Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting away with rape


From the Houston Chronicle, a news report from the Los Angeles Daily News, Oct. 25, 2008, 8:29PM, written by Rachel Uranga:
Backlog of 7,000 untested rape kits swamps LAPD
Many cases are at risk because of a 10-year statute of limitations

...There is a backlog of more than 7,000 rape cases, and City Controller Laura Chick blasted the department in an audit for leaving thousands of victims without justice. More than 200 cases are in danger of reaching the statute of limitations for testing.

Takes longer than on TV
But ask any of the more than two dozen criminalists who work in the lab what the holdup is, and you'll get variations on the same answer: It's a lot harder to analyze DNA than it looks on TV.

"The public's perception of it is based on what they see in television or on the news," Blanton said last week. "That is not going to give you a full understanding of the complexity of it, of the legal requirements you have to follow, of the guidelines and protocols."
So it's the public's fault. M'yeah. Sure. Throw us another red herring. Who decides what funds go where?
Even though the number of reported rapes in Los Angeles has steadily declined over the past few years, the number of rape kits that have yet to be tested has grown from roughly 3,300 five years ago to more than 7,000 today.

After 10 years, if a kit is not tested, it's no longer admissible in court. But if it's tested within two years, there's no statute of limitations for when the evidence can be submitted.

The main problem is that the LAPD never staffed the lab to deal with so many cases. But there are other factors.

In about 2000, the department ordered analysts to keep every shred of cell evidence in rape cases, just in case they might need to test it. Before the change, rape kits were regularly purged from the property division, with the permission of an investigating officer.

And as DNA science became more exact, the criminalist's job grew not only harder but longer.

Winding route to DNA
LAPD Chief William Bratton has said there simply isn't enough money, and though the city has approved the addition of 16 criminalists, there is still no funding. As it is now, the division can't keep up with the current DNA case demand, 80 percent of which are rapes. [Italics mine.]
First, it's inexcusable. Heckuva job, LA! Second, is there a backlog due to a lesser priority in funding investigations into sexual violence against women? WTF is the mayor and the police chief going to do about the backlog? Ignore it?
Meanwhile, rapists go loose to rape again.

The LA Daily News blog added this detail:
At a City Hall news conference with women's-rights advocates, [City Controller Laura Chick] said the LAPD should find the money within its more-than-$2 billion budget to hire more criminalists and aim to clear the backlog within three years.

"Today, there are 7,000 women out there without a voice," Chick said. "There are 7,000 victims without justice."
Imagine if women who don't report their rapes, raised their hands. LA can't be the only major metro facing a rape-kit processing backlog. A few seconds googling proves they are not. Via WashPost in July:
The backlog of untested evidence gained national attention in 2001 when Debbie Smith, a rape victim, testified before Congress. The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program was started in 2004 with the goal of processing the nearly 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. But the program has been expanded to allow states to test backlogged DNA evidence from any crime. Even as the proportion of rape victims who report their assaults is increasing, the processing of rape evidence is still backlogged -- and the arrest rate of rapists is decreasing....

...States had long claimed that money was the obstacle to processing more rape kits. Over the past four years, Congress has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for states to conduct DNA testing on evidence from rape crime scenes. Last year, 46 states, the District and Puerto Rico received grants totaling more than $43 million. But the backlog stems from more than a lack of money. The dynamics that contributed to the backlog, chiefly a failure to treat rape as seriously as other violent crimes, have been re-created in the way states spend the grants. [Emphasis added.]
More stats and disheartening news at the WashPost link, a story written by Sarah Tofte and buried on page A21. Not only is rape of lesser concern, but authorities have redirected tax dollars -- our tax dollars -- originally allocated to address rape-kit backlogs.

Don't overlook this factoid: of DNA evidence collected by LAPD, 80% involved rape!
My heart goes out to the women who have a high-probability of justice denied and those who may yet sadly experience rape because law enforcement let perps get away, our government reneges the pledge, "justice for all."

The institutions of law enforcement, the judicial system, Congress, and state governments provide four examples of the many ways that men get away with rape.
POSTSCRIPT: I have a breather from the death in my family to check in with favorite bloggers. If you haven't been following Anglachel's recent commentary focused on misogyny and all its forms, e.g, sexual violence, hate speech, the lack of attention to solving the problem, how racism deserves attention but misogyny is "excusable," plus more, and men's denial and ho-hum response, go read here and here and here for starters.

I'm a very time-starved individual (and insomniac) at the moment beyond the family emergency and can't add much depth. A few posts from my archive demonstrate that the war on women is real and personal to me (that's another tale). What I can do with relative ease and on a regular basis is cut and paste, point out newsworthy stories and white papers. It takes a few seconds to google.
All you awake men who love women are excused that's if you're helping us to solve misogyny in its variant manifestations. Options can range from activism to being a role model within your sphere of influence. Joseph at Cannonfire calls out lickspittle hate of the Blog Boyz as do our allies of the mighty Corrente building.

The spectrum of participation is broad, so c'mon! Join in, fellas! We females need your help and you can impact your male peers and family members in ways we can't to nip the toxic bud before it blooms. As I write this invitation, I'm skeptical that but a very few men will heed the call, that I'm naive to how most men won't acknowledge their privileged status or relinquish share it. Maybe wasting pixels.

Prove me wrong.


UPDATE: CLD of SoapBoxBlog kindly informed me that Jeff Fecke, whom I had mentioned, no longer blogs at Shakesville. Obviously, I need to get out more often. Revised text accordingly, added links, in a hurried rush to deal with family stuff.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Death in the family

Just as life happens, so does death. I'll be away for some time dealing with this unexpected family emergency that has preoccupied my time and will for the rest of the week.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Culture of inanity

Previously in the Dumbing down of our political discourse, I had observed Ezra Klein's swan dive into the "Politico sewer," its headline gurgling, RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion. Ezra got in a twit over the money spent on Sarah Palin's new wardrobe as if this item deserved Serious Outrage. My reaction can be summed up with an impersonation of one of the other Blog Boyz... So stupid!

Yesterday, Bob Somerby dissected the same Politico article, but unlike Ezra who joined the Village carnival, the astute Daily Howler laureate "darkly chuckled" at author Jeanne Cummings' disingenuous attempt to use voters to hide her whipped-up insipid froth stewed over "primping and dressing on the campaign trail." Truth is:

...it hasn’t been the voters who have focused on the kinds of trivia seized upon in Cummings’ piece. It wasn’t the voters who focused on Gore’s “clothing hues,” or on Edwards’ vile haircuts. It was the mainstream press corps—people like Cummings, who is lying here, right in your faces. It has been the mainstream press which has pushed this inanity. And in doing so, they have served power.

Please remember the basic rule, the rule we’ve discussed for so many years: It’s never the press corps which pushes these topics, if you let the press corps tell it. Inevitably, the press corps attributes its conduct to others—to “late-night comedians,” to “political rivals,” or, in this case, to the voters themselves. But people like Cummings are never truthful about where the inanity comes from. The inanity comes from people like Cummings. They pimp it, then lie about that fact, thus hiding their reasons for acting.

Whose interest does inanity serve? Let’s review the past dozen years. When it comes to candidates’ clothing, which party have these idiots flayed? Duh! Gore was savaged for his clothes—and Edwards for his haircuts. (John McCain’s shoes? Nice try!) And of course, Cummings is lying by omission when she so sweetly types this:

CUMMINGS: In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues.

Actually, that took place in 1999, when Cummings’ cohort—helped by Cummings herself—was staging its twenty-month War Against Gore, the war which sent George Bush to the White House. About this war, Cummings lies by omission. She remembers the months-long attack on “clothing hues” (November 1999 was the cruelest month.) But she has somehow forgotten the other attacks on Gore’s deeply vile, troubling clothing...

