The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘feminist Friday

As many of you know, my home state of Noo Yawk has a Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo. This is the same Governor who made New York history by finally getting the Marriage Equality Act to pass the State Legislature, thus garnering much-deserved praise for his support of the LGBT community. Yet, for some reason, Mr. Cuomo doesn’t seem to be pursuing the Reproductive Health Act with quite the same fervor.

This is rather a disappointing turn of events for a Governor whose campaign included this video:

What IS it about Democrats who think they can ignore women’s rights?

The Reproductive Health Act is a pre-emptive strike against all the crayzee legislation that has been proposed, and in some cases, passed, in other states we have documented. Its main points are as follows:

  • Guarantees a woman can make her own personal, private health care decisions, especially when her health is endangered.
  • Treats the regulation of abortion as an issue of public health and medical practice rather than as a potential crime.
  • Affirms New Yorkers’ right to use (or refuse) contraception, regardless of what politicians in Congress decide.

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Evening, Widdershins! It seems the press is finally starting to figure out that yes, women are going to be extremely important in the 2012 election – and not just the Presidential one.

Democrats, as they aggressively seek to turn women’s concerns into a rallying call of the presidential election, are leaning heavily on female candidates to retain control of the Senate.

From Massachusetts to Hawaii, a record number of Democratic women – six incumbents and at least five challengers – are running for seats this year. That eclipses 1992’s vaunted “Year of the Woman,’’ when 10 women sought entry into the country’s most exclusive political chamber.

The race in Massachusetts pitting Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, against his presumed Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, has captured the most headlines nationwide, but others could be just as crucial for Democrats.

Now you all know that I am a huge fan of advancing women in politics, but I realized fairly early on in my advocacy that it really does matter WHICH women. Electing Republican women to the Senate and House simply does not work. Look at the way the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was passed by the House but not the Senate in 2009, continues to languish – and with good reason: Not one Republican woman will vote for it, not even the “moderates” Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Imagine the power that would come from real sisterhood amongst these Senators of the female persuasion – but alas, despite the claims of some, “social issues” (aka abortion and same-sex marriage) are NOT the only issues that divide liberal from conservative women. And so it goes.

The fact is that Republicans have been alienating women to an unprecedented degree in the past couple of years, mainly because they have stopped lying about their intentions and just gone for it – let all their inhibitions go, and jumped on the Train to Insane. Yes, they think that women who want abortions deserve to be raped by a medical instrument beforehand! Yes, they think that an unfertilized egg is the same as a person! Yes, they think that a miscarriage should be the same, legally, as an abortion. Hell, YES THEY DO, and they’re proud of it, so you’ll just have to lie back and think of Clooney, women of America!

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  Charles Dickens.

Happy Friday the thirteenth, y’all. Hopefully, we have no triskaideskaphobics here at the Widdershins.  At any rate, I have returned.  After a six-day hiatus, my computer is up and running.  I am amazed at what I managed to accomplish in a computerless environment.  My taxes are finished and mailed off, my second bedroom/storage/junk area is considerably more tidy, and the bungalow is thoroughly vacuumed.  Fortunately, the teevee was working and I was able to keep abreast of the news.

Hillary Clinton is truly on a roll.  She is again the most admired woman in the world.  She has been an astronomically successful Secretary of State, and is clearly the most well-regarded member of the Obama administration.  Surprised?  Me, neither.   She has also been the topic of the “Texts from Hillary” meme making its way through the internet with some hilarious results.  Madame Secretary was apparently so amused that she invited  creators Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe  to the State Department and gave them an autographed picture of her submissions.  From Politico:

“Her willingness to engage with us on the website proves our whole point in making it — that that picture was really great,” Smith said, before adding, “I’m not that eloquent right now because I’m still in shock!”

Lambe, who explained that they had decided to keep their meeting with the secretary of state under wraps until they were able to get the final confirmation from Clinton’s office, agreed with Smith that there was an irresistible appeal to Walker’s black-and-white photograph.

“It just captured this wonderful image of Hillary,” he said. “You definitely could tell she was in charge. You could tell she was getting stuff done there was just no question that this woman was a total badass.”

The idea for “Texts From Hillary,” Lambe said, came from a simple question that he and Smith were curious about when they first set their eyes on the photograph circulating online: “Who’s she texting?”.

“But I don’t think anyone ever imagines that they’d create a meme like this and it becomes an overnight sensation,” he said. “It’s just been a wild ride.”

The concept behind the meme is simple: pair the Clinton photo with another picture of someone busy on their mobile device and write funny, creative captions on what the two parties might be texting to each other. (Here’s an example of a recent creation: Mitt Romney on his iPad: “Any advice?” Clinton: “Drink.”)

