Monday, December 30, 2002

What is it about some men?

Last night I had a complex, cinematographic, technicolor dream that climaxed (heh) with an encounter between me and the man who had been the lust of my life. Since moving past menopause, I haven’t had much of a libido, even in my dreams – which is fine with me, since just about all of my past relationships with men have been driven by that fearsome fire. My absent libido has freed me from the need to pursue seductive satisfaction at the expense of deeper and more meaningful human activities.

But there he was in my dreams, as magnetically attractive as ever. Of course, I wasn’t the only woman who felt that way about him, and neither was I the only woman to whom he responded with such enthusiastic sensuality. Our relationship (such that it was) lasted almost three years. Having been married and divorced twice, he wasn’t about to enter into any contract. And I’m not really the long-term-commitment type either, so we were able to enjoy our adventures together, including a trip to London and Paris in April.

It’s been almost a decade since our amorous adventures, and I’m wondering why I dreamed of him now, in such tactile detail. I even felt the bed move as he got up to leave in the dream. Something must have triggered the connection – a certain sound or smell seeping into my sleeping brain. I remember the end of a poem I wrote near the end of our relationship. The poem ended with

But even in the darkest of corners
some things refuse to die –
some small husk still
riddled with seeds,
some insistent root
defying the dust,
some dormant dream
of a riotous clash of hearts,
curious clutch of minds,
a dance of hands that
hope and hold and, too soon,
let go.

She thought she was done with him,
except his voice
still pulls at her belly
like the insistent tides of the moon.
So when he calls
from places lush
with a thousand thriving things,
she sends him dewy lavender
wrapped in familiar black lace,
because, they say,
the sense of smell
is the most visceral,
holding even the darkening
memory of the dying.


It makes me wonder what it is with some men that, even when they’re long gone, there is something they leave behind to make you remember. Maybe some microscopic bit of pheromone that keeps washing around in those streams of our brain chemistries. Whatever it is, he’s one of those men. I wonder what (or who) he’s up to these days.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Something Worth Celebrating

Christmas came and suddenly internet seemed like this huge crowded town when holidays arrive: Empty. No traffic. Since I'm not a big fan of this "special day" and having had a very hard year I was definitely not feeling like celebrating anything. So I sat on my computer and started seeking after good writing, something that would challenge my mind - or even my heart. It's amazing how these things happen - when you're lucky enough to find a blog/journal/whatever like that. I start reading, I look for an "about me" section or something and then suddenly I find myself turning the whole thing upside down. There are quite a few blogs which I've read from beginning to end, which I've spent many nights on. Yesterday I was reading Burningbird and I kept thinking of what Shelley wrote about wires and warmth and plastic... I often find myself thinking about that. About what magical, crazy strength is this which brings us together and leads to our sharing our thoughts - and eventually our lives - like this. I particularly think that's so amazingly precious. We've come from so many different places, we've lived so many different stories... and there's so much to be learned. (Thank god for that!) At the same time... it is wire and plastic, indeed. Just the other night I was exchanging emails with a very dear "blogfriend" of mine and that went to a point where I really really needed to hug her. I'd never felt that way before, it was so damn weird knowing that no matter what I did, that was just not going to happen. She's in Colorado, I'm in São Paulo, that's quite a distance, right?

I'm aware that this has been widely discussed many times before... but for some reason I feel especially excited about it today. It feels inexplicably... precious. And magical. Now that is something worth celebrating: our sharing in spite and because of our diversity.

Happy New Year y'all!
Monica.

The Voice of Eva Cassidy

My 5-month old grandson is teething. The one thing that seems to take his little mind off his big problem is the voice of Eva Cassidy, and so that's how I just discovered her. I've posted a little about her here, and you can listen to some of her songs here. She's worth taking the time to check out. (It's possible that I'm just one of the very few people who hadn't discovered her until now; but I'm so awfully glad I did!)

Friday, December 27, 2002

The separation of art and state, courtesy of poet Adrienne Rich

I was surfing up poetry tonight, remembering old friends--not friends whom I knew, but friends whose poetry wrapped around me as a teenager, helped me stand on weak legs, helped me feel my feelings without declaring myself completely insane. One of those was Adrienne Rich. I came upon this site, and noted the following letter, written by Ms. Rich to President Clinton's White House at her refusal to accept the National Medal for the Arts in 1997:

---------------------------------------

July 3, 1997
Jane Alexander
The National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington 20506

Dear Jane Alexander,

I just spoke with a young man from your office, who informed me that I had been chosen to be one of twelve recipients of the National Medal for the Arts at a ceremony at the White House in the fall. I told him at once that I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration. I want to clarify to you what I meant by my refusal.

Anyone familiar with my work from the early Sixties on knows that I believe in art's social presence--as breaker of official silences, as voice for those whose voices are disregarded, and as a human birthright. In my lifetime I have seen the space for the arts opened by movements for social justice, the power of art to break despair. Over the past two decades I have witnessed the increasingly brutal impact of racial and economic injustice in our country.

There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art--in my own case the art of poetry--means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage. The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A President cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonored. I know you have been engaged in a serious and disheartening struggle to save government funding for the arts, against those whose fear and suspicion of art is nakedly repressive. In the end, I don't think we can separate art from overall human dignity and hope. My concern for my country is inextricable from my concerns as an artist. I could not participate in a ritual which would feel so hypocritical to me.

Sincerely,
Adrienne Rich

cc: President Clinton

-------------------

I admire her decision and her reasoning as much as I have always admired her poetry. I didn't hear about this at the time, probably because I was finishing up a complicated pregnancy, but I'm glad I found it tonight. Thought it might be of interest.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Words of Peace

A collective goal. It's time for a different set of solutions. this is an excellent article in the eugene (ore.) weekly, our free progressive newspaper, by ryan admunson. his brother was lost in the attack on the pentagon on september 11th. he is a member of peaceful tomorrows, a group of family members of september 11th victims who oppose war, he participated in the march from d.c. to ny with other family members of victims under the banner "our grief is not a cry for war," and has participated in peace protests and peace conferences across the country.

some quotes from the article:

    "A Catholic priest in Pakistan said that using the military to catch terrorists is like swatting flies with a sledge hammer: You create a lot of destruction, but the flies are still around."
    .
    "We can catch, we can kill terrorists all day, but it is not going to prevent more terrorists from being created, and actually it has created more terrorists."