Somerby ticked off some of the fashionista attacks against Gore: his three-button suits (or four-button suits, darhleeng, Arianna quibbled with a sniff and "not the way most American males dress."), his polo shirts allegedly worn to attract female voters, and hemmed up trousers to show off his shining bright cowboy boots.

Honest to goodness! This was newsworthy because why? Well, of course, it wasn't then like the kerfuffle now over Palin's wardrobe, a convenient segue to rehash the sins of major Dems. In Bob's incomparable truth-telling style, he lets us know whassup with the nonsense (with emphasis):

Cummings forgets to tell the whole truth, citing what you’re allowed to know. And of course, she forgets to mention the flip side of her cohort’s inanity: The way Bill Bradley’s old neckties and shabby shoes proved that he was authentic, unlike Gore. (Bradley said he hadn’t bought shoes in 25 years—and they pretended that they believed him!)

She forgets the war her own cohort waged. And of course, by Hard Pundit Law, she pretends it was done by “the voters!”

Let’s be frank. Inane complaints about clothing and grooming have killed your interests in the past dozen years—and now, they engage their inanity once again. At the Times, the inane Patrick Healy is on the front page; inside, Eric Wilson has a companion piece! (At the Post, they had the decency to restrict Givhan’s musings to page one of “Style.”) But make no mistake: Inanity exists to serve power. If progressives let inanity continue as part of press culture, it will be used to defeat them again.

Today, power has fled from Saint McCain; it’s time for a Dem to clean up the messes, as Clinton was allowed to do, long ago. (The attacks began as soon as he started.) That’s right! Things are so bad in DC today that power has fled the GOP! But don’t worry! Power will turn back against your tribe—and they will defeat you once again, through the uses of their inanity.

If we were smart, we’d try to stamp out this culture—the press corps’ culture of inanity. In the future, this culture will be used against you, as it has been used in the past. But your leaders on cable are being paid millions. To tell you the truth, they aren’t very smart—and they enjoy having fun.

We know, we know—you’re enjoying this too! That’s what the other side counts on.

And the Blog Boyz whiff the carrot dangling at the top of the media ladder and climb as quick as they can toward the "culture of inanity," visions of dollar signs gleam in their eyes. For others, the game is to convince you to pull ol' Uncle Buzzy's finger.

POSTSCRIPT: The title of my post was taken from Bob Somerby. But you know that, doncha?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Alegre said

For true:

[Hillary is] working her backside off to get BHO and down ticket Democrats elected and dammit - people need to understand just how hard she's working.
A few things that leapt out at me as I watched the video Alegre had posted of Hillary stumping for Obama (linked below). She is an amazingly accomplished stateswoman, an extraordinary human being committed to advancing equality for all of us. During one segment in the video filmed in Omaha, NE, Hillary Clinton spoke to the advocacy group, Girls Inc. She said:
As a nation, we do not yet fully and equally value women's work.
Later she remarked during an interview, "You know, I didn't set out to run as a woman for president but that's the only way I could run." What did she mean?
Well, I was really saying that, you know, I didn't consider myself the woman candidate although obviously I was. I mean, that's who I am.
But as I got into the campaign and realized that's how people were seeing me, for better or for worse in some situations, that there was this historical burden that I was carrying that I had not anticipated.
It became apparent that there's a lot of unfinished business in our country when it comes to gender.
And that's a fact.




I found this scene from the video especially poignant and touching. Who knows? Maybe a few of these young women aspire to being a U.S. senator, a governor, or the POTUS.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dumbing down

Good grief. Channeling a snark-booted inner fashionista, Ezra Klein linked to a Politico story about the high price tag of Sarah Palin's new wardrobe and expressed outrage over "$150,000 of other people's money" donated to the RNC that was spent on her clothes and make-up.

And this is important political discourse because of why?

Doesn't this tit-for-tat open the door to a gotcha rehash on the set designed by Britney Spears' concert team for Obama's "temple" at Invesco Field? Or the full-scale replica of Air Force One's fuselage that arrived at the stadium before Barack's appearance? And who, pray tell, paid for all that stagecraft? I've lost count of the voluminous direct mail and emails, emails, emails! soliciting donations for the DNC, Obama, Robert Wexler, Chris Dodd, Barbara Boxer's PAC, and on and on. So I'm unmoved by Ezra's ire except to get a bit peeved at what my contributions to Democrats may have funded.

What's next from the whirl of crap? Wasted energy sizing up Michelle Obama's wardrobe? Or Barack's? Or Cindy and John McCain's?

Last year, Glenn Greenwald (thank goodness, still sane) wrote about the Politico sewer into which Ezra jumped:

The Politico today is prominently touting on its front page another vapid, petty, and inane "news story" -- the type of story which has, in just a few short months, become its hallmark:
Romney spent $300 on makeup 'consulting'
Fast forward to (with emphasis):
One of the reasons why vapid petty-personality "journalism" of this sort has so disadvantaged liberals and so advantaged right-wing fanatics is because the latter are not only willing, but droolingly eager, to exploit these sorts of themes, while liberals in general are highly reluctant, almost embarrassed, to do so....
Not anymore.

When the right-wing attack machine joined by wacky doodle pundits mocked John Edwards $400 haircuts, didn't we (well, "some" of us) liberals realize the derision was a ridiculous diversion from important discussions about Edwards' policies married with the old GOP smear strategy: paint liberals as elitists and feminize Democratic men?

So now bloggers fight gasbags with gasbags? Lovely. I don't recognize the liberal wing of the blogosphere anymore.
Does a post-partisan landscape mean you can't tell liberals from conservatives? Because the piffle-whacked sludge one has to wade through to get to meaningful analysis has blurred the lines.

A few of my biggest disappointments this campaign season include:
  • the dumbing down of political discourse on liberal blogs
  • the destructive sexist, misogynistic attacks on Hillary Clinton and her supporters (and recently Sarah Palin)
  • the Democratic caucus system that disenfranchises most voters
  • the pledged delegate sham
  • plus the Malignant Absurdity™ howled to the four corners that the Clintons and Hillary voters are racists.
Biggest losers of 2008: liberal bloggers. Well, not all of them, but a heckuva lot particularly the Blog Boyz.

See super-duper smart Anglachel for more details and our most reliable witness, Bob Somerby, who recommended that Josh Marshall "pack his satchel and go."

I second Somerby's motion. All those in favor say, aye!
UPDATE: More on "dopey" Politico from Eric Boehlert at County Fair.


POSTSCRIPT: M'yeah, I haven't blogged much. Busy, busy. But I'll try to do better. Begging your patience.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Facts evasion

Succinctly, by laying out the facts, Bob Somerby explained how the so-called liberal blogosphere aka SCLB has transformed into Village idiots:

SEEING AN SS PROPOSAL HALF EMPTY: If you round 28 percent off to “half,” you may be misleading the voters. And you may be squandering a large advantage you enjoyed with the mainstream press. That seems to be what Obama did with the recent ad which is “ad-watched” in today’s New York Times. We highlight two key words from the text of the ad—two words which seem to be hard to defend, two words which were wholly unnecessary:

OBAMA AD: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message. A broken economy. Failing banks. Unstable markets. Families struggling. To protect us in retirement, Social Security has never been more important. But John McCain has voted three times in favor of privatizing Social Security. McCain says, “I campaigned in support of President Bush’s proposal.” Cutting benefits in half. Risking Social Security on the stock market. The Bush-McCain privatization plan. Can you really afford more of the same?

Aarrgh. The Obama campaign can’t seem to defend two key words: “in half.” And Obama has been criticized for making a similar claim on the stump. (For two posts from FactCheck.org, click here and then click here.) Because they stuck those two words in that ad, the Obama campaign has been widely assailed. For one example, see this column by the Post’s Ruth Marcus.

Last week, Marcus—like many mainstream journalists—was hammering McCain, quite hard, for his long string of “whoppers.” In this column, Marcus says Obama has started to even things up.

