Friday, September 19, 2008


Neil Patrick Harris has shoes for you.

On Double Standards

Let me get this straight ...

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers -- a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track -- you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend five different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend three years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a constitutional law professor, spend eight years as a state senator representing a district with more than 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees ... you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather presenter, four years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with fewer than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people ... you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising two daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner-city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude," with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

hat tip to: The Snarky Squab

Also, I changed a few words here and there that I felt were sexist. Even if I don't like Sarah Palin, there's no need to call a grown woman a "girl", you know?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Republican candidates and the Arts.

You know THIS will be a short post, yeah?

Here's what you need to know about McCain's policies re: art and culture:

Desperately Seeking John McCain's Arts Policy

and, a little tale from a small museum in a small town, circa 1997:

Anchorage Daily News (Alaska)

August 6, 1997, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION


BYLINE: S.J. Komarnitsky; Daily News Mat-Su Bureau


LENGTH: 975 words


Opal Toomey, Esther West and Ann Meyers don't seem like politically active types. There are no bumper stickers on their cars, no pins on their lapels.

But the three gray-haired matrons of Wasilla's city museum decided to take a stand last week. Faced with a $ 32,000 budget cut and the prospect of choosing who would lose her job, the three 15-year-plus employees decided instead to quit en masse. They sent a letter to the mayor and City Council announcing they plan to retire at the end of the month, leaving the museum without a staff. They also sent a message: They'd rather quit than continue working for a city that doesn't want to preserve its history.

"We hate to leave," said Meyers, who at 65 is the youngest of the three. "We've been together a long time. But this is enough." If the city were broke, it would be different, she said. "If they were even close to being broke."

Instead, the city is flush thanks to a 2 percent sales tax passed in 1994 that has left it with $ 4 million in reserves. There is no reason the museum's budget should be cut, Meyers said.

But the mayor and several City Council members who supported the cut say the budget surplus is beside the point.

They were elected on a platform to minimize government and concentrate on infrastructure -- paving roads and extending sewer lines. They appreciate the museum and the work the women do to manage it and several buildings that make up a historic townsite in downtown Wasilla. But the operation needs to be more efficient, they say.

"I think everybody was in agreement there were ways to make the museum more efficient, to spend taxpayers' dollars wiser over there," Mayor Sarah Palin said.

The museum, which had an annual budget of more than $ 200,000, was costing roughly $ 25 per visitor, she said. Besides, she added, "if you talk to someone in Wasilla (about) where they want their tax dollars to go, nine out of 10 say, 'Fix my road. I still don't have water in my area. And protect our lakes with a sewer system.' "

That philosophy, supported by Palin and many City Council members, has been debated in the town since the mayor took office last fall. Some say the museum is just the latest example of cutting government at the expense of the community.

The women are only the latest to leave the city payroll, noted John Cooper, who was the museum's director until Palin fired him last fall.

In addition to Cooper, Wasilla Police Chief Irl Stambaugh left last winter after Palin fired him, and planning director Duane Dvorak and Public Works director John Felton turned in their resignations this summer.

"People are voting with their feet," he said.

Palin maintains she is doing what voters asked. To have $ 4 million in reserves is prudent. That's not even an entire year's budget, she said.

Much of the latest flap over the museum is a misunderstanding, she said.

All the council wanted was to cut back the museum's hours in winter from seven days a week to five. The women made the decision to resign, Palin said.

West, Toomey and Meyers disagree. They say they were told that one of them would have to leave in September.

Regardless of what was intended, museum supporters say, losing the women will be a blow to the city.

The three have run the two-story building just off the Parks Highway since the early 1980s. And while it is no National Gallery of Art, its collection of mining materials, homestead memorabilia and early Wasilla history has its charm, said Fran Seager-Boss, Mat-Su Borough anthropologist.

"It's people and characters of the area you wouldn't find anywhere else," she said. "It reflects their location and is unique."

Several of the items in the museum were donated or are on loan, including an ore stamp mill built in 1900. Used to crush ore, the hefty-looking piece of steel machinery was carried from Knik to a mine north of Wasilla by four Chinese laborers, according to the man who donated it.

Nearby is an ancestor of the modern game of foosball, with handcrafted soccer players in place of molded plastic figures. Miners paid a dime a game to pass long hours at the mines. The outside edges still bear burn marks where the players placed cigarettes.

