so to be honest. When a particular post on Jezebel catches my attention, I find myself quickly reading and leaving the blog now. But as much as I might might need my space from all the "outrage," I am still really glad these blogs exist. To say they're all the same is completely wrong.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Innocent Men Being Killed by the State

I've never had a really strong opinion about capital punishment. This probably comes as a bit of a surprise considering the fact I have strong opinions on just about everything, but for some reason I've always felt uncomfortable taking a solid stance and sticking to it. Deep down I question the idea of whether or not the state should have the power to kill people, but then I read stories like this one and I find myself too emotional to think clearly about the matter. I guess ultimately I realize that it's a complicated subject that I think people too quickly make their minds up about.

It is stories like this one that make me against the death penalty in the end though:
Claude Jones always claimed that he wasn’t the man who walked into an East Texas liquor store in 1989 and shot the owner. He professed his innocence right up until the moment he was strapped to a gurney in the Texas execution chamber and put to death on Dec. 7, 2000. His murder conviction was based on a single piece of forensic evidence recovered from the crime scene—a strand of hair—that prosecutors claimed belonged to Jones.

But DNA tests completed this week at the request of the Observer and the New York-based Innocence Project show the hair didn’t belong to Jones after all. The day before his death in December 2000, Jones asked for a stay of execution so the strand of hair could be submitted for DNA testing. He was denied by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
For me, killing even one man mistakenly makes the entire system worthy of questioning. So this isn't even a moral or philosophical dilemma, but an issue of practicalities. We should not support a system that kills people if that system is 100% accurate. Simple. Ironically it seems to be people on the right who stand firmly by capital punishment. Once again proving "limited government" means nothing.

Wow, this post was all over the place. It is what it is I guess. It's just all so heartbreaking..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Medal of Honor and Using "Feminized" As An Insult

If I've learned anything in the quarter of a century I've been alive, it's that crazy people tend to say crazy things. (Impressive huh?) Because of this, I'm not really surprised that a guy who thinks all the grizzlies should be killed off because "no number of live grizzlies worth one dead human being" would also claim "we have feminized the Medal of Honor." As I said, crazy people say crazy things. This guy is obviously no exception.

Here's what Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, had to say about the Medal of Honor recipients lately:
The Medal of Honor will be awarded this afternoon to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroism in Afghanistan, and deservedly so. He took a bullet in his protective vest as he pulled one soldier to safety, and then rescued the sergeant who was walking point and had been taken captive by two Taliban, whom Sgt. Giunta shot to free his comrade-in-arms.

This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sgt. Giunta is the only one who lived long enough to receive his medal in person.

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

Gen. George Patton once famously said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”

When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe do Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.

That kind of heroism has apparently become passe when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.

So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?

I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.
I have two major issues with Fisher's argument. One, I think it's a bit naive to value killing and destruction above saving lives and building futures. Do you know how easy it is to tear down a building? It is nothing compared to the work and planning that would into building that structure. People kill people every single day and often it's not even done on purpose. To save a life is something special. Fisher also purposefully ignores the fact that in most of these cases the people awarded the Medal of Honor also killed enemy combatants.

My second issue, not too shockingly, is with the way Fisher uses "feminized" as an insult. Fisher is basically saying that masculinity is more valuable than femininity. I know this isn't surprising coming from someone who goes on to talk about Jesus's "sacrifice" and how we need to also be "honoring those who kill bad guys," but it's still pretty annoying that this sort of insult is often the first thing someone thinks of to attack the "manliness" of something. Femininity, or things associated with women, is not less then masculinity in any capacity. For Fisher to use it in his attempt to delegitimize the recent string of Medal of Honor recipients is completely sexist.

Also, anyone who is ever this eager about killing people should be kept as far away from the battlefield as possible. The Medal of Honor is awarded to people who go “above and beyond the call of duty.” Taking human lives should never be enough to qualify for that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sexualization of Girls in the Media

I saw this video over at Sociological Images and I thought it was interesting:

This is a pretty common topic nowadays, but the question I'm left with is how do we move forward?

Electoral College Simplified

The Electoral College is one of those things that a lot of people don't really understand. Even I had only a vague idea of exactly how it worked, so I thought it would be good to post this section from my political science textbook. This is so far the best breakdown I've read.
Here is basically how the Electoral College works:

• Each state has the same number of electors that it has U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators. But keep in mind that the electors are not the U.S. Representatives and Senators. Since Utah has three representatives and two senators, Utah has five electors. Wyoming has three electors, because it has one representative and two senators. The three largest sources of electors are California (55), New York (31), and Texas (34). The District of Columbia, even though it is not a state, is allotted three electors. There are a total of 538 electors in the Electoral College.

• Sometime prior to the November election, each party with a candidate for president on the ballot will select a slate of electors that are pledged to vote for that party’s nominee. To use Utah as an example, in 2004 the Republicans picked five Republican party members pledged to George W. Bush and his running mate, the Democrats picked five Democratic party members pledged to Al Gore and his running mate, the Green Party picked five party members committed to Ralph Nader and his running mate…and so on.

• On election night in November, we go to the polls and cast our votes. This is where it gets confusing, since most Americans think they are voting directly for president. Technically, we are voting for one of those slates of electors, rather than for the candidate for president. In every state except Maine and Nebraska, electors are awarded according to a unit rule, meaning that the candidate whose slate has the most votes—even if it is not a majority—gets all of the electors.

• On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, the winning slates of electors gather at their state capitals and cast their votes for president and vice president. These votes are sent to the Senate, where they are counted and certified before a joint session of Congress in January. That is the official vote for president.

