Thursday, April 28, 2005

Canadian Govt. Approves Plan B For OTC Sale

This is also posted at my blog.

Canada does the right thing, while American women have to suffer through pharmacists and their "conscience clauses." Pharmacists continue to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, thereby discriminating against mothers and disobeying a doctor's orders. Birth control and abortion are legal in the United States, but both are getting to be harder to come by.



Canadian Government Approves OTC Status for Emergency Contraception

Canada's federal government announced on Tuesday that it will now allow emergency contraception (EC) to be available over-the-counter (OTC) to women for the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. EC, sold under the name Plan B and distributed by Paladin Labs Inc. in Canada, will be kept behind the counter and dispensed without a prescription from a pharmacist.

"Given the significant psychological, social and economic impact of improving access to emergency contraction for women across Canada, this is a significant step forward in women's rights and health," Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada said, reports the Canadian Press. According to the society, one in two pregnancies in Canada is unintended.

EC has previously been available over-the-counter in three Canadian provinces British Columbia, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The Canadian Pressreports that the number of women who used EC in British Columbia per year more than doubled after it was made available without a prescription in 2000, preventing hundreds of abortions.

In the United States, US Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have vowed to block the confirmation of Lester Crawford, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner nominee, until a decision is made on granting over-the-counter status to emergency contraception (EC).

Crawford, who is currently serving as acting commissioner of the FDA, would not commit to when the FDA will resolve the issue of over-the-counter (OTC) status for Plan B.

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women. The accessibility of EC has become all the more dire due to nationwide controversy as pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions on so-called religious grounds. EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent thousands of abortions a year.

Men's Rights Group Loses Final Attack Against Women's Shelters

This post is also at my blog.

I have written about Free Men's attacks against California women's shelters in the past. Mens' rights groups aren't interested in helping abused men. They attack women's shelters by getting an "abused" man to file a complaint that he was refused services, and then the men's groups attack the women's shelter, claiming it is biased against men. Men's groups also claim that women's shelters violate the Constitution. Courts have rejected their arguments each time.

Here are the previous posts on the subject:

Men's Rights Attack Against Domestic Violence Shelters Dismissed

Another Attack By Men's Rights Activists On Domestic Violence Shelters Unsuccessful



NATIONAL COALITION OF FREE MEN SUFFERS FINAL DEFEAT

(Los Angeles, CA) Today the California Supreme Court denied review to a men's rights group seeking to challenge the women only policy at several Los Angeles shelters for battered women and their children.

The lawsuit claimed that the shelters engaged in illegal sex discrimination. The shelters, however, receive gender specific funding from the state for very good reasons.

The Battered Women's Protection Act specifically funds shelters for women and children. The act is gender specific because women in crisis have particular privacy and safety needs. The shelters sometimes have communal bathrooms and bedrooms, many children with abusive fathers fear men, and batterers could easily find their victim if they were allowed access to the shelters.

The California Women's Law Center and O'Melveny and Myers LLP, representing the shelters pro bono, argued successfully to the California State Court of Appeal that the case had no merit.

"The Legislature has recognized that women and children need private shelters during this time of crisis in their lives and provides funding accordingly. In the event that the National Coalition of Free Men wish to open their own shelter, they are free to do so," said Katie Buckland, Executive Director of the California Women's Law Center.

State Senator Sheila Kuehl said, "I am pleased with today's court decision. Battered women shelters have been designed for women and their children for very good reasons- the preservation of safety, privacy, and peace, as well as the numerically greater need for places for women and children."

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Blogher.org Weblog and Conference

One thing I've noticed as the blogHERcon or blogher event weblog takes shape is that it's developing its own great voice -- a combined voice of the participants there and the organizers. I'm really really really going to try to get to this event.

Believe me, I'm no world traveler. I'm no conference hopper. Hell, I've never been further west than Dallas, and that was for a client meeting, so this would be a big deal--becaus of the 'west coast' thing and because of the 'I work from home; going to the grocery store is a big deal' thing. Okay, going to the mail box is a big thing too.

So a trans-continental flight would be something else, complete with, I don't know, what do they give you these days on long flights--a movie maybe? A snack? A strip search?

AND I may have to bring our daughter with me if I go for lack of someone to watch her during July. Part of that excites me. Part of that exhausts me. Like the mailbox thing.

Anyway, if you live near the bay area, try to get to the event. They are even offering some scholarships for live-blogger participants. And the price isn't bad as far as conferences go.

If you live on the east coast, like me, feel free to perseverate with me!

If you live in one of the many wonderful countries not run by a big stupid goober, you should also check out blogher.org--the conference organizers are really trying to help women outside of the U.S. find ways to attend.

So, that's my roundup on blogher.org.

Maybe we can have our first annual blogsisters meetup there...

The War on Echinacea

Here in Hawaii the alternative health culture is strong. For the last month it has seemed that everywhere I turn I overhear someone talking about their fear of a new bill being voted on in Congress that would outlaw herbal supplements, such as echinacea. My natural response to alarmist dialog is to ignore it. I believe in the creative power of what we give our attention to and I'm not particularly interested in living a fear based life. Finally last night in a phone conversation a friend of mine started talking about her fear of the dreaded bill, so today I decided to do a little research.