    "...I feel I have to speak out is because our grief has been used by our political leaders and others who only believe in the route of violence and war. They have used our grief to promote their cause."

    "At the one-month memorial ceremony, there was no focus on the victims. Instead, Bush and Rumsfeld and others talked about extending accountability to others, and I am thinking that they are talking about killing people just like my brother. They are talking about extending it to other innocent people, to nations and the people who live in those nations. "

    "So we are not united in war. We are united in memory, in our grief, and in a commitment to end terrorism."

    "I knew that the people who killed my brother believed what they were doing was justified. But we know they were wrong, and I realized that we can make the same mistake too. So when my government starts discussing killing other people, I take that very, very seriously."

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas to all the Blog Sisters

Lots and lots of good vibes and best wishes for the holiday season coming from Oxford, England to all my Blog Sisters around the world! May you all have a happy and relaxing holiday season and a great new year to look forward to!

Monday, December 23, 2002

SAYING GOODBYE
I still could not believe that Anja was leaving New York for Berlin, permanently, the next day. She and I took one last walk together to her goodbye party.

As we strolled along Houston Street on the dark December night I watched all of the people bustle and cars and lights stream by and noticed all of the familiar landmarks—the garden on Second Avenue, the flea market on the Bowery, the cozy little restaurant on Elizabeth that I had been wanting to try—as if I was seeing them for the first time.

We continued to walk in silence, wrapped up in our fantasies and memories of the city and that stretch of street. I thought about coming home from Casey’s house one hot summer morning. My annoyance at his failure to take me to breakfast seems silly now. As I passed Risa, I laughed out loud—Anja didn’t seem to notice—as I remembered the night Michelle and I drank sangria and danced with the waiters there until 4 am. And the billiards place still evoked the curiosity that it always did—who plays pool in the middle of the day?

As we approached the party, the pit of nostalgia in my stomach expanded. The fish and vegetables mixed in with stands of hats and I Love NY t-shirts and people sitting out in the cold selling their goods seemed to push me over the edge of sadness and no longer was I planning on saying goodbye to my best friend Anja. Instead, I was saying goodbye to my truest friend and most beloved companion, my city.

Imagining leaving is like having my life flash before my eyes—all of the love, anger, passion, depression, abandon and strength that this city brings out in me balled up into one rock of desolation and sat in my belly as we approached the softly lit restaurant slated for her sendoff.

I slipped away from the party to call my mom and tell her how sad I felt. I think she understood that the feelings went deeper than saying goodbye to a friend. She said, “You are always sad. But you are always moving on.”

Later that night, Anja and I took a cab home together and I got out at her corner. As we said goodbye, I tried to muster some tears. But we both realized that moving on is what makes life in New York what it is. I promised her I would write and call and I walked down the street to my cozy apartment. I looked out my window at the Empire State Building and I realized that New York will always be here, ready to embrace me, and my memories.

And I finally felt better about my decision to move.


Three Cool Chicks

Time Magazine has named its Persons of the Year. They are Cynthia Cooper of Worldcom (who still works there), Coleen Rowley from the FBI (I think she still works for them too) and Sherron Watkins of Enron (who's currently writing a book). In what I thought was an "about time" twist, they're not referred to as women at all on Time's cover ('cause you know, that's obvious), but as whistleblowers: "They took huge professional and personal risks to blow the whistle on what went wrong at WorldCom, Enron and the FBI—and in so doing helped remind us what American courage and American values are all about." Of course, their courage hasn't really changed anything, it's not like we have sweeping reforms going on to prevent further corporate misdeeds or consolidate information among federal agencies. (In fact, the new Department of Homeland Security pretty much does the opposite.) But one can't expect these things to occur overnight, and I think it's encouraging that these women are being recognized (rather than vilified) for doing what they could.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

The new holiday family

I know that there are many other divorced parents who are juggling the holidays so that both sides of the family get to see the kids. It's been like that every Christmas for me since the mid-seventies. Over the past few years, I've invited my kids' father to join us for Christmas Eve, but he's always refused. He refused this year, too, but now there's a grandchild involved, and I guess everyone's feeling another tie that binds. So, on the day after Christmas, we're going to gather in my mother's very large apartment. In addition to my daughter, son--in-law, and grandchild -- and me and my mother -- there will be my ex-husband, his female cousin (who is like a sister to him and with whom I've always gotten along), his former girl-friend-who-is-now-just-his-friend (after more years than he and I were married), and her mother (who's my mother's age). Aside from my mom, me, and his grandfather, no one has met little Alexander yet.

Actually, my ex's former girl friend is a very nice person. She's younger than I, slimmer, and wears Laura Ashley clothes. But she's always been good to my kids, and I have nothing against her. I'm actually looking forward to the gathering, as we all oohh and ahh over the new addition. Such is the new holiday family.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Finally, a cure for Hustler

CNN reports on a "research study" of Playboy centerfolds. Basically, after examining hundreds of these, the "researchers" concluded in their article in the British Medical Journal that the models had "become less shapely and more androgynous." And this matters to whom?
One of the "researchers," a resident at the University of Vienna Medical School, in Austria, made these scintillating comments:
"It's difficult to disentangle cause from effect. All I can say is that attractiveness is not that simple and is not constant over time . . If Playboy didn't reflect ideals of attractiveness, they wouldn't still be around, so it must be that many men find this shape attractive."
Can this be for real?

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Dervala in Phnom Penh

If you're not reading Dervala's blogging of her trip to Asia, you should. It is wonderful for so many reasons. She writes recently of an experience walking down the street in Phnom Penh and having her breast grabbed.

