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Wednesday: What’s wrong with EJ Dionneism?

I realize that I am about 36 hours late to this party.  But did you ever have a topic that has been swishing around in the brain for a couple of weeks but didn’t quite know how to write it?  It’s not that the topic doesn’t have a theme song or plenty of examples.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  This topic has so much material to work with it’s hard to know where to start.  Sort of like cleaning a very cluttered and dirty house, but I’ll get to that at the end.

So, EJ Dionne, one of the few ostensibly “liberal” bloggers wrote a silly, misguided, male-centric column the other day in the Washington Post about the campaign year decision that the Obama administration made to enforce the “free contraception for all!” rule for women with insurance regardless of who was providing the insurance, including the Catholic church.  The red beanie guys have been on Obama’s case for months now trying to get him to back off on this.  But Obama, smelling an opportunity to get back in the good graces of women, has decided to make this a campaign issue.  You can bet that this will be cited in the campaign literature delivered to the houses of women between the ages of 17-52 who have been data mined with pin-point accuracy as caring about these kind of things.

For Dionne, the Catholic schoolboy, this was an unwise decision for the president to have made.  If Obama wants to increase his chances of winning this year, he should have appealed more to the religious right.  Never mind that women requiring birth control outnumber Catholic bishops and cardinals, it is much more important to the Dionnes out there that we not upset the beanie boys.  In actuality, Obama tried to work out a deal with the bishops so that they didn’t have to provide the contraception but they would have to inform their female enrollees how they could get it.  They wouldn’t budge.  So, the administration told the church there would be no exceptions.  I don’t know why this is a praiseworthy act.  It should be so routine that none of us should even be aware of it.  Birth control is good.  Free birth control even better.  No one would have batted an eyelash about this in the 70′s.  But that was before the religious had to be appeased.

Here’s the part of Dionne’s column that bugged me the most:

Speaking as a Catholic, I wish the Church would be more open on the contraception question. But speaking as an American liberal who believes that religious pluralism imposes certain obligations on government, I think the Church’s leaders had a right to ask for broader relief from a contraception mandate that would require it to act against its own teachings. The administration should have done more to balance the competing liberty interests here.

Yeah, you know, as an American liberal, I don’t see it this way at all.  I don’t think religious pluralism imposes ANY obligations on government.  The only rights that religion imposes on government is the right to exist without having anyone shoving stuff down the gullets of the individual members of that religion.  For example, the church must offer contraceptive coverage.  The individual members of that church don’t have to use it.  No one can force you to  prevent pregnancy in this country.  But EJ has it backwards.  EJ thinks that it’s OK for the religious to force certain people, specifically women, to obey its proscriptions whether they are Catholic or not or even whether they believe in God at all.  When did the Constitution allow for the 4th century thinking of a collection of men in a different country to direct the lives of women here in the US against their own consciences?

It is unacceptable for any religion to direct the consciences and behavior of American women against their will.  It is especially egregious when the fallout of this coercion affects their ability to choose the number and timing of their family.  It violates their first amendment rights of freedom of religion.  It probably violates their civil rights as well.  It’s just wrong, EJ.  The Catholic church has a right to exist in this country and conduct worship services that are open to the public and that’s it.  I don’t remember any other parts of the constitution where it was allowed to impose any other obligations on government.

But let’s take EJ’s theory to its logical conclusion.  Let’s say that religion is allowed to impose obligations on government.  We’re not talking Taliban or Wahabbi territory here where there is only one flavor of religion.  This is America after all and we still have a religiously plural society.  Let’s think of another example where there is religious pluralism where the fundamentalists have been pandered to in the manner that EJ suggests.  How about Israel?  Recently, the ultra orthodox fundamentalist Jews have been having a field day in Israel screaming and spitting at little girls, having fits over women singing in public and denying female scientists the right to receive professional awards at ceremonies or speaking about their expertise.  These last two examples were the decisions of the governmental minister of health.  All of the ugly details about what Israeli women are experiencing even though most of them are not ultra orthodox, can be found in this NYTimes article, Israel Faces Crisis over Role of Ultra Orthodox in Society.  And here’s the money quote that shows just how wrong EJ is:

They have generally stayed out of the normal Israeli politics of war and peace, often staying neutral on the Palestinian question and focusing their deal-making on the material and spiritual needs of their constituents. Politically they have edged rightward in recent years.