A bit of background on the issue discussed in Obama’s ad:

Marcus is part of the DC establishment’s center-left contingent. If she votes, she will almost surely vote for Obama, not for the saintly McCain. But by the time of Campaign 2000, virtually everyone in the Village was affirming the virtue of private accounts; Gore was hammered, remarkably widely and remarkably stupidly, for challenging Bush’s proposal. (Link below.)

To this day, Marcus tends to buy her cohort’s sky-is-falling approach to SS; when she writes about the issue, she tends to be ardent—and murky. Her column included some outright nonsense, such as her passing complaint about Obama’s use of “incendiary language” (that is, the word “privatization”). And the column ended up in the weeds; Marcus isn’t very good at clarifying this issue. But her basic complaint was basically accurate, a point you may not have understood from work churned by some on your side.

This childish post by Josh Marshall is a case in point. Much of the short post is incoherent; much of it is loud and childish. (“It’s apparently a big lie,” Josh childishly snarks, as he offers a reinvented account of what Obama has actually said.) But his whole post ignores a central point—Obama and the Obama campaign seem to have misstated a key, central fact. On our side, we tend to get extremely upset when McCain does this sort of thing.

Is this what we all signed up for when the liberal web was born? Were we secretly seeking the chance to bleat and cry and ignore central points? Did we want to be like Sean Hannity? If so, enjoy Josh’s post.

Hey! Look over there! Pay no attention to the title of Marcus' column, "Closing the Whopper Gap," which examines Obama's false ad claim. The SCLB via CDS-sufferer Josh Marshall overlooks Obama's "rank misrepresentation" and his "stooping to the kind of scare tactics he once derided" so that WKJM can meander about the Social Security privatization quadrangle obscuring those two points among others.

And that is Josh's point--change the subject and disregard the substance of a criticism--a Village-like maneuver as if a child obedient to the defense of The One denies the fact that Da-Da is misleading.

Just as right-wing media have defended King George and the conservative movement for decades with blatant lies, juvenile rants, and sleight of hand, the SCLB rush to the aid of their Precious with misdirection, an evasion of the facts, and on other occasions, to spread faux racial smears and misogyny. That's not what I "signed up for when the liberal web was born."

The problem for the latter "progressive" cohort is that their appeals to a critical voting bloc--Democratic women--comes delivered with a slap in the face and dismissive snarls. Still! Anglachel handily addressed the latest sexist insult (read her entire post for details) and articulated what the Blog Boyz seem to be incapable of grasping. With emphasis added:

When Democratic women say "The Obama camp has run a sexist, mysogynistic campaign," we are told we're wrong, no such thing, there was not any sexism there, except maybe some from Tweety. When Democratic women say, "No, it's not his race, it's his lack of commitment to the programs that matter to us," we are told that, no, we're all just racist bitches, and that it's our fault if he doesn't win.

What does it mean to electoral outcomes if what we Democratic women are saying is simply true? That there is too much encouragement of and reliance upon misogyny as a campaign tactic? That our objections to this candidate really are based on rational economic self-interest, and are not due to his race?

Using shame (shame of being female, shame of being racist) rather than offering benefit is a tactic that may intimidate some, and perhaps win some over who would rather be part of the pack that attacks than one who is attacked, but mostly it engenders resentment. It is nothing on which political solidarity can be founded. Hasn't the Democratic Party learned that it is not enough to run on "I'm not [insert opponent here]"? That was a losing argument against Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Shouting "The other party is worse!" does nothing to address the weaknesses and failings of our own. Put on top of that a very public contempt for the concerns of a large and (until now) unswervingly loyal constituency and this is a recipie [sic] for long term, nearly permanent loss of electoral power.

I'll never vote Republican, but for the first time in my life, I feel no desire to vote Democrat, either.

I've written reams of analysis of why the current election is shaping up the way it has and I may be wrong about my judgments on those things, but I know my own thoughts. When I say I won't vote for Obama after the revolting campaign he has run and because he doesn't have anything substantive to back him up, I mean exactly those two things, nothing more, nothing less.

It's just the truth.

I couldn't agree more. As a lesbian, I include another unpleasant contradiction over Obama's campaign affiliation with homophobes. Again! How dumb does he think LGBTQ folks are?

Does Obama think we're too ignorant to notice how the underside of the bus looks?

Good thing you rarely see the SCLB touting that they are members of the "reality-based community." With Obama's campaign, reality must have become too mind-boggling to handle.

POSTSCRIPT: The "Precious" was coined by Anglachel and "WKJM" (Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall) was originally minted by Bob Somerby and recognized by the senior fellows of the mighty Corrente building.

Speaking of Corrente, in response to Anglachel's spot-on post, Lambert asks again:

How can a “movement” built on misogyny and false charges of racism be considered “progressive”?

Riddle me that, Batman.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Worth another look

Gov. Palin and Senator Clinton address the nation, a Saturday Night Live parody available at Hulu.



Via

NOTE: Updated to Hulu link because the YouTube was no longer available to embed.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Palin-tology

Sapphocrat provided a good round-up of summarized links on Gov. Sarah Palin's record and ideology -- from her inexperience to Troopergate to her stance on abortion and creationism.

One snippet that caught my attention illustrated the ol' GOP razzle-dazzle: positioning their political opponents' strength as a weakness and converting their, um, how can I say this... wingnutty hypocrisy into a new, improved feature. They like having it their way:

The Bristol Stomp
“Jake Tapper asks: ‘What would the response be if Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and his wife Michelle had a pregnant unmarried teenage daughter?’ I can answer that. Mona Charen, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would sprout bat wings and fangs and start divebombing, Peggy Noonan would issue a pained sigh that would ruffle nun’s robes from here to Hoboken, Laura Ingraham and Bill Bennett would engage in a finger-wagging contest to condemn our loose licentious liberal culture, and Jennifer Rubin at Commentary’s Contentions would crash into the wall doing cartwheels. …”
James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, September 1, 2008

Oh... so... true!

In 2004, Republicans and their wacky-doodle allies swift-boated Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam war vet. Kerry married a rich widow and critics tagged him a "kept man" or the more unseemly "gigolo." This election, they gush over McCain, a POW during Vietnam. John married a wealthy beer heiress but... *crickets*

For more than a decade, the right-wing has lashed Hillary Clinton with a thousand cuts, using sexism as a divisive political weapon. With Gov. Sarah Palin in the picture, “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.”

A McCain ad attacked Obama's rockstar celebrity. Palin has become a rockstar sensation as McCain's veep but IOKIYAR. Just ask about The Gipper.

How many presto-change-o's can you name?


Why Democrats lose

Our most reliable witness Bob Somerby explained. Go read his entire post, "WHY YOUR PARTY LOSES! We won’t take it, the GOP said. Dems and libs constantly do," to comprehend the situation. The gist:

Press corps inanity to the side, has the media greeted Palin’s selection with sexism and elite condescension? Yes, there has been some of each–and there has been some exaggeration of same by major Republican honchos. But in all the events of the past few days, the major difference between the two parties has been made abundantly clear. It’s captured in this Politico piece by John Harris (for the record, the headline is grossly deceptive). If you want to know why your party loses, consider the highlighted passage:

HARRIS (9/4/08): As the controversy over her qualifications and McCain’s vetting process overwhelmed events here, hypocritical rhetoric was flowing at full tide on all sides of the debate.

Many conservatives, who spent a generation ridiculing the politics of victimhood and group identity, are now zealously invoking both in the Twin Cities. A common GOP talking point here is that Palin’s gender and experiences as a mother should be counted as an asset among her qualifications. At the news conference, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift condemned “an outrageous smear campaign” against Palin, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said, “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.”

Let’s repeat what Fiorina said: “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.” Remove the limiting term there–“sexist.” Thus adjusted, Fiorina’s statement explains our electoral politics over the past twenty years.