"I've dealt with these kinds of minor assaults many times," she writes. "So have most women I know. I've been groped on the New York subway and on an Aer Lingus flight. I've been flashed at, heard lewd insults, endured unwelcome, lingering hugs. But despite all this experience, I can never get it together to shout, kick, slap, or ridicule. My first reaction is still always disbelief, followed by disabling politeness. By then it's usually (and thankfully) too late."

Dorothea wrote about verbal badgering in her Grunchy Stuff posts a while back.

Dervala's experience involved someone actually grabbing her--a physical violation rather than words and whistles. Still, Dervala's initial reaction is similar to many who have written on this--deciding to hurry along on our way, make it to the next place that's "away" from scene of the crime, a reaction of fear, disbelief, and/or embarassment.

What casts us into this role of runner/avoider in the ultra-second of an event like this? Certainly Dervala was no match for two locals. So high-tailing it away in case they decided to return was a smart move.

I like Dervala's vow to do things differently next time, though. To use her new-found arm cast from her broken wrist to knock the next guy who tries it in the teeth. I just hope she's a good aim and a quick runner the first time she gives it a try. You go, girl.

Since we're on the topic

I've always admired families that adopt children. Giving a home to a child who doesn't have one seems to me one of the noblest and selfless things anyone could do. I looked into adoption briefly (mostly over the net) after Jenna was born--my harrowing near-death experience made me pretty sure I didn't want to risk having another baby. The more I looked the more I found one thing--It's expensive. Does anyone know any good adoption resources? Any adoption sources where the process doesn't cost $20K? It seems like many couples lean toward international adotpions. I'm not sure as to the whys and wherefores of this. Whether it's more expensive or less, more complicated or less. In our case, obviously, race isn't an issue, background isn't an issue.

Can't believe I'm writing this outloud: I think I want a baby.

34 Million Friends

Cruise on over to the 34 Million Friends Campaign and explore ways in which you might support their efforts to promote reproductive health services worldwide. At the behest of the religious right and sanctimonious, the Bush Administration has pulled 34 million in funding dollars from the United Nations Population Fund. This UN agency is responsible for ensuring that women throughout the globe - poor women, in particular - have universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health. The administration argument, that some countries are using abortion as a method of birth control is a red herring. There is simply no evidence of that claim, and to the contrary, we have seen indications otherwise. From the site:

Conservative groups have been pushing Bush to end taxpayer funding for abortion and coercive policies. However, a US government fact-finding team who went to China to investigate concluded that there was no evidence that UNFPA knowingly supported or participated in these practices. Despite these findings, the Bush administration still ultimately withdrew the funding, although it was eventually shifted to the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund, which is overseen by the US Agency for International Development.

According to UNFPA, the $34 million could be used to prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, almost 800,000 abortions, 5000 maternal deaths and 60,000 serious maternal illnesses as well as preventing over 77,000 infant and child deaths.

Independently of each other, Jane Roberts of Redlands, California, and Lois Abraham of Taos, New Mexico, started campaigns to raise the money to close the $34 million funding gap created by the US. They sent email messages to their friends asking them to send a $1 bill or check to UNFPA, then forward the message on to their friends and so on in, all in hopes of reaching 34 million friends and raising $34 million.

The response was quick: dollar bills began to pile up in the UNFPA office in New York. The campaign was named "34 Million Friends" and as of October 11, 2002, $64,165 has been received and hundreds more envelopes have yet to be opened.

Funds raised from this campaign will go towards UNFPA's core program budget to make up for the withdrawal of US support. This will give women and men in over 140 developing countries access to quality reproductive health information and services. This campaign is endorsed by many national and local organizations, including NOW, the National Council of Women's Organizations and People for the American Way.

A related photo exhibition called "Family of Woman" opened in New York and will be traveling to Los Angeles and Minneapolis next year.

Jennifer Balderama Digs into the Legal Ramifications of Blogging

In a new article for the Washington Post, blog sister and weblogger extraordinaire Jennifer Balderama reports on the legal whatnots of blogging--an important article especially if you work for a company that might get queasy about what's written on your blog. What are the rules? Are we writing them as we go? Do we need disclaimers on our blogs? Something tells me a great number of pages could be covered discussing this topic. An interesting link off the article is Groove Networks weblog policy.

Good food for thought in a well-written article. Way to go Jennifer!
merry chistmas and a happy new year to all posters, readers and their familes :o)

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

For the record

I wrote a piece on my weblog (that I also pointed to from here) awhile back on the effect that selective abortion of female fetuses was having on society in India, sparked by an article in the Washington Post.

From my site referral records, I now find that my post Valuing Women is being linked from a pro-life page on the Catholic Exchange. It's entirely their right to link to me, and I welcome visitors from that site (or any other, for that matter).

My concern stems first from the observation that the link to my page is headed "For related coverage see:". I am not a reporter, and my post provides no further factual information beyond that in the Washington Post article to which I pointed. Second, the link to my article is from the text "74 million 'missing' South Asian women" which appears nowhere in my post, rather than to the post's title, "Valuing Women."

Finally, I want to make clear where I stand on the very difficult and divisive issue of abortion. I find abortion to be deeply problematic from a moral perspective. I question whether I would ever choose to have an abortion myself; I'm inclined to think I would not. (To my great good fortune, that's a choice I've never had to make.)

However, I also do not feel this is an arena in which the government ~ or any other institution ~ should be intervening. No woman should be forced to become a mother against her will, no matter how she came to be pregnant. If a woman may not make this most basic choice, then she can hardly be said to have any control over her own life. In my opinion, this is truly a matter of individual conscience.

There are also already too many unwanted, abused, and mistreated children in the world, too many abused, trapped women, and too many unwitting, ignorant, incompetent, and downright dangerous parents of both sexes.

I said above that I don't know whether I would ever choose to have an abortion myself (rapidly becoming a moot issue, but nonetheless). The key word in that sentence is "choose." I am pro-choice.

I don't intend to spark a debate or discussion about this issue with these remarks. Thoughtful people of good will can differ profoundly on this subject. I respect carefully considered opinions on both sides. But I wanted you to know where I stand.

