March 12, 2009

Wa-Po blogger Cillizza implies Obama’s Council on Women and Girls is not for addressing gender issues

Posted in gender, male feminists, mass media, news, politics, sexual politics, U.S. politics at 4:30 pm by LB

In an odd phrasing, Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza seems to imply that Obama’s call for a Council on Women and Girls, is not primarily a result of his recognition that we need policies and solutions to social problems that adequately address how they impact women and families (for whom women are still overwhelmingly responsible for the care of).  In other words, Obama is forming this council out of the recognition that appropriate solutions to social problems must take both men’s and women’s experiences into consideration.

Cillizza seems to imply otherwise:

Obama has both personal — his wife and two daughters — and political reasons to make this sort of high profile move to ensure that women’s needs are being addressed by his administration.

In 2008, 53 percent of the electorate was female and Obama carried that group 56 percent to 44 percent over Arizona Sen. John McCain.

So Obama’s “personal” reasons for putting the council into place are that he has a wife and daughters.  Yawn.  How insulting to think that men are only concerned about women’s issues and the male-centric models of citizenship and public policy because they have daughters.   I would hope that there might too be fathers of boys who are concerned about gender issues so their sons could have the  socially-supported ability  to be at-home dads if they choose, without their masculinity  being denigrated and without threat to family finances because their female partner’s career is being stymied by gender discrimination (by pay or “mommy tracking”) or sexual harassment in the workplace.

And the “political” reasons Obama is putting this into place is…to keep the allegiance of his female voters (?).  So Obama is doing this to keep women happy, not because it’s good policy?

Reading between the lines, much?

Oh and let us not forget, this council is in no way (expected to be) substantial: “Expect then more symbolic moves like the establishment of the Council to demonstrate Obama’s commitment to women and women’s issues.”  Because all women voters expect are empty gestures without results.  Because women usually applaud style over substance.  Because women don’t want to be taken seriously, just acknowledged.  Because women are above all, fans of [political] superficiality.

(I think you have us confused with lad-mag apologists.)

And I think you underestimate women as political actors who demand accountability, as well as our new President, who has demonstrated at least an understanding that there are structural barriers to success that equal rights legislation did not address.

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December 4, 2008

Proposition 8: The Musical

Posted in humor, marriage, politics, queer at 11:19 pm by LB

From Funny or Die, requires no comment:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about ““Prop 8 – The Musical” starring Jack …“, posted with vodpod

See also my previous post refuting the claim that marriage has been the same since the “dawn of time.”

November 10, 2008

The U.S. clearly elected Obama…but doesn’t want liberal politics? Huh?

Posted in mass media, politics at 10:00 am by LB

So I’m still on a little of an election, kick.  I promise I’ll get back to more gender-y stuff soon ;-)

I am thoroughly confused about the media arguing that the election of Obama does not mean Americans want liberal policies or that Obama should pursue them. Say what?

via Media Matters:

Then there’s CNN’s John King Wednesday night. Just try to follow his logic:

KING: Without a doubt, the electorate voted for Barack Obama, but still perceives him to be a liberal. And one thing you don’t want to do when you win an election like this, a sweeping election like this, is alienate the people here in a place like Cincinnati. Why? George W. Bush carried that county four years ago. You don’t want to drive them away.

[…]

So, Barack Obama is making inroads in communities that not too long ago voted Republican. The last thing you want to do if you want to keep them four years from now is to alienate them with a liberal agenda.

Right…people voted for Obama, but don’t really believe in his platform. They perceive him to be a liberal, but don’t actually want liberalism? Communities who previously have believed in conservative politics voting for a liberal politician could possibly have changed their minds about what direction we need to take, could they? Especially since the last 8 years have been sooo successful! And you wouldn’t want to alienate them by enacting the changes you said you would make. Is this even any sort of logic?

Don’t forget, after Bush’s 2.5% victory spread in 2004, he claimed (indeed, he insisted) he had earned political capital and that he was going to spend it. After Obama’s 6 point win, it’s rather audacious it to suggest that Americans do not support liberal politics, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been suggesting:

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Saying over and over that we are a “center-right” nation will not make it so.

And if Obama’s administration is successful, perhaps “liberal” and “progressive” can change from being dirty words and as labels that politicians don’t want to embrace.

(Cross-posted to The Reaction)

November 4, 2008

Maddow on New Poll Tax

Posted in activism, oppression, politics, social justice at 2:22 am by LB

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. I must say, I have been absolutely swamped with teaching (being the first time, and all), not to mention misc. things that have come up in the last month. I’ve had much to say, and not enough time to say it. Teaching, especially, has given me many blogging ideas from the kinds of questions and concerns my students have. I hope to rectify this soon…so readers, don’t go away!

I have also become somewhat of an election junkie, so I have been absorbed in the news. So many apologies, and I hope to be back to blogging regularly soon. So don’t forget to vote tomorrow!

——————-
Today my student asked me if I thought that a professor would let her leave class early to vote since she has class all morning and has to work immediately after. I told her what I thought, and I really felt for this student, who at 18 had the desire to vote, yet to do so meant hurting her at work or school. I teach at a community college, known for having significant percentages of students who work and attend school full time, and many are mature students returning to school for a better job. These student lead very complex, full lives and schedules.