The Republican Party will not stand by while its candidates get attacked. The Democratic Party, and its major affiliates, have done just that. For years.

Fast forward to Somerby's conclusion (after he exposed the Democratic non-response to 1999 smears that President Bill Clinton was a murderer):

Now! Go back and reread Fiorina’s statement, and consider the conduct of the past several days. If you still don’t understand why your party loses, then let’s face it–you never will.

By the way, what else transpired as these Dem/liberal elements kept their traps shut in August 1999? On Fox, a gang of male pundits went on the air and mocked the way Hillary Clinton looked back in the 1970s. (They had a photograph, and it looked very funny. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/6/08.) And of course, all across the political landscape, the RNC and the MSM kept inventing new, bogus tales about the vile Candidate Gore. The Democratic Party never said boo about those matters either. Neither did those liberal journals. Nor those liberal columnists.

How does your political world work? Here’s how:

Sally Quinn and Maureen Dowd played the fool about Palin–and the Republican Party fought back hard. They’ve played the fool about Big Dems for years–and the Democratic Party said nothing.

Yep! There was some sexism in the coverage of Palin–and the Republican Party fought back hard, exaggerating as it did. But then, during this same campaign, a major Democratic woman was gender-trashed from December 2006 on. Eighteen months later, Howard Dean explained why he didn’t speak up. I don’t watch that much cable, he said.

As recently as last evening, some of our fools continued to say that they feel “insulted” by Palin’s selection. If they had an ounce of sense, they’d instead feel insulted by Dean.

Insulted by Howard Dean? Yeah, he thinks we're dumb sweeties. Point taken.

What should have been a Democratic cakewalk into the WH this year now rests on convincing swing voters in the upcoming debates.

The best debater the Democrats had was Sen. Hillary Clinton. She could have beaten McCain handily during the debates and in November because no one--no one--articulates the Democratic brand with more strength and persuasive conviction than Clinton.

No matter how much Obama turns to Hillary and female surrogates "to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain," the problem is...

Hillary Clinton is not on the ticket.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sexist attacks on Sarah Palin help McCain

Just when I didn't think the SCLB could not sink any lower, up pops John Aravosis, king of tabloid trash-blogging, to vilify Gov. Sarah Palin's private life:

The 'progressive' men are actually counting the months of the woman's pregnancies! That's right folks. The formerly progressive netroots is trying to bring Sarah Palin down by proving that she is a slut! The menz over at Americablog (and followers) fervently hope to prove that one of Sarah Palin's children was conceived "out of wedlock!"

This story is not to be confused with the ongoing netroots effort to shame the Palin family by proving that Sarah Palin's teenage daughter is a slut.

A woman enters the presidential race and suddenly the progressive mission is to shame and mortify Sarah Palin, her children, her husband, and every woman who has ever found herself in a similar situation. And then no one will ever vote for Sarah Palin again because she's a slut!?!?

John Aravosis imagines that we are still living in the Victorian Era when women were so devastated by public shaming that they committed suicide. Way to go John Aravosis! And we thought you already held the record for alienating women voters with your vile misogynistic posts about Hillary Rodham Clinton. There's just something about ambitious women that brings out the inner misogynistic creep.
Employers would shun a potential employee like Aravosis because his unseemly conduct would put them at risk for a sexual harassment lawsuit... well, with exceptions like MSNBC and Faux News. Aspiring to work for Don Imus or the National Enquirer, eh? Why do I get the feeling that John and his buds have a Bro's before Ho's T-shirt in the closet?

Argue against Palin's policies, her record, and her ideology. But the despicable tactics of Aravosis and his reptilian-brained fellows prove fauxgressives don't have a lick of sense or decency.

The "she's a slut" line of attack will fuel the classic persecution complex of conservatives (Palin married, sweetie darthlings) plus mobilize Independents and Republicans lukewarm to McCain, giving them enough reason--the least of which, the hypocrisy of unity-schumunity, the double standard and sexism of the Left--to defend Sarah Palin... to ferociously GOTV.

Leave it to fauxgressives dumber than a box of lug nuts to "[do] Karl Rove's work for him." Go read Zuzu's entire post at Shakesville with updates for the scoop. The lesson (with emphasis in bold):
Let's look at how McCain's selection of Palin fits in to the Rovian playbook. Already, feminists on the left are asking whether McCain thinks that women vote with their vaginas -- but that only allows the GOP to turn that back on the Dems and ask why feminists think that Palin was chosen only because she's a woman. Same with all the "what kind of mother" talk -- aren't Democrats the ones who are supposed to be all for working mothers?

Then there's all the "Governor Barbie," bimbo, golddigger, VPILF, CUNTRY, etc. crap. Oh, the Republicans will undoubtedly say, look how much the Democrats value women. All that unity business was a steaming pile of bullshit; they don't value you when the chips are down.

And what the Republicans will do that the Democrats will not is call out the misogyny against their candidate. I've said it before -- the Republicans would never, in a million years, stand by and let the media and the party rank-and-file treat one of their female candidates the way that Clinton got treated during the primary.

Thus, they turn a Democratic strength into a weakness. Or, rather, expose it as a weakness.

Now, as to why I don't think that McCain actually thinks that disaffected Democratic women will flock to him just because he picked a wingnut gun-nut creationist woman with some ethical problems as a running mate: because he doesn't have to get them to vote for him. He has to get them to stay home in swing states.

And what better way to get them to stay home than pick a running mate who not only helps him with his own base, but whose very physical presence he knows will bring out the misogynist bully boys who made Hillary's life (and those of her supporters) such hell? The ones who never tire of making it perfectly clear that women who want attention paid to their issues in this election are not welcome in the Democratic Party?

Making it all the more perfect is the fact that Obama is boxed in -- if he fails to rein in the football hooligans who comprise his rabid fan base, he will be (rightly) accused of supporting the misogynistic attacks against Palin, but if he publicly reins them in, he will be (rightly) accused of failing to do the same when those attacks were directed against Clinton, which will allow the Republicans to question the legitimacy of the process that put him over the top on the delegate count.

That genie isn't going back into the bottle, not now.

And all those football hooligan fanboys who've turned their unleashed ids onto Palin now that Hillary's out of the race and in the fold? They're doing Karl Rove's work for him. And so are the astroturfers and concern trolls.
Somewhere Matt Drudge is smiling.

Comments captured below:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin no friend to gays and lesbians

Media claims about Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska do not fit the facts. Specifically, NYT columnist David Brooks asserted "she's pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues." Au contraire:

...as Media Matters for America has documented, while Palin vetoed a bill in 2006 that would have prevented state officials from granting spousal benefits, her actions followed a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court ruling [PDF] that the state's policy of denying spousal benefits to same-sex partners of public employees violated the Alaska Constitution and a 2006 state Supreme Court order [PDF] requiring the state to issue regulations granting such benefits by January 1, 2007.
Palin followed the ruling begrudgingly:
In the veto message, Palin's office stated that she disagreed with the Alaska Supreme Court's actions: "The Governor's veto does not signal any change or modification to her disagreement with the action and order by the Alaska Supreme Court."
She's no maverick on LGBTQ issues.
Further, as a candidate for governor, Palin also reportedly supported efforts to prohibit state benefits for same-sex couples. The Anchorage Daily News reported on August 6, 2006, that Palin believes "[e]lected officials can't defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples. 'I believe that honoring the family structure is that important,' Palin said. She said she doesn't know if people choose to be gay." [Emphasis added.]
Haven't we heard too many times that LGBTQs are not part of a legit family structure? Conservatives (and sadly some Democrats) reject that we are a naturally-occurring sexual minority. Pfft. Pffft! Forget science. Republicans cling to archaic thinking. I wonder when did Sarah choose to be hetero?

