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Post VP Debate Thread

So, how did it go?  Was Sarah as dumb as box of rocks?  Did Biden show his most eloquent side?

Grab a Cocktail and tell us what you think.

This is a live thread.

Vice Presidential Debate: Unfiltered

It’s almost that time again.  It’s time for the big showdown between a career politician who has had years of experience debating on the Senate floor, who can wax eloquently on all matters Constitutional against the Governor of Alaska who looks like she just jumped out of an episode of Northern Exposure. I can say that my months away from the Mainstream Media has left me relatively virginal when it comes to anything Palin.  I haven’t watched her Katie Couric interviews.  I have not subjected myself to cables shows picking apart the way she breathes or the fact that she has the unmitigated gall to run in the first place.

So, I am going to watch this debate with somewhat fresh eyes.  Biden is a smooth talker but I know that he doesn’t always vote his convictions.  In know that being a 2 year Governor of Alaska isn’t exactly the most thorough preparation to be VP but she’s probably learned more than one thinks in those last 2 years.  It should be fun.

If you’d like to watch it Conflucian Style, set your DVR and watch the debate the first time through with the volume off.  Then watch it again.  Has your impression of the body language changed your impression of what the candidates said?  We’ll see.

Now, on with the show (on C=Span, of course)….

This is a live blog

Women’s Bodies Held Hostage = Election Year


2-day-old human embryo (zygote)

It’s election time, so once again, just like the swallows coming home to Capistrano and geese flying South for the Winter, women’s bodies are being held hostage. It’s predictable.

One of the first signs this election cycle was when word came that Obama voted to not give life-saving measures to babies who survive late-term abortions. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Obviously, this was a vote to assuage his potential evangelical voter base. However, after Sarah Palin entered the race, those voters, knowing they now had the real deal, swung back to McCain, whom they were hesitant to support previously. Obama’s vote “No” was meant as a protest against late term abortion. So, then if life prevailed, kill it anyway? This makes no sense whatsoever.

A more recent sign of the “election-year women’s-bodies-as-hostage cycle” is the news that Rep. Nancy Pelosi would be given some schoolin’ on Catholic Cathechism by the San Francisco Archdiocese. It seems that the House Speaker made some controversial statements about abortion following Sarah Palin’s VP nom. Nancy was trying to show that although she’s Catholic, she’s pro-choice, so as to distinguish herself from the smarmy pro-life Palin who would have us revert to back room abortions. To Nancy, her choice about choice was as plain as day, but the Catholic Church thought otherwise: her views approached heresy. It was even suggested that perhaps Pelosi should not be offered Holy Communion if she was going to be that way. The uproar is due to Pelosi’s statement that she didn’t know when life begins, and that no one, even the Catholic Church, can know for certain.

The Church has replied: oh no you dit-‘nt. The Church has stated unequivocally that life begins at conception.

Now, I’m going to state something very, very controversial for a pro-choicer: I agree in part with the Catholic Church — life begins at conception. You know those carriers of life, the swimming little sperm and the big egg? Ever see them under a microscope, magnified, like on film? They pulse, they move, they form a zygote whose cells multiply and divide. The zygote beats with the mother’s heart, and grows into an embryo as it receives nutrients. What the heck else do you call it? Any woman who’s carried a fetus, whether it’s been born or aborted, feels the life within her. Way beyond religion, to call it anything but life defies scientific definition.

I’ve done a lot, I mean a lot, of transformational work in the process of becoming a body-centered therapist. I’ve literally experienced my parents’ emotional and psychological states leading up to my conception. Let’s just say they weren’t happy and knew as soon as they got married that they didn’t want to be together. They were among those post-war couples who “stayed together for the kids.” So my personal work, which has taken a long time, years, has been to unburden myself from that first cause of being a burden, somebody’s fault for being stuck together. Please, don’t worry. I’m fine.

So why am I delving into my past in this oh-so-revealing way? Yes, this is anecdotal, but I’ve seen it over and over again in my clients — the affect of one or both parents being unhappy during pregnancy and perinatally. Any psychologist can tell many of these stories. Although science has barely caught up, our memory, our life experience lives in our bodies. I am saying that our cells, the zygote, the fetus, are conscious.

Here comes the really controversial part: anyone who’s ever had an abortion knows that she is terminating the life of a baby. Otherwise, it would just be like having a period. Bloop and that’s it. There wouldn’t be the severe emotionally distraught feelings of fear, guilt, sadness, and trauma. Although we are determined to have that choice, who has ever had an abortion and felt happy about it? The fact of the matter is: a woman knows she is choosing to end a life AND that it is her choice.

