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  • (12)

    Funny how some bloggers of the the right wing is so obsessed with party colors that they cannot see green. Clinging to their delusions in spite of scientific evidence, this past week we marveled as the right wing continued to plug its ears and start shouting wild accusations of pseudo-facts about individuals rather than see what is coming down upon us all: global warming. Gotta hand it to them: these folks are very effective at their GOP-stooge role, repeating anger points generated from Dittohead Command Headquarters. (Inconvenient truths are conveniently ignored.)

    In response to my piece on Peter Schweizer's inane attempt to dismiss global warming because of unsubstantiated assertions about Al Gore's personal finances and business ties, I received this email from Lisa Wade Raasch of empowerchange.com that seems to shed new light on all this.

    I'll just paste it here and let you read it:

    This is yet another in the long string of tactics tied back to Exxon --
    the CEI ads, the YouTube penguin video, the skeptic evangelical
    response, etc. etc. Exxon gave $295,000 to the Hoover Institution where
    Peter Schweizer is a research fellow.

    It's amazing, on one hand the global warming skeptics call Gore an
    environmental extremist, and on the other they say he isn't extreme
    enough to be a credible spokesperson.

    [contact info removed. -mg]

    Exxon is at it again.
    Setting the record straight on Peter Schweizer's misleading USA Today
    piece

    Peter Schweizer's ("Gore not quite as green.") piece that ran in USA
    Today (August 10) was a grossly inaccurate misrepresentation of the
    facts.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Schweizer's op-ed is the latest in a string of
    attacks from organizations receiving money from ExxonMobil-in this case
    an attempt to attack the messenger to divert attention from the message
    of the climate crisis. Mr. Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover
    Institution, which has received $295,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
    (http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=43)

    PETER SCHWEIZER'S MISLEADING CLAIMS:

    CLAIM: Schweizer claims that Gore receives royalties from a
    zinc mine on his property.

    FACT: This charge is false. Gore receives no royalties from the mine,
    which shut down in 2003. Like many owners of small farms in Smith
    County, Tennessee, the Gores received royalties on their mineral rights
    when the mine operated. (A correction ran in USA Today on page 10A.)

    CLAIM: Schweizer makes the false assertion that Gore controls stock in
    Occidental Petroleum.

    FACT: This claim is also false. Gore has never owned stock in
    Occidental. His late father, Albert Gore Sr., did work for a number of
    years at Occidental. At the time of his death, he owned stock in the
    company, all of which was sold almost six years ago. The former Vice
    President's mother had a small number of shares in her own name at the
    time of her death; that stock was also disposed of by the trustee of her
    estate. Mr. Gore is not the trustee.

    CLAIM: Schweizer attacks Gore for not using green energy alternatives
    at his home.

    FACT: Gore was already in the process of adding photovoltaic solar
    panels to his home before this scurrilous attack. The Gores have signed
    up for every "green power" option their utilities make available.

    CLAIM: Schweizer asserts that Gore does not offset his carbon
    emissions because Paramount Classics pays for the offsets.
    FACT: The Gore's personal carbon offsets are achieved independently of
    and in addition to the carbon-neutral leadership shown by Paramount
    Classics, Participant Productions and Rodale.
    (more)
    An Inconvenient Truth: "An Inconvenient Truth" is the first carbon
    neutral documentary ever. Paramount Classics and Participant
    Productions have worked with Native Energy to offset 100 percent of the
    carbon dioxide emissions from air and ground transportation and hotels
    for production and promotional activities associated with the
    documentary (http://www.paramountvantage.com/blog/?p=35). In addition,
    with the book "An Inconvenient Truth," Rodale became the first publisher
    to produce a carbon-neutral book. The offsets for "An Inconvenient
    Truth" will support New Native American and Alaskan Native wind turbines
    and new family dairy farm methane energy projects will deliver clean,
    renewable energy to the power grid and displacing power that would
    otherwise come from burning fossil fuels.