In other words, while rejecting the state, the ultra-Orthodox have survived by making deals with it. And while dismissing the group, successive governments — whether run by the left or the right — have survived by trading subsidies for its votes. Now each has to live with the other, and the resulting friction is hard to contain.

In other words, if you start making deals with the religious right for votes, they’re going to want something in return.  And this *something* tends to bite women in the ass. Give them an inch and they’ll start humiliating female scientists at professional conferences. The reason why the religious right have been able to get away with it for some time now is because of men like EJ and Chris Matthews types who never have to live with the results of those deals.

But nevermind.  Women already know this.  And they know it will get worse the more politicians pander.  Now it’s birth control, pretty soon, it will be allowing employers to discriminate against women without cover.  They do it now anyway and I could swear it got worse after the 2008 election because after all, the president and his party got away with vicious misogyny and discrimination without being held accountable.  What women in the private sector is going to be able to successfully challenge the old boys club now?  Party on, boys!  That’s why the layoffs initially hit men hardest but spared women in public sector, education and health care jobs, but when it comes to hiring back in the corporations, it’s helpful to have a penis and a male supervisor or director who lunches only with other males and doesn’t see the women in his groups as real people needing real jobs.  That’s why it is not uncommon for the majority the women in a department to lose their jobs in a layoff but not the men.  Yes, this really happens.  I have witnessed it myself.   That’s why men get internal job interviews and not women.  I thought I was crazy until the company doctor told me that she heard the same complaint from many, many women in my company.  They are passed over, shoved out, laid off and never heard from again.  It’s partially because no one challenged the shit that happened in 2008 or laid down the law in subsequent years or formed an exploratory committee to find out why it’s happening.  No one gives a shit.  It’s just women.

And why doesn’t anyone give a shit?  Have you seen how many male column writers we have in major American newspapers compared to females?  Have you ever read the evening round up on The Plum Line when male blogger after male blogger is cited with a bare sprinkling of female opinion thrown in as a garnish?  We hear mens’ opinions 24/7 ad nauseum.  And their stupid, clueless opinions usually give a pass to the religious right and their stubborn insistance that we all obey the writings of another bunch of male columnists  from the end of the fricking Bronze Age who swear, without any proof at all, that they were taking dictation from God himself.

Enough, already.  There are many of us who no longer believe in the god of the bible.  There is a growing movement of non-believers, atheists, panentheists, freethinkers, skeptics and agnostics who do not agree that the religious impose ANY obligations on government outside of the right to exist.  At the very least, the religious should have to prove to everyone that what they believe is real and rational beyond a shadow of a doubt before they impose any obligation on anyone.

So, until the red beanie guys can show conclusively, incontrovertibly and with all of the tools of the scientific method at their disposal that there is an actual God  and that this God actually cares and does not want women to put substances in her body to prevent the conception of children, they should keep their unfounded, harmful, discriminatory impositions to themselves.  At the very least, God should be required to make an appearance in a form other than a talking herbaceous wildfire hazard before we are forced to pay any more attention to the religious right or any politician who panders to them.

Including Obama.

Tuesday: The state of science

Staph Aureas colonies growing on what looks like a blood agar plate

Guys, the state of science in this country is truly messed up.  Pharmageddon continues with the big research companies still laying off in high numbers, especially here in the US, and getting out of certain research areas. (Jeez, 2009 was a very bad year for US scientists.  58,000+ of us let go in an industry where hiring freezes have been the norm for over a decade.) Some of those research areas might be important to you even if you don’t know it right now.

For example, did you ever wonder how your great grandparents coped without antibiotics?  We’re only a couple of generations away from the dark ages when unchecked infections lead to gangrene and amputation, sepsis and death.  But have you ever wondered how little it would take to get that whole ball rolling?  Well, here’s one modern account that should chill you to the bone.

Meet Lucy Eades, youtuber extraordinaire.  Lucy has been documenting her family’s evolution in intimate detail for several years now.  Lucy and I have wildly dissimilar lives.  She’s young, blond, pretty and busy with three children under the age of five.  She’s into homebirths, cloth diapers and attachment parenting.  I like dropping in on her channel because it’s like watching a documentary on some exotic culture I will never visit.

Last November, just after Thanksgiving, her daughter Jacelyn scratched herself below the waistband of her underwear.    No biggie, right?  Wrong:

The day after on Saturday she asked why it was so itchy as she was trying to find comfort while rubbing & scratching at it. I talked to her about how wounds can itch as it heals & it’s best not to touch because any open wound could become infected & that would result in an ouchie…more so in kid friendly terms.