[cross-posted at both2and: beyond binary]

LET'S WE SISTERS HELP SOLVE THIS WHODUNIT

THE HOMELAND SECURITY WHODUNIT:
TOM PAINE.COM OFFERS $10,000 REWARD TO FIND OUT


Back in November, the Senate and House passed a Homeland Security Bill replete with goodies for special interests, but none so troubling as that mysterious rider which appeared out of nowhere, seemingly in the middle of the night, just prior to the vote. The rider created a wall of protection around the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, a large Republican campaign contributor. For a company facing expensive lawsuits stemming from an association between the vaccines it produced, and the high rise in autism among American children who were administered that vaccine, this rider - having nothing to do with Homeland Security - may well have saved Eli Lilly's future in corporate America. Sadly, passage of Homeland Security put an end to those lawsuits, filed by parents who want to know the truth. Families must now file their claims through a special "vaccine court" where their cases will be heard. The quest for truth has been crushed.

Who was the person who slipped this rider into the bill at the last minute? Who out there is protecting the corporate backside of Eli Lilly? Politicians on the left and on the right claim they knew nothing about the addition. Many voted for the bill not realizing the rider had been included. Now, you and I both know that Washington DC is not exactly a haven for the modest. To the contrary, it's home to politicians and pundits whose every breath is cause for a two-column write-up, so when nobody stepped up to the plate and took credit for this mysterious corporate litigation condom, families of autism and people of good will began to ask, "whodunit?" We just might get an answer to that question.

TomPaine.com has issued a $10,000 reward leading to the identification of that individual responsible for this clandestine piece of lawmaking. From their site:

In November, as Congress finalized the legislation authorizing a new Department of Homeland Security, two paragraphs suddenly appeared in the bill giving drug maker Eli Lilly & Company something it desired: a shield from lawsuits by parents who claim the company's vaccines caused their children's autism.

The provision diverts those suits from state courts to a federal 'vaccine court' where damages are capped at $250,000 - small compensation for a child's lifetime of medical care. And because any damages awarded by the vaccine court are paid by U.S. taxpayers, manufacturers are relieved of liability.

It's a sweet deal for Eli Lilly, a very special interest that, like most mega-donors, gets what it wants in Washington. Since 2000, the company has given $1.6 million to national parties and federal campaigns, 79 percent of it to Republicans.

Who inserted the provision? Reporters tried and failed to find out. Lilly's lobbyists (laughably) claim ignorance. No one on Capitol Hill is proud enough of his handiwork to claim it.

Democracy requires accountability, so TomPaine.com is offering a $10,000 reward to the first person who proves the identity of the Eli Lilly Bandit - the member of Congress responsible for inserting the company's special provision. Mail submissions to PO Box 53303, Washington, D.C. 20009. The complete terms and conditions of this offer are posted at www.TomPaine.com.

Public officials who work secret deals like this are cowards. They subvert and dishonor a fundamental American principle - open government accountable to the people.

Help us finger the Eli Lilly Bandit.


Go get 'em TomPaine!

Note to my colleagues in the blogging community: How's about about spreading this one around, getting folks focused this issue and on TomPaine's reward?

crossposted at RuminateThis

Sunday, December 15, 2002

The Neckar



This is the ship that my grandmother came to America in. The ship left from Naples in 1907, with my great grandmother Vincenza, 39, my grandmother (just a year old) Carmella, and a son Francesco (5 years old) on board. Now for the rest of the story: My great grandmother had been in America, living in Pennsylvania, when her homesickness got so bad--she missed her own mother back in Sicily so terribly--that her husband said, go then. Go visit your mother in Sicily. Did I mention she was pregnant for that journey back to Sicily? Yep. And do you think she had to take the kids with her? Of course.

So Vincenza took her two sons, then 2 and 5 years old, pregnant, by herself, and made the journey back to Sicily to see her mother. While Vincenza was there, the older boy became gravely ill and died. Two weeks after his death, my grandmother Carmella was born.

When my grandmother was a year old, Vincenza took her now-five-year-old son and her one-year-old daughter, boarded The Neckar, and journeyed back to America.

Just to recap, this woman--my great grandmother--had taken the arduous journey from Sicily to America to make a new life, had two children, travelled back to Sicily to see her mother, lost a son, given birth to a daughter, and journeyed back from Italy to America again with two children, in just a matter of years.

So what I'm trying to say is, no *wonder* I've had terrible cases of homesickness my whole life. I think it's in my genes! No, I'm kidding. What I'm really saying is how brave those early immigrants were. Especially the women.

Friday, December 13, 2002

lotts true colors

well, we've been watching it all week...

the washingnton post reported on it first, and common dreams got it over the weekend, where i got it from.. but as jill matrix reported, we queers already knew this guy was hateful...

now everyone knows it it. even the bbc is reporting it,time reports on lott's racist college days, cnn reports that in 81 lott supported tax breaks for a racist school, salon reports on lott's 4th apology (and if you have premium you can also read 'the real trent lott' and 'the ugly truth about republican racial politics'), found through the village voice: jesse helms defens lott (not surprised at that one), and finally, even after w. bush calls lott's remarks offensive, he refuses to resign!

Thursday, December 12, 2002

money could be spent better...

cnn reported about 'cyberbegging' today. i became aware of this a few weeks ago when i read on someone's blog about savekaryn.com, a woman who asked for help paying off her credit card debt.

the other day i read an article reporting on famine in ethiopia. i can't find the article now, but i did find this, from a month ago: ethiopia: the warning signs of famine. this article and the article i read a few days ago both say that the famine facing ethiopia is potentially worse than the one back in the 80's. millions of people will die.

the tie in between the two subjects. i find it terribly selfish of people like karyn to ask for money to pay off credit card bills when the money that people donated to her could have been donated to charities that would help out ethiopia, or another charity. if people like karyn have the money to have a computer and own a domain name then they obviously don't need the help of strangers. karyn could have sold her computer if she were so worried about being in debt, she could have taken on another job, she could have done a lot of things besides beg for money, money that could be used for causes like the starving people of eithopia. the $13,000 that she raised could have done a lot to help out some people in eithopia.