    Generation Investment Management: In addition, Gore co-founded
    Generation Investment Management, which invests in companies that are
    part of the climate solution. Not only does Generation offset the
    carbon emissions of its London and DC offices and business travel
    through purchases on the Chicago Climate Exchange to permanently retire
    carbon credits, it also offsets the personal home and travel emissions
    of all its employees through the CarbonNeutral Company. These offsets
    support two projects: 1) a dam-less, "run-of-river" hydro power project
    in Bulgaria forecast to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as
    10,000 - 13,000 tons per year, and 2) a rural solar electrification
    project in India and Sri Lanka to replace the use of dangerous kerosene
    lamps that produce high levels of CO2 emissions to light homes with
    solar powered lighting systems that produce no CO2.

    Current TV: Current TV (www.current.tv), an independent media company
    co-founded by Gore that features viewer created content, approved going
    carbon neutral at the beginning of 2006, while still in its first year
    of operation, and will have completed the process by the end of the
    fiscal year.

    Reducing CO2 Emissions: Recognizing that we all inevitably emit CO2,
    Gore sees offsets as one way to keep total global CO2 emissions in check
    and to support alternative "green power" programs in the process. That
    said, he believes that the first line of defense is to reduce carbon
    emissions as much as possible. Gore works to reduce his overall energy
    use by: switching to compact florescent light bulbs, driving a hybrid
    vehicle, using green power, adjusting the thermostat a few degrees,
    using clock thermostats to make sure no portions of the house are kept
    warmer or cooler than needed throughout the day, installing sensors to
    ensure that no lights are inadvertently left on in rooms that are not in
    use, making a point of flying commercially whenever possible, and
    telecommuting when he can.

    Al Gore has worked for 30 years to raise awareness about global warming
    and to advocate for meaningful solutions. In addition to the very
    important role that government (at all levels) and companies must take
    to cut emissions of pollution that cause global warming, he urges each
    of us to take individual responsibility for our carbon dioxide
    emissions. However, he has not asked more from the public than he is
    willing to do himself.

    Al and Tipper Gore are donating 100-percent of the profits from both the
    "An Inconvenient Truth" book and movie to fight against global warming
    pollution.For a bit more context, I recommend David Roberts' post in Grist Magazine.

  • (11)

    Media girl's lively thread about the Daily Kos boycott has proved to be a microcosm. At one point a person concerned about men's rights and men's liberation joined in. The exchange was rapid fire. Statistic were trundled out and challenged.

    But then.

    Lo!

    With Media girl and one of the men's rights activists debating, someone else pipped in,

    Maybe you two should just cut the foreplay and just fuck each other.

    There it is.

    There what is?

    Didn't you notice?

    Notice what?

    The threat of rape.

    I'll sound like George Bush. Ya see, when a woman is contrary to a man, disagrees with him, or doesn't toe the line, she needs to be put in her place. She needs to be fucked, and if she says 'no,' well that how women are when they want it. Heh-heh. She needs to be raped. After all, listening to her parrying everything a man says, is invitation enough, isn't it? She's asking for it. She's begging for it. We all know how much she really wants now, don't we.

    No woman would put up an intellectual argument unless she wanted to be raped, right? "That always shuts them up."

    "Against Our Wills," written in the early 1970's by Susan Brownmiller, has stood the test of time. Not all those conclusions and conjectures have been embraced and some have been challenged, but the over-all insight has stood the test of time: rape is a crime of violence, not sex. Rape is a crime to diminish and humiliate the victim.

    Some people have difficultly with this concept - usually those who are not in danger of rape, themselves. I'll illustrate with a true story. I once shared an office with a liberal man who was respectful of women and a couple times he said (in regard to a negotiation we were involved in with a client) "when rape is inevitable." The variant was "when rape is inevitable, lay back and enjoy it," meaning if you can't do something about a situation, don't struggle. Well, about the seventh time in two years he used that phrase, and I knew him well enough to challenge him. "Alan. Do you know what you're saying?" Rape, I mean, and he mumbled something about sex being a nice thing - and knowing him, he loved his wife and from his wistful smile, I think he was thinking about their domestic life.

