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An excellent post on the anniversary at Daily Kos.

The confusion in response to Obama’s morally justifiable but probably unconstitutional participation in attacks on the Libya government crosses all political ideologies.  So what’s the right wing meme of late?  Obama is a sissy who was dragged into war by women.

That’s what Rush says.

But I like Frank Gaffney’s approach better.

Needless to say, I hope the Gaddafi Precedent 1.0 will work out better than seems likely to be the case in Libya.  Even more importantly, I am praying that Barack Obama and his anti-Israel troika of female advisors will not take us all down a road that seems ripe for another, ominous application of this precedent, with truly horrific repercussions – for Israel, for the United States and for freedom-loving people elsewhere.  A Congress that was effectively sidelined by Team Obama in the current crisis had better engage fully, decisively and quickly if it is to head off such a disastrous reprise.

We are of course talking about Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power.  They reportedly pushed the intervention, with Gates, Brennan, and other male “sissies” in the administration opposed.  It’s kind of a mix of criticism – Obama waited too long and had to be shamed by his women, but acted too quickly because women are emotional.  It’s right out of the Herbert Dune novel.

Addendum: Margaret Carlson on “girl power.

A blast from the past. Quiche anyone?

The public option may be in the dustbin of history, but there are still four Senators determined to squeeze even the last bit of reform the bill might hold.  Senator