Make no mistake, Gov. Sarah Palin is a hard-line conservative. For trustworthy and astute political analysis (bookmark her blog!), see Anglachel's posts on McCain-Palin here and here. For me, a liberal left-of-center lesbian who opposes Obama for reasons I've reiterated numerous times here at The RealSpiel, the following nugget from Anglachel's, Basic Instinct, on McCain-Palin, sounded all too familiar:
The Obama campaign treated the Clinton Democrat constituency and our champions with disdain and hostility, right down to the roll call vote. "You have no where else to go," is what we were told week after week when we said, no, stupid, it's not race, its the economy. It's the lack of partisan committment. It's the refusal to address our concerns about the social safety net. The magninimity [sic] of the Clintons and their unshakeable [sic] loyalty to the party, fully on display at the convention, threw the petty selfishness and insecurity of the Obamacans into relief.

The general election is now in doubt for the Democrats because Obama has spent most of a year kicking the Clinton Democrats, the base of the party, to the curb. His refusal to even consider our candidate for the ticket shows he puts his emotional satisfaction ahead of the political needs of the party. The campaign's first reaction to Palin was an attack on the person, exactly in the mode of their hateful attacks on Hillary - sexist, disdainful, mocking, and crude....
Shakesville has initiated their famous Sexism Watch on Palin as they did under the feminist aegis of Melissa McEwan on the attacks aimed at Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Too often in Hillary's case, so-called liberals demonstrated their chosen sexist tendencies. Now they hurl ugly misogynistic rants toward Sarah Palin that has been so typical of Obama supporters. Such as:
“What is this, the Vagina Epilogue?”
From the previous link, Violet sums up the electoral implications of Palin as veep on the McCain ticket:
Yesterday I wrote that the possums will lose this election for Obama by alienating every woman in America who hasn’t already run screaming from the sexism in the Democratic party. Well, not every woman, but enough. Enough women will either stay home or vote for Sarah Palin (not McCain) to make that nut.

They’ll do so not out of spite and not because they’re irrational. They’ll do so because they will have decided that the critical thing, right here, right now, is not to be bound by some historical allegiance to the party that used to be the home of women’s rights, but to strike a hard blow against the sexism and misogny of today.
I can forgive a protest vote for McCain-Palin after having witnessed the shameful treatment of partisan loyalist Hillary Clinton from inside the party.

However, be not deceived that Palin is a friend to gays and lesbians. Given the chance, I daresay she would support a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, oppose ENDA, and high-five the ban on gays in the military. She's not a ballot option I will entertain for a nanosecond.

To be true to my liberal principles, and after checking the write-in rules of my state, I will lodge a presidential protest vote in November with the Green Party that placed a woman at the top of its ticket and fully embraces LGBTQ equality including "housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life provided to all other citizens" and women's rights.

I don't give Obama high marks on LGBTQ issues or the Democratic Party that used to be the champion of civil rights, a subject of another RealSpiel post coming soon.

Comments captured below:


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No way, no how, no Obama

From the convention floor after Hillary's speech, Anne Price-Mills, an African-American woman and a delegate for Clinton, summed up why she's still in Hill's camp and uncommitted to Obama (with emphasis):

Tell me, why is this so important to you? What does this moment mean to you?

ANNE PRICE-MILLS, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Hillary Clinton proved to me tonight that she would have made an excellent president. She was presidential tonight. She's the evidence that women have come so far and to let gender be a hindrance, to let a phenomenal, an intelligent, a powerful, a moving, a motivating person not move us into the next generation, not move us into the future that we deserve, not move us into the green economy that we deserve, not being able to address the concerns that we deserve, and now everybody just want us to suddenly shift.

You just saw it yourselves. You saw it yourself; you know that was a presidential speech. You know it. When you guys look back at the end of this week and you start to tear apart the speeches and you will, you know that was a presidential speech.

She did everything for Obama that she was supposed to do. Now it's time for him to step up and do what he's supposed to do.

MALVEAUX: Will you vote for her when you cast your votes later in the week?

PRICE-MILLS: I was selected to come here as a delegate for Clinton. I will vote for Clinton.

You ask me about my personal vote in November? Obama has two months. I won't vote for McCain. But he has to get me there and I haven't connected with him. Experience speaks to me. I ask everybody all the time, I said, would you take us to heal us? Would you take somebody straight out of Harvard, even if they had the education, and put them as a CEO in the company?

MALVEAUX: Tell me the kind of connection you felt with Hillary Clinton.

PRICE-MILLS: I see in Hillary, I saw in Hillary what my potential future could be. I saw more than just dreams. I saw things that could be reality.

In her eyes and in her words, I could envision the reality of knowing that we can actually have green jobs instead of talks. That we could have the image that we once have of a United States that was respected and that went out and did the jobs that we're supposed to do on the global level. I saw the country that we strived to be and wanted to be and she could have made it happen.

MALVEAUX: Will you cast that vote for him in November? Will you cast your vote for Barack Obama in November or will you vote for McCain or not vote at all?

PRICE-MILLS: I will not vote for McCain. I will not vote for McCain. But for the first time since I was 18, and that's been a long time, I may be faced with something I don't want to have to deal with.

I've never not voted. I am one of the strongest Democrats I know. I call up all my family and say, Carl, you need to get out the house, I don't care how much rain is pouring down. I don't what's going on in your schedule, you need to vote.

For the first time I'm faced with not being a person who calls them and says go vote. They may have to call me and tell me and remind me of how hard and how long we strived to get to the right to vote, the right to be here.

Experience counts. I don't care what anybody told you. And his resume is just --

Anne Price-Mills never filled in the blank about Obama's résumé but I can guess. It's lacking.

Obama isn't the best choice for the Democratic presidential nominee at this time in history. Hillary is.

With the highest respect for Hillary's call for unity, I must be true to myself. I own my vote and it must be earned. I will not reward a party that has betrayed Clinton Democrats, turned a blind eye to sexism, and allowed a rookie U.S. senator with a thin résumé to usurp the party because of why? Money?! Sexism? Clinton-hatred? The party has disgracefully lost its way especially in taking action on women's rights.

I have previously written:

I can't speak for others but my opposition is:

  • about protesting a party that's sexist, corrupt, and out of touch

  • about throwing out party leadership by abstaining from their Anointed One

  • about a nomination process that used undemocratic means, i.e., caucuses, that made the Democratic party's name a joke

  • about the injustice of punishing MI and FL but giving NH, IA, and SC waivers when those states also violated the Rulz

  • about the dismissal of women and the working class by claiming we have no other political option other than voting Democratic

  • about the DNC rigging the nomination to wrangle their cash cow

  • about nominating the least qualified candidate of the field

  • about Obama's complicity in a dirty-tricks campaign of false racial smears, sexism, and okey doke politics

  • about manipulating the press propaganda machine to favor The One

  • about embracing homophobes and playing the LGBT community for suckers

  • about voting for "the lesser of two evils" that insidiously enables evil, hypocrisy, and complacency

  • about rejecting the extortion of my vote through intimidation and fear-mongering

  • about protesting the abandonment of constitutional principles for political capital.

I'm probably forgetting other important motives, but in short, I am fed up and revolting against corruption, sexism, exploitation of racial tensions, homophobia, and the plutocracy of both parties.

I hold Howard Dean, the biased anti-Clinton DNC, and the barking mad Obama wingnuts responsible for discrediting the Democratic party that's supposed to represent liberal principles and to stand up for democratic policies.

The party should count its lucky stars that I plan to vote for down-ticket Democrats. But...

No way, no how, no Obama.

Hillary Clinton is simply the best

After a long, long absence, I was compelled to comment having been motivated by the absolutely phenomenal speech Hillary Clinton delivered a few hours ago.

Now that is how a president leads and how a real Democrat behaves.

I will continue to fight to reform the party of The One, an un-democratic party I no longer recognize, and a so-called liberal blogosphere that has transformed into a frat boy club that spread right-wing Clinton-hating memes like a vicious virus.