  • (11)

    Kos has been exploring core values of the Democrats over the past few days. While I commend the effort, I feel there's an essential aspect missing.

    Coming late to this -- I've found most of the DKos atmosphere a bit abrasive and tesosterone-driven of late and have in general stayed away -- I've missed the discussion (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) so let's just cut to the chase: the grand conclusions:

    Accountability
    Fighting Corruption
    Responsive govt
    Transparancy
    Electoral Reform
    Fiscal responsibility
    Corporate Accountability (tort laws, strong SEC, etc)

    Privacy
    Sacrosant Doctor/Patient relationship (choice, contraceptives, medical marijuana)
    Family planning
    No regulation of morality
    Opposition to Patriot Act
    A right to die
    Consumer privacy
    Religious freedom

    Growth and Opportunity
    Education (pre-K, primary, secondary, college)
    Worker rights
    Social Security
    Health Care
    Gender equality (same pay for same work, etc)
    Non-regressive tax laws
    Marriage equality
    Workplace protection (OSHA, discrimination laws, etc)
    Fair trade laws
    Small business support
    Protecting our environment
    Protecting our cultural heritage
    Sound energy policy

    American Leadership (America is number one!)
    Strong, effective military
    Leadership on global issues (e.g. terrorism, landmines, global warming, etc.)
    Champion of human rights, at home and abroad
    Leadership in science and technology (e.g. stem cells, alternative energy, etc.)
    Strong United Nations/Internationalism

    Maybe it's just me, but I find "privacy" to be a very weak frame for a woman's sovereignty over her own body. "Privacy" suggests secrets. I don't see the issue as being about keeping secrets, but a matter of having control.

    I consider a woman's control over her own body a matter of freedom from enslavement. I think we've fallen into a big trap by getting into debating "abortion," as if that were the issue. It's not. If you're against abortion, don't have one. A lot of people would never have an abortion. That's their own choice. But that does not mean that they automatically support State control over one's body.

    If the state can force a woman to remain pregnant, then it becomes the state's decision, and that means, under the same premise:

    • The State can force an abortion
    • The State can sterilize people (including use of castration)
    • The State can regulate all behavior of pregnant women
    • The State can impose its will on people's bodies for other reasons

    It's the stepping stone to eugenics. For example, what if the State decides it has a compelling interest to have people who have "the gay gene" sterilized? What if the State decides there are enough Hispanics in this country? What if decided that "welfare mothers" were too expensive and so mandated sterilization?

    Are we going to lock up a pregnant woman if she lights a cigarette? Are we going to have pregnancy officers doing home checks to make sure pregnant women are eating their vegetables?

    Should the State mandate vassectomies for men who do poorly in college or fail to pass the Presidential Physical Fitness tests?

    Shall we hold criminal trials to determine the guilt or innocence of women who've miscarried? Shall men be arrested for masturbating and spilling precious seed?

    Should we have political vetting so only the "good people" can reproduce? Should the State set up matchmaking programs so people with lower intelligence breed to produce workers to do grunt work?

    You don't have to be "pro-abortion" in order to have some very strong reservations about the State's power over our bodies.

    It's not privacy, it's freedom.

  • (11)

    The recent death of Betty Friedan reminded me how out of touch women are with one another over the issue of Feminism.

    A second generation of women, the grandchildren of the Feminists of the 1960s and 1970s, are growing up in a world shaped by Feminist thinking and Feminist gains. It is only when reality stumbles over the fact a women's right to choose to bear children, or not, is brought in jeopardy that people get into touch with their "inner Feminist."

    The word for this is complacency.

    Feminism is the idea that women should have equal rights.

