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This is just incredible

Abridged from a post at Heidi Li’s Potpourri

Today was one of those days where the demands of work and life made it seem unlikely I would be posting. Frankly, I spent part of the day thinking about the fact that I know it will take a long time and a lot of patience to develop 51 Percent, to find funding for it, to make its mission clear and broadly known, and asking myself whether I had the stamina to see it through and the guts to take the risk to see whether it could become an educational backbone for a full fledged movement for social justice for women.

Also, I  wondered, whether this week and next, when so much attention will be paid to the political events of each day – and the events that merit critique will receive them from so many talented writers around the blogs and maybe even off – it made sense to post. I prefer not to repeat what others are saying, often better or more knowledgeably then I could.

But then, lo and behold, here, in Washington, DC,  the epicenter of inaugural schlock (T-shirts, onesies, coffee mugs), I received yet another email from another organization trying to make money off the onset of the Obama administration. (I’ve already been tapped by email solicitations to give money to fund the inauguration itself!). The latest organization looking for dough: Ms. Magazine. The product they are hawking: a subscription that kicks of with their special inauguration issue. The cover photo they sent, designed, one must assume to make me want to subscribe:


Honestly, I did a double-take. A triple-take. Because if a feminist looks like President-elect Obama then a feminist looks exactly like somebody who has done nothing, and I do mean nothing, to suggest that he will fight for increased social justice for women. This is not only the person who has retained Jon “The Groper” Favreau as his chief speechwriter; installed Tim “I’m not really for serious guarantees of Roe v. Wade” Kaine as the DNC Chair; appointed far fewer women to his cabinet or to cabinet-level positions than Bill Clinton did and barely the number that George W. Bush has (more on that here and here and best of all here). Between the choice of Rick “Women who exercise their right to abortion are like Nazis” Warren to give the invocation at the Inaugural Ceremony itself and total silence with regard to how the economic stimulus package he is proposing will aid those likely to be hit hardest – yes, women – I have to say that if President-Elect is Ms. Magazine’s idea of what a feminist looks like, I  would hate to see their vision of what an anti-feminist looks like.

While I will not be buying a subscription to Ms. Magazine, their solicitation reminded me that now more than ever, I want to stay the course with 51 Percent (even if it means, yes, seeking contributions from folks during these tough times – something I feel uncomfortable about – but eventually we will attract major benefactors and they, combined with the small dollar contributors will fuel the development of the Museum of Misogynistic Memorabilia and help us build up our speaker’s bureau). I founded 51 Percent because I realized that most preexisting women’s organizations got sidetracked somewhere along the way – sold out, bought off, distracted. I will not let that happen to 51 Percent. Unless we understand the basic injustice of a society where the majority remains vastly under-represented in public life (not just in politics but also in politics), we will get more magazine covers from purported feminist publications that applaud the feminism (!?!) of an incoming President who has ignored even this list of recommendations for moving justice for women to the fore of his administration.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about 51 Percent go here.

If you have $5.10 or $51.00 or any amount to donate, you can do so at the website or here. Moneys raised will be going to the development of the Museum of Misogynistic Memorabilia and announcing, via ads, the formation of 51 Percent and its Museum in select publications.

Friday: “You MUST pay the rent!” “But I CAN’T pay the rent.”

Suburban Guerrilla has this visual depiction of the consequences of Simon LeGree’s wage policies over the past 4 decades.  As you can see, wages have been pretty much flat in terms of real dollars since the 70’s.

As Susie points out, it’s women, particularly single moms, who discover this first.  The moment you get divorced, your taxes immediately go up, (now that you’re a hip, swingin’ single with money to burn) just as your expenses nearly double.  Then it hits you: you really need two salaries to keep up the appearance of a middle class life style.  Then comes the endless debt cycle.  I made a decision to burn through some liquid assets in order to get back on my feet before I saddled myself with credit card debt and I still think this was the right decision.  I only charge hotels and flights on my credit cards and pay them off as soon as I can.  If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it.  But it bothers me quite a bit that as the first college educated person in my family, working in a well paying, creative class job, I don’t live as well as my gray collar parents did on one salary when they were younger than me.  Instead of a single family dwelling and two cars, I have a modest second hand townhouse in the burbs, with second hand furniture and I drive a second hand car.

Susie speculates that the Republicans actually liked the fact that there were so many women entering the work force.  It allowed them to slow down the pace of wage increases on men in order to appear as if the wage gap was decreasing.  Would the Lilly Ledbetter Act help or hurt this situation?  Hard to tell but women really need the extra bucks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that other middle class families are starting to tighten their belts and this is bad news for the economy.  The Journal puts the blame where it belongs in Hard-hit families finally start saving, aggravating nation’s economic woes.  Damn those American families! No one is spending.  Well, jeez, something’s got to give.  I suggest giving everyone the raises they’ve been deserving all these years.  How long has it been since we have heard that we are the most productive nation in the world?  We certainly work hard enough.  American employers are the stingiest around when it comes to vacation time.  And they’ve given lousy raises for decades now.  Yes, some families don’t know how to manage money but if you are borrowing just to keep up the same lifestyle you lived as a child, then there’s something drastically wrong with the system.  It’s time the Simon LeGree’s start forking over the rent money.


And here’s your daily reminder to vote at the 2008 Weblog Awards:

For Best Liberal Blog, vote for The Confluence here

For Best New Blog, vote for Uppity Woman here

For Best Small Blog, vote for Nice Deb here

For Best Hidden Gem, vote for Deadenders here

For Best Food Blog, vote for Cake Wrecks here

For Best Pet Blog, vote for F**k You, Penguin here

For Best Podcast, vote for This American Life or NPR’s Planet Money here.

We’ve figured out how “the site who must not be named” has been cheating.  It’s not through a proxy server.  (Hint: unplugging your modem and waiting 7 minutes is an unnecessary waste of time if you want high speed cheating. )  It should be easy to demonstrate how it is done with a script of the procedure.  Our resident perl hacker is pulling it together.  Of course, we would only be doing this for documentation and informational purposes, not cheating, and we’ll send the information to the proper people when we’re finished gathering our information.  We hope the Weblog Award admins will keep a close eye on this problem.  Hey, if it were me, I’d disqualify “the site that must not be named”, but it’s not my decision.  Cheaters ruin the fun for everyone by gaming the system and harrassing the blogs we like.  It’s not a good way to be popular.