Monday, May 19, 2008

Domestic Abuse

I posted this at MobLogic, but it seemed appropriate...

Alright, so we all know there's no way Hillary Clinton is going to win the popular vote. So why the hell is she still in the race?

Well, it's because she's an, it's because she's a woman. That's it. As Clinton said (quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, who said): "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she is in hot water."

Okay, this is actually a good tactic: focus on the female part of the candidate and remind people of the fight to break the glass ceiling. Some people may buy it. And some people might think Clinton is perpetuating the stereotype that women are bad at math.

The numbers...the REAL numbers...don't add up to a Clinton nomination. She's not fighting for equal rights or tea bags everywhere, she's fighting for herself. This is a contest. No one likes the wrestler who keeps fighting after he's pinned.

But in her mind, she's not pinned. She's got Florida and Michigan propping her up. Of course, way back when, Clinton agreed not to campaign in either state and she didn't fight the decision to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates. And if you factor in the fact that Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan...those two states aren't much to pile your hope on.

The Kentucky and Oregon primaries on May 20th will likely push Obama over the 2025 delegate mark. In the DNC's eyes, he would be the nominee. But Clinton is fighting for her two favorite states, which have been left out of that total number. In Clinton's world, the number looks more like 2209.

So maybe May 31st will spell the end for Clinton. That's when the Democratic Party's rules committee hears challenges to it's delegate strip-fest.

And if she hangs on after that, she should leave after June 3, when the primaries are over. If Clinton really respects the American people, thinks our voices matter, she'll drop out then.

But who knows if she will? Something sure has to change. She's loaned her campaign $11 million and Obama's acting like he's already the nominee (by visiting Clinton's best friends, Florida and Michigan, no less). She's redefining the word "win" and he's giving rational explanations for his decisions and actions.

Maybe if she plays up the hard fight, sisterhood, sexism thing, she'll gain some ground. But right now, she's just giving powerful women everywhere a bad name.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Maybe Halliburton Won't Get Away With This One they probably will.

The AP is reporting that a woman gets to take her rape case against Halliburton to court instead of hiding it in arbitration. Lucky her!

Jamie Leigh Jones filed a federal lawsuit last year, saying she was attacked while working for a Halliburton Co. subsidiary at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005. Her lawsuit claims that after she endured harassment from some of the men where she lived in coed barracks, she was drugged and raped by Halliburton and KBR firefighters.

Jones...said a KBR representative imprisoned her in a shipping container for a day so she wouldn't report the assault...KBR split from Halliburton last year.

Apparently, she signed an agreement that said "any claims made by an employee against the company that in any way touch on his or her employment have to be settled through arbitration, in which a third party would resolve the case through a private hearing process."

Maybe this is a normal agreement, maybe not. But rape should not be confined to arbitration, and thankfully, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison agrees with me. But first, "other workplace-related claims" have to go through arbitration. I wonder what those claims involve?Halliburton has gotten away with murder...literally. Maybe they'll finally have to answer for something. Or maybe Bush-ney will step in somehow and 'save the day'."Attorneys for Halliburton, KBR and other subsidiaries that have been sued have disputed Jones' allegations." Shocker.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

DC Madam: A Very Personal Eulogy From Susie Bright

Susie Bright, author of a bunch of great sexual politics books and all-around awesome lady has a touching post up on her blog about Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the DC Madam who hung herself recently.

I have to quote the whole thing, because it offers tremendous insight into Palfrey, and it's a wonderful picture of a woman seeking to understand another woman:

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam" whose call-girl service got busted in the cross-hairs of partisan payback, has committed suicide. She hung herself at her mother's home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Susie's talk with Jeane, 2007 (mp3): Link

Transcript of DJP interview: Link

Jeane, I am so sorry. I know you swore to me that you'd never serve another term in prison for prostitution, or anything else. You almost lost your eyesight the first time. I'm sure you asked your lawyers if there was any hope for your sentencing, and I guess it must have looked bleak.

I know how pissed you were. This was an act of revenge, and I know who you're determined to haunt.

You were righteously furious at all the men who "walked away."

I'm sure that goes quite a ways back, but it certainly includes the esteemed gents on your client list: Louisiana fundamentalist, Senator David Vitter; Abstinence Ambassador Randall Tobias, who squashed AIDS funds all over the world; "Shock and Awe" war profiteer, Harlan Ullman.

And that was just the expendable layer. None of them were charged with anything; all are living quite comfortably, in particular because they have no conscience whatsoever.

Was Jeane suicidal, in the first place? Yes, but I'd describe that carefully. She wasn't irrational to think she wouldn't survive another round in a penitentiary; her health was poor. And she was brittle, the kind of person who is aware of her considerable intellect and education, but who finds herself in unlucky and vulnerable situations over and over again.

She was gullible to the wrong kinda guys, the kind of men who turned her out when she was young, whom she mistakenly placed faith in when she was looking for love, or a safe harbor. She's the kind of woman who should've been groomed for university when she was young, and cultivated for her bright mind and sensitivities. Instead, she was exploited and wasted— and her bitterness, her depression, was a result of that cruel awareness.

