Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Better than NPR

Wall Street and Halloween

Friday, September 19, 2008

Diversity

I got a scholarship to a conference I'm going to next week - it even covers some of the extra expenses beyond the conference fee. The qualifying requirement was to write an essay on how I would add to the diversity of the conference.

My mom asked if I lied.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's racism got to do with it?

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
Tim Wise

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.


White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.


BurningMan

Sometimes when I can't quite articulate what I'm thinking it seems someone else can. I have mixed feelings about this review of the Burn because what I've struggled with most is my expectation of the community he writes of; I was realistic about the dust, and the heat. I was ready for the nudity. My biggest disillusionment was realizing that my utopic expectation wasn't the truth about BurningMan for everyone.

And there were all those people who wanted to know more about you, what you were about, and you felt like it was ok to talk from the heart, and for a change you didn’t worry about what they’d say or think later. You didn’t feel the cynicism creeping in the way it normally does, because it was a different scene. Yeah, you still made fun of funky hippies (How many hippies does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Hippies don’t change anything”), but most of the time you went for it, you decided to be genuine, and it came right back at you.

Alright, alright, maybe I still have a little dust in my eyes. But it felt that way more than it didn’t.

I’ll say this, though: It wasn’t the crazies and party hearty-ers on the playa after the Burn who made me want to stay. The bizarreness and randomness and kind of desperate revelry weren’t much of a lure. People were too weird, too out there, too nutsy. (And it seemed like the words “leave no trace” didn’t hold much weight that night; there was lots of crap being tossed around pretty casually.)


As time goes on and the default people keep asking "would you go back" I have a stronger and stronger physical desire to say "yes". Maybe I need to take more responsibility to seeking out the people who will uplift my next experience, or maybe I'm getting stuck in a mastery cycle to prove if I try again I can make the experience what I envisioned.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lipstick on a Wingnut

I can't help it, I'm obsessed with Sarah Palin.

Katha Pollitt's article in The Nation is too good.

For all you doubters reading the blog (and I know you're out there) this may not satisfy your claim that my research is faulty, but I think it presents some valid suggestions for the debate. I mean if we're all for being informed and enlightened...

September 10, 2008

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America. Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"
The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?

Well, I'm not playing. I don't care about Sarah Palin's family. I don't care if she's a good mother. I don't care if she's happily married, or who shops and who vacuums, or who takes care of the kids while both parents are at work. I don't want her recipe for caribou hot dogs, either. Life chez Sarah and Todd might make an adorable sitcom (Leave It to Jesus?) or a scathing tell-all a decade or so down the road (Governor Dearest?). Either way, so what? This is an election, not The View. As for feminism's meaning, what can you say after you've said that her career shows that even right-wing fundamentalist women have taken in feminism's message of empowerment and that's good, but that Palin's example suggests women can do it all without support from society and that's bad?

Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:

§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?

§ You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?

§ If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?

§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?

§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?

§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?

§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?

§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?

§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?

§ You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?

§ You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?

Friday, September 12, 2008

BurningMan

I haven't had the time (or inclination really) to put my thoughts on my first Burn together in any coherent frame, nor do I have pictures yet. My assumption is that instead of one post these may leak out as time goes on.

I did have some thoughts around what surprised me about the experience - the whiteness of it. At one point one of my travelmates commented to the organizers of our village (who were discussing this mystical Chrystal that they got from Machu Picchu)"I don't know...this seems like white-man get your own Chrystal". Apparently we weren't the only ones.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Republican Ticket

I generally try to live and let live - even people I know are misguided, but I honestly think that people enamored of Sarah Palin in particular (ticket in general) are stupid. Actually less intelligent.

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election. - Bill Vaughan


Slate
The "new feminism" may include uncritical support for women who oppose teen pregnancy programs and for women who force rape victims to pay for their own rape kits. But I just don't see where support for women who persist in fabricating their own records is a feminist principle. -Dahlia Lithwick


LA Times
Sen. Barack Obama is being lambasted for his statement about Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin's policies not being about change but "just calling the same thing something different."