I am not about to present myself as an expert in this area, but my initial take is to compare the threat of such regulation to our experiences with the "war on drugs" (and decades before with Prohibition). If it is a legitimate possibility that health supplements might be outlawed without an MD's prescription, I think that would make a huge inconvenience in getting these products, and would shut down the big companies that specialize in providing them to the many alternative health consumers who don't have health insurance. However, people would still get the supplements. They would have to find small local suppliers and the exchange would take place outside the tax system, but the laws of supply and demand supercede all government imposed laws.

Read the full article at www.indigo-ocean.com

Sunday, April 24, 2005

What would you want high school kids to know about blogging.

I've been invited to be the "blogger" on a panel at a youth leadership conference. I don't have all the details yet, but I'm pretty sure that the whole panel will not be about blogging. Blogging will be one area represented. And I'm doing the representing. And so I'm wondering what would you want young bloggers and/or young potential bloggers to be aware of if they want to use their blogs to "make a difference" in the larger world. The audience will be kids who want to be leaders in the future.

Do you have your own "ethics" for determining what you blog and what you don't? Do you think there should be some regulations that determine what people blog? Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you blogged?

What I'd like to do is encourage the kids to try blogging, but to do so aware of the risks and pitfalls as well as the fun and benefits. What advice would you give them.

I will keep checking back here, so if you're so inclined, leave a comment or post something on our own weblog and put the link in a comment. I'd like to be able to reflect more than my own personal opinions when I open my big mouth on the panel.

In advance, thanks.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Free: 3 DVDs of The Corporation

April 23rd update:

Well, sharing this here turned out to be sort of a bust, no Sisters were interested, but if you're curious as to where the DVDs distributed through my own blog ended up, check out this link! :)

---

Original post:

Curious about the massive power that the multinational corporations yield and how they affect you (and everyone else) directly? Just email me a mailing address and watch this DVD which I will be happy to send you* free of charge, no tricks, no strings attached (then pass it on to friends, family, strangers... spark conversations, explore the numerous resources listed on the DVD or reflect on all this privately, it's up to you!). I want to help disseminate this information, this is my little "constructive action".

Education is crucial, it is only by learning to think for ourselves that we will begin to understand the consequences of our individual and collective actions, and choose to build a future that is fair and sustainable for all.

Synopsis (click here for more details)

The film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.

*I have 3 copies left (see more on who I am/why I am doing this here), I'll wait until Friday evening (9pm EDT) then pick requests randomly if more than 3 people are interested. I'll update this post with the blogger names of the 3 recipients, or the States/countries where they are from, for more anonymity (don't worry, I won't post your real ID).

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Duck and Cover--Catholic Style

I was a bit stunned today when I heard that Cardinal Ratzinger was made Pope.

When I heard commentary on BBC World News from a theologian at Georgetown that Ratzinger's main concern as Pope is the state of European Catholicism, I had to agree with this observation. There are many things that we in American do not understand about what is going on in Europe--a rising secularism that is nothing like what we have here, coupled with what was referred to as an "Islamicization."

I don't know if y'all will get what's meant by "Islamicization" and what all the hubub might be about, but, here's my take on it: there is a growing movement of Islam in Europe--and not just from more Muslims moving in. It is Europeans that are converting. This isn't all that good. These are mostly Europeans who are what would be called "unchurched"--meaning they have no understanding of religion or of faith at all.

While many of us here would say, "what's the problem with that?"...think about it a bit. The problem is that many who are unchurched suffer from a malaise of spirit which then leads them to accept belief systems that are counter to any progress that has been made.(yeah, go ahead, bitch at me about the language, but this is what it is)

People will accept a radical, reactionary form of Islam because it seems to hold the answers and promise them certainty on moral issues.

Kind of what born-again Christianity does in this country.

So, I understand where the "Islamicization" of Europe could be troubling--it's not that Muslim immigrants are the problem, but that troubled, unchurched Europeans are. And this becomes the answer to why Europe might need Ratzinger now.

But, Ratzinger is also a "fundamentalist" Catholic. Which could lead to problems for us over here.

Fundamentalist Catholisim is NOT (and I cannot stress this enough) anything like or even near Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity. We tend to think the two are the same--that's a result of the rising "protestantization" of Catholicims in this country.

Catholics here have allowed a level of "protestantization" so that we might be accepted by mainstream protestants...so that we might not be considered "demons" or "living under sufferage" here (as F.D.R once said) and be considered fully American. And, because of this, Catholics have been able to make strange bedfellows with some Fundies.

Oh, very bad move there.

Fundamentalist Christians don't necessarily like Mainstream Protestants (who the American Catholics have been trying to ape all these years)...And Mainstream Protestants don't necessarily like Ratzinger because of his support of
Opus Dei, an ultra-right Catholic lay movement (that Mel Gibson happens to be very much a part of).

Given that the main religious persuasion of this country is Protestant (with a down and dirty Fundie headding it) and since Fundamentalist Catholism is nothing like Fundamentalist Christianity, and the Fundies really don't like the Mainstreamers, and since the Mainstreamser hate Opus Dei (which Ratzinger has a fond apprecation of) I can only conculde that we Catholics could be seriously screwed in the near future (if things in this country keep moving towards the Fundie side).

The worst-case scenario: be prepared for some cross burnings on the lawns of the local Catholic church and a rise in pre-Kennedy discrimination.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and saying a few good prayers.