Have you ever heard this point? No. Instead a woman is forced to either deny that she is ending a life when she has an abortion, or if she admits to herself, God, and Country that she is ending a life, then abortion must cease to be available. Isn’t that what the entire debate has been about — forever? So, Nancy Pelosi, by gosh, you did do something while in Congress! You made me come out about this topic. I say that both are true, and I stand by my right to choose, over and above all.

Of course, as we all know, if men had babies, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. Birth control and every other thing about reproduction, pregnancy, birth, and abortion would be highly studied, bought and paid for, and designed for his maximum empowerment, comfort, and control. And life would begin at birth, including for the Catholic Church, although I guess women would be running it.

Women I know, who lived on my same long-time hippy commune, where our policy was “don’t have an abortion,” are now staunchly pro-choice like me. Our solution back then was: instead, carry the baby to full-term, and if upon giving birth you still don’t want it, a family will take care of it for you. If you ever decide you want the baby or child back, you can have it. Of course, this policy created its own set of problems, but it tried to solve the “life vs. abortion, preggers but don’t want the child” conundrum.

So, yes, it’s election year, and women’s bodies are once again being held hostage. And so are our brains. We have to pretend that a sperm, egg, zygote, and fetus are dead, so we can do what we want to do with our bodies and the life we create that grows within us. Running for top office, basically, we have four pro-lifers, who say they won’t impose their views on their governance. Their churches would have them do otherwise. (Disclaimer: as a Jew, I don’t claim to know a thing about the Catholic Church or any other.)

As could be expected, during the campaign Obama once again voted present with his statement that determining when life begins “is above [his] paygrade.” Well, he was caught in a woman’s situation, because he was speaking at evangelical, Rick Warren’s forum, and didn’t want to alienate either side of his lady voter base. He actually was right: it is above his paygrade, but that doesn’t excuse his choosing ambiguity for expediency’s sake. As a Democrat, he was expected to come down on the side of pro-choice, but then how could he in that venue and not be cast out?

Pro-choice leaders, orgs, and Democrats are threatening that we run for our lives, because a woman’s right to choose will be removed from the table if the Repubs win, what with SCOTUS conservative appointees and all. Pro-life women are happy, because a woman of their own beliefs may come to national power, and life at conception might be recognized. Either way, women have to fake it once again. If we admit that we’re harboring life and abort, we’re baby-killers, murderers, plain and simple. This would make repeal of Roe v. Wade a foregone conclusion. If we divorce our brains from our bodies so as to simulate a dead zone, well then, I guess we’re alright. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t making judgments and taking control of women’s bodies remind you of how it was for us during those Salem witch-huntin’ days?

Not pretty, but in the end, who bears the responsibility, the shame, the guilt? Whose bodies and lives are at stake and held hostage because of it? You guessed it. This is a messy deal, this living thing and all.

Although a bit of a jog off the path, a few more things about the judgmental attitudes that other people make about bodies and lives not their own: We exist on living things — whether a plant or an animal. Anyone who’s ever raised an animal, or had a pet for that matter, knows they’re conscious. Many gardeners speak to their plants, and research studies show that plants respond to music and human emotion. Gardeners would agree. Whatever we eat has to die so that we may live. If we rid ourselves of pesky pests like bugs, rodents, or wildlife, we are killing. If we go to war or order others to go, we may end up taking a life or helping others to do so. Buddhists would have us not kill at all. In choosing what we eat and how we live, we are also choosing whether something or someone will live or will die.

In other words, to judge women as reckless for a choice about their own bodies denies the fact that in each moment we make life and death decisions.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

[cross-posted from Lady Boomer NYC]

Even if I feel the Juanita Lunchbucket blues, I’m not giving up on Democracy

My fellow and dearest Conflucians,  I’ve read some comments here about how the economic crisis is affecting morale, how their stock portfolio went down,  etc.  If you still have a 401K, stock portfolio or even if you have a J.O.B., thank God/Goddess/Flying Spaghetti Monster you have one – cuz have I got a story to tell you:

For those of you that may or may not know, I work as a contractor in the marketing and advertising fields.  When the economy is up, I work on multiple projects, but when the economy is low, I scrape by with whatever gig I can get.  All this while looking for a decent permanent full time position that seems rare these days.