Sunday she pointed the area saying it hurt & upon inspection I noticed a pimple. Not sure if it was a pimple or not, ant bite, or what, but a small pimple look alike bump that hurt. Nothing more.

Monday morning after she woke we immediately looked it over & noticed a small black dot in the middle of it. Aside from that nothing else had changed. We were thinking maybe a spider bite? Never know when you stay in a hotel. Called the Dr and we brought her in later that day during one of their open “sick” appointment time frames. Dr said it could be staph, we’ll keep an eye on it. Since we had just battled staph (what 2 weeks ago? if that?) that it was a likely that even if it wasn’t staph it could turn to staph. She prescribed us some oral & topical antibiotics and gave us instructions for hibiclens, etc. for if we needed to use them eventually we wouldn’t have to bring her back in & expose her to more winter illnesses being passed around. She was fine at this point. Nothing hurt, we went about our day.

Tuesday-Wednesday is when my memory starts to fail me. At some point she becomes uncomfortable & it’s confirmed staph. We were told staph is on every surface every person & we naturally have it on our skin because of this.Some are effected while others are not. Some people with open wounds are more susceptible to staph than others for no known reason. Jacelyn is one I guess. We go fill the script at the pharmacy on Wednesday and resort back to warm soaks in the tub & attempting to squeeze out the infection with no success. Dr office swapped patient information & called in wrong prescriptions. We received anti-fungal meds.

Thursday we call the Dr office back still trying to get the right meds & to inform them that the infection appeared to be spreading. She had a fever, her hip/leg hurt, & it was no longer draining the way it should resulting in a massive hard rock like lump. Her skin was even starting to look raw in that area. They said she needed the antibiotics for a while & it would help. That evening I told Joel I wasn’t comfortable with the situation & I was taking her to the children’s hospital.

It was officially Friday by the time we arrived here (still here). She was running a 102 fever at arrival. They set up the IV’s & talked about procedure in depth with me. They had to sedate her using three different types of medicine. We talked about all our options, pros, cons, side effects, etc. The whole works. I apologized for being annoying but told him I wanted to be as informed in this process as I could be.

In walks 2 nurses, the Dr, a medic & 2 other employees. This goes from being scary to serious feeling. It was like one those ER episodes where 50 rush in the room all doing something different. One dose of sedation was enough to put a grown 200+ lb guy under.

What follows is a nightmare of bad reactions to sedation, two surgeries to remove dead tissue and drain the wound, and a hospital quarantine.  Jacelyn has MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  MRSA has developed resistance to standard antibiotics and some strains of MRSA are resistance to Vancomycin, which has been considered the last line of defense.  Ironically, MRSA is dangerous because of the overuse and improper use of antibiotics.  Nevertheless, you would think that the drug companies would be all over this area of research, designing new antibiotics or different approaches to combatting bacterial infections.

You would be wrong.  This is one of the therapeutic areas that big pharma can’t wait to dump, along with reproductive health and central nervous system (CNS) drugs.  That’s because they’re difficult, expensive to develop, have narrow safety profiles, or, in the case of women’s reproductive health, prone to class action lawsuits.  Women have been their own worst enemies when it comes to reproductive health.  Some feminists have a tendency to see every therapeutic agent as a weapon of the patriarchy to control their bodies.  As if.  And side effects are unavoidable, although we’re getting better.  But the cost of defending what was intended to cure has become so expensive that pulling out of these areas is more cost effective than sinking more money into research.

It takes a long time and a lot of clinical trials to get a new antibiotic approved.  Not so much with oncology where the life or death nature of the disease leads to speedier approval of new drugs. And in the case of cancer treatments, there are far fewer lawsuits when the drug doesn’t work out quite as well as hoped.  Patients’ families are grateful for any extension of life.  So, that’s where pharmaceutical companies are putting their money. It’s a callous and mercenary business decision.  It wasn’t always like this but this is what results after mergers, quarterly earning mania, a quirky, capricious, anachronistic FDA and the high cost of defending lawsuits have worked their own special magic for a couple of decades.  No more research on antibiotics.  Don’t expect that big pharma will care about your staph infections or birth control after you’ve sued their asses off.

Yes, they’re greedy bastards at the top but that’s a different topic.  They weren’t always this bad.