--Tish G.
(and before some of y'all bitch at me further and start kvetching about the whole separation-of-church-and-state thing, read my blog entry on Ten Little Known Points About American Religious History)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Perception becomes reality

According to a study released by the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), our daughters need a reality check when it comes to their abilities. The data showed that girls in advanced mathematics classes said they thought they were worse at math than boys who were in basic math classes. The study was presented at the biennial conference of the Society for Research in Child Development in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Boys believed they were better than their grades actually are, while girls believed they were worse than their grades actually are," study author Dr. Pamela Davis-Kean told Reuters Health.

Furthermore, despite girls' report cards, parents tended to believe that girls have to work harder at math than do sons.

These early influences may discourage many capable girls from entering careers in math and science, Davis-Kean said.
Starting early in school, the researchers found that girls overall received better grades than boys in school, and teachers generally said girls were stronger students than boys. However, even girls receiving excellent grades in advanced or honors math classes said they were worse at math than boys in basic math classes, receiving lower grades.

Girls also tended to say they worked harder at math than at English, but time diaries showed that girls logged more time working on language arts than on math.

Furthermore, parents of girls tended to say math was harder for their daughters than did parents of sons, and parents of daughters also believed their children had to work harder at math to do well.


It reminds me of another study which showed that showed gender differences in perceived weight.

From that article:
Even health care professionals, such as medical doctors, tend to rate more girls than boys as obese, irrespective of their relative weight. Female students in a secondary school reported being encouraged to lose weight more often than were the male students.


Perhaps this University of Michigan study is observing the same feedback phenomenon as the obesity study, though it does not seem to address the issue: that girls meeting high standards receive less positive feedback than boys meeting lower standards, and girls failing to achieve a much higher standard than the boys' receive more negative feedback for that failure, both from parents and authorities.

In other words, our perception becomes their reality.

Tackling this perception problem is tough. A lot of mothers were discouraged from pursuing math and science in school, as I was, and so are not prepared to provide the hands-on help and targeted praise that girls need to build up their self-esteem in math. I think we tend to echo their insecurity, remembering our own failures and extrapolating their abilities based on our own. So we may unconsciously reinforce their self-doubt rather than pointing out their successes.

Teachers are part of the problem, too. The best and brightest girls tend to be overlooked in the classroom while the attention goes to less achieving boys. Both my daughters talk of feeling invisible in their math classes -- my son, with the same abilities, does not. He does, however, receive great praise in English class for his ability to write, while that talent has been taken for granted in my daughters.

I don't know what all the answers are, but the questions raised by this study are a good place to start.

(cross-posted at I See Invisible People)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why Charles Barkley is My Soulmate

The other night, when I had way too much coffee and was up until around 2am surfing blogs, I also caught The Tonight Show...with Charles Barkley.

There was big old Charles, goofing it up with Jay....and then he started to make sense. Charles made a very cogent point that Liberals and Conservatives, esp. those who are hosts and commentators on the various television news programs, are nothing more than rich people serving their own interests. Basically, Charles was saying that these Liberals and Conservatives were only putting on shows and not really debating the issues, because, as rich people, the true isssues of this country don't effect them.

He hates both Fox and CNN--saying, truthfully, that they are both one in the same and are there just to further the agendas of rich people, not to forward a true liberal or conservative viewpoint. (hmmm...kind of like alot of "blogs" out there that like to purport they are run by "amateurs"...but that's another issue)

Charles went on to say that race is not the big issue in this country....it's social class.

OMG! Charles, I love you!

He went on to say (if I might distill his comments) that poor whites, blacks, and hispanics have more in common than they think--and that commonality is terrible public school educations and a system that works to keep all of them down.

This, coming from a black man who has been highly successful in the system and has a great deal of money.

He's also very right.

Both Liberals and Conservatives, in their own ways, play the race card as a way of stirring up the poor against one another. It was a tactic used during the Civil War to get poor whites in the South to fight for the Plantation owners when even they were bought and traded by their own kin...and in an insidious, covert way that was just as demeaning as open slave trade.

So, let's face it, I'm right and Charles is right--the rich trade on the fears and ignorance of the poor. They pit one group against the other with polemics and rhetoric guaranteed to stir up emotion against reason. They feed them a "street culture" that glorifies their ignornace and encourages violence against themselves. They keep the race issue alive because it serves their purpose--to keep them on top. The Liberal rich love affirmative action because it keeps poor whites from advancing by saying that poor whites, because of their skin color have the exact same opportunities as rich whites (even if their family structures and educations are vastly different). The Conservatives are against affirmative action because they know that, if you have enough money, your color doesn't really matter--you are better as an ally working to keep the rabble down and maintaining the status quo than you are in helping to advance others of your "race."

(Note: it's fascinating how, when someone in a minority family gains status, all generations of a family become huge paragons of virtue--it's the old Protestant idea that states you are blessed and among the saints if you gain money and success in the temporal world, and that this is predetermined by God. What a crock of shit. But a crock of shit that works for both Liberals and Conservatives. go figure)

If a guy like Charles Barkley can see this, and has the courage to get out there and say it, there is definitley something to it. Guess Charles either has enough power to not fear any retribution, or "they" just let him get away with saying that because he's perceived as a clown.

I'm not positive of either perception...I'm not sure of the current popular opinion on Charles.

Still I find him a fascinating man. Charles is, in many ways, a warrior who has not only learned the power of brain over brawn, but also has been able to turn nasty mouthyness into playful yet socially astute banter.