I recently received the opportunity to work on a ginormous project that involved a team of contractors in a recession-free industry here in Tampa FL.  I’ve done work for this client before, but despite having worked with them in the past, I still had to go through a strenuous screening process.  From drug tests, multiple interviews, competency exams, you name it.   I was vetted more than Obama ever has or ever will be.  The project manager asked for a 2-3 month FT involvement, so I turned down some smaller scale projects because I had to commit 2-3 months for this big, ginormous one.  Actually, it was a dream opportunity for me: the work scope challenging and intense, the people were all hardworking types and cordial and there was talk about this turning into a permanent situation.  The money was great, the new gig meant I could pay off some bills I’m behind on due to a very slow summer – and maybe give my mom a trip to Dominican Republic so she can spend Christmas with one of my huge number of aunts.   This gig was music to my single-mom-Juanita-Lunchbucket ears.

What I didn’t realize is that my “recession-proof corporation” was a publicly traded one, and yesterday my “recession-proof” project got the axe.   Their stock took a considerable hit this past week thanks to the lack of leadership in both parties.  At their quarterly report meeting, the CEO made the decision to draw a red line over me and my co-contractors after their stock dived again.  He didn’t see me as a single mom who also takes care of an elderly parent, he didn’t see my haggling for more time with my landlord & debtors for a late payment, he didn’t see me trying to get a friggin job with health insurance because I couldn’t afford to pay the hundreds+ dollars a month to pay on my own.  He didn’t see me only being able to afford two gallons worth of gas because I have to buy rice & beans to put on my family’s table, and he didn’t see me hoping that gas doesn’t go any higher just so I can drive out 20+ miles a day to their mega-complex to be tested and prodded for months – to now suddenly be part of a “budget cut.”  I became, once again, invisible.

And there are MILLIONS of people in my shoes in this country,  MILLIONS who are invisible to Neo-Democrats, Republicans and the blogger elite who seem hell-bent on writing people like me down in their selected history as low-information, uneducated r*cists.  Just because I am against the DNC stealing my Floridian vote and supported the candidate that will help people like me have a roof over our heads & feed our families?  Guess what blogging elite, get off your asses & do something to help versus criticizing those who have the courage to stand up and fight for Democracy and for people like me.  Vayanse pa’l carajo, pila de comemierdas. 

Of course, I’m very concerned about my income.  My lunchbucket got pissed in yesterday, but I’ll get a new one, hopefully.  I’ve been through worse than this and will not be scared into submission into voting for a party that has done nothing to put lunch in my bucket or count my vote this year, while riding on FDR’s and Bill Clinton’s coattails as the “party of economic reform.”  I’m going to get back on my feet again like I always have, smile at the world, wag a middle finger to anybody who tries to get me to support the Democrats with their “WE’RE ALL DOOMED IF WE DON’T” psychodramatic blackmail and keep going.  Hillary’s words “Never give up and never give in,” have never rang so true as they do today. 

So please, take a moment to be thankful for what you still have and what you still can do.  PUMA & Clinton Democratic groups and movements are here to stay and I am thankful that the Confluence is a part of that commitment to Hillary Clinton’s vision of gender and racial equality, voting & economic reform and everything that our Constitution and Bill of Rights are there to do.   I stand tall & proud with my fellow Conflucian bloggers & commenters and the efforts made to bring Democracy back to the Democratic Party, as well as help make sense of all this madness that’s taken over this country.  Don’t let them piss in your lunchbucket!

¡Que vivan los PUMAs!

A Preview of Tonight’s Debate Questions from Gwen Ifill

What Did She Say?

What Did She Say?

Since it has come to light that Gwen Ifill, tonight’s moderator for the VP debate, has written a book about Barack Obama timed to be released on Inauguration Day, questions have arisen about whether or not she can be objective in her questions. John McCain has said he thinks she will be, and I think so too! Just because she is counting on Obama’s win to push her book to the bestseller’s list does not mean she will have an agenda tonight.

In fact, Ms. Ifill is aware of the concern, and has responded in a typical journalistically professional manner.

Ifill questions why people assume that her book will be favorable toward Obama.

“Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, “I don’t know what it is. I find it curious.”

I find her response most enlightening. I am sure that she will be just as objective as she can be. And to prove it, I’ve gotten a preview of her questions, from various sources across the intertoobz:

Mayor Palin, Barack Obama is a handsome, charismatic demigod. How many boxes of Kleenex will you need after your crushing loss?

Senator Biden, what is your favorite color? And if you have time for a follow-up question: Why?

Mayor, you talk funny and you own a tanning bed. Why haven’t you released Trig’s birth certificate?

Senator, have you seen those pictures of Obama in his swim trunks? If not, I have them right here.

Mayor, what are the names, ages, and blood types of all 71 members of the Belgian Senate? And why are you unwilling to admit that your inability to instantly produce any and every fact I demand makes you unfit to stand in the way of history?