So, sports fans, we’re getting perilously close to the days when a simple break in the skin could kill you.  Lovely.

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

Katiebird sent me a link to this article about scientific publishing and plagiarism by two University of Kansas bioinformatics researchers.

In the technical world of bioinformatics, the two University of Kansas computer scientists were riding high in 2009.

Mahesh Visvanathan and Gerald Lushington published three articles with an international audience. They were invited to make a poster presentation at a conference in Sweden.

Although a lack of airfare kept them from going, their real problem wasn’t a tight travel budget — it was plagiarism.

Portions of all three of their articles had been lifted from other scientists’ work. The entire summarizing statement in their presentation had come from someone else’s journal article.

In an endeavor such as science that relies on original work and trustworthy information, plagiarism and fraud seem out of place. But misconduct is being detected with increasing frequency. And while it may be that the scientific community is just getting better at sussing out fraudsters, some scientists fear the problem is growing.

Competition among researchers has taken on a harder edge, they say. More scientists are competing for limited grant money, faculty appointments and publication in top journals. This intense rivalry makes it tempting for some to cut corners and fudge results.

The number of scientists caught committing fraud remains small, but each case can cause real harm, from wasting time and resources of other scientists who follow false leads to putting lives in jeopardy with bogus health findings.

There is a difference between the kind of plagiarism that the Research Works Act is supposedly trying to address where researchers frequently lift methods, diagrams and pictures from other papers routinely.  That’s a kind of excusable plagiarism because new work frequently is dependent on older work.  In that respect, the RWA could have a chilling effect on scientific publishing if it were rigorously enforced.  It’s quite another thing when your conclusions and whole paragraphs of explanatory text are lifted straight out of someone else’s publication.

But the pressure to publish is intense and, unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who rationalize about what they’re doing.  While I can’t comment on how rife the academic world is with examples of plagiarism from other people’s publications, I suspect that the practice is alive and well in the corporate setting where the Wall Street financier’s value system has trickled down to the laboratories.  Well, you can hardly blame the more senior people for doing it or rationalizing about it later.  Their pedigree and PhD creates a field of excellent and  superior brainwaves around them that the more junior people can’t help but pick up and be influenced by even when the senior person has done little to nothing on the project.  Sort of like Lady Catherine DeBourgh in Pride and Prejudice who credits herself with a sensitive prodigy’s talent in music and would have been a great musician had she only learned to play.  Or the rationalizer’s work/family circumstances are more important than the person’s who actually did the work.  Or the rationalizer needs a green card.  Or <fill in the blank>.

If you have the power to steal a colleague’s work, the reasons for doing so aren’t hard to conjure up.  It’s your word against theirs.  With the patent lawyers sitting on publications and project data for so long, it’s easy to slap your name on a paper or patent when the actual inventor is out of the way.  All the skullduggery and credit stealing happens before the paper ever hits the journal or patent office.  Who’s going to know?  I’ve even heard that in some companies and departments credit is awarded to favorite underlings like a reward for loyalty.   Those favorites can swoop down on a project in its final stages and hog all of the years of credit to themselves at the last minute.  You’d think this would be an ethical problem requiring accountability and punishment. Not so.  It’s just the way things are done.  Not all companies operate this way but the current layoff environment makes it more common and brazen.  Yep, research is a sick business.

Well, it will all sort itself out in the end and the researchers who are left can always go into sales if they are ever exposed.

Science is baaaaaad  for you, children, Very bad.  You’ll spend years working and studying on project for which you will get no credit and end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Run away! Run Away!

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

Susie Madrak cites a post today about how 3 female regulators’ warnings about the impending financial crisis were ignored.

Bies was a central bank board member from 2001 to 2007. Several times in the transcripts she said she was worried about the housing bubble.

Bies warned fellow board members that exotic mortgages — for instance, negative amortization loans in which balances become bigger and not smaller over time — were too dangerous for consumers.

She warned about the Wall Street-created securities backed by risky mortgages.

“I just wonder about the consumer’s ability to absorb shocks,” she said at Fed meeting in May 2006.

“The growing ingenuity in the mortgage sector is making me more nervous as we go forward in this cycle, rather than comforted that we have learned a lesson. Some of the models the banks are using clearly were built in times of falling interest rates and rising housing prices. It is not clear what may happen when either of those trends turns around.”

Later in 2006 she told Fed board members: “A lot of the private mortgages that have been securitized during the past few years really do have much more at risk than investors have been focusing on.”