Too bad Jay has such a big stake in the status quo.

Tish G.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Feminist, Philosopher, Anti-Porn Activist Andrea Dworkin Dies

Just in case y'all haven't found out yet, Andrea Dworkin died over the weekend at hew Washington D.C. home which she shared with partner John Stoltenberg. She was 59.

An official obit appears here in The Guardian, and there is an interesting essay about her at Susie Bright's Journal(this is interesting as much for the comments as for Bright's essay).

I have never been a true fan of Dworkin's philosophy--felt the writing far too polemic and high strung to be of any use in a solid intellectual debate (although alot would disagree with me.)

I also felt that, deep down, there were many things plaguing Dworkin that should have been dealt with in ways other than the public forum.

Perhaps, though, someone needed to raise the negative-aspect issues of sex the way Dworkin did. Up to that point, the voices who had raised some doubts were pooh-pooed by the higher minds cloistered in the Ivory Tower. Dworkin's polemics were often like someone yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater--and while you can have an idea what the consequences of that act will be, you can never fully realize its full effect or if there was that much of a fire in the first place.

Yet one of her more egrigious claims--that all heterosexual sex is rape--has had a far reaching and, I believe, stultifying effect on how we perceive female sexual freedom and sexual expression. By claiming this, Dworkin not only philosophically doomed most of us straight women to the gaols of victimhood and made our mates and lovers into criminals, but also, insidiously, set up a backlash that has worked hand-in-hand with the sex industry in convincing women that they are both feminist and empowered when they are selling sex (see my own polemic on the sex industryhere).

If the type and kind of sex you prefer to participate in is considered a crime (as in Dworkin) or when "sexual expression" is reduced to a commodity, where your power to refuse it is eventually taken away (as it often ends up in sex work) do you then have *any* true sexual expression or freedom?

Andrea Dworkin took her personal suffering and turned it into philosphy and politics When I heard of her death, I was glad to hear that she did not suffer. Death, knowing no philosophy nor politics, is often far kinder than life ever could be.

--Tish G.

Available Now At Newsstands... IN HELL


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Culture Commandos





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Republican He-Man magazine





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Patriot or Terrorist?





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Federal Dick



Cross-posted at Tild~

Sunday, April 10, 2005

For My Reading Pleasure Only ..................

Many women from the Third World cite many reaons for loving their existence in the US of A.
Freedom from oppression, social and religious, an oppurtunity to forge an identity of their own etc.

I have a simple reason. I love the fact that I can check out books from the Public Libraries for free. In India I would have to be a member of some book equivalent of Blockbuster. And like the video rental store they would have plenty of copies of "popular" titles and very few if any of the writers who did not make it to best-sellers list in India. So no Andrea Lee/Sandra Cisneros but many, many copies of say the latest Danielle Steele. If I have to buy every book I read I would be broke - considering that I get through books really fast + I would probably never have a big enough home to accomodate all my paper possessions.

I am a member of the Minuteman Library in Cambridge. Even if I moved away I think I will be a member there. They treat me like a book-lover should be treated with trust and kindness. I don't know if I will have many acheivements to my name when I am through working but I will be happy if it read on my epitaph:

She never mutilated or lost a library book through all the years of her reading.

Of course I won't have an epitaph, I am Hindu but enjoy the public library everyone. It is a wonderful resource.

Happy Library Week


Saturday, April 09, 2005

By comparison, I'm really not so old

knightia fossilI count on my friends to help me keep things in perspective. For example, today we went out for lunch to celebrate my 45th birthday. I was feeling really old until Debbie gave me this 50 million year old dead fish.

When you find a friend like that, you keep her.



Terry

Poetry Month

Since everyone else is getting in on the Poetry Month act, I figured I'd better do it, too. This poem is from one of my favorite writers, Edgar Allan Poe. I lived in Baltimore, which means I've been to Poe's grave at Westminster Church and his house on Amity Street. I even dated the curator of the Poe House when I was in high school. He was my first love. I have many fond memories, all related to Edgar Allan Poe.

This sweet poem is called "To F___," which I believe refers to Frances Sargent Osgood. It was published in 1845. It's a lovely poem. Most people think of "The Raven" and horror stories when they think of Poe. They haven't read his love poems and his satire.

To F____

Beloved! amid the earnest woes
That crowd around my earthly path ---
(Drear path, alas! where grows
Not even one lonely rose) ---
My soul at least a solace hath
In dreams of thee, and therein knows
An Eden of bland repose.

And thus thy memory is to me
Like some enchanted far-off isle
In some tumultuous sea ---
Some ocean throbbing far and free
With storm --- but where meanwhile
Serenest skies continually
Just o'er that one bright island smile.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Making Up Stories

[You'll also find this entry x-posted at Rox Populi.]

Now that the gang at Powerline and Michelle Malkin have been proven again to be the the lying tools that they are (uh, and blaming Tom Harkin or looking for another scapegoat sorta goes against the whole Republican "personal responsibility" thing, doesn't it?), they'll need to find, as Atrios and Hilzoy suggest, a new scandalous untruth to spread to their drooling minions.

In the interest of bi-partisanship, I think we should help them brainstorm some ideas.