She tried to "go straight" after the first round in prison, and of course, was undermined by the typical prejudices against her record. She became more angry about the hypocrites, and determined to beat them at their own game. But it's clear that when Cheney bigwigs were on her tail, she wasn't going to beat their surveillance and manipulations.

Why doesn't everyone kill themselves when they're facing hard odds like Jeane did? Well, that's the million-karma question. All I can offer at this point, is painfully prescient rhetoric: Hell hath no fury like a smart woman scorned.... and justice has NOT been served.

Hey, There Is A War Going On In Afghanistan...But

Yes, people are actually fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. I know, crazy, right?

Actually, the term "people" doesn't really apply here. According to the Washington Post, it's only supposed to be men fighting over there.

That's right, as affirmed by Bush in 2005, women are still not allowed to fight in combat zones. Kind of hard in this "war" where every place is a combat zone.

18-year old Pfc. Monica Brown, a medic, has brought this ridiculous policy to light. She was in Afghanistan on a mission with a bunch of guys, they ran into trouble, and she did her job. She received a silver star for her bravery (the second woman to receive the third-highest honor since World War II), and then she was relieved from duty.

Of course: women aren't supposed to go on missions. But according to the article, most military officials believe the rule is antiquated and inapplicable to this war. In this case, they needed a female medic for female civilians. And Pfc. Monica Brown stepped up.

The accounts of Brown's behavior during the attack tend to range from "I can't believe a girl did that," to "She was just one of the boys." Her colleagues either look at her as an anomaly, an 'other', or a 'trooper'. They never considered her a regular soldier.

But it's not the army's fault. The rule forces them to look at her differently. Women in the military have a hard time being accepted. There are many accounts of rape and abuse. Maybe things could start to change if women had the same right to fight as everyone else.

If women want to enter the army, if they pass all the tests and meet the same requirements as everyone else, they should be able to fight. It's not for every woman, just like it's not for every man, but a lady should be able to get some action if she wants to.

And, jesus christ, this woman was really good at it. She didn't want to be pulled out. They're letting stupid and old people fight, why won't they let women? If this nebulous war on terror encourages military officials to request a change in policy, at least it will be good for something.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

"Pink" Viagra: Why's It Always Gotta Be Pink?

The search for the little blue pill's counterpart for women continues. I wonder if they made Viagra blue just so women would know which pill is theirs.

Our Bodies, Ourselves recently posted an article expressing concerns about the marketing of a woman's sexual dysfunction drug.

They also linked to another post about the "feminist view on female sexual dysfunction."

Apparently, my sistren believe that, should scientists discover a "pink" Viagra, commercials would target women who are just not interested in sex. Young, stressed, busy, unfortunate women.

Okay, I can see that. But is that a reason not to discover this drug? Many older women experience a lower sex drive because of a MEDICAL PROBLEM. Why shouldn't they use something to help them?

There are men that are too busy, stressed, and depressed to have sex, too. No one's worried that they'll feel like something's wrong with them.

I understand the concern. I get it. Marketing campaigns could easily try to make women feel bad for not wanting to have sex. And I'm sure they won't use the female version of Bob Dole for their commercials.But Viagra is for dudes who want to have sex and just can't get it up. This drug should be for the same thing. Women don't have a physical indicator that they're ready for sex, but a drug that increases blood flow to the genitals could increase lubrication and relax the vaginal muscles.

According to Discovery, around 43% of women experience sexual dysfunction, compared to 31% of men. If a woman wants to want sex more than she does, she should have the same tools men have to take care of that. Sure, drug commercials manipulate people. But why is this one more heinous than...say...Prozac commercials that make everyone think they're depressed? Yes, this drug targets women. But isn't that the point?

Isn't this "concern" equivalent to the concern that birth control pills encourage women to have sex more? Why do we think women are more easily manipulated than men?

Lesbians Suing Lesbians

According to CNN, three residents of Lesbos have filed a lawsuit against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, the first gay rights group registered in Greece to use the word "lesbian" in their name.

At least one of the plaintiffs is male. Not sure about the other two.

The name of the association apparently "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos. They're also known as lesbians.

But don't worry, it's "not an aggressive act against gay women," Dimitris Lambrou (one of the plaintiffs) said. "Let them visit Lesbos and get married and whatever they like. We just want (the group) to remove the word lesbian from their title."

But he also said: "My sister can't say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos." (emphasis mine)

Why, exactly, can't his sister say she's a Lesbian? Does she really think people won't understand what she means?

Sappho was born in Lesbos, and yes, it's where lesbians get their name, but come on.

Should I sue Tampax because I'm from Tampa? We're known as Tampons (some would spell that Tampans, but this spelling could make me some money, apparently).

And if your sister is so concerned, why doesn't she sue? Something seems wrong here. A lot of things seem wrong here.

Lambrou also maintains that Sappho wasn't gay, though many of her poems refer to passionate love affairs with women. "But even if we assume she was," he said, "how can 250,000 people of Lesbian descent -- including women -- be considered homosexual?"

Newsflash: THEY'RE NOT. Sure, if you're that worried about it, you might have to explain a little bit, but suing this association seems like a futile gesture. The name is out there. Deal with it.

An Athens court will hear the case on June 10th.