Bies is an economist and was a former Tennessee banker. But the two most powerful men at the Fed and the Fed staff dismissed her concerns.

That May meeting was Ben Bernanke’s second as chairman of the Fed. He said the cooling off of the housing market was a “healthy thing.” And that “so far, we are seeing, at worst, an orderly decline in the housing market.”

In June 2006, Tim Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that “we see a pretty healthy adjustment process under way. … The world economy still looks pretty robust to us.”

A Fed staff report said: “We have not seen — and don’t expect — a broad deterioration in mortgage credit quality.”

Tim Geithner, Tim Geithner… Where have I heard that name before?  No, no don’t tell me.  Let me work this out…

Tol’ja

White House vs Women: Joe Biden Does it Wrong

Obama and Women: Two views

Um, I’m glad that the rest of the blogosphere is starting to pay attention to the way womens’ expertise is ignored in the public sphere and especially by the Democratic White House and party in general.  We here at The Confluence have been covering this very thing for a couple of years now, including one post that cited the story about the female musicians who get orchestra seats after they’ve auditioned behind a screen.   Wow, that’s an old reference.  You’d have to look long and hard to find it, unless someone already found it for you in other posts, like:

The Gender Gap and Female Bodied People

Yeah, why *did* we do that?

WTF?? Another example of how Sexism costs us all

Bairly Downgrading the FDIC

There are many more on the topic.  Try keywords “Sexism Costs” or “Costs of Sexism”.  Well, it’s not like it’s plagiarism or anything.

Unless someone is going to say they invented the Plum Line Metric too.  (that would be here, and here as well) Then I will have to raise a snit.

Welcome Susie!  We will send out our complimentary new members package complete with white sheet (‘cos an accusation of racism is just around the corner) and you starter pack of hormone replacement therapy.   No, no, don’t thank us.  Most members don’t.

Flashback – “Christmas, New Years and Hanukkah rolled into one”


It’s been almost two years since this notorious Ms. Magazine cover. So how’s it working out?

Who was right?

Who was wrong?

Discuss



Palinpalooza – DWTS Edition


This shit got old a looooong time ago.

Amanda Marcotte at Slate:

For anyone who has any doubts that the main engine of the vicousness of the American political landscape is a pure culture war, I give to you the case of Bristol Palin hanging in on Dancing With the Stars. Palin is making a career out of conservative America using her to demonstrate that what matters most to them is that you’re a member of their tribe. You can break their strict sexual rules, and they’ll embrace you. You can have no talent whatsoever, and they’ll promote you. Just so long as you’re in the tribe. It’s how George W. Bush got to be president, so this shouldn’t be so shocking. Especially when you consider that cheeseball fare like Dancing With The Stars draws more Republican viewers than Democratic ones.

Tribal/cultural war is the only explanation. If this was actually about politics, it would only be about politics. Who wins on Dancing With the Stars has exactly zero impact on policy decision-making in Washington. It has nothing to do with those things that we keep hearing motivate the Tea Party–tax rates, “fiscal conservatism,” the auto bailout. But it has everything to do with scoring points in the ongoing war of sticking it to those latte-drinking liberals, who sneeringly believe the spawn of the martyred Sarah Palin shouldn’t win because she’s not good enough. The nerve!

Consider that the folks who are organizing to keep Bristol Palin on the show are easy to set off on rants about the evils of affirmative action, and much of what defines the current political landscape will become all too clear.

There’s more from Amanda in the comments:

Apparently. I don’t see why she can’t be a celebrity. She’s far from the only woman whose main claim to fame is that she’s given birth.

Read the rest of the comments. I’m surprised nobody came right out and called Bristol Palin a slut or a fat cow.
Continue reading

Gawker still doesn’t get it


As I’m sure you all know by now, the website Gawker published the salacious details of an alleged no-sex one night stand some guy claimed to have had with Christine O’Donnell. This was too much even for Andy Sullivan, and NOW as well as most feminist bloggers condemned the article.

So did Gawker apologize? Not hardly.

What’s missing from most of the criticism is this essential bit of context: Christine O’Donnell is seeking federal office based in part on her self-generated, and carefully tended, image as a sexually chaste woman. She lies about who she is; she tells that lie in service of an attempt to impose her private sexual values on her fellow citizens; and she’s running for Senate. We thought information documenting that lie—that O’Donnell does not live a chaste life as she defines the word, and in fact hops into bed, naked and drunk, with men that she’s just met—was of interest to our readers.