What shall it be, then? Illegal immigrants sneak into San Diego homes to drink the blood of unsuspecting white babies? Jimmy Carter performed a human sacrifice in the Lincoln Bedroom back in '78 and that's why he's not going to the Pope's funeral? Hillary Clinton conspired to have a guy murdered and then covered it up? John Kerry shot his entire squad in Vietnam and replaced them with hippie look-a-likes he found partying with Hanoi Jane in Ho Chi Min City?

Obviously, I'm not in my best "creative zone" this morning. So, help me out by leaving your suggestions here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Guide For The Opera Impaired

I took a brief break from political humor -- just long enough to post my
Guide For The Opera Impaired,
which even includes "The Uniform Opera Plot Act" a/k/a "Leave No Opera Hater Behind."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Do women deserve inclusion in "The American Dream"?

Most people, I think, would say "yes." But if you go by their actions, or inactions, and not their words, there's something else going on.

Yesterday, I ranted a bit:

The ERA has been defeated, and any attempts to revive it are attacked by the right and the left. Women's reproductive rights are being taken away state by state. A woman's sovereignty over her own body and right to make personal decisions regarding her own health, life and welfare are being attacked by the radical right. Women who serve in the military are raped, with the only official response to be that they (the women) face disciplinary sanction or unfavorable reports in their records. Women who stand up for themselves are called witches and worse. Women who are successful in business are attacked and lambasted in the press. Women who have children are punished in their careers by business that recognize little or no maternity leave -- that is if they even get hired -- and are attacked for staying at home to raise the kids and needing public aid, or attacked for working three jobs and essentially raising their kids in daycare. Women who are raped and press charges face the unique challenge of needing to provide evidence other than their testiomony to garner a conviction -- a requirement that does not exist for any other violent crime. One-third of the women in this country have been or will be sexually assaulted -- and the trends are continuing, so you men who scoff at this, consider that your daughters face the same likelihood. Women pay more for healthcare and more for dry cleaning, while making 72% of what men make. As a result, women receive Social Security benefits substantially less than men receive. Teenage girls are denied basic sexual education and are prevented (by law in many states) from obtaining any birth control without explicit parental consent. Women are ignored, ridiculed, sneered at -- or idolized and put on a pedestal to measure up to some objectified ideal fantasy created by men. And when women speak up about issues that concern women, men dismiss those very things as unimportant. Why? Because the men have determined that these issues are not important to them, and therefore are not important.

And so I ask again, not expecting any answer: Why is it again that women's equality is not a priority for the progressive political agenda?


On a progressive politics site, where I participate, I cross-posted something I blogged on Sunday:

Now we are in backlash. The radical right wants to enslave women, take power over our own medical decisions, take power over our own bodies, to make criminals of those of us who do not treat our bodies, owned by the state, according to the dictates of the men in power. They try to shame us over our own bodies. They try to keep young women ignorant of ways to take responsibility for their own lives, their own fertility. They say "boys will be boys" and women who have premarital sex are whores.

And yet the left seems to believe that women's rights are not threatened. They seem to believe that the ERA, which was rejected by opposition in mostly the old Confederacy (mostly slave states), has no relevance today. Some say that women's rights, though worthy, should be fought for and defended only after other rights are achieved.

Four weeks ago, Amanda wrote in her old blog about the importance of feminism to liberalism:

As far as I know, there's no female-centered version of the American Dream. In the American Dream, our hero Ward Cleaver is a Real Man because he has a job that pays for him to have a big house, a family and a most importantly, a wife who is financially dependent on him and under his direct control. This is how masculinity is defined for so many, many men in our country. The problem is that fulfilling that dream of having a woman sequestered away at home tending to you and your children is that it's out of the financial reach of the majority of men.

Of course, what this means is that we have a huge population of men in this country that both believe that in order to be Real Men they have to have a wife that is both at home and subservient, but out of financial necessity, they have wives who work. And it's hard to get subservience out of someone when you can't tell them, "Well, who makes the money around here?" There's a lot of resentment there.

There's been a lot of ink spilled as of late bemoaning the lack of direction and lack of goals for progressives. This sort of thing really perplexes those of us who concentrate on feminist progressivism--I have no problem whatsoever stating what my direction and goals are for feminism. Feminists want full legal equality for women, parity between the sexes in every aspect of public life, social relationships between men and women based on equality, the rights of children to be acknowledged and respected, the right of women to use every tool science has to offer to maintain control over our bodies, wage equity, social policies to help parents, and healthy social attitudes towards sexuality.

And so the women in this country, completely disenfranchised from the political right and the political left, find ourselves adrift, needing our own Doctor King. We need someone to speak to our own hearts. We need someone to help us, as a nation, see.


Well, one of the admins, slgalt, suggested making this question a priority in the progressive framing of American values.

However, since posting the new framing effort, the response on this site that gets over 2,000 hits a day (which is not bad for a raw site) has been underwhelming. This does not surprise me, after these kinds of comments and non-responses on DKos.

We need women to speak up to be included in the progressive agenda, because it's not just the mainstream media that is ignoring the crumbling state of women's equal protection under the law in this country, but progressive men as well. Please come and join the discussion. The link to the "Women and the American Dream" thread is here.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Japan's Virgin Wives Turn To Sex Volunteers

[This is cross-posted on my blog.]