And as can be seen in the latest photo posted on “Texts From Hillary” featuring the two men posing next to a.
 smiling, sunglasses-wearing Clinton, Lambe said the secretary of state — along with her staffers — seemed to have as much fun as her visitors on Tuesday.

Yes, Stacy.  She has a sense of humor, she’s absolutely in charge, and she is a total badass.  I only wish that the “creative class” might have noticed these things about her just a little bit (oh, say maybe four years?) earlier.   Maureen Dowd has also noticed:

Hillary is not going to President Obama’s Democratic convention in Charlotte. Evidently, she’s going to wait for her own.

There were intriguing developments on the presidential trail Tuesday, and I don’t mean Rick Santorum dropping out.

Hillary Clinton cemented her newly cool image and set off fresh chatter about her future when she met at the State Department with two young men who created a popular Internet meme showing photos of the secretary of state on a military plane, wearing big sunglasses, checking her BlackBerry and looking as if she’s ready to ice somebody.

(snip)

I asked the dazzling Diana Walker — the Time magazine photographer who took one of the totemic pictures of Hillary on a C-17 flight last fall from Malta to Tripoli for a cover story on “Hillary and the Rise of Smart Power” — what made her black-and-white shot such a sensation.

“I don’t think she was meaning to be cool,” Walker said. “She just reached in her bag to get some glasses to read her BlackBerry before the plane took off for Tripoli.”

Walker told me she got a letter from a young woman, a friend of her son’s, who said she stared at the image for a long time. “It truly sent chills down my spine,” the woman wrote, “and I immediately shared it with my daughter because of the power it portrayed.”

With women under attack, that sense of serene toughness has strong appeal.

The Hillary flurry is telling.

(Snip)

So now that she seems ready to leave the stage at 64 and take a deserved nap, she is at her least polarizing.

Her savvy public image gambit on Tuesday sent a signal she may not be leaving the stage forever. She has not only shored up her techie cred and popularity with young people. Hillary, who kept the press at a distance in 2008, is now well-liked by the press corps traveling with her around the world. Unlike Obama, she seems to enjoy going out with reporters and having a cocktail after a hard day of trilats.

SKREENED has a fabu new shirt that says “I Supported Hillary Clinton Before It Was Cool To Support Hillary Clinton”.  My order will be in shortly.

And then there’s Hillary Rosen.  This Hillary hasn’t had such a great time over the past few days.

Last night, Hillary said that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.  Reaction was swift and sure.  Ann Romney opened a twitter account and replied that she had chosen to stay home and raise her children, and that raising five sons is work.  Male commentators have raged about how “out-of-bounds” the statement was, and both the DNC and the Obama administration have utterly disowned her.  Seems that suddenly spouses of candidates are completely off-limits to any and all criticism.

Big whoop.  I know lots of people who have worked fulltime with children.  My daughter is a Project Manager for an oncology disease management firm.  She has three teenagers, two of whom are boys.  She does her own cooking and housework.  I worked fulltime with a child, and so have most of my friends.  Many of us  would have preferred to work part-time, or stay fulltime and have household help, but it certainly didn’t work out like that.  I’ll bet that there are many working mothers who would rather not be working at all if they had their druthers.

Here’s the deal:

Ann Romney has never had to choose between paying her mortgage and paying  school loans, because she had neither.  She has never had to concern herself with the financial impact of missing a day’s work because her child was sick.  She has never had to choose between paying the light bill or purchasing new shoes for her child.  Indeed, Mrs. Romney has faced health challenges, but she has never wondered how she would pay for her medical care, or whether that money might be needed for something else. She has five sons, but I just don’t think that she spent her days scrubbing up dirty little footprints and washing six load of clothes per day.  I would be willing to bet the bungalow that she had fulltime household help to go along the the house full of young ‘uns, and doesn’t have a clue of what stay-at-home moms actually do all day long.   While she is a lovely, gracious woman, I find it improbable that she can contribute much to her husband’s understanding (miserable as it is) of the life of an average American woman.  That said, I’m not certain that Hillary Rosen was off-base at all.  If Mrs. Romney allows herself to be on the campaign trail, she will be open to as much scrutiny as the candidate – Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama will back me up on this one, I’m certain.  I’ll bet that President Clinton would also be stunned to learn that spouses are suddenly “off-limits” to the Obama campaign.

In other words, I pretty much agree with Hillary Rosen.  You’re a really  nice woman, Ann, but you just  can’t explain that which you do not know – nor should you be expected to do so, 

This is an open thread.