    When Betty Friedan passed away, I read some of the retrospectives about her and what her contributions were - or weren't - and in them we learned more about the author of the articles than we did about Friedan - and I suppose that that's how the world works.

    If I were to write about ante-Bellum America, I am sure I would have difficulty picturing people who believed they had the right to own other people.

    I look at pictures of the Holocaust and the mind snaps.

    It is hard to look at the world in which we have no experience - and today's young women, thankfully, have had to live with less sexism than did the women and girls did in the era I grew up in.

    Along the way we won the right to choose. I can still remember the day that it happened. So many victories and so many battles and so much that we owe to so few - who fought for the rights we take for granted.

    Feminism meant that women not automatically be subservient to men. This angered some people who twisted what Feminism was, and contorted it into some sort of monstrosity, which then could be attacked because it was a Frankenstein -and ugly. The word Feminist was turned into a synonym for lesbian, as if only lesbians wanted to have equal rights, and all real women would spurn the concept. "Feminism was unfeminine."

    And we still hear it in a different form - how out of touch Friedan was; how she was a forgotten giant of a forgotten era; how today we have a post-Feminist era; that there is a Third Wave ... as if there were a Second Waves when all it really is part of the SAME wave.

    Using the word "wave" separates people and helps them forget.

    Words such as "radical," a cousin of the current "liberal," is applied to the idea a woman might have ambitions and talent.

    Is the Second Wave Feminist like "Web 2.0?" Are there Feminists that are 3.0? Hard to imagine when the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, isn't even on the radar, like it wasn't for the 1950's housewives that Friedan's book targeted.

    I am not out to flame the young women who are making a go of it. More power to them, but when the basics such as ERA languish, it is hardly a time to speak of second and third waves, and how fighting for choice is an issue.

    We can speak to Second and Third Wave Feminism, but until some of the fundamental legislation that goes by to the 1920s is passed, we are at Feminism 1.0 - or even still in "beta."

    Kos and others are right, but not the way they mean it. They say Reproductive Rights are a narrow issue. True enough, for it is how women get marginalized in a backwater. Until women have full equal rights, we will get side tracked in this area because the argument can be made that women are different and need different laws - just like the slaves of old.

    Until we all are free, no one is free.

    Feminism needs to be celebrated as a living thing and not some curiosity of history - a footnote of a failed cause.

  • (11)

    The new law requires women who are menstruating to report to the South Dakota Department of Health to have their menstrual blood inspected for evidence of human beings. Since South Dakota passed a law (statute text) designating fertilized eggs as human beings, even a normal-seeming menstrual period could be a miscarried human being. Women who are determined to have discharged human beings from their uteri will be subject to charges of manslaughter, punishable by 2-6 years in prison.

    A special provision of the new law calls for the construction of Reproductive Protection Centers, where convicted women will be closely supervised.

    In a related collegiate scholarship program, young men whose GPAs are 3.5 or above will be able to reproduce with the convicts. The bill's sponsor, Peter Princely (R), described this provision as "the best way to ensure that our best and brightest can reproduce and multiply."Yes, I made that up. But it's not so far-fetched now, is it?

  • (11)

    In 1979, at a women-only meeting, the subject of sexual abuse was broached. After a long discussion where several women broke the silence, the moderator asked how many people at the meeting had been the victims of sexual assult. I was shocked at the number of hands that went up. Two close friends raised their hands. I never knew.

    Searching for Angela Shelton shows a clip and it is hauntingly similar to the experiences I heard.

  • (11)

    The real news is that Republican endorsement of torture is now official. But despite events of global import, Republicans still love a sex scandal. Maybe here's one of their own:

    "Sick sick sick sick sick":

    A 16-year-old male former congressional page concerned about the appropriateness of an e-mail exchange with a congressman alerted Capitol Hill staffers to the communication.

    Congressman Mark Foley's office says the e-mails were entirely appropriate and that their release is part of a smear campaign by his opponent.