Japan's virgin wives turn to sex volunteers

Lustless matches put country on brink of demographic disaster

Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Monday April 4, 2005
The Guardian

Like many Japanese women, Junko waited until her early 30s to get married. When she and her fiance, an employee of a well-known firm, decided to tie the knot, she set her sights on making a home, putting away some money and starting a family.

Fifteen years later, Junko and her husband are childless. It is not that they cannot have children; it is just that they have never had sex.

The sexless marriage is one of several reasons why experts fear Japan is on the verge of a demographic disaster.

In 2003 Japan's birthrate hit a record low of 1.29 - the average number of times a woman gives birth during her lifetime - one of the lowest rates in the world, according to the cabinet office. The population will peak next year at about 128 million, then decline to just over 100 million by 2050.

The 200 women a year who seek help at a clinic in the Tokyo suburbs have not had sex with their husbands in up to 20 years, and some never, according to Kim Myong-gan, who runs the clinic.

"The women who come to see me love their husbands and aren't looking for a divorce," he told the Guardian. "The problem is that their husbands lose interest in sex or don't want sex from the start. Many men think of their wives as substitute mothers, not as women with emotional and sexual needs."

Mr Kim's short-term solution is unconventional. After an initial 20,000 yen (£100) counselling session, he produces photographs of 45 men, mostly professionals in their 40s, with whom the women are invited to go on dates and then, in almost all cases, arrange regular assignations in hotel rooms.

Mr Kim dismissed charges that his service was little more than a male prostitution ring. "The men volunteer and pay half the hotel and restaurant bills, so legally there is absolutely nothing wrong with it," he said.

He had rescued hundreds of women from despair, he said, but his "sex volunteers" would do nothing to cure the malaise that afflicts the institution of marriage in Japan.

The number of married couples is in rapid decline. In 2000 almost 70% of men and 54% of women between 25 and 29 were unmarried. That bodes ill for the birthrate, as conservative Japanese society frowns upon having children outside marriage.

A survey of 600 women found that 26% had not had sex with their husbands in the past year.

"We are sort of room-mates rather than a married couple," one 31-year-old man, who had not had sex with his wife for two years, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The government has introduced several measures to lift the birthrate. Fathers will be encouraged to take more than the 47% of annual paid leave they currently use, and their employers will be told to provide more opportunities for them to stay at home with their children.

Local authorities, meanwhile, are devising novel ways to increase fertility. In the town of Yamatsuri women will receive 1m yen if they have a third child, and in Ishikawa prefecture families with three children will get discounts at shops and restaurants.

The absence of children in so many homes is having an impact. Fun parks are closing and there are signs that the "exam hell" teenagers go through to secure places at top schools and universities is less of an ordeal because the competition is less fierce.

The divorce rate has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, with more women blaming their sexually inactive, as opposed to sexually errant, husbands for break-ups.

"The men love their companies; they live for work," Mr Kim said. "Men don't even think it is a problem if they don't have sex with their wives. They have pornography and the sex industry to take care of their needs, but their wives have nowhere to go. They just suffer in silence."

Lowell Jaks Is Gearing Up For A Fight

[This is cross-posted on my blog.]

My regular readers know that Lowell Jaks, the founder of the fathers' rights group Alliance for Noncustodial Parents Rights (ANCPR), was imprisoned for kidnapping his son and spiriting him away to the Dominican Republic. You may read my Lowell Jaks/ANCPR archive, which tells the whole story, at this link.

He is now out of jail, and he has no contact with his son. I just received word from his ex-wife Elaine Rudis-Jackson that he has shown no remorse for what he had done. He said "I'm glad we did what we did. I'm proud of what I did. I went ahead with this action." [...] "I let my principles get the better of my judgement," said Jaks. But added that he didn't agree with the court system having jurisdiction over families "and not the parents as it should be. This results in severe dislocation. The situation is just untenable, equivalent to a modern day holocaust."

I hereby invoke Godwin's Law.

Jaks recently had a hearing about his case, and he's not happy that he didn't get what he wanted. Rudis-Jackson heard him say "this is great, this is just what I wanted to have happen. The media is going to hear about this" referring to "not even being able to send a birthday card to his son".

He hasn't learned a thing, which doesn't surprise me. He has no regrets about what he had done. I think there is a danger that he could kidnap his son again, and it looks like the courts see the same possibility.

It also looks like he is still living off of ANCPR membership fees. His views haven't changed. He believes that "as of the institution of so-called 'no fault divorce' in the late 70's - has one motivation and only one. That is, to legitimate adultery by women."

This man is not fringe. ANCPR is one of the most popular (and nastiest) fathers' rights groups out there. It's driving force is helping men get out of paying child support. Jaks himself owed $100,000 in child support and penalties to his two ex-wives. I hope he continues to be denied contact with his son. It's for the best.

What would a Minoan goddess do–vague thoughts on gratuities and peon empires

Not doing the Hooters jiggle

This is a long post. As long as it is because it's a subject I didn't want to occasion any sense of trivialization, which I felt was happening in an initial shorter version.

The Maidenform dream and the election train

Alicublog makes the post Guy Thing in response to Sex, Women and Conservatism by Dallas Claymore at the Citizen Journal.

