Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trayvon Martin, RIP

I'm sorry I never got to know Trayvon. And I never will. He was a handsome kid. We heard he had taken a lengthy walk to a convenience store to get some candy for his new little brother-to-be. We saw a picture of him on a horse at some occasion with his family. We've seen his clear gaze while wearing a hoodie. We've seen his happy, smiling face posing with his mother.

We've seen Trayvon's biological parents day after day since their son's killing, and damn if they don't seem like decent folk. Tracy and Sybrina Martin's demeanor during what must have been agonizing days, weeks and months since Trayvon's untimely death has been nothing but remarkable.  Composure. Grace. Generosity under the circumstances I doubt I could muster.  You can tell a lot about a person by their family.

I'm sorry I did get to know George Zimmerman, and his family. His father and brother have been outspoken, even disgusting in their comments.  Zimmerman's wife was an accomplice in trying to help her husband hide income donated through a Web site. George Zimmerman is someone with little self-control, someone taking serious drugs, someone who obviously wanted to take it on himself to make this neighborhood free from young blacks. George Zimmerman was someone with a history of violence, intoxication and menacing behavior.

George Zimmerman was never contrite that I saw for the actions he took that ended Trayvon Martin's life. He told Sean Hannity he wouldn't have changed a thing.  He said what happened was God's plan. For someone to say that, it tells me George Zimmerman believed himself to be an instrument of God, delivering final retribution on a fellow human with God's blessing.  I just don't believe that. I don't believe any of us can say that what we do, ordinary or extraordinary, is endorsed, approved and applauded by God.

I'm so sad I never got to know Trayvon better.  May he rest in peace. I'm also seriously disappointed that George Zimmerman never testified.  May his conscience awaken at some point, and nag him without mercy. It has obviously not kicked in yet.

This whole case makes me cry.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teh Crazy Continues

We've got the Aurora shooter, and the insane religious claiming it happened because we're not suckered enough into their interpretation of Christianity.  We've got the Penn State sanctions and punishments from the NCAA, since all of a sudden making football a religion is not such a good idea.  Then we have the reich-wing lowering their booms on President Obama because he dared to notice that successful businesses didn't get their by their own efforts entirely.

Who pays for the roads? Or the fire department? Or the police? Or the schools who turn out the workers? Who subsidizes the fuel people need to drive to work? Who trained the bricklayers, HVAC technicians, cement-layers, drywall erectors, engineers who designed and programmed production?

For those who grasp onto the notion that a successful business got there all by themselves, please think again. A business is only successful when its owners clambered on top of the shoulders of many, many others. And they can stay there only when many, many others continue to support their aims.

I imagine that the remaining months to this November's election will be laced with (and fraught with) partial truths ... half-truths would be a bonus. Just expect 'teh crazy' to be the soup du jour, and spend some time breathing in order to sort out what's real and what is simply crazy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Attention All Penises

A couple using no birth control has an 85 percent chance of becoming pregnant in one year. The Agriculture Department estimates that on average, middle-income couples spend around $12,500 per year per child.
Famous statue showing a penis
To my female readers, this post is not exactly for you except if your significant penis, err other, is one of those dittoheads who believe the consequences of having sex fall solely and squarely on the shoulders and in the uterus of a woman. Hopefully you can pick up a tip or two to better train that penis, err, person.

To my male readers who recognize that family planning is a basic and necessary part of 21st century life, and who support their women, and who believe insurance companies must not discriminate when it comes to women's health care, then I salute you and apologize in advance for any squirming you experience reading this post.

To the rest of you penises: it is proven fact that men's sex drive is far stronger than women's. In my own experience, women most actively seek a sexual partner when they are ready for motherhood.  Women tend to evaluate the men in their life by this criteria: will they make good fathers, good helpers, good providers?  Let's just say that men think about and want to have sexual intercourse far more often and over many more years than women do.

Sperm flow in the million
Here's one explanation. Men can produce millions of sperm cells every month.  A woman of childbearing age produces maybe an egg or two a month.  Right there you have a biological reason for the disparity between a male's and female's sex drive.

There's also a social explanation.  Men seem to have a compelling need to be seen as virile.  Women, on the other hand, have no compulsion to prove they are the flip side of virile.  I can find no equivalent of virility as it relates to women, except for the notion of fertility.  Women don't have to prove fertility, it is assumed.  Men are expected to exude testosterone among their friends and associates in order to confirm and solidify their status as men.