Telephone, n.  An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.  ~Ambrose Bierce

I don’t think that it comes as anything resembling a surprise that this country is sharply divided on the question of elective termination of pregnancy.  The last decade has had some rather spectacular examples of just how far the “antis” are willing to go in order that the rest of we heathens are sufficiently impressed with the depth of their beliefs.  Dr. George Tiller died, any number of clinics have been bombed, and the perpetrators are treated as folk heroes rather than the murderous individuals that they are.  Two state legislatures contemplated (albeit briefly) adding laws to consider adding the killing of an abortionist to the list of justifiable homicides.  During their less blood-thirsty moments, fervent anti-abortionists have bombarded the offices of providers with endless telephone calls begging them to reconsider their career choices.

As for the rest of us, we’ve been pretty well speechless in the face of this.  Oh, we’ve counseled caution, huffed about a woman’s right to choose, suggested that we consider proper family planning teaching.  Our reward has been schools teaching abstinence, funding cuts for Planned Parenthood and other clinics and Rush Limbaugh’s  defamation of a Georgetown student being lauded in certain circles.  Probably none of us will ever shoot anti-abortion protesters, but it seems that there may be something that we can do.

I have a new hero, and his name is Todd Stave.  Todd inherited an office building from his father that houses an abortion provider.  He has been familiar with protesters picketing, praying,lighting candles and displaying gory photographs outside of the building, and supports their right to do so under the First Amendment.  The protestors, however, began to gather outside of his daughters school and then began calling his home at all hours of the day and night demanding that he terminate the lease, and to let him know that they were praying for his soul.  Todd first got angry, then he figured out a way to get even.

He began to write down the telephone numbers of the callers, and enlisted his friends who enlisted their friends, and so forth.  Soon the callers were receiving hundreds of telephone calls from people who spoke softly and nicely thanking them on behalf of the Stave family for their prayers.  The callers also advised that the Stave family could not and would not terminate the lease, as they believe in choice.

Word spread, and a new association has formed – Voice of Change.  From their website:

For too long, the abortion discussion has been dominated by angry, nasty protests fueled by individuals and organizations that thrive on sensationalism and extremism. Now it is our turn.
“Voice of Choice” was established as a calm, measured response to anti-abortion activists who engage in misguided, raging protest tactics that are often ill-informed and only serve to victimize women, pro-choice professionals, law-abiding businesses and unaligned bystanders.
We use email, telephone and social media in peaceful, person-to-person counter-protests against groups that target abortion facilities, providers and patients, as well as their families and communities. We don’t question anyone’s right to express opinions and ideals; we challenge their bullying tactics and their contempt.

Widdershins, I am beyond excited.  I am retired, have a telephone service with unlimited long-distance calling, and I can sit here all day and make phone calls.  As a triage nurse in public hospitals, I’ve been called almost everything that you can think of, so negative feedback will not be particularly distressing.  If this catches on, perhaps we can make the PLUBS realize that we need reasonably priced prenatal care, the same sort of maternity leave that’s available in other enlightened nations, accessible child care and family planning.  I think that the latter issues would be of more general value to society than brandishing posters of mangled fetuses to the world.  If you have some time and would like to help, sign up and the website.

This is an open thread.

So that the Health Care Bill you create won’t be in the hands of f*cktards like this guy.

It appears from this week’s discussions at the Supremely Conservative Court, that Obama’s Health Whatever Bill is soon to be either overturned, or eviscerated to the point that it can’t pay for the few enhancements it actually offers. The Huffington Post reports:

“Shock and awe” best describes the reaction of legislators and commentators upon hearing the Supreme Court’s closing day of arguments on the constitutionality of Obama’s health care legislation. Democrats as well as the beltway media had assumed the bill was safe, thinking that the legislation fit firmly under the Congressional power of the Interstate Commerce Clause and that justices would be wary of repercussions of single-handedly dismantling the most expansive social legislation since the creation of Medicare.

How wrong they were. From the same justices that brought you Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (the decision that ruled that corporations, like individuals, are protected by the first amendment, which resulted in the unleashing of a wave of super PACS in this year’s elections) and Bush v. Gore, now comes the very real possibility of the end of health care reform.

(snip)

Reporters, commentators and Democratic legislators were stunned by the Court’s turn. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called today “a train wreck for the Obama administration.” Toobin said, “this morning was unbelievable. It was like a given that they’re throwing out the mandate. Anthony Kennedy was like, ‘Well, when we throw out the mandate…’ — Do you know what a huge deal that is?” Although shaken, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that we couldn’t draw any conclusions yet, saying that justices ask lots of questions in many different directions, but that doesn’t mean they’ve made up their minds.

The logistical problem is that if the Court strikes down the mandate, the rest of the law may unravel for financial reasons. Obama’s new citizen protections, such a requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions, a ban on charging more for those with complicated health problems and the removal of insurance payout caps on medical services, are all supported by the insurance premiums of new people entering the market through the mandate.