This early morning, I take solace in Harriett Tubman's words as quoted by Hillary:

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

POSTSCRIPT: The national media continue to eviscerate their credibility. Did they ever have any?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Another status quo enforcer speaks

Apparently, those of us who refuse to follow the Democratic party leader aka The Anointed One are not only hysterical old bats, but we are dumb sweeties pumped up by a Republican swiftboat conspiracy:

Pandagon writer Amanda Marcotte reaches the heights of silliness in her attempt to "prove" the John McCain holds PUMA's leash. Even though the movement started on the Confluence with Riverdaughter and other former Kossack writers, and even though many a well-known prog-in-exile (including yours truly) has pushed the thing along, Marcotte pretends that the entire thing was started by one Darragh C. Murphy, who appears to have given John McCain $500 in the year 2000.

That, says Marcotte, proves it's all a big fat Republican plot!

Actually , Marcotte's post proves that we are dealing with a big fat Obama plot -- since she lightly re-writes an Obot "talking point" previously sent to this blog, and to other blogs. The term for this sort of practice is, I believe, Astroturf. In other words, Marcotte simply re-typed a message handed to her by Obama Central.

The PUMA blogs, by contrast, do what they do on their own. We have no Comintern, no Central Commitee, no leaders, no home office, no money. Hillary has told Dems to support the Lightbringer, and we have told her no can do.

I have not received any communication from John McCain's people. Nobody pays me a dollar.

Me neither and as I have repeatedly asserted, I am not voting for McCain. Or Obama.

Who's questioning the motivations of A-Hole listers who rake in the Obama cha-ching? Oh, their loyalties couldn't be influenced by nothing but their own true-blue natures, eh?

Is Marcotte aware that Markos used to be a Republican? Does that mean the Orange Sippy Cup™ is a GOP ratfucking operation?

Funny how us dumb sweeties can't organize a resistance all by ourselves without men like John McCain. A bit of unconscious internalized sexism in play?

It's inconceivable to Marcotte and her ilk that PUMAs come from all quarters of the political spectrum including yours truly, a left-of-center liberal lesbian with a list of reasons for my opposition, "fed up and revolting against corruption, sexism, exploitation of racial tensions, homophobia, and the plutocracy of both parties."

Status quo enforcers don't think outside of the box nor do they see "status quo packaged as change."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Survived with Pride

M'yow! I would have loved to have partied with the crowd in this video. Diana Ross and Ru Paul perform, I Will Survive, an LGBTQ classic. Filmed in West Hollywood, CA in January 1996. I can't tell how many times I've seen drag queens perform this song.

Some day I'll tell the story of how my hometown underground of gay guys and a St. Louis transvestite saved me as a teen lesbian from small-town despair, isolation, and the closet. Discovering the community set me free and I survived.

Especially poignant lyric in political terms: "... now I'm saving all my loving for someone who's loving me..." About time, doncha think?

Via. The Gloria Gaynor version.

Gay Pride celebrating marriage

Photo source

Time to celebrate! Gay Pride events this weekend will commemorate the march toward equality perhaps most remarkably in San Francisco:

Given San Francisco's sizable role in initiating the lawsuits that led California's highest court to strike down the state's bans on same-sex marriage, the city's 38th annual gay pride festival and parade is likely to draw huge crowds this weekend, tourism officials say.

"It's really going to be a Pride like none other," said Joe D'Alessandro, president of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. "I have never seen so many rainbow flags in this city, along Market Street, on shops, on homes. It's really a situation where the people are celebrating and the city is in a very festive mood."

With 259 marriage license appointments and 284 reservations for wedding ceremonies scheduled at the San Francisco county clerk's office, Friday was on pace to be the city's busiest day for weddings since gay marriage became legal earlier this month. There were 202 license appointments and 115 weddings performed on June 17, the first full day that gay and lesbian couples could get married in California.

Although City Hall will be closed over the weekend, organizers of the weekend's official pride festivities are putting up a wedding pavilion across the street where couples can get information about tying the knot or celebrate newly sanctioned unions.

Gay rights advocates also plan to use the occasion to build support for their campaign to defeat a ballot initiative that would overturn the state Supreme Court's decision by amending the California Constitution to again ban same-sex marriage.

The theme for Sunday's pride parade — "United by Pride, Bound for Equality" — was selected before the state's high court handed down its ruling on May 15....

The SFO Chronicle reported on Thursday:

Already, the same-sex pairs have come from all corners of the United States, including liberal places like Seattle and New York City and conservative bastions such as South Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas.

They've come from other countries, too: England, France, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong. And instead of running off to Vegas to tie the knot, one couple from there came to San Francisco to do just that....

...It's up to individual states to determine whether they will recognize the California marriage licenses. New York Gov. David Paterson recently directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex weddings performed elsewhere, but the California licenses will mean nothing in the vast majority of states....

...David Whatley, 31, and Michael Potts, 34, live in Atlanta and know Georgia won't recognize their marriage anytime soon. But when they saw the California weddings on the news June 17, they bought their plane tickets immediately. They purchased wedding rings two days later, arrived at SFO last Friday morning and were married within hours - with a stranger serving as their witness.

"We figured we couldn't wait for Georgia to get onboard. We had to come across the country to do it instead," Whatley said. "We're tired of intolerance. San Francisco's a very forward-looking city, and we're glad to be a part of it."

Tolerance also brings a financial windfall. SFO's "controller's office estimated this week the weddings will add $19.8 million to the city economy by the end of July 2010" and "researchers at UCLA's Williams Institute, reported that residents, non-California couples and their wedding guests could spend a combined $684 million in the state over the next three years."

Gay Pride parades began in 1970 as a homage to the weekend of June 27-29 in 1969, a turning point in LGBTQ history when the Stonewall riots ignited (no pun intended) the liberation movement. Archival footage of the first 1970 march with "commentary by lesbian and gay elders" and other history-makers through 2008 are available at Out at the Center. Description of the film:

Hosted by Laverne Cox, The Center's half-hour show debuts never before seen personal archival footage of the first Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March up Sixth Avenue to the Sheep Meadow with commentary by lesbian and gay elders who were on the scene; the alumni of Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York talk about their experiences organizing as youth in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and giving back to the youth of today; former Center board president David Nimmons and artist Gary Speziale recall the installation of The Center Show in 1989; writers Amy Hoffman and Stefanie Grant read from their work; Gay City News reporter Sam Oglesby talks to journalist Michael Luongo about his travels as a gay man in the Muslim world and volunteers from Team Center highlight the AIDS Walk of 2008.

Sexocrites strike a blow for irony

A pair of wingnut weasels:

Two United States Senators implicated in extramarital sexual activity have named themselves as co-sponsors of S. J. RES. 43, dubbed the Marriage Protection Amendment. If ratified, the bill would amend the United States Constitution to state that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), who was arrested June 11, 2007 on charges of lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport terminal, is co-sponsoring the amendment along with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).

Craig, who entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, was detained and charged for attempting to engage in sexual activity with a male undercover police officer. His arrest and plea became public two months later. At that time, Craig attempted to withdraw his plea and enter a new plea of not guilty. To date, his efforts have been denied by the courts.

In July of 2007, Vitter was identified as a client of a prostitution firm owned by the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, commonly known as The DC Madam.

With a Democratic controlled Congress it is unlikely the bill will be brought up for a vote in either the Senate or House of Representatives.

Craig and Vitter mocked their marriages so natch these compulsive sexocrites need a scapegoat. Attacking same-sex marriage--attempting to ban it by codifying discrimination into the Constitution--is such a tired, very tired, old flim-flam and quite telling about who is undermining the sanctity of marriage. It's as if rabid homophobes wear signs around their necks that beg, "Investigate me! I've got a secret sex scandal."