In the meanwhile, that Internet philosopher, "Free online casino" attempted to comment on this website,

When women forge their own ‘gender identity’, in the way the feminists recommend, they become unattractive to men - or attractive only as sex objects, not as individual persons. And when men cease to be gentlemen, they become unattractive to women. Sexual companionship then goes from the world. by free online casino game


The Free Online Casino philosopher is exceedingly prolific. It's also got an unnerving bit of oracle bot to it that at the crankiest of times anticipates where the brain is wandering and plunges right through the looking glass dragging along PKD, John Cage and Timothy Leary into electric lands of internet potshot I Ching where Satan as opposer says "J'accuse" pointing at yon mountain which is you of course, all being you, you being god is all, and Satan having a high old time crashing every righteous brain party it predicts in your future. Up conjuring down, left conjuring right, in conjuring out, the bases are covered and what's frustrating is Anti doesn't believe a word of it, Anti's just there for sake of making sure there's a position to be established. If Anti believes in anything it's making maps.

I've been working on this sorry post several days only to have it twice destroyed by my not saving and my DSL going down and taking my work with it. I thought maybe I should drop the post entirely but I kept going back and looking at the graphic of Ms. Snake Minoan I'd made and thinking what would your typical Hooters customers do if this woman walked in the door, and what would she do if handed a Hooters t-shirt and shorts and told to sing "I wish I was an Oscar Meier Wiener" for her supper. I've no idea what her response would be as little is known about the Minoans, but she doesn't look the cheery and reassuring Malibu Barbie performing a snake goddess dance.

How did she come to mind? A how'd we get from here to here kind of thing, from her to Maidenform to Hooters. She came to mind because of all the "I dreamt I was" Maidenform ads that are popular for blog headings, and which do beg reflection as to their meaning, suggesting a secret almost mystical strength via the magic cups or what's contained, while also back-slapping with the contorted gender politics of the time, such as if there'd been a Maleform man he would never have dreamt adventures in his jockstrap, he would have declared them done. Ida Rosenthal's "I dreamt" was not only a great ad campaign that made every woman a potential star in her own life, one could argue or suppose it was pretty future feminist, the ads acting upon the notion women wanted other roles than what post WWII suburban America had been offering them after the soldiers came home and they were retired from the work force. The WWII posters showed Rosie the Riveter with her hair bound to keep it out of the production line machinary. The women may not now have been adventuring, but they were dreaming, maybe they would get past the production line and not only would the bra not get in the way, hey, Maidenform will make sure you're comfortable enough to be a contender (comfort was a selling point and can't be overlooked).

But the campaign got it wrong,wrong, wrong in the way the boob wars are going to go wrong when you drape a dreamy Maidenform mannekin FDR style over the caboose rail of a campaign train declaring that her bra won her the dream election.

- - - - - - -

As said at start, this is a long post because of it's length I'll not put the full of it here as I'd feel like I was hogging. If anyone's interested, the rest is here . It's so long I even gave it subheadings, which should give an idea if any of the material might be interesting: When women burned their bras; The sacred wisdom; I didn’t see it in terms of sex rights, of academic rights, just another people power drama; Then they went out and got boob jobs; Sexist jerks or jerks?; Here’s a tip, I own you now; And, so?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Wrapping up Estrogen Month

As in, "in a neat tidy box so all you have to do is click on one post to find the archives." I've cross-posted this from my blog, and hope it will serve as a handy link for those asking the question "Where are all the women bloggers?" as well as those considering Estrogen Month for a Koufax 2005 nomination as Best Series. I'll also stick this link onto my blog's sidebar, pretty much where you'd expect to find it. Below is a handy-dandy table containing the links to almost all my Estrogen Month posts (sorry about all the blank space preceding it, it's my first-ever attempt at a table so I'm not sure how to get rid of the space):



Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6
Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12
Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18
Day 19Day 20Day 21Day 22Day 23Day 24
Day 25Day 26Day 27Day 28Day 29Day 30
And here's Day 31, 'cause March is like that with 31 days and all. I'm also going to repro the Photoshop I did on Day 19 just 'cause I got a kick out of doing it:

And of course don't forget the three permanent "Where the Women Bloggers Are" sections in my public Bloglines bookmarks, situated right beneath my "News+Views Gals" and "Kultcha Gals" sections.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Israel/Occupied Territories: Women carry the burden of conflict, occupation and patriarchy - Amnesty International

Israel/Occupied Territories: Women carry the burden of conflict, occupation and patriarchy - Amnesty International
Please follow that link to Amnesty International and take the actions they have set up there.

Peace

Fathers Rights Protesters Stage Protest In Game World Of Warcraft

This post is also available on my blog

Gamesplot.com

Fathers' Rights Activists Dress As Trolls And Protest In Online Role Playing Game

April 1, 2005

Nine members of the fathers' rights group Fathers Are Relevant Too (FART) staged a protest today in the online role-playing game World of Warcraft. Dressed as Trolls and the Undead, they staged a sit-in at the Crazy Cat Lady's home east of Stormwind in Elwynn Forest. An Undead activist with the screen name Beatdead Zombie Dad lamented the orphaned cats that roamed around the Crazy Cat Lady's cottage.

"Those poor cats have been left fatherless," he said. "Studies show that 75% of fatherless cats suffer serious social problems such as pooping on the carpet, peeing in the sink, and barfing furballs in your Frostsaber Boots. We are here in support of giving fatherless cats their fathers so that they have a better chance of growing up in a good home... dammit! Cat just pissed on me!!"

When asked if he had planned to adopt any of the cats, he replied he cannot due to allergies.