it just leaves me frustrated. we are so blessed here in the west to have all that we have. i get quite humbled when i read stories like i read about ethiopia. i get quite humbled when my mother and stepfather send me their journals from what life is like living there (my stepfather is working with the government to help revamp their accounting system). sometimes i get embarrased at how much i have. actually, more than sometimes. stories like ethiopia, stories like the mother living on welfare in my building, stories like the families that i work with at our local relief nursery they all make me incredibly aware that i'm lucky to have a middle class family to fall back on if i need too. i won't ever starve, or be homeless.

cyberbegging. it just seems to me that people don't see what they have, they just see what they want.. and i know that not all 'cyberbegging' is like that of savekaryn.. but so many.. well.. i just see it as being selfish.. i see no awarness of what life could be like if they lived like the vast majority of the world population. and maybe i'm just a big ol' idealist, but i think its wrong to be that self involved.

a collossal waste of time

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much time we as women spend fixating on our bodies. How many hundreds of years have we collectively wasted on thinking we were ugly for whatever reason?

Take me. I had to get fat to get okay with my body.

I've almost always thought I was fat. Even though I haven't always been. Imagine the time I could have saved on not thinking I was fat when I wasn't. And thinking that it mattered, when it didn't. That time, wasted or not, is gone.

And I'm here. And the thing is - I don't think I'm fat anymore. Or rather, I don't think I'm all the crazed connotations that go with it. I am fully aware of my actual, physical fatness.

I worry about a lot of things. What I'm not is worried about my weight. It's not a non-issue, because you can't be fat in America and have it be a non-issue all the time, no more than you can be most anything in America and have it be a non-issue. But it's pretty much not an issue. I am so happy about that.

I shouldn't have bothered with diets or food that didn't taste good or what other people thought of how big I was around. It didn't make me happy. It never would. I shouldn't have waited this long to get here.

I don't think my experience is unique. It's not that being pretty has no value, but that we spend so much time thinking we're not. So much time. I wish there were a way to convince younger women to stop them from wasting so much time, and spending it on something useful - say, kicking butt at work, demanding equal wages, or defending human rights.What about the rest of you - what did you do to get past body image (if you're already okay with it) or what are you doing now (if you're still working on it)?

By the way, this is my first post, and parts of it are reposted from my site.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Unscented Product Drive

This is the letter I sent to the members of my prayer group and I'm about to post in my blog. I know my fellow Blog Sisters can't contribute to our particular drive, but maybe some of your will implement the idea in your own area.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is the time of year when we often collect and distribute items for people who are displaced or having a rough time-- women in shelters, kids in group homes, people who are homeless. Often we are encouraged to gather various smelly bath and body products, especially for girls and women. But I have been thinking:

One of the reasons people fall on especially hard times is health problems. What if you were down and out, and also suffered from asthma (as do many children,) allergies or headaches?

I would like to start an unscented product drive. I think our first recipients should be women in a domestic violence shelter. What do you think about that as a first recipient?

Here is how we do it: You can buy the products, or you can donate toward their purchase. It's more expensive than just picking up a bunch of travel-bottle shampoo samples or whatever is on sale at BeautyMart, but this is why our help in this area is most needed. Don't feel obligated to buy a ton of stuff; just one item would be helpful. Here is the product list:

Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner: Available at Walgreen's pharmacy, Target Pharmacy and through National Allergy Supply at 800.522.1448 or http://www.nationalallergysupply.com

Cetaphil Soap-Free Cleanser. Available at any supermarket, drugstore, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Smaller bottles would be better, although those are sometimes harder to find that the large ones.

Cetaphil or Lubriderm Plain Unscented Moisturizer: See if you can find the travel sizes. I often see these.

Unscented/Fragrance-Free Anti-Perspirant: There is no such thing as an unscented deoderant, so it has to be anti-perspirant. Two brand suggestions: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and Dove.

Washcloths: For other drives, I have bought the cheap, colorful ones at Target.

Toothbrushes

Disposible Razors

Diversity

Speaking of dolls:

Want a perfect solution to all of those irritating diversity needs at technology conferences and meetings?

Diversity Dolls!

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Look what Santa Brought...

I just had to get this out to as many blogs as possible. Un-be-fucking-lievable:

Yeah, I think I'll buy my kid the bombed out house that the soldier has just pillaged...

...Or perhaps the World "peace" Keepers Battle Station

Ages three and up, folks. Might as well get them used to the idea while they are young.


Please e-mail JCPenney if you think it's, oh, just a little inappropriate to sell a toy that depicts a soldier parachuting into a bombed out house to complete a military mission.

I mean, where are the body parts? If they're going to show the bombed out house, they ought to at least have a severed limb in there somewhere. Oh, that's right...PEOPLE don't die in wars...only HOUSES.

For FUCK'S sake.

The Problem with Girlism

I'm still playing catch-up on all the various femblogs (in the sense of both "blogs by women" and "blogs by feminists") coming on the heels of Halley Suitt's comments about "girlism" reproed earlier here on Blogsisters. So maybe it's too early for me to jump into the deep end of this, but I'll skim my rock across the surface anyway. Please bear in mind, none of this is designed to constitute any attack on anyone's opinions, particularly Halley's. Just because we disagree doesn't make one of us good and the other evil, it just means we, you know, disagree.

I think my particular warning bells came at reading Halley's opinion that, in order to achieve power in the workplace "...women want to be sexy girls and use all the tricks girls use..." First off, of course, there's always a danger in making broad generalizations, particularly generalizations of broads. Even by broads. Just because we share a double-x chromosome doesn't make our desires monolithic, even as it doesn't make our interests monolithic. (I've had to deal with this a lot in Friends of Lulu, explaining to folks that the goal of targeting comic books to women is tricky because women are no more a monolithic reading group than men are. So one can get oneself in a good deal of hot water by starting from a view of "women want..." (as we all remember from when that wacky Siggy Freud did it).