What's outrageous is that these two bozos named the bill the Marriage Protection Amendment. If I didn't know better, I would swear the story hailed from The Onion.

Hat tip to egalia who wrote of the "lusty senators"...

Suffice it to say, the Marriage Protection Amendment does not read: Thou shalt not publicly humiliate your wife by coveting another man in a bathroom stall. Nor does it read: Thou shalt not publicly humiliate your wife by fooling around with prostitutes....

...Apparently, the senate bad boyz want to return to the days when they were the laughingstock of the nation.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Unity schmunity


I own my vote and signed the pledge earlier this week.

The Democratic party can... Dream On.

Health care nightmare

I've been away again, this time due to a hospital visit... mine.

I'm sure you can appreciate that I don't wish to publicly disclose a lot on the World Wide Web.

But my hospital experience reinforced the criticism that America's health care system is not only broken, but the quality of treatment, well... it's not the best by a long shot.

A few examples: Five hours passed before a doctor examined me. Two more hours before a tech from phlebology drew blood. Eight vials of my blood sat for a couple of hours on a table next to my gurney before a nurse with an attitude gathered them for the lab. At midnight, another tech came back to withdraw more blood because the previously drawn blood had clotted, was too old, and not usable for testing. Yippeee! Another long wait.

The entire ordeal lasted 16 hours and we still don't know what's wrong with me health-wise.

What a fricking nightmare!

However, my experience doesn't compare to my partner's episode, who writhed in pain for four hours in the ER before a doctor examined her and sent her to surgery for appendicitis. Why so long? Her urine specimen sat for almost two hours before going to the lab. Another hour ticked by. When the test results returned, her white blood cell count was sky high, which prompted a doctor to finally examine her abdomen and immediately send her to the OR.

After three hours in the OR, the surgeon emerged to tell me that an abscess on my partner's appendix had ruptured and a second abscess had formed and burst at the time they began laparoscopy surgery. Her abdomen had been bathed with infection. The surgical team suctioned up the mess as best they could but her recovery would take time. Lots of time and treatment. Further complications might develop. And they did. Twenty-one days later, she finally came home from the hospital with tubes and drainage bags.

I know of more people with nightmarish health care stories and hospitalizations than I do of people who have had successful experiences.

Has American health care gone to hell?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out with status quo enforcers

Enforcers of the status quo have been spinning yarns. From Violet:

Salon is pulling out all the stops to explain that the silly PUMAs are just venting when we say we won’t vote for Opossum. Walter Shapiro is up first with a piece that is breathtaking in its derision. . . Predictably, Shapiro displays zero understanding of what’s actually at stake, and of why women are uniting to exert their leverage over the Democrats. In his estimation it’s all just “ruffled feelings.” ...

...Next comes Rebecca Traister with a piece that is, I believe, intended to be slightly more sympathetic, but is ultimately just as bad. First she explains that, just as we learned in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, angry ladies simply need to “vent.” Our words don’t really mean anything; we just need someone to pay attention to our hurt fee-fees. With that setup, she goes on to enumerate some of the things women are pissed about, but assures her readers that none of it actually matters....

...Traister’s piece is a study in Third Wave feminism, and the reason she has no comprehension of what’s happening is because PUMAs are moved by the spirit of Second Wave. We’re the women who know that sexism doesn’t go away if you lie back and play nice; we know we have to fight and we’re ready for it. Third Wave, on the other hand, is all about accommodation: accommodating patriarchy, primarily — reassuring men that women might fuss a little bit but they won’t actually rock the boat. Maybe a few frowns under the lip gloss, in between the boyfriend’s porn tapes and episodes of Keith Olbermann, but that’s about it. Just a few little glossy frowns.

Somebody’s got a surprise coming.

Oh, yes indeed-y.

Rebecca Traister of Salon referred to "grumpy old women" leaving out some people whom Joseph recognized:

Point 1: It's the gent, not the genitalia. Traister defines the phenomenon purely in terms of "ladies who love Hillary too much." Sisterhood is powerful: Hence, the PUMAs. It's a menopause thing, or so sayeth Traister.

Bullshit, sayeth I. Larry Johnson owns testicles, as does your humble narrator, as do a lot of other folk in PUMA-land. This is not a girls-only club. This is not about estrogen solidarity. In the end, this is not even about Hillary Clinton....

...It's about Obama. He's just not the right guy. He's just not the acceptable guy. The case against him resists easy summary, but one image may suffice: He moved Democratic Party HQ to Chicago.

For many years, Chicago corruption was the one aspect of Demo life that every party loyalist outside Illinois preferred not to think about. Whenever conservatives would spit "If you're so pure, what about the Daley machine?" -- we would whistle and sputter and tap our feet and try to change the subject.

And now: Barack Obama has moved the Democratic Party to Chicago.

Joseph also noticed Traister's "bare mention" of "the daily spew from Kos, TPM and Democratic Underground throughout the months of February, March, April and May."

2008 may be the last election in which pundits can pretend that the traditional media matter more than the online media. After this cycle, let's all stop kidding ourselves. Stop acting as if the overpaid blowhards on the teevee deserve more respect than do the unpaid blowhards in blogland or the paid-off blowhards who run the best-known political websites. The Daily Cheeto, god help us, gets more hits than FOX or MSNBC get viewers, and is therefore just as deserving of our antipathy.

It's the blogs, stupid.

And boy -- were the blogs stupid. And ugly. And vicious. And vile. And just plain loathsome.

The PUMA meme, like the term itself, was born online. Anti-Obama sentiment would never have congealed into a movement if his followers had not behaved in such a repulsive fashion, if they had not cried "Racism!" at every perceived heresy.

For months, they disparaged the legacy of the best Democratic president since FDR. The so-called "left" regurgitated every right-wing hate-meme and wacko anti-Clinton conspiracy theory of the 1990s....

Riverdaughter apprised the assault on PUMA:

Holy Hemiola! We got some serious attention today, didn’t we? First, Salon’s tagged teamed Rebecca Traister and Walter Shapiro against us. Shapiro was especially offensive with his bad boyfriend, “Where else are you going to go?” Downright creepy. Then HuffingtonPost got into the act with Will Bower (By the way, Will, our PUMA posts are time stamped. Just sayin’) Even Big Tent Democrat got into the act. But what was amazing was the sheer number of people who were fed up with the way this primary season has been going and thought it was time to take action against the DNC. If the comments I read today were any indication, the PUMA message of “It’s my vote, you’ve got to earn it” has a lot of followers.

If you read Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler, whom I consider our most reliable witness, remember this: pundits make stuff up. M'yeah, they bloviate without much evidence if any. If they have proof, they twist it to fit their "novels."

The press corps and the pundit class don't investigate and report. They peddle influence with an agenda: enforce the status quo, which is the death knell of a free press and an anathema to democracy. We saw this dynamic in the march to war.

Now the busy bees of the fauxgressive brigade have concocted imagined stories about what PUMAs oppose.

I can't speak for others but my opposition is:

  • about protesting a party that's sexist, corrupt, and out of touch

  • about throwing out party leadership by abstaining from their Anointed One

  • about a nomination process that used undemocratic means, i.e., caucuses, that made the Democratic party's name a joke

  • about the injustice of punishing MI and FL but giving NH, IA, and SC waivers when those states also violated the Rulz

  • about the dismissal of women and the working class by claiming we have no other political option other than voting Democratic

  • about the DNC rigging the nomination to wrangle their cash cow

  • about nominating the least qualified candidate of the field

  • about Obama's complicity in a dirty-tricks campaign of false racial smears, sexism, and okey doke politics

  • about manipulating the press propaganda machine to favor The One

  • about embracing homophobes and playing the LGBT community for suckers

  • about voting for "the lesser of two evils" that insidiously enables evil, hypocrisy, and complacency

  • about rejecting the extortion of my vote through intimidation and fear-mongering

  • about protesting the abandonment of constitutional principles for political capital.