    In the series of e-mails, obtained by ABC News, from Rep. Foley (R-FL) to the former page, Foley asks the young man how old he is, what he wants for his birthday and requests a photo of him.

    John at Americablog notes that Foley's home page is all about protecting children from predators.

    Up for even more creepy? Foley's congressional home page is all about child sex offenders. Why, because Foley is the Co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Yes, this is the guy the Republicans put in charge of taking care of child sex offenders. Seriously, this is sick.

    John has some scans of the emails themselves.

    Meanwhile, Foley's office is playing "blame the victim":

    Elizabeth Nicolson, Foley's Chief of Staff, said they believe the e-mail exchange began when the page asked Foley for a recommendation and that the subsequent exchange was totally innocent. She said Foley's office believes the e-mails were released by the opposition as part of an "ugly smear campaign."

    Before you get too dizzy from your spin job, Elizabeth Nicolson, let's remember that it's the page himself who's creeped out. Is this all his fault? Is that the policy advocated in all these child protection policies Mark Foley advocates? Blame the victim?

    Now, this is about when the right-wing sycophants will attack the page for wearing a sweater, right? Oh wait, the page is a guy. That won't work. Well, they'll figure an angle to blame Bill Clinton, just you wait and see.

    (If this were a Democratic congressman, imagine the howls you'd be hearing from the entire wingnut dittosphere.)

    TBogg notes:

    And it's a shame because, despite Foley's role helping George Bush steal the Florida election, he's fairly moderate as far as Republicans go. And it's not like he hasn't been under the sexuality microscope before. If this blows up...and it probably will (Republicans will run away from him like he's a Army recruiter), his replacement will likely be another Republican loon of the type we have come to expect from Florida.
  • (11)

    "Hey there Delilah" is a love song about a real woman. According to USA Today, the lead singer of Plain White T's Tom Higgenson met Delilah DiCrescenzo in 2004. He thought it would be "smooth" to write a song for her since she was the most beautiful "girl" he had ever seen. Higgenson said, " 'Because I wasn't with Delilah, I had to imagine, If I was with this girl, what would I want to tell her?' ".

    He assumed that his musical talents could put her into a love spell:

    Hey there Delilah
    I've got so much left to say
    If every simple song I wrote to you
    Would take your breath away
    I'd write it all
    Even more in love with me you'd fall
    We'd have it all

    He also assumed that this woman needed someone to take care of her financially:

    Hey there Delilah
    I know times are getting hard
    But just believe me girl
    Someday I'll pay the bills with this guitar
    We'll have it good
    We'll have the life we knew we would
    My word is good

    He even goes as far as writing that his infatuation with her is her fault:

    Delilah I can promise you
    That by the time we get through
    The world will never ever be the same
    And you're to blame
  • (11)

    The political "debate" is really a bunch of moralistic posturing. As much as the so-called "pro-life" camp tries to deny it, the crux of the conflict is not about abortion itself, but about governmental control of women's bodies.

    A governmental ban on abortion means that the government is deciding what happens inside of a woman's body.

    It means the woman has no say.

    And it means a lot of scary implications.

    Birth control could end up being banned as a consequence, since some people seem to think that "life begins at conception" which would make even the birth control pill illegal. Some people, especially a certain patriarchal legacy from the Roman Empire, seem to think every sperm is sacred, which would make even condoms illegal.

    But it goes beyond that. Doctors have determined that drinking during pregnancy can have detrimental affects on the fetus. So do we start arresting pregnant women when they have a drink?

    What about smoking? Can a woman who miscarries after smoking a cigarette be jailed for manslaughter?

    What is to be considered an unnecessary, even reckless, risk? Riding a bicycle, where you could fall and suffer miscarriage?

    What if the woman just has "unhealthy" eating habits? Toss her into prison?