So following up on that, I confess I don't "want to be [a] sexy girl..." in large measure because I cannot be. I've never had that choice. I don't know what Halley looks like, but I imagine from her "it's just so easy if we do it this way" attitude she's probably young and vivacious and thin. She probably falls into the mold of what's acceptable in the default (i.e., male-opinion-dominated) society as "sexy." I don't, I never have, and I never will. I'm fat, I have thinning hair, I wear glasses, I'm loud-mouthed, I've got this Jewish honker... none of these things are ugly to me, but they don't scream "sexy" to most men in our society. Besides, the entire rule of judging a woman's worth primarily by her outward appearance seems to me a male thing - and when guys set the rules, they're in charge of the game, and there's no way a woman can "win" by playing a game she doesn't control.

I understand the concept of sex as power - at least I'm trying to. As I say, it's a game that Mom Nature never qualified me to play. But if sexual power is only identified with and discussed in terms of one gender, to my mind it isn't really power at all. It's pretend, it's dress-up, it's playing into the whole battle-of-the-sexes crap that perpetuates and traps people in gender stereotypes to begin with. It's like looking at a badgirl comic - "hey, guys, she may be 'powerful' wink wink but she prances about practically naked, that means she's really only kicking butt to give you a show and turn you on... hey look, a boob-and-crotch shot!" Oh, and you women who don't have the physical assets to allow yourself to be identified primarily through sex? Sorry, since nobody but obviously abnormal people wants to ogle you like an object (and therefore somehow bestow power on you through their benificent male gaze), you don't get to have power. But hey, you get to be angry about that and perpetuate the stereotype of ugly man-hating feminists and that'll do just fine because it helps marginalize feminism into irrelevancy and we still win!

I'm not good at games, whether they're power games or sexual games or whatever. I never dated normally, singles bars and personal ads and the like; both my ex (with whom I'm still friendly) and my current husband are guys I came to know through long-distance courting before I ever met either of them, and those courtships came about on mutual terms (the first through a zine I was self-publishing, and my current husband through Usenet). Even online, even in chatrooms, I've never done personas or fake handles. I'm capable of it, I used to write wacky articles and fictional bits in my zine under pen names, but I never saw the point of subterfuge when dealing with other people. This sort of stubborn honesty means I'll never get ahead in any realm which requires a particular talent for playing social games, but again, I knew that years ago and made my choice in favor of being a real person, with all the complexities that entails. And anyway, I prefer to believe that saying things like "my sexuality doesn't define me and is, by the way, none of your business" is far more subversive than trying to redefine feminism or girlism in the same sort of terms once used by the civil rights leader who opined that "the best position for women in the movement was prone."

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Seems like a good time

We've had quite a few number of new Blog Sisters join us here over the last couple of weeks, and the discussions that have sparked lately have been fantastic. The velocity and quality of conversation has been downright exciting. To me at least.

It seems like a good time for me to mention, since there are many new faces here, that I'm working on a book about our experiences here. If you haven't participated and you'd like to, use the survey form to spark some ideas about your thoughts on women and weblogging and you and weblogging and you and your offline life and you and blog sisters and whatever else you feel is important resulting from your experiences writing online. Look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, December 06, 2002

Proposed Department of Peace

Have you heard about the Congressional legislation to establish a U.S. Department of Peace? According to its sponsor, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich,
Domestically, the Department of Peace would address violence in the home, spousal abuse, child abuse, gangs, police-community relations conflicts and work with individuals and groups to achieve changes in attitudes that examine the mythologies of cherished world views, such as 'violence is inevitable' or 'war is inevitable'. Thus it will help with the discovery of new selves and new paths toward peaceful consensus.

Find out more here.

An Embarrassment of Riches

First entry here; howdy all! Wanted to give a short plug to my blog, particularly entries here, here and today, where I talk about fellow female (can one be called a "fellow female?") bloggers, finding Ms. Musings and Blogsisters, etc. Also a short plug for all you folks who read (and create!) comic books, for Friends of Lulu and Sequential Tart. Been involved in FoL for about a half dozen years now, and currently maintain their Women Doing Comics listing, among other resource pages. (So if you're a woman doing comics and you're not on the list, please e-mail me and I'll remedy that forthwith! Dang, I love words like "forthwith.") And the Tarts have a wonderful monthly e-magazine about comics, as well as a kicking message board! Looking forward to participating more as I catch up and read some past entries; as I said in my latest blog entry, I have a lot of catching up to do!

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Bunny's Blog Is Back!

Hi, all! I had to take a short hiatus from blogging, but I've started up again.

Wheeee!

Caryn Martinez

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Are Fat Suits the New Blackface?

Weight is not strictly a feminist issue, but it seems to resonate especially with women, who perhaps are held to a more unrealistic standard than are men. Gwyneth Paltrow caught heat for wearing a fat-suit in "Shallow Hal" for various reasons, among them -- as explained in Bitch Magazine -- that fat suits are the modern equivalent of blackface. But Anita Roddick (full disclosure -- she's my boss and a fellow Blog Sister), went undercover in remarkably convincing facial makeup and a fat suit last week in Discovery TV UK's documentary "Skin Deep" in order to see what it is like to be fat in London in 2002 . She was stared at, couldn't find clothes, all predictable troubles. But she got in some trouble for what she wrote about the experience. The readers of BigFatBlog aired their beefs with her, and she responded. I'm curious where the Sisters fall on this one.

Here's a Good one.

I found another girl power story that, deals with the back lash of eservice growth. Just to be supportive of not only women in technology but women with talent!! Anyway I thought I would post this to keep the pot spicy.Success story

TechUpdate

Three new Blog Sister Bios have been added for Deborah Gussman, Elizabeth Lane Lawley, and Drucilla Blood. Also, Jeneane has answered some questions about the birth of her brainchild Blog Sisters. Check them out at the new Bio Page and FAQ Page.

Asking President Bush to Let the Inspections Work

Move On is sponsoring a petition to encourgage the President to give the inspections a chance, rather than rushing to war. If you are interested in reading or signing this petition go here:

http://www.moveon.org/winwithoutwar/

Move On will compile your messages and present them to the Administration, including Secretary of State Powell, and to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

I've listed some other anti-war/peace activist sites for those who are interested over at Distracted.

I'm dreaming of peace:-)

Dream Interpretation?