I'm probably forgetting other important motives, but in short, I am fed up and revolting against corruption, sexism, exploitation of racial tensions, homophobia, and the plutocracy of both parties.

The disenfranchising, undemocratic status quo doesn't deserve our votes. The Democratic party must get our votes by earning them.

Obama as party leader indignantly expects that people who didn't vote for him should recruit people who didn't vote for him! Can you believe it?! He hasn't earned their votes yet he feels entitled to their support. Why? Party loyalty. Not an oath to the Constitution, as the FISA compromise clearly illustrates, but fealty to the party line. FTS!

Obama is the status quo packaged as change.

PUMAs crave change that we believe in and that we will exert.

To the barricades!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama and same-sex marriage

I wanted to get this posted on Sunday but life intervened with my blogging. The nerve!

Sapphocrat at Lavender Newswire announced in her headline that "Obama still thinks he’s more equal than I am. Only now he’s saying it out loud." She quoted a June 20 Advocate article by Kerry Eleveld that stated:

Sen. Obama reminded us this week that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, something LGBT people might have easily forgotten over the course of the primary. …

...More precisely, Sen. Obama said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” shortly after being asked if he opposed same-sex marriage, to which he responded, “Yes.” This positioning is not new for Sen. Obama. He has uttered those words plenty — during a debate with Alan Keyes in 2004, on the Senate floor in 2006, even in his 2007 Human Rights Campaign candidate questionnaire.

But if LGBT people across the country bristled at the one-man, one-woman construction, they can be forgiven. After scouring the web, drawing upon memory and scanning my notes, this reporter cannot remember the senator using those words during the entire primary season from January right through until Sen. Hillary Clinton conceded the race to Obama on June 7. In fact, I don’t believe he has used them in any one of the 20-some Democratic debates.

Why now? Welcome to the general election say the pundits. One Democratic strategist and TV pundit who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity said the language is intended to send a signal to swing state voters that Sen. Obama isn’t the crazy liberal they’ve been told he is. … [Emphasis added.]

I don't know if the anonymous Democratic teevee pundit (Is that you, Donna Brazile?) is correct in her/his explanation but Sapphocrat pointed out that there are already married same-sex couples in Massachusetts and California. "Sen. Obama, marriage is no longer simply between a man and a woman. At least, ours isn’t.” Does Obama oppose these marriages? Does he consider them inferior to hetero marriages? WTF is his position?

In April, The Advocate asked Obama:

Do you think it’s possible to get full repeal of DOMA? As you know, Senator Clinton is only looking at repealing the plank of DOMA that prohibits the federal government from recognizing state-sanctioned unions.

To which Obama replied:

I don’t know. But my commitment is to try to make sure that we are moving in the direction of full equality, and I think the federal government historically has led on civil rights -- I’d like to see us lead here too.

DOMA, if you have forgotten, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and prohibits the federal government from treating same-sex unions as marriages even if a state codifies them as such. DOMA also permits states or U.S. political subdivisions (D.C., Indian reservations, territories, etc.) to disregard same-sex marriages from other states. And for people flirting with the idea of voting for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr for president, he introduced DOMA in the House when he was a Georgia congressman.

I'm also aware of Hillary's position on same-sex marriage but she hasn't pandered to homophobes like Obama has, a deal-breaker for me, and she "openly declared her support for LBGT equal rights including a repeal of sections two and three of DOMA" among other actions. As Sapphocrat and my friend Rev. Irene Monroe have reiterated, former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has without hesitation consistently championed full equality for LGBTs including marriage.

When choices dwindled to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I supported Hillary, who has personally marched in Gay Pride parades and wasn't afraid to openly court our votes in Texas or a swing state like Pennsylvania. I had other reasons to support Clinton over Obama. However, my partner of 13+ years and I consider LGBT equality including marriage extremely important. Obama's waffling on our rights as equal citizens heightens our reasons among many to abstain from voting for him in November.

The Washington Blade reported June 13:

Obama, in his letter, says he hopes he and his supporters can work inclusively to secure equal rights for gay Americans.

“I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans,” he said in the letter. “But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.”

Obama affirms that he continues to “support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act,” which allows states to ignore same-sex marriages performed beyond their borders and prevents the federal government from recognizing such unions. [Emphasis added.]

Now he affirms he opposes same-sex marriage. Who is Obama playing as chumps? Gays and lesbians? Swing state voters? Who?

M'yeah, I know. Politicians say the darnedest things to get elected but trusting Obama to keep his promises? Don't make me laugh. He "will never compromise" his "commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans" but he's going to listen to opponents of our equality. I understand from a political vantage point about examining the opposition's arguments to develop counter measures to defeat advocates of discrimination and bigotry. What will Obama decide? What will the constitutional scholar do? Will he capitulate to their positions? His rhetoric and actions have already demonstrated that his new kind of politics is a sham. Look at his dishonest campaign tactics in his okey doke on NAFTA. And Obama's support for the FISA "compromise."

So what's next after Obama's unequivocal opposition to same-sex marriage? Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate speculated:

Surely, the LGBT folks associated with the campaign are working feverishly behind the scenes to find a work-around for that phrase — one with the added benefit of being accurate. Only time will tell whether they prevail. …

To which Sapphocrat replied:

AFAIC, there’s nothing worse than selling out your own rights. Well, I’ll leave that to the LGBTs collecting a paycheck from Obama to work against their own self-interest — and mine. My conscience is clear.

One good thing about this article: At least The Advocate finally seems to be coming out of its Obama-induced stupor.

Obama himself, however, remains comatose on the issue of equality.

M'yeah. Persona non grata.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Obama's faux presidential seal

Bwahahahaha! Violet cracks me up! In response to Obama's newly-minted political stagecraft--his faux presidential seal--she titled her post, Truly, we are all possums.

Weeee-ooooo-iiiiii-ha-ha-ha-ha! What a delightfully wicked sense of humor.

Violet's comic riff was derived from the Latin phrase written between the eagle's wings on Obama's rising sun trademark included in the subliminal symbolism--Vote for me. I am The One!--of his new-fangled advertising gimmick. Vero Possumus translates, "Truly we're able," or in Obama campaign-speak, "Yes, we can." But I like Violet's translation better.

Obama's theatrical shtick smacks of an "Emperor has no clothes" moment in a sequel, The Audacity of Buffoonery. Is he for real? What's next? Cue music, "Hail to the Chief," at Obama rallies? Anyone can get the anthem as a ringtone so WTF.

Sure would like to know the candid opinions of the Democratic governors to whom Obama was speaking from behind his imitation presidential seal at Friday's Chicago meeting. Janet Napolitano will no doubt think it's fan-tas-tic. Ed Rendell and Ted Strickland... who knows?

The Swamp at the Chicago Tribune offers a larger image of the seal for inquiring minds and Frank James said of the Latin inscription, "It made me think of opossum. I don't think the campaign wants people thinking of opossum when they look at Obama."

Violet wrote:

Given how things have gone so far, this could totally work. The more people see Obama standing in front of 17 US flags and with a big pseudo-Presidential seal on the lectern in front of him, the more they’ll feel like it’s only natural for him to be President. They walk into that voting booth in November and their eyes will glaze over and Angela Lansbury will turn over the red queen and then they’ll pull the lever for Obama, just pull that lever because it’s what has to happen, see? They won’t be able to help themselves.

Personally I hope Obama will start printing his own money. I’m playing around here on the computer with some graphical ideas, kind of a mash-up of the eye/pyramid thing and the Obama sunrise. Think I’ll send them off to the campaign. Couldn’t hurt.

Priceless! I'm gonna get the giggles again... but first:

Dear Violet,

If I ever have the honor of meeting you, dinner is on me. What a wonderful mind!

Yours truly.