I had that conversation in my head as I watched Rachel Maddow’s Live Sunday special (thank you, DVR!). I was incredibly moved by Maddow’s scathing characterization of the long, long early voting lines as a poll tax. I was moved because of the way that Maddow pleas with the audience–as voters, employers, public officials–to persevere to vote in this historic and all-important election, and then demand that we, as a nation, fulfill our democratic values and eliminate what is effectively a poll tax. I couldn’t agree with her more.

Watch her assessment here

September 26, 2008

LA Representative wants the poor sterilized, rich to procreate more

Posted in economics, intersectionality, myths, politics, privilege, reproduction at 5:11 pm by LB

I just heard on CNN that Louisiana’s Rep. John LaBruzzo (R) is looking into a plan to pay poor women to have their tubes tied. This is based on his concern that poor people reproduce at a higher rate than more economically privileged people do, who pay more in taxes. Folks, this is his guess–he has no data to this effect. Mark Waller from The Times-Picayune reports on nola.com that “He said he is gathering statistics now.”

Hmmm…so instead of looking at the actual range of factors that affect poverty and aiming to solve those, he’s going to racistly assume that it’s because they’re voluntarily having “too many” children “they can’t afford,” and if they can’t afford them, we should encourage, not free contraception and education, but sterilization, so he’s then going to try to find data to support this?

It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

Now we’re at the meat-and-potatoes.  It’s not really about “helping” people to avoid welfare (as if having kids is the prime reason people are on welfare in the first place), but also ensuring that the “right” kind of people reproduce–those who are wealthy and educated.

The idea here is that poor citizens receive social welfare and therefore do not have the “right” to have families.  This is bullshit in and of itself.  On top of that, LaBruzzo is essentially hoping for the “extinction” of the poor on account of his faulty logic that that would reduce or eliminate poverty, as if poverty were a function of people, not of societies and economic systems.  Even more, well-educated, wealthier people should have even more children to make more educated, wealthy people!  Who knew economic privilege was genetic!

OK, I know he’s not saying that.  But if he really thought about the implications of poverty begetting poverty, he might realize that helping people out of poverty is not at all accomplished by telling them not to have children (and since when should we coerce the poor with money to do invasive, irreversible, medical procedures on their bodies?–and for the record, he’s sure not suggesting that we pay for or demand that poor women have abortions), but to help change the environmental circumstances and social structures that perpetuate economic inequality.

And never mind that the rhetoric that children and families are the “foundation” of our society that justifies a slew of tax advantages given to middle and upper class families.  Forget the college tuition credits given, and deductions for homeowners’ mortgages that partially subsidize the middle-class American life.  The right consistently talks about tax breaks to help families out, but those breaks are for people who owe taxes to begin with: they are tax breaks for the middle class, not the poor.  But folks like Rep. LaBruzzo seem appalled that folks on welfare would dare to be free citizens and have children, who allegedly are the reason for their poverty.  Meanwhile, middle and upper class families benefit from their own share of social welfare in the form of tax deductions and government-guaranteed education (as well as partially taxpayer-funded state universities), and this welfare is completely invisible to them.  I don’t have kids and I am forced, through taxation, to pay for the education of other people’s children.

In one way or another, aren’t most of us social welfare recipients?

September 12, 2008

Quote of the day

Posted in politics, U.S. politics at 9:48 pm by LB

Quote of the day…unfortunately, it was from a somewhat offensive and bullshit post at Huff-Po.  But the end is excellent:

Stop voting for people you want to have a beer with. Stop voting for folksy. Stop voting for people who remind you of your neighbor. Stop voting for the ideologically intransigent, the staggeringly ignorant, and the blazingly incompetent.

Vote for someone smarter than you. Vote for someone who inspires you. Vote for someone who has not only traveled the world but who has also shown a deep understanding and compassion for it. The stakes are real and they’re terrifyingly high. This election matters. It matters. It really matters. Let me say that one more time. This. Really. Matters.

September 4, 2008

Because sometimes “fake news” coverage is better than the actual news

Posted in double standards, gender, humor, mass media, news, politics, U.S. politics at 6:49 pm by LB

Everything I want to say about the hypocrisy around the rhetoric about Palin, and especially the Republicans’ vomit-inducing use of gender rhetoric can be summed up by this brilliant analysis by the “fake news” reporter, Jon Stewart, on the September 3, 2008 The Daily Show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sarah Palin Gender Card | The Daily S…“, posted with vodpod

In Canada, watch it on clip 2 here.

And in more The Daily Show-induced commentary….typically, I take the position that families and spouses/ partners are “off-limits” with regards to politics. But Stewart, in his interview with Newt Gingrich, makes an excellent point, which I think can help us forge a distinction between personal attacks on Palin’s daughter (i.e. “what an irresponsible slut!”) and dissonances between individual actions and beliefs and political positions. “The personal is political.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Newt Gingrich | The Daily Show | Come…“, posted with vodpod

(Here in Canada)

Isn’t it sad when politicians and pundits seem to get called on their bullshit more often by “fake news” shows than the “real” ones?

September 3, 2008

Worst piece of flare at the RNC

Posted in objectification, politics at 10:52 pm by LB

Just saw this on someone’s blazer during Palin’s speech tonight (still in progress).

How fucked up is this? Democrat or Republican, whatever and whoever, a woman’s (or man’s, for that matter) appearance is completely irrelevant to her political capabilities or qualifications.

Politics is not the Maxim “Hot 100.”