ARRRGH! It seems like the blog world is full of discord. I don't have the time or energy to deal with it and read all these hypersensitive posts and comments, even though they are important and worthy of discussion. I like that blogs attack the big social and political issues, but sometimes I just need to get off all the soapboxes.

Instead I am thinking about my dreams. On Sunday night, I came down with a virus. It hit me while I was sleeping and did strange things to my dreams. Whenever I'm sick I always have particularly vivid, compelling dreams. This one I call "Priestess of the Orphaned Dead."

I kept finding corpses. Abandoned ones with no friends or family to give them a proper burial. At first I was repulsed, but found myself taking them in, washing them and preserving them, wrapping them up in ragged yellow shrouds and sewing them inside. I placed a pinhole in their eyes through their eyelids so they could see. Then I suspended them all in a hole in the ground, coming back to check on them and care for them occasionally. In the waking world, it was a gruesome dream, but inside my dream I started to genuinely care for my job. It wasn't so bad after the first few times, and I realized that these dead people were grateful to me for the sensitivity I showed in caring for their bodies; they wanted to be acknowledged and remembered, and I was the only one who could do this for them. The dream felt ritualistic-- dark, and perhaps grim, but not taboo or evil. I've been thinking about it all week.

The Abortion Debate Continues

For another installment of the roadblocks facing women today, please see: leanneworld.blogspot.com. Here I discuss different viewpoints on the issue of abortion.

Women Need to Band Together

Please refer to my blog "Politics and Life" at leanneworld.blogspot.com. This week's entry discusses the fact that women need to band together and help eachother advance in a toxic environment (perpetuated by GWB and his rich white cronies) that is quickly eating away at the gains we have made over the last 30 or 40 years.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

So, just wait until your kids grow up

When your kids are little, you worry about them falling, running into the street, getting kidnapped. Then you worry when they don't come home on time from school or a date. Then you worry when they go to college and forget to check in with you. And, you figure when they grow up and move away, you don't have to worry about them so much, right? Heh.

I have a liberal/activist articulate blogger son who is now getting threatening phone calls because of something he wrote on his weblog. I posted about it all here. What a world!

Monday, December 02, 2002

Living Erotically

I like this Audre Lorde quote from Deborah Gussman's post: "For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. " I think the forces that converged to catalyze my recent reading of The Ethical Slut and adherence to The Artist's Way have spawned a burning desire for authenticity like Lorde describes above. I find my highly-stressful, well-paying day job increasingly numbing and unfulfilling, and I'm actually feeling like I'm actually going to do something about it. I'm actually feeling are the operative words there...
I haven't read Halley's thoughts, though I've gathered the concept. I don't like the term, girlism; the connotation is...well, you know, GIRLS are not liberated, they are children under the authority of an other and isn't that the precise notion being confronted?

Good advice if you haven't seen it yet.

I got this in an email from a relative, and I hadn't seen the information before. Forgive me if you have; it's worth repeating for those who haven't. It's advice from a lawyer.

The next time you order checks, have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, he will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone.

If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address; if you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS number printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary, but if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company. I pass it along for your information:

We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know: We have been told you should cancel your credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen; this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important (I never even thought to do this): Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert.

Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

We pass along jokes; we pass along just about everything. Do think about passing this information along. It could really help someone you care about.

Valuing Women

To put the "Girlism" debate into a little global perspective, have a look at this article in the Washington Post about the consequences of sexual selection (literally) in India.

For years now, Indian families have been using ultrasound to check the sex of fetuses in the womb, and abort girls. Now the natural consequences of this widespread social phenomenon are making themselves felt, particularly in Haryana ~ a state where the education and income levels make the practice particularly prevalent...

[I still can't post more than a few words at a time... please see here for more. Sorry.]

SUVs and Political Unrest!

I am certain that Equality For Women seemed like a good idea at the time. As with other elegant theories fashioned by noble minds, of course, years of wear by actual humans has now made it appear both dowdy and impractical. Whenever shall we acquire the skill of not ruining a half-decent concept?! Just as Socialism morphed into meat-queues, atrocious poetry and genocide, Feminism begat padded shoulders, Spice Girls and mandatory whining. As a species, it must be said, we are adept at making fabulous To Do lists and then misplacing them somewhere in the clutter-drawer of history.
Yes, the Holy Heifer of Women’s Liberation deserves a savage prod. Or, at the very least, a good lie down. Something went terribly awry and a gracious ideal transformed, quite frankly, into a calamitous Tupperware party managed by an ungrateful hostess. What is wrong with feminism? Minds more agile than that which writes this text have addressed that question rigorously.
And even though there are those nodes of feminism’s failure that require a further and urgent attention, I here choose to fixate my attention on one tiny topic: The Right of The Childless Woman To Comfortably Park Her Vehicle.
I ought to explain. Please bear with my automotive conundrum. It requires some clarification.
For those of you who have been intimate, as I have, with The Sisters’ Army, I need hardly give details on how sensitivity to child-rearing issues is key. Heavens, if a girl is not attuned to the Great Needs of Suffering Mothers, she might be stripped of her feminist credentials in a manner that makes even the Brownie Guild look kind. Since the seventies, a crucial goal of feminism has been to acknowledge, mitigate and even seek PAY for the burden that is motherhood. Childcare should be subsidised, maternity leave should be extensive and congratulations on your decision to reproduce should be deafening.
I ought to impart, I suppose, that I once was an ardent supporter of such views. My zeal for the recognition of parenting as a profession was, I guess, informed by the suspicion that I too, one day, would bear children. Now, at 34 and without the funds or indeed apparatus to do so, my opinion has changed. Being a parent is not a duty nor a right, it is an enormous privilege. Being a parent is not a burden, it is, for the most part, a profound joy. Being a parent is NOT something that requires remuneration, sympathy or pity. Yes, I observe in the faces of my female intimates that parenting can be a circuitous journey with its own frustration and paranoias. But come on, ladies, admit it: Having a little one is an absolute hoot!
And so, it is with envy and incredulity that I note a new rash of convenient car spaces in shopping malls nationwide that are reserved for ‘Parents with Prams’. Excuse me?! It’s not enough that you get preferential treatment from Gran, extended leave AND the virtual guarantee of company in your incontinent twilight years, but you must have special parking AS WELL. Well excuse me if I petition for a Resolutely Barren and Proud space this instant.