You have to wonder if these Beltway Bozos ever read anything they don’t already agree with, or listen to their Republican colleagues during those long, LONG sessions in the House and Senate. “Obamacare” has been in their sights since 2010 (the Tea Party won many seats because of its promise to overturn the hated “socialist” bill), and they all seemed pretty confident that their friends on the Supreme Court would grant their desires. Were the Democrats truly so naive that they thought people like Scalia would actually consider the bill on its merits? Or are they just mugging for the cameras? Either way, it’s a truly pitiful sight to see the way both Parties have made a horrible joke out of such an incredibly important issue.

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So we know that laughter won’t replace ACTUAL medicine, but sometimes it helps. A lot!

For example, you’ve got to love these women legislators who are trying to find ways to point out to the ignorant old white men who want to control them, exactly why what they’re doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. I wish I had half the creativity of these fine ladies. You go, girls!

• An Illinois legislator, Kelly Cassidy, proposed that men seeking Viagra be required to watch a video showing the treatment for persistent erections, saying “It’s not a pretty procedure to watch.”

• A Wisconsin legislator running for Congress, Kelda Helen Roys, proposed an amendment that any man seeking a prescription for Viagra have a cardiac stress test first.

• In Virginia, Senator Janet Howell proposed not just cardiac stress tests but rectal exams for men seeking Viagra. Howell’s amendment failed by two votes, part of the chaotic debate on the proposal to require transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.

• In Missouri, Representative Stacey Newman moved to restrict vasectomies except for men at risk of death or serious bodily harm.

• In Ohio, a bill introduced by Senator Nina Turner would require men seeking Viagra to see a sex therapist and receive counseling about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

• When a zygote-personhood bill came before the Oklahoma Senate, Senator Constance Johnson proposed an amendment that said ejaculating anywhere outside a woman’s vagina constitutes “an action against an unborn child.”

I think my favorite is the Ohio bill, because it captures so perfectly that queasy sense of 13th-century morality which permeates all these endless, hectoring condemnations of women for GASP! wanting to have sex without having children, or deciding not to GASP! carry a child to term when pregnant.

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Traveling really broadens one’s mind, I’ll tell you. In the past few weeks, I’ve been sitting in airports, edifying myself with the wonders of mass-produced news-o-tainment. Look, Whitney Houston died! How many cycles can we get out of her?! (R.I.P., Whitney. You were a titanic talent.) Guess what, women who can’t have kids? There are zillions of alternatives to conceiving naturally, if you’re having trouble! Just don’t dare to admit you use birth control, or Rush Limbaugh may call you a “slut!” (Dear Rush, I am a married woman who uses birth control pills for medical purposes. I can very sincerely say, Go Fuck Yourself.)

But I digress. In wading through all this trash, I started noticing something I never do when I’m at home: The commercials. And I have to say, I was quite perplexed by the fact that not one, but TWO upcoming sitcoms have the word “B*tch” in them. Yo, what’s up with that?

The first show is called “GCB.” This is because it’s actually based on a book called “Good Christian B*tches,” so ABC’s publicity bobbleheads cleverly decided to abbreviate the name of the show so as not to offend, well, everyone. So far, their efforts have not succeeded.

The ladies (let’s call them) of ABC’s new show are as hypocritical as the discordance of the kitschy jewel-bedecked cross festooning the cleavage prominently displayed on the front cover of Gatlin’s book. They stab each other in the back, obsess over their social standing and subsist in personal disarray.

Pointing out Christian hypocrisy is a sport enjoyed by the types of marksmen who also like to shoot fish in a barrel. Hypocrisy is not limited to professing Christians. Those who are wary of the institutional church “because it is full of hypocrites” might consider Tony Campolo’s response. These people, he says, fail to understand that they will be right at home precisely because the church is filled with hypocrites.

Don’t bother reading the rest of the post; it’s so incoherent that it makes Charlie Sheen sound like a Rhodes scholar. You can find much more well-written rants from shocked and horrified Christians all over the InterWebz.

But you know what I’m going to say, right? They’re not shocked over GCB’s sexist, shallow and nasty portrayal of women. Heavens, no! They’re shocked because someone dared use the word “b*tch” next to the word “Christian.”  Okay, I’ll quote one more piece from that article. I apologize in advance.

The disparate elements combined in GCB’s original title (which ABC has now bowdlerized as “Good Christian Belles”) recalls Voltaire’s sardonic observation that the Holy Roman Empire “was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” In the same way, the subjects of “Good Christian Bitches” are neither good, nor Christian, nor – well, two out of three’s not bad.

Oh no she di-uh!  Again, this allegedly Christian womon sees no issue with calling women b*tches. Just don’t ever intimate that a Christian could be one, or the Christian Victim Attack Squads will go into full flying-monkey mode! Can I get an A-Men?* (*capitalization intentional)

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