Much of the criticism leveled against us is based on the premise that we think hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women whenever one wants is “slutty,” and that therefore our publication of Anonymous’ story was intended to diminish O’Donnell on those terms. Any reader of this site ought to rather quickly gather that we are in fact avid supporters of hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women that one has just met.

Our problem with O’Donnell—and the reason that the information we published about her is relevant—is that she has repeatedly described herself and her beliefs in terms that suggest that there is something wrong with hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with a man or woman whom one has just met. So that fact that she behaves that way, while publicly condemning similar behavior, in the context of an attempt to win a seat in the United States Senate, is a story we thought people might like to know about. We also thought it would get us lots of clicks and money and attention. But we thought it would get us clicks and money and attention because it was exposing her lies.

Well then, since “exposing lies” justifies their publishing the lurid allegations about O’Donnell’s alleged sexual history, I guess candidates no longer have any right to privacy whatsoever. Everything is fair game.

Jeebus, can you imagine the can of worms that would be? But somehow I doubt we’ll ever see an unmarried male candidate slut-shamed for what was (even if true) legal and consensual sexual behavior.

Whoever this putz Dustin Dominiak is, I hope he never gets laid again in his entire life. It would serve him right.

One last note: Before anyone complains about me posting another defense of a evil wingnut racist homophobe anti-abortion Tea Partier, I ain’t happy about it either.

If these fucking so-called progressives would stop being sexist assholes, I wouldn’t have to defend people like Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin.

I don’t care if the Republicans do it too or did it first.

IT’S WRONG.



Sexism? What sexism?


The picture above is NOT A PARODY, it is the actual cover of Mother Jones magazine, a periodical named for a feminist icon:

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (August 1, 1837 – November 30, 1930), born in Cork, Ireland, was a prominent American labor and community organizer, who helped co-ordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. Her activities were done under the moniker of Mother Jones, after which Mother Jones magazine is named.

But it’s all good, because two women (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery) came up with the idea and another woman was the illustrator:


It’s not that there aren’t enough clues on the cover of the new issue of Mother Jones—the headline, for one—but since you (well, a couple of you) asked: Yes, that is a full-throated homage to the B movie classic Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. If you’re like us, your knowledge of American cinema doesn’t encompass the full plot of this 1958 gem, but suffice to say that it involves a wealthy heiress, Nancy Archer, who after an encounter with an alien is found on the roof of her pool house and soon grows into a giantess. She goes searching for her no-good husband and his mistress, Honey Parker (!), and mayhem ensues. We liked the image because of the subtle historical echoes and… oh, who are we kidding: We liked it because the poster is awesome. (The echoes, though, are there: 1958 was an election year, in a recession, that dealt the president’s party a big string of defeats and launched the Senate careers of, among others, Gene McCarthy, Robert Byrd, and Edmund Muskie.)

MoJo’s creative director Tim Luddy encouraged illustrator Zina Saunders to follow the poster out the window in tone and feel, tweaking only the landscape to look more suburban. Saunders, who by the looks of her gallery has been mildly obsessed with Sarah Palin (to terrific effect) took the assignment very seriously, at one point sending a picture of Palin in her beauty-contestant days to confirm that she’d gotten the proportions right.

So what if they portrayed the most popular female Republican in the country as a monster in a miniskirt? When women do it it’s okay.  Besides, they got the proportions right.  That’s what really matters.

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Progressive Misogyny

Hey Sweetie!


From Kristen Powers at The Daily Beast:

While we, sadly, are all too familiar with the casual misogynistic comment, what perhaps is more surprising is where these slurs lately have been coming from—progressive bastions like the Brown camp, and liberal women.

Last month, liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller laughed uproariously when a female guest on her show said that if she ever met Michelle Malkin, “I would kick [her] right in the nuts,” and warned, “Wear a cup, lady.”

Charming.

Or how about this: “You have to lift their skirts to find out if they are women. You sure can’t find out by how they vote.” This is what Democratic Rep. Janis Baird Sontany of Nashville said earlier this year of her female GOP colleagues.

Or this: “Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman,” as Cinta Wilson wrote during the tsunami of anti-Palin hysteria in 2008. In her Salon piece, Wilson went on to refer to the Alaska governor as a “Christian Stepford wife in a ‘sexy librarian’ costume” and the GOP’s “hardcore pornographic centerfold spread.”