    Does the government then establish breeding colonies where women's behavior and diet are strictly controlled, safely protected from the temptations and dangers of the outside world by razor wire and armed guards?

    And what if the government decides that certain genetic lines are undesirable -- to many health risks, perhaps, or maybe just "the wrong kind of person"? It has happened before, even in our own country, and not all that long ago. If the government decides on what can happen in a woman's body, and controls the woman's body by force of law, then the government has the power and right to force abortions and sterilizations as well. Is that what we want? A kind of fascist breeding program?

    It may sound silly or outrageous to you, but these are real implications of giving government control of the womb, the result of simply making abortion illegal.

    Why do abortions happen? Because pregnancy entails real physical risk, real livelihood risk, real social risk, which makes an unwanted, unexpected or dangerous pregnancy a very real problem to the woman. How do we reduce the number of abortions to near zero? There are so many ways that have proven track records, but what doesn't work is government occupation of every fertile woman's body.

    If you are really pro-life, then you will see through the false morality of righteous posing that defines the "pro-life" movement, and you will see the falsity of the claim that the pro-choice majority wants to abort babies just for kicks or to pursue some dark satanic agenda.

    If you are really pro-life, then you would support:

    • Easy availability of birth control
    • Emergency contraception (which is not the abortion pill, by the way, which is another thing altogether)
    • Real fact-based sex education for all children who are fertile
    • The end of abstinence-only education, which is just wishful thinking (or do you really think that kids pumped full of raging adolescent hormones would not even notice their sex organs if adults did not tell them about it?)
    • Stronger laws protecting women from date rape, marital rape and general violence against women
    • Elimination of all laws that make rape the only felony where the victim's own testimony is not enough to convict the perpetrator (and here I'm speaking to you "tough on crime" folks)
    • A cultural change to put responsibility for a woman's pregnancy on the man as well (because she sure didn't impregnate herself, did she?)
    • Free sterilization for women who opt for it (for whatever reason)
    • Free pre-natal healthcare for women who cannot afford to have a baby
    • Free post-natal healthcare for children and women who cannot afford it
    • Affordable healthcare for all
    • Elimination of all pre-natal coverage exemptions that insurance companies are getting away with right now
    • And many many other policies that empower women to more effectively control their own destinies, rather than empower the government to seize women's bodies.
  • faq
    (10)

    Note: This page is periodically updated. To keep things current, we're editing the text without use of strikethroughs (like this) because it was just getting too difficult to read any more.

    Q: What is trackback? How does it work?

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    A: One of the advantages of dynamic interactive website is that the participants can collectively "moderate" the content posted. Here, it's a way for everyone to rate the comments others post, so that the better comments get props while the posts considered generally negative or troll-like will get filtered from default display. With traffic now reaching 1000 hits a day, it's generally easier to let the members decide what's good and what's not. This does not mean there are no moderators or admins who might step in and remove completely inappropriate posts. But it does mean that we can have a more hands-off approach and just let the users decide. Note: While all users can filter comments display, only registered users can actually rate comments. Trusted users have more voting weight. As time goes by, we may adjust these settings. Stay tuned.

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    A: New members must establish a track record before obtaining blogging privileges. Sorry that this is necessary, but some trolls have necessitated this policy. If you have any questions, please contact me via the feedback form.

    As for policies once you are blogging on the site, well, obviously we want you to be tasteful, entertaining and honorable -- or, at the very least, funny :D -- but you also should conform to the terms of service. For more on blogging well, a good place to start is Rebecca's weblog handbook, which emphasizes:

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    Rebecca elaborates on each of these points. She also has a book for sale. All can be found at the link above. Note: This FAQ page and our Terms of Service page are our own exceptions to the "public corrections" rule. We try to keep this page clean and simple, so it's easy to find questions and answers. That means that if we kept striking out old text to replace it with new -- as we advise for blog posts -- the page would get overly cluttered. However, we try to note any significant changes to this page to avoid undue confusion.

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