Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Misogyny abong DemoRATS

Do we eat our own??? There is a collection of slurs made against Hillary Clinton by Democrats or demoRATS:

http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/ May 25, 2008 post

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Exercises

First, a moment of silence in respect for those men and women who have died serving in our military. . .giving your life is the utmost marker of patriotism for a citizen.

That being said, now a moment for a loud scream at this administration (and the previous one)
for a) their homophobia....openly gay and lesbian citizens can not serve in the US military even if they want to without compromising themselves ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue) over 12,500 service personnel have been discharged because they told or someone told or accused them of being gay (how do you refute a negative?). In this time of war against Arabic and Farsi speakers, just in this past 5 years, we have discharged almost 60 Arabic linguists for who they may love. YET foreign nationals may serve; we are recruiting those without high school diplomas (or GEDs); and those with criminal records just need a waiver to serve (11.6% or 8,000 recruits have needed moral waivers because of their criminal records since Oct, 2006).
b) for the sanctimoniousness of this president who said in a politico.com interview on 5/13/08 that he gave up golf (!!!!) in 2003 out of respect for our troops during wartime. Oh what the ultimate sacrifice he made, NOT!
c) Though, most Americans have made not one sacrifice, nor have we been asked to do so. Even with the current oil prices, this president went hat in hand to the Saudis and asked for their help--as in increasing their oil output--to lower gas prices at our pumps. Needless to say, he was rebuffed. (Nor is drilling in ANWAR a solution--that limited oil would not be available for 3 years, and cost much more in environmental damage). Instead maybe he should have asked US oil companies, who have been making obscene profits lately, to pay a windfall tax...

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Help! We have fallen...down the Rabbit Hole

We have fallen down the Alice's proverbial rabbit hole--where sexism are all around us, yet it is acceptable (NOT). And, I am not just talking about the way Senator Clinton is being treated in the media, but how sexism is prevalent in all our lives & laws.

We have school principals who have banned rainbows for being "sexually suggestive" i.e., they support gay rights. Thankfully a federal court judge ruled against that as an unconstitutional infringement of first amendment rights. See http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/youth/35265prs20080513.html

We have a new definition of public space: up women's skirts, at least when women are wearing them in public. As in the two peeping tom cases (one in Oklahoma and one in Florida) both were dismissed because the acts took place in public-- one at a Target, the other at a Barnes and Noble. According to the Barnes & Noble case, the defense attorney (a woman, btw) argued that women do not use have any reasonable expectations of privacy in a public place according to the Florida law which reads: 'It is illegal to secretly observe someone with lewd, lascivious and indecent intent in a dwelling, structure or conveyance, and when such locations provide a reasonable expectation of privacy.' See

A new study reports that 90% of all teenage girls report they have been victims of sexual harassment at least once (!) from unwanted physical touching to verbal comments See http://feministing.com/archives/009222.html
As catcalling season opens, and some women like it (!)--I call that being internally colonized http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/05/14/lw.catcalls/index.html


Friday, May 09, 2008

Reading as a Political Act

Today in class when groups were giving their book critiques, one of my students commented on Reading Lolita in Tehran that he had never thought of reading as a political act.

May 10, 1933--75 years ago--in what is now known as Bebelplatz in Berlin, German university students gathered and burned 20,000 books they considered "un-german" --against the Nazi ideology or culture--books by Einstein, Freud, Thomas Mann, H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, Bertolt Brecht and others.
Joseph Goebbels urged them on...to patriotic songs and speeches.
"...The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has again cleared the way on the German path...The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you. As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death - this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed - a deed which should document the following for the world to know - Here the intellectual foundation of the November (Democratic) Republic is sinking to the ground, but from this wreckage the phoenix of a new spirit will triumphantly rise...You are doing the right thing at this midnight hour—to consign to the flames the unclean spirit of the past. This is a great, powerful, and symbolic act. . . . Out of these ashes the phoenix of a new age will arise. . . . Oh Century! Oh Science! It is a joy to be alive!” Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and and Propaganda.

Today. the spot is marked with a glass plate set into the ground, showing off a room of empty bookcases. The poet Heinreich Heine's statement is engraved on a placque nearby: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" ("Where they burn books, they will also burn humans in the end" written circa 1820-2).

Students from Humboldt University [which borders the plaza (along with the State Opera and a cathedral)] hold a book sale to mark this anniversary.

Last summer, when we were standing there, a tour guide asked her group, what they saw when they looked down at this marker. One person said, "I see my reflection." The tour guide responded with words to the affect: that is so you will know it is your responsibility that something like this never happens again.

And, Please do not think that books do not get banned here in the US of A...The American Library Association keeps track. The list for 2007 includes:

1. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3. “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

4. “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7. “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved," both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks.

And, do I have to remind you of the burning of the Dixie Chicks' records????

As Justice Holmes stated in Gitlow v New York: " Every Idea is an incitement."
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Religious Bigotry is Everywhere

I have been saying this all along: if we are holding up Rev. Wright for his comments, we should be holding up ALL religious leaders for theirs. Religious bigotry is everywhere!

From Rev. Billy Graham, the religious advisor to many presidents, made anti-Semitic remarks in the Oval Office to President Nixon(http://www.rense.com/general20/billy.htm or http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/4048_12.asp) to Pastor John Hagee's anti-catholic & homophobic remarks (see for yourself http://www.truveo.com/tag/(homophobe), not to mention Falwell blaming lesbians and gays for the terrorist attacks(http://www.soulforce.org/article/581 ) or Pat Robertson's 1992 fundraising letter that said "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." (it was also sent to Iowan voters when they were considering an equal rights amendment, my mother-in-law showed me her letter), or that he linked Katrina to America's sins (http://mediamatters.org/items/200509130004),

Bill Moyers says it more eloquently, talking about the reaction to Rev. Wright's comments: http://www.alternet.org/election08/84330/

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