The three women bring their life experiences to the collection. During a recent tour, Toomey, 77, added snippets of her years growing up and homesteading in the Wasilla area. She remembers riding the train from Anchorage to Wasilla and waiting at the freight station where the family received its furniture, lumber and other goods.

"That was how everything came in those days," she said.

West, 74, recalls wearing metal hair clips similar to ones under a glass display at the museum. The metal curling irons next to them, which were heated on stoves, were before her time though, she explains.

The three also bring their institutional memory. The museum used to be a community hall that was built in 1932, they said. Dances were held there, and the City Council used to meet in the basement. It was dedicated as a museum in 1967.

Seager-Boss said she frequently calls the three for information that could take much longer to gather from traditional sources. "Opal is my source," she said.

The museum and a farmer's market held each Wednesday in the old townsite, she noted, have given a heart to a town that is mostly business.

"Everything else is strip mall," she said. "But suddenly there's a nice little area right in downtown."

Palin said she doesn't downplay the museum's importance but at the same time she has to look out for the city's budget.

For now, there are no plans to try to woo the women back. For their part, none of the three expects it. Palin said she plans to meet with members of a local historical society to discuss options for finding replacements.

LOAD-DATE: August 7, 1997



Copyright 1997 Anchorage Daily News

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I sat on this for a while.

Partly because I was digesting it, partly because I figured it's a story that would disappear after a minute or ten of outrage. So, just as a reminder, in case anyone forgot:

Five women were buried alive in Pakistan this summer. Stop reading. Now.

Buried. Alive.

Got it?

What was their crime?

Expressing a desire to marry a man of their choosing, rather than be subject to an arranged marriage.

Imagine if you will, facing a lifetime of being raped by, bearing the children of, and being the property and domestic servant of a man chosen by your family. Your family which, by the way, will kill you if you express an opinion or desire a smidgeon of free will.

So, go to this link: Buried alive and think: a lifetime of sexual and domestic servitude, or death?

I note with interest the tone of the article, which seems far more interested in pointing out that such "tribal customs" are not in fact approved by Islam. Okay, got it. Murder = Not Islamic. Is that even the point here? The Senator - Balochistan Senator Sardar Israrullah Zehri - defended this murder as "tribal custom," not Islamic custom. It's all beside the point, for fucks' sake: five women were murdered and a bunch of dudes in Islamabad are squabbling about whether it was an Islamic custom or a tribal custom? Cheesus.

Men I know wonder why I'm so passionate about feminism, why I can't have a "friendly little debate", for funsies. And this is why: because feminism is a LIFE AND DEATH MATTER. Until women are acknowledged as humans the world over, women will die at the hands of our oppressors.

People who think gender is "irrelevant," that feminism is "done" (Sarah Palin, I'm looking at you!) - those people are blind and ignorant and selfish. When women can't see how much work there is to do, I am stunned, grieved, shocked.


Henceforth, I am no longer "single" or "unmarried." I am a "bachelor". The other two sound dull, and sad, and lonely not because it is true, but because our culture designates the solo female as such. The implication is that one should be something Other Than single or unmarried.

The Bachelor, on the other hand: fun! independent! whee! A bachelor chooses the bachelor lifestyle, which is a lifestyle envied by her married friends. A bachelor goes on vacations to places that aren't designated "Family Friendly," and hence are not overrun with screaming children. A bachelor spends her disposable income on whatever she wants to.* A bachelor never has to eat at Chuck E. Cheese. A bachelor never finds man-whiskers in her sink, or tube socks in her living room. A bachelor doesn't let a man leave his masculine products in her bathroom, because that would be too much like a commitment.

No, don't even think "ette". EFF the term "bachelorette", because that brings to mind bachelorette parties, which only take place when said female is about to give up her fun-loving lifestyle for the tedium of monogamy and lawn care.

*Alas, the female bachelor, operating at a 30% deficit on the male dollar, has substantially less disposable income, but let us pass over this little detail for the time being.

That is all.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Haskins, I love you.

Seriously, if you ever come to Mississippi, I will buy you dinner. And drinks. Coffee? Cigarettes? Yogurt? Really, whatever it is that you want, I love you and I'll see that you get it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008