So here we come to the bottom line.  For those penises who believe that it should fall to the woman to regulate her own menses and be solely responsible for her own possible pregnancies, think about this.  If a woman deserves no assistance for planning her pregnancies, then a woman has every right to refuse to participate in coitus. And I'm willing to bet that has a greater impact on men than women.

Missionary style, doggie style, any number of Kama Sutra styles… basically any style that places a dribbling-with-semen penis in proximity to a moist, fertile vagina should be avoided by the woman at all costs unless she is seeking motherhood.  But women and especially men still end up having sex in the absence of a desire to procreate.  So, what are a woman's choices in a world without family planning?  Take the Santorum-sanctioned one-man and one-woman marriage, for example.  Does a woman have a right within such a union to say 'NO' night after night, month after month?  If not, isn't that woman really just a sex slave to her husband's desires?

Heterosexual men, are you ready for a life of sitting in your computer chairs, typing with one hand?  Or being shut down by your wives or girlfriends night after night?  All I'm saying is, think about it.  Unfortunately, being gay is not a choice so you're kind of stuck.

And women, unless you really want a life dictated and dominated by men's spermy urges, it is time to take a stand against the troglodytes who now insist on making it difficult or impossible for you to be in charge of your own reproductive system.  How else to make that statement that we, as women, will not go back to the days before Roe v. Wade, before contraception, than to write it plainly and simply?
It's up to us, sisters. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Body, My Health, My Vagina, My Uterus

As long as pregnancy remained the defining fact of our lives, [men] got to run the whole show.
Sarah Robinson at Alternet

I pity the fools who are playing politics with us women. They may not have intended to waken a normally tranquil majority, but it's too late now to reverse course. If they think we will quietly return to the middle of the 20th century, I think they're in for a big surprise.

Here's my belly, see my fire, feel my power, fear my ire
(original painting by Ennealogic)
Pro-Choice GOP Warns Party That Contraception Fight Will Be A Disaster [TPM]

But will the GOP listen? Apparently they hope to entice a certain segment of the population to the polls with their hollow accusations of trampled religious liberties.  "'This was an unexpected gift,' said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Republican strategist." [NYTimes]

5 Important Lessons from the Komen/Planned Parenthood Fiasco (Don't Mess With Women's Health) [Alternet]

Via online poll at Forbes as of 2/18/2012
Still smarting after the Komen-Planned Parenthood public relations disaster, theocratic men of the cloth and their sycophantic zealots in politics continue to find new ways to insult, demean, and brush aside the women of America by trivializing reproductive health concerns and issues.

During the recent ludicrous Senate hearing chaired by Darrell Issa, Connecticut Bishop William Lori compared providing contraception coverage in health care plans to forcing kosher delis to serve pork [WSJ].  Excuse me, Bishop, but pork is not medicine no matter how stretched the analogy.  And President Obama's plan doesn't force you or your brothers in self-righteous holiness to supply prescription birth control.

Foster Friess, GOP hopeful Rick Santorum's chief financial backer, callously joked that contraception is cheap: all it takes is a woman holding an aspirin between her knees [Atlantic].

Santorum himself made it plain that contraception is a wicked invention. "Many in the Christian faith have said, 'Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.' It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." [CaffeinatedThoughts]

The Increasingly Disturbing War Against Women's Rights [TNR]

With an improving economy and a competent and compassionate captain at the helm (thank you, President Obama) the opponents of progress have wagered their political futures (and that of their Greedy Old Perverts party) on social issues: marriage equality, reproductive choice, and breathtakingly, women's rights in general.

If they want war, they'll have it. Who's with me?

Image credit: Progress NC

More reading:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Chancellor Katehi Must Resign - UPDATE

Linda P.B. Katehi, 2010
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is quoted as saying she takes "full responsibility for the incident" this past Friday where dozens of students were injured, requiring hospitalization in some cases, as a result of excessive force by the campus' private police force.

Either she knew what was going on or she didn't.  If she knew, that means she approved of the tactics.  Any school administrator that knowingly places her students in physical jeopardy has no business in a position of authority.  If she didn't know, that means she simply is not in control of her employees - men and women who wear a badge and uniform and police the campus under her jurisdiction.