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Obama said during a town-hall style event in Virginia on Tuesday night.

As you probably recall, Palin got applause at the Republican National Convention when she said that the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom (meaning herself) is that the latter wears lipstick. I think there are a few other differences, but I won't go into that here.

Now McCain's camp is acting outraged, outraged! It is accusing Obama of talking about Palin, calling Barack's comment "offensive and disgraceful" and saying Obama owes Palin an apology. This war hero and his self-described pit bull are so sensitive!

Meanwhile, McCain may have conveniently forgotten (hey, the dude's, like, really old) that he once used the same analogy in a 2007 Chicago Tribune article about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's healthcare plan. And I didn't hear anything about Hillary demanding an apology.

"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," McCain is quoted as saying about Clinton's proposal.

If I were a pig or a pit bull, I might be offended. But right now I'm a little more worried about my mortgage, the price of gas and the economy, stupid.- Elizabeth Snead


Time Magazine


Conservative vs. Radical. What the candidates’ running-mate picks say about the kinds of Presidents they would be

Both the major-party candidates for President have now made their first major decision – on a running mate – and I can’t remember a year when the selections were more revealing about the character of the candidates. What we have is a choice between a conservative and a radical.

The conservative is Barack Obama. He is a careful man, perhaps to a fault. His vice-presidental selection process was quiet, orderly and comprehensive. The selection of Joe Biden was no great surprise – he added experience to the ticket, a reliable loyalist and gleeful attack dog, a working-class Roman Catholic with a terrific personal story. The process was in keeping with the rest of Obama’s candidacy: he has taken no great risks. His policy positions are carefully thought out and eminently reasonable, reflecting the solid middle ground of a Democratic Party that is more united on substance than I’ve ever seen.

This small-c conservatism is, in part, a calculation. Obama doesn’t want to seem angry or threatening, for obvious reasons. But it is also a reflection of who he really is: a fellow who does not like to disappoint anyone, who is obsessed with finding common ground. That may be a great advantage in a President at this ugly moment in our history – but I would feel more comfortable with Obama if he took an occasional play with John McCain’s book of partisan transgressions and gored some Democratic oxen. It would be nice if he, say, challenged the teachers’ unions, which didn’t support him anyway and whose work rules choke out any chance of creative experimentation in the public-school system. Or if he stood against the atrocious Farm Bill, which spreads unnecessary fiscal fertilizer upon an already profitable industry. Or if he didn’t feel the need to promise a tax cut to 95% of American families.

But Obama’s weakness for undue prudence seems downright virtuous compared with the recklessness that McCain showed in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. He had months to make this choice, but he allowed it to come down to a chaotic scramble in the last week – a reaction, it seems, to the fact that the Republican Party elders had vetoed his first two choices, Senator Joe Lieberman and former governor Tom Ridge. McCain wasn’t going to give the bosses the choice they wanted – Mitt Romney – and he cast about, deciding on Palin, an occasional maverick, at the last minute. He had never worked with the governor. He had spoken to her a few times. His team, it now seems clear, had not vetted her very well. In her first appearance alongside McCain, she claimed to oppose the “Bridge to nowhere,” that Alaskan icon of pork mythology, but she had supported the bridge until it was clear that the hullabaloo would prevent it from being built.

As the week progressed, it became apparent that Palin stood diametrically opposed to McCain on issues large and small. She passed a windfall-profits tax on the oil companies – the very sort of tax that McCain excoriated Obama for favoring – which successfully swelled the coffers of the Alaskan treasure. She didn’t believe global warming was a man-made phenomenon; McCain had confronted Republican orthodoxy on that issue – boldly, at first, and timidly more recently.