• A candidate needs 270 or more (a simple majority) of the Electoral College votes to win. If no candidate gets a majority—which hasn’t happened since 1824—then the election is pushed into Congress. The House of Representatives, with each state delegation getting one vote, elects the president, and the Senate elects the vice president.

The Achilles heel of the Electoral College was revealed for all to see during the 2000 presidential race between George Bush and Al Gore. The popular vote for president does not determine who goes to the White House; the elector’s votes are determinative. Normally, the Electoral College vote mirrors the popular vote. However the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000 resulted in the eventual “winner” actually receiving fewer votes from American voters. In the most recent
case, Al Gore received roughly 537,000 more popular votes across the country than did George W. Bush, but Bush won the disputed state of Florida when the Supreme Court stepped in to halt manual recounts. Florida’s 25 electoral votes gave Bush a total of 271—just enough to win.

The winner-take-all aspect of the Electoral College also tends to distort our perceptions of the American electorate. It pushes us to talk about Red-state voters vs. Blue-state voters, which is obviously an oversimplification of the partisan divide in the United States. The Electoral College is biased in favor of smaller, more rural states, because they are entitled to proportionally more electors than they would have in a straight popular vote. This reflects a compromise between large and small states at the Constitutional Convention.
The fact we've had presidents that didn't get the most popular votes pretty much dispels any notion that we have about having real democracy in this country.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

$500 Book Giveaway from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is hosting a $500 dollar book giveaway. To enter you either have to post you're own $500 wish list or comment on someone's post. Both one blogger and one reader will win a $500 dollar haul.

I posted my wish list over at Sunshine and Bones so feel free to hop over there if you'd like more info or like to enter by commenting. You know you want to.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jay Smooth on Kanye West, George W. Bush And The Problem With Talking About Race

It's no secret that I'm a big Jay Smooth fan, but I think his comments regarding how we tend to make conversations about race issues very personal whenever we talk about them is especially spot on:
When it comes to the aftermath of Katrina, parsing out the consequences of Bush's actions and how race may have played into that seems to be less important than how discussing race effects President Bush's self esteem. I think that points to the biggest stumbling block we have in being able to work on race issues in this country: the way almost every debate becomes so hyper-personalized, and focuses on whether a particular criticism really means, "You're a bad person" when we should be focusing on issues that are bigger than ourselves and have nothing to do with what's inside our heart.

Like West, I feel some empathy for Bush. I think that Bush believes he's a good person who was trying to do the best for all people. But I still find it puzzling that he has an apparent lack of perspective about what his responsibilities were as president.

...But Bush's comment seems to have been genuine, and it reflects the unique relationship we have with race in this country, where anytime the issue comes up, we relate to it in an extremely personal way instead of being able to stay grounded and focused on what the substantive issue is.
Anyone who has ever got into a conversation about privilege knows exactly what Jay is talking about and I think it brings interesting questions about how we view race issues and where we think our place in those issues is on an individual level to the forefront.

You can read the rest of his comment on NPR.

Rush Limbaugh on Diet and Exercise

We all know Rush Limbaugh has funny ideas about health, but this comment is just golden:
“What have I told you about diet and exercise? Exercise is irrelevant…. “How do you know all this?” One of the reasons I know what I know is that I know liberals, and I know liberals lie, and if Michelle Obama’s gonna be out there ripping into “food desserts” and saying, “This is why people are fat,” I know it’s not true. “Rush, do you really believe that? It’s that simple to you, liberals lie?” Yes, it is, folks. Once you learn that, once you come to grips with that, once you accept that, the rest is easy. Very, very simple. Now, my doctor has never told me to restrict any intake of salt, but if he did, I wouldn’t. I’d just spend more time in the steam or the sauna sweating it out.”
Let the cake eating commence!

The American Dream

As always, George Carlin lays it down:

Rachel Maddow's Jon Stewart Interview

This interview is almost an hour long, but it is very interesting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Even Babies Love Florence + The Machine

This just made my day:

Sorry for the lack of posts! Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This just in: you cannot be religious and leave the judging up to god. Free will is only an illusion. Get back to your herd.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Which or Heroine Checks In

Hello dear readers. Sorry I've been MIA but I've been crazy busy with school. See I have this nasty habit of putting everything off until the last possible minute and it often leaves me clamoring to finish my work at 4:30 before class at 5:30. Not a very good way to do things, but I can't seem to help myself. Of course I should take you guys into consideration. I mean, how else are you going to get by each day without out my yammering to entertain you?

Ok, I joke. But really, I need to stop being such a procrastinator.

Would it be crazy to admit that sometimes I fantasize about having a blog like Jezebel (but more awesome)? I don't know why, but I think it could really work with a good set of people.

Anyhoo, so I just wanted to check in and abase myself for being such a bad blog mistress. I leave you with this video:

You can read more about the case here. And do yourself a favor, don't read the youtube comments.

Update: I just want to add this link because it has a lot more information.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Girl vs Robot

I saw this picture on tumblr and I think it'll come as no surprise that I fell in love with it right away:

It turns out the cartoon was made by Elissa Rose for a "progressive political cartoon and editorial that ran daily (mon-fri) for ~100 issues in mid-late 2009." Unfortunately the duo (Derek Maune wrote the editorials) had to stop due to financial reasons, but you can still see some of the favorite cartoons here.

Here are some of the ones I liked the most:

Check it out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Increases in National Debt Chart

Here is a nice chart dispelling the myth that Republicans actually care about lowering debt.

Presidents (via):

Congress (via):

Kind of blows a hole in that talking point doesn't it? Too bad no one gives a shit. Follow the links for more information.