Whoops, I did it again

Well, I was trying to stay out of this debate over girlism, but I couldn't stop myself. (I also couldn't get a connection to the comment box, so here it is). I can understand some of what Halley is trying to say–that there are aspects of a certain kind of white, middle class, liberal to radical versions of feminism that may not/ never did resonate for some women. That female sexuality exists and that it can be exciting and powerful. But Halley's rhetorical question and reply really bug me. She writes: "Will anyone really argue with me that the feminist version of female sexuality wasn't strident and unattractive? Girlism is about being sexy and attractive AND liberated." I'll argue. Which feminist version of female sexuality are we talking about? Attractive to whom? There are certainly more to feminist views of sex and sexuality than Andrea Dworkin/Catherine MacKinnon (I'm not knocking them, but they are often the poster women for "strident" feminist.) How is "owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like" not feminism? Or rather, why girlism vs. feminism? And, for that matter, why are we sexualizing what it means to be a girl?

I don't believe that sexuality or the erotic (another term I like) and feminism are mutually exclusive–indeed, I think that particular opposition is used to distance women from feminism and activism generally (ie. the myth that feminists are all strident, man-hating, prudish, frigid, etc.) Read Audre Lorde's beautiful essay "The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power," for just one instance of another "feminist" view of sexuality. Lorde defines the erotic as an internal sense of satisfaction. She writes:
"When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the life force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives . . ."

Lorde describes the erotic as a reminder of our capacity for feeling (something that we are often told is out of place in public life). She continues:

"For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grace responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe."

To me, this vision of female sexuality is anything but strident and unattractive. It may not be cute, and you can't say it in a sound bite, but than doesn't mean that it should just be dismissed.


Halley's back with more about Girlism

And it's bound to cause a stir 'round these parts. I have to finish my work-work before I can blog on it, so have at it.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

World AIDS Day

I'm unable to post, too. But if this goes through there are two posts on Full Bleed about AIDS and Privilege and AIDS and Breastfeeding.

Some links on privilege and AIDS



I have thought and rethought about posting these links. In one way, I can certainly respect someone who feels like I am forwarding an anti-capitalist agenda at the expense of a greater issue. I hope it is understood that I am only adding my angle to the wide array of links to information out there. By posting these links, I am in no way implying that this is the ONLY issue...merely one of the issues.

Stop Global AIDS dot org:


In 2001, 5 million people became newly infected with HIV, and 3 million people died from AIDS. Nearly 20 million Africans have already died from AIDS and millions more will die during 2002.

If the US government provided a fair share contribution to the global effort to stop AIDS (with education, prevention, care, and treatment) it would cost the average US taxpayer 4 cents a day.

Providing life-extending medications to AIDS patients in developing countries would cost under $3 a day per patient. Brazil has been successfully providing AIDS medications to patients since 1997.


Guardian Unlimited, 11/14/2002, US Drug Makers Accused of Bullying


"While many factors conspire to keep medicines out of reach of poor people, it is now widely accepted that unduly restrictive patent protection raises prices and therefore reduces access for poor people," says the report.

"Price discounts by companies can help but generic competition is the only sustainable way of reducing prices and increasing access. This in turn requires a more flexible application of patent law in developing countries. And for this to happen, the US government and pharmaceutical companies must stop their bullying."


Noam Chomsky on the privilege of adequate health care:


We should therefore be asking ourselves what we have done about these two crucial issues. Answer, very little. Foreign aid is always tiny, and mostly hypocritical (a form of export promotion, to mention only one aspect). With the end of the Cold War, there was little motivation to pay even marginal attention to the needs of the overwhelming mass of the world's population, and what little substantive aid there was declined sharply in most countries, most dramatically in the richest country in the world, which is simply off the spectrum. The US provides virtually nothing. A fraction of the military budget would suffice to overcome a very large part of the severe suffering throughout the world. What are we doing about that? As for drugs, the system works pretty much the way the rest of the economy does. A very large part of the cost and risk is transferred to the public; half is probably a conservative figure, if we take into account the work in fundamental biology on which applied R&D rests. The profits are then entirely privatized. The pharmaceutical corporations, which are among the most profitable, claim that they need the profits for R&D; therefore they insist upon protection, under the extremely rigorous patent regime imposed on the world under the World Trade Organization rules, a regime that the currently rich countries never accepted during their own period of development, and that not only sharply inflates prices and profits but also is designed to retard development, innovation, and growth. The few attempts to analyze the problem closely (there's an excellent study by economist Dean Baker, not sure whether it's been published) indicate that if the public assumed the total cost and drugs were then sold at market prices, there would be an enormous welfare benefit, dwarfing the total benefits predicted by optimistic forecasts about the WTO.

This is only for starters. These problems are here, not in South Africa. One can understand why the doctrinal institutions demand that we focus attention on the failures or crimes of others, refusing categorically to look into the mirror. But we all know that we should do exactly the opposite.



More information and more experiences can be found at the following places:

  • kd: a blog
  • negropleasedotcom
  • living nappy
  • uffish thoughts
  • jhames
  • randomWalks: here and here
  • jadedju
  • easy bake coven
  • all the extra bits
  • j.kinyeta
  • bedside manner
  • cocokat in slumberland
  • starmama

    (I'm really hoping that the reason my internet connection is PAINFULLY slow right now is because people are linking and thinking like mad.)

    (cross posted at full bleed)
  • Posting difficulties

    Sisters, I don't know what's going on, but it looks as if I can post 2 1/2 paragraphs, and that's it. Since I always run on longer than that, you can read what I have to say about "Girlism" at both2and: beyond binary. Sorry for the shameless linkage.

    This is a test

    No one's posted here for a couple of days, and I got an email from Pascale saying that she gets a javascript error message when she tries. So, here's my try. If it works, then it's not the site, right?