Palin was a blatant porker when she was mayor of Wasilla, hiring a lobbying firm to rake in the projects; she was close to the corrupt megaporker Senator Ted Stevens, a frequent McCain adversary and champion of the mythic bridge. Rather than putting “country first,” her husband had been a member of a local secessionist fringe group called the Alaskan Independence Party, whose slogan is “Alaska first,” and Palin apparently attended or spoke at several of the group’s meetings. Her lack of interest in foreign policy and national security was the opposite of McCain’s obsession with such issues. She called the Iraq war a “task that is from God.”

Indeed, it seemed Palin and McCain held common ground on only two high-profile issues – an admirable rebelliousness when it came to their party’s hierarchy and their opposition to abortion rights. Given the fact that McCain’s top two choices for Vice President, Leiberman and Ridge, favored abortion rights, it would not be unfair to conclude that McCain’s devotion to this issue was more political than personal.

The Palin selection – peremptory, petulant – was another example of McCain’s preference for the politics of gesture over the politics of substance, as is his sudden fondness for oil exploration (“Drill here, drill now.”) and hair-trigger bellicosity abroad (Syria, Iran, Russia). His lack of interest in actual governance is disappointing; his aversion to contemplation seems truly alarming. He as done us all a favor with this pick: he has shown use exactly what sort of President he would be. - Joe Klein


An Open Letter to Sarah Palin from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women
Dear Governor Sarah Palin:

Many Americans agree with your position regarding abortion -- they do this as a matter of faith, ethics, personal experience and sometimes politics. I am just wondering though, if you have thought about what would happen if you succeeded in getting your position -- that fetuses have a right to life -- established as the law of the land? Did you know that it not only threatens the lives, health and freedom of women who might want or need someday to end their pregnancies, it would also give the government the power to control the lives of women -- like you who -- go to term?

...

Governor Palin, you have led an extraordinary life, balancing work and family, public service and private family obligations. We hope you know though that your freedom relies on exactly the same legal principles that guarantee that American women can choose to have an abortion when they need and want one.- Lynn Paltrow


Salon.com
Zombie Feminists of the RNC
...What Palin so seductively represents, not only to Donny Deutsch but to the general populace, is a form of feminine power that is utterly digestible to those who have no intellectual or political use for actual women. It's like some dystopian future ... feminism without any feminists.
(On the co-op by the GOP of "feminism" and misrepresentation by the mainstream media calling Palin a "new feminist")- Rebecca Traister


Also see my collection of video clips

**Update**
While I don't take responsibility to do additional research for readers of the blog - do it yourself if you don't like what I post - I will make an effort when I come across to clear up confusion. As such there's additional information out that confirms that rape victims were not only charged for their own evidence collections during Palin's mayorship, but that she knew about it. Enjoy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

yea, I think "duh" too.






BYO BubbleWrap



I'm moving out of the batcave this weekend and setting up tent elsewhere. I haven't time to post but had to share a priceless bit of research that was waiting for me upon my return to the world of internet:

On the lyrics of Kanye's Stronger:

Apollonia 6 was a 1980s female singing trio created by Prince as a continuation/succession of a previous group, Vanity 6.

and 'since oj had isotoners' is talking about this:

Isotoner is a manufacturer of gloves, slippers, etc. Gloves and shoes were a key part of the OJ trial because of the bloody glove found and the rarity of the shoes which made the footprints at the crime scene.

So the song is basically saying that he's "been on ya" since at least the early 90's.
-My friend Liz

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

PS

Doctors are criminal.

Re-entry

I made it back with nary a sunburn but lots to consider. My highest aspirations now would be to continue my processing of the experience, potentially in writing, and be able to share it once I have some pictures to assist the illustration. It could happen but it may take awhile and, ultimately, you really have to have been there.

For those dissatisfied with that cliche, feast your eyes on BurningMan via google satellite. I think it's from past years which means it was actually much bigger this year, but it gives the general lay out idea...