Who needs misogynist men when liberal women will do the job for you, often sounding that shopworn theme that women GOP candidates are somehow inauthentic women?

[...]

Not that liberal men are much better.

Ann Coulter is often referred to as “Mann-coulter” on political blogs in an effort to de-feminize her. And MSNBC’s Keith Olberman once referred to Malkin as a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick.”

In a Salon column last month headlined “Forget about the tea party—what about the crumpets?” Gene Lyons wrote that, “The most entertaining aspect of the 2010 election season has been the rise of the right-wing cuties—political celebrities whose main qualification is looking terrific on television. From where I sit, in a comfortable chair in front of the tube, the GOP Cupcake Factor has enlivened an otherwise dreary campaign season.”

You, Sir, are a pig.


Don’t worry Kristen, progressive misogynists (aka “fauxgressives”) don’t single out conservative women for that kind of crap. As far as they’re concerned ANY woman who gets in their way is fair game.

One does not need to engage in sexism and misogyny to criticize or ridicule a woman who merits it, just as we don’t need to use racism to criticize or ridicule Barack Obama. But sexism and misogyny don’t require sexist framing or misogynist terms and epithets.

Holding women to a different standard or treating them differently from men is sexism. Treating them with contempt because of their gender is misogyny.

Sexism and misogyny are anathema to liberal ideology.

On the other hand, fauxgressives only seem to care about such things when it’s convenient to them. They can’t plead ignorance though, because they know the difference between right and wrong.

Fauxgressives can post rants about the sexism inherent in a comment criticizing the clothing worn by Michelle Obama while at the same time wearing a shirt that says “Sarah Palin is a c*nt” and not feel the slightest twinge of cognitive dissonance.

That is not principled behavior.


Full disclosure:

I’m not perfect. In the past I have used sexist language and told sexist jokes. It was wrong when I did it too.


There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity — like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule — that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar. – Molly Ivins



Frat boys having fun



Christine O’Donnell, Please Stop Existing Now

It’s like my friend Hecate says,

Last person I heard say, “I’m you,” was Linda Tripp.Who was, you know, not me.

You’re right Christine, you’re not a witch, but you’re not me either.

The saddest thing about this ad is it’s mere existence. Women in politics have been called witches for a long time. For example:

I just want you to know, that was the worse google image search I have ever had to do in my entire life, but I digress. As I was saying, calling women in politics witches is par for the course. This is mostly due to jealousy. O’Donnell WISHES she could be as bad ass as a witch. But it is also because people seem to think it is a demeaning and derogatory insult to call a woman a witch. I mean, when people call me a witch I toss my hair and say, “why, thank you.” But maybe that’s just me.

By saying, “I’m not a witch,” O’Donnell may not be mimicking Nixon’s “I’m not a crook.” Obviously, everyone knows she isn’t a witch, because that is extremely silly. But what is even sillier is the fact that PINOs have been so shrill about her “dabbling in witchcraft” comments when instead they could have been focusing on her extreme views and stances on the issues, which are much more alarming.

A recent study by Captain Obvious found that sexist attacks and sexist media coverage hurt women who run for public office politically, and that when faced with such obstacles, they should always respond to them. By responding to Obots who would rather call her a witch (And seriously, WHY? We don’t want her) than point out things like this:

My Deal With Delaware is that I pledge I will always vote in favor of life and families. Now more than ever we must elect Senators who have a real understanding and deep appreciation for human life. There has been a profound loss of respect for all human life. Women are starting to come forward to break the silence about the mental and physical scars left on their lives by abortion. We must renew the commitment to respect all human life on which the Republican Party was founded.

O’Donnell is combating sexist attacks and media coverage aimed at her, and that’s smart politics, which is too bad for us.

Born to Party


If you want to understand the Tea Party movement you should read Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by Senator James Webb of Virginia:

The Scots-Irish (sometimes called the Scotch-Irish) are all around you, even though you probably don’t know it. They are a force that shapes our culture, more in the abstract power of emotion than through the argumentative force of law. In their insistent individualism, they are not likely to put an ethnic label on themselves when they debate societal issues. Some of them don’t even know their ethnic label, and some who do don’t particularly care. They don’t go for group-identity politics any more than they like to join a union. Two hundred years ago the mountains built a fierce and uncomplaining self-reliance into an already hardened people. To them, joining a group and putting themselves at the mercy of someone else’s collective judgment makes as much sense as letting the government take their guns. And nobody is going to get their guns.