Senator, you’ve spoken at length. Could you please continue?  (***this may be my favorite)

Mayor, which is your preferred method of stifling dissent, banning books or burning them? Since it’s both, please explain how you can deny the accusation that you’re a fascist, which I am making now.

Senator, could you please sign my book?

My own email contained a few questions as well:

Ms. Palin, if you are elected Vice President, how many more children will American women be forced to bear in the name of Jesus?

Senator, which is more appealing, your smile or your famous sense of humor? I say both. Am I right?

Sarah, I heard Downs’ Syndrome is caused by too much moose meat. Are you a bad mother, or a horrible mother? 

Senator, you have years of experience and expertise in foreign policy that make the Mayor look like a high school student in comparison. Do you agree or disagree?

Sarah, you are showing a lot of cleavage tonight. Are you deliberately trying to win votes with your breasts, or are you always this slutty?

Senator, is Barack Obama great, awesome or incredible?

Any other contributions out there?

Oh, in case you can’t tell, THIS IS SNARK. If you want to follow the debate with the Conflucian gang, join us tonight on PUMA United Radio! We will most likely be having an extended show tonight, hosted by Sheri Tag and Murphy of PUMAPac. Updated times and station information to be posted later…

Thursday: Minds wide open, brains falling out

This is a busy morning.  I’ve got family coming in from out of town and 10 months of blogging has not done wonders for my housekeeping skills.  So, I’ll make this short and will leave you to follow the links.

I was very disappointed to find out today that someone who I have great respect for has implied that we are racists or have racist thoughts or approve of racism or use racist dogwhistle themes in our posts.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We do not approve of racism and take active steps to remove any reference to racist themes from our posts.

However, it is the case that sometimes reality is reality and people in the news of all races, class, status, color, gender, you name it, do things that make them look bad.  This is an unavoidable fact of like.  It is also the case that sometimes programs and federal funds that are created for very good purposes are exploited by people who happen to be of all races, class, color, gender, you name it, who *are*, after all, imperfect humans.  Greed and bad behavior is not restricted to Republicans.  We have seen that some Democrats are quite capable of it.

As I said before, I do not have time to get into all of the details but I keep pretty current with news over time and I am aware that in some minority neighborhoods, some homeowners were steered into ill-advised loans when they might have applied for more stable FHA loans. Do I know all of the details?  No.  I do not.  BUT I do know that many lenders have played fast and loose with predatory lending practices and that the burden of these loans and their ballooning payments falls disproportionately on the poor.  The poor pay more for everything, as a matter of fact, including groceries when there aren’t large chain stores in their neighborhoods, and banking in general and for pay day loans, etc, etc.  It’s a well-known pattern of exploitation and part of the cycle of poverty.

I also know that to grant a group like ACORN money from a bailout bill in a year when one of its former associates is running for president is remarkably politically tone deaf.  It smacks of a conflict of interest, especially when that group’s well known  GOTV operations is combined with what we know of that politician’s propensity to unburden himself from scruples when it is convenient to him.

Now, you can take that any way you want it.  But racist it is not.  And as for the affirmative action candidacy of Barack Obama, we merely report on perceptions.  When you have a less experienced, unqualified male vaulting to the top over a more experienced, knowledgeable woman who put in her time and played by the rules, and strings were pulled for that man, *in spite of all we have seen about his inability to lead*, it smacks of affirmative action practices of the worst kind that play right into Republican hands.

What I have read in the past month, since I and other PUMAs put our asses on the line in Denver, has disturbed me greatly not so much because of the secretive. cliquey, gossipy communications between those bloggers who we thought were our friends but because these same people feel very comfortable commenting from the sidelines but refuse to get themselves dirty.  I’ve even had one blogger ask me to submit a list of the racist comments we have deleted to prove that we don’t let them linger. They have no right to criticize those of us who march into the battle and put our reputations on the line, who have been frequently misinterpreted, sometimes deliberately so, in order to speak up.

Those of us in the PUMA and related efforts have made many attempts to reach out to Anglachel to get her to join in some greater effort unrelated to PUMA, some greater effort beyond herself.  She has been playing very coyly and hard to get but doesn’t waste a minute talking about us behind our back instead of actively engaging in conversation.  If she or anyone at Corrente wants to call myself, Sheri or Darragh racists and in bed with Republicans, let them do it to our faces.  We will happily give them our addresses.  I want them to look in my face and accuse me of racism and Republicanism.  And bring *proof*.

I am beyond disappointed.