In either case, she should resign.

Ms. Katehi vows to set up a task force to investigate what happened. We pretty much know what happened already - the recounts are numerous, consistent, and on video all over the Internet. Allowing the Chancellor to 'investigate' makes as much sense as asking Dick Cheney to investigate who authorized Scooter Libby to release the identity of a covert CIA agent.

Perhaps Katehi should take note of the law in California and rethink what she has condoned or at least sanctioned in ignorance:

However, the state of California does have a few rules and regulations regarding the use of pepper spray. It is absolutely legal to carry pepper spray and use it to protect your personal safety without having any special state or federal permits. CA laws do regulate the size and/or weight of the defense spray products you can carry and buy. The legal container size must be equal to or below 2.5 ounces of active product. There are many pepper spray items and models that comply with this state set standard.

The pepper spray carried, shipped, sold or used in California should also be labeled with a warning stating that the product is only intended for self-defense. In general, most state laws (California included) enforce that pepper spray should only be used in self defense situations where you fear your life or safety is in danger. Illegal use of pepper spray products (perhaps dispensing them out of anger or as non self defense violence against another person) can bring fines of $1000 and up and/or three years in prison.

California: Weight restricted to 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams).

Granted, the UC Davis paramilitary force may have obtained special permits, but given the restrictions on its normal commercial use, I seriously doubt what we witnessed (video) constitutes lawful use in California.

Prior to being sprayed three times over with a canister containing a lot more than 2.5 ounces of OC,
students sit with arms linked and heads bowed, never threatening the campus police.
If the victims of the pepper spraying go to court, they should revisit the precedent set by protesters who won their case against Northern California police, charging that the pepper spray applied directly to their eyes with a cotton swab did not meet the 'reasonable force under the circumstances' requirement.  I venture the same could definitely be said about the repeated, point-blank pepper spraying of students who were simply seated on the ground with arms linked.

UPDATE: According to NewsLALate.com, several of the students who were injured in the pepper-spray incident are planning to file lawsuits and have already been in contact with civil rights attorneys.  (h/t Zane1, comment at Politicalgates)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is it Time for Champagne?

Champagne-Ardenne Pictures
This photo of Champagne-Ardenne is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Ever since I concluded who and what Sarah Palin is, somewhere around September-October 2008, I tried to make sure that I shared that information with anyone who might listen.  I became an avid consumer of the former half-term governor's public history and an anthropologist digging through her not-so-public life, blogging about what I discovered.  No Alaska paper or news outlet escaped being scoured, or quoted when relevant.  Many people across the US and the world explored the mystery and mystique of the "hottest governor of the coldest state." I absorbed what they had to say and learned all I could from them. Pro- and anti-Palin sites alike did not escape my scrutiny.  I came to know, with a certainty that grew daily, that the superficial second-place beauty queen should never, ever get elected to a national political office.

My computer's hard disk holds nearly a thousand images, hundreds of documents and stored Web pages, and several dozen video clips that record my passage through the Palin family's grifting trail out of Wasilla and back again. I have no intention of deleting any of it, at least not yet. But with Mrs. Todd Palin's announcement that she would not seek the Republican nomination for US President, and the abrupt media silence surrounding her subsequent travels and events, can we finally put her behind us? Is it over, is it time to break out the champagne?

You know those scenes at the end of scary movies, when the monster lays defeated? Just when you think you can celebrate, up rises a gnarled, bloody claw-like hand making a final attempt to claim one more victim. I keep looking over my shoulder, hardly willing to believe that it is truly and well over. Perhaps it's because the nasty and indisputable truth about her fake pregnancy has yet to be laid bare. As a woman and mother, this to me was her most egregious deception. I was and still am convinced that should this hoax be exposed, she would never again have a shot at any office of power in government.  Finis. The end.

I would like to uncork a bottle of bubbly and share the spirit with all of you—I'm just afraid of calling it too soon.  Besides, it would feel better to toast her going out with a bang rather than a whimper.

Friday, October 07, 2011

It Would Have Been More Honest...

...had the 2008 McCain-Palin ticket slogan been:

Given the order that Sarah Palin says she maintained by bowing out of consideration for a run at the presidency in 2012 (God, family, country), one wonders why she never blinked back in 2008.