"I have no idea who these people are," said the Crazy Cat Lady. "They've been sitting on my lawn since 5 a. m. this morning, eating my gruel and drinking my ale, and they are scaring the cats. They are freeloaders. See the three in that corner? They don't know they're sitting where players stable their horses when they come into my cottage to purchase a cat. There is horse shit all over the place over there. If they want to sit in it, who am I to stop them?"

Some of the activists are playing today with their own children in honor of their protest.

"My son is a level 50 Mage, and he has agreed to play WOW today with me to support the fathers' rights cause," said AngryShortDude, a level 40 Troll. "My ex-wife doesn't like him to play this game. I believe that it is my duty to allow my son to play this game with me in a show of solidarity for fathers everywhere.

AngryShortDude's ex-wife had no idea what he was talking about. "I bought that account for our son. He's not supposed to be playing this weekend because he got a D on his English exam. His father knows this. He's ignoring my parental authority. And yes, he's angry and he's short."

When asked for his opinion of the protest, AngryShortDude's son said, "Help! I'm stuck in a hive in Silithus and I can't get out!! I've been here for an hour! Send help!"

The protest is slated to go on all day, either until dinnertime, or until someone bothers to notice what they are doing. Most of the game players who walked by ignored them. The protesters have not been asked to join in any quests because, as one level 50 Night Elf Priestess said, "They're a real downer. All they whine about is the child support they have to pay their ex-wives. They're putting a real damper on my game playing. I don't play to listen to annoying jerks. I'm here to have fun. Let them sit there in the horse shit all day, as long as they leave me alone."

Players who were curious asked for an age/sex check, but then quickly flew away on Gryphons. They couldn't get away fast enough.

For more information on FART, please go to www.FARTdads.com.

The New Youth Craze

[x-posted at my blog, Michelle Maklin.]

Googlevangogh_2Many readers have been writing in about a graphic used yesterday on Google's search page. It shows the word "Google" with strangely hypnotic, multi-colored swirls of paint. Some of my readers think this "Goo-graphic" is meant to be a subversive homage to this new drug called “Mary Jane.”

I did some digging and it turns out they are correct. Somehow this "Mary Jane" is much more noteworthy in the eyes of the pathetic liberal shills at Google than the resurrection of our Blessed Saviour.

Have you heard of "Mary Jane?" Do you have kids? Parents? Friends? Acquaintances? If you stop reading now, you do so at your peril.

The Urban Dictionary lists seven definitions for “Mary Jane.” But, here’s the one that fits my political agenda:

Slang for marijuana. It originates from the Spanish language.

Literally

Mari-Mary

Huana/Juana-Jane

Let's smoke that bowl, hit the bong,
And then take that finger off of that hole,
Plug it, unplug it,
Don't straaaain, I love you Mary Jane,
She never complains, when I hit Mary,
With that flame, I light up the cherry,
She's so good to me, when I pack a fresh bowl I clean the screen … [sic]

--Cypress Hill; Hits from the Bong; Black Sunday



"Mary Jane" refers to the drug marijuana or “ Cannabis Sativa; a plant containing tetrahydracannibonol, more commonly known as THC, the active ingredient which provides an existential like state of cosmic interaction known as being high” — and it's spreading to a town near you.

Actors Tim Allen and Tony Curtis did it. So did Bela Lugosi and that pathetic moonbat Marion Berry. On the Internets, there are thousands of websites (with titles such as "Don't Fear the Refer," "Jones-In," and "Bong World") featuring "famous potheads," photos of teenagers' rolling “joints,” and descriptions of their techniques. This perilous habit has been depicted in films targeting people who enjoy humor (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). There is even a new genre of music — "progressive rock" — associated with promoting the “Mary Jane” experience.

In Norway, the authorities estimate that one in five desperate "potheads" engage in drinking their own “bong” water. According to psychiatrist Michele Catalano, medical director of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Hospital in Great Neck, New York, the growing trend here in America has alarmed high school driver’s ed teachers across the nation:

There are just as many "root causes" for this as there are ways to medicate yourself. For most of the teens who do this, it's a kind of release. They have bottled up emotions and the only way to let the pain out is to get "high."


It's not just teenagers, illegal immigrants, Japanese-American internees and gangstas who are doing it. A concerned grandmother recently sent me the following email:

I just found out this week that my 32-year-old daughter is a "hop-head." She has a decent job at the Piggly Wiggly, a nice man to take care of her and three wonderful children. They live in an upscale ranch house. Her "Desperate Housewife" neighbors smoke “dope” also.


I also received this letter from a distraught child:

My mommy uses a pipe to smoke her “Mary Jane.” I found this out on her “weblog” which I discovered she had been hiding on a secret “LiveJournal” account she used at work. She has links to web rings about “Mary Jane,” The Grateful Dead and “head” shops as well as art work and literature dedicated to the drug. Her friends all feature drug/museum links, icons and song lyrics on their "weblogs" too!


While many liberals deny the drug problem exists, public health advocacy groups are warning medical professionals of the drug craze—and have even declared April 1st "Self Medication Awareness Day."

This insanity would not be as popular as it is among non-illegal immigrants if not for the tacit approval of Hollywood’s minor glitterati, such as fiftysomething actor Tim Allen.

It may be all fun and games for a Hollywood legend like Allen, but his mindless stunts have inspired countless victims to smoke themselves into a temporary, negligible euphoria.