Webb wrote in a WSJ article*:

The Scots-Irish comprised a large percentage of Reagan Democrats, and contributed heavily to the “red state” votes that gave Mr. Bush the presidency in 2000. The areas with the highest Scots-Irish populations include New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, northern Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, southern Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and parts of California, particularly Bakersfield. The “factory belt,” especially around Detroit, also has a strong Scots-Irish mix.

These are my people – I am descended from redneck dirt farmers in Kansas and Oklahoma. There ain’t no royalty in my bloodline. At one time in my life I even lived in a single-wide mobile home. Yep, I’m trailer trash.

But we aren’t entirely unique – there are millions of Americans descended from the poor commoners of Europe, Mexico, Central and South America. These are places where the land was owned by aristocrats and the commoners worked the land or lived in the margins – the hills and swamps. They didn’t emigrate to the United States to get rich, they came here to make a living and to be left alone.

Mackubin T. Owens:

These are the “red state” voters. They are family-oriented, take morality seriously, go to church, join the US military, support America’s wars, and listen to country music. They strongly believe that no man is obligated to obey the edicts of a government that violates his moral conscience. They once formed the bedrock of the Democratic Party—from the time of Andrew Jackson until the Vietnam era—but they have been moving to the Republicans since then. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Webb called the Scots-Irish in America the “the secret GOP weapon.”

These people aren’t “country club” Republicans like the Bush family, they are the rank and file voters and they are the core of the Tea Party movement.

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Does Digby have Stockholm Syndrome?

Not Digby


Stockholm Syndrome:


In psychology, the Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.


A while back I asked Who Kidnapped Digby? Today I saw this over at Hullaballoo:

Everybody knows that Tbogg is a very funny guy. This is a classic. So’s this. And those are from just this week. But no offense to da man, I have to point out that Tbogg readers are actually the funniest people in in the blogosphere. if you read no other comment section, read that one.

Plus there’s adorable basset dog on basset puppy (with a tramp stamp) action.

“Everybody knows that Tbogg is a very funny guy?” Who is this “Everybody?”

If you think Tbogg is funny you are either a misogynist or you have never read any of his posts about Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin or PUMA. He even mentioned us during last year’s Wonktard War:

It’s worth mentioning that The Confluence is a PUMA blog which means that Jim Newell is spending precious moments of his life arguing with people who still think it would have been fairer for Hillary Clinton to have been allowed to play from the ladies tees during the primary season. And if you think that groups like the Susan B. Anthony List or the CWA are detrimental to the feminist movement, you’ll have to admit that The Confluence is really pulling out the stops when it comes to reconsidering that whole women’s suffrage thing.

Of course he was tipped off to the whole thing by his good pals at Blogstalkers.

Hey Digby, here’s a clue: “Tramp stamp” is a misogynist term. It refers to a tattoo on a woman’s lower back as an indication she is a “slut.” Or according to Urban Dictionary:

“Those chicks with tramp stamps are the kinds of girls you take home to bang. Don’t get into relationships with them because they are often immature gold digging sluts who sleep with everyone. Oh yeah, make sure you use a rubber because you don’t want to end up with chlamydia trachoma (which 1 in 20 women have between the ages of 14-39 according to the center of disease control… probably much higher if they have a tramp stamp considering the scientific coloration [sic] between sluttiness and tramp stamps). Also, if they pop out a baby (which they often do), they may have issues getting epidurals through their tattoos in the lower back.”

Real funny. As for Tbogg’s readers, here’s a sample of the comments in the link Digby recommends:

I can’t help but comment on the Michele Bachmann ads on the right. Call me strange, but I find her somewhat attractive. That is, if you could get past that look in her eyes. You know, the look that says her stuffed animal collection probably reflects her forays into home taxidermy.

Neighbor: “Why does Ms. Bachmann put cat food on her front porch every night? They don’t have any pets. By the way, have you seen Puffball or Mr. Snuggles recently?”

Seriously, the look in her eyes is usually accompanied by a jacket that fastens in the back.


Well, it looks like a certain Colored Woman needs to commence with some cleanin’, don’t it? And while we’re at it…. Boy! Get yur feet off’n our furniture!1!

Sweet Jeebus, make it stop…..


Since mentally they’re still functioning in the good old days when “darkies” weren’t allowed to read or write, they’re probably offended that the Obama’s have any books at all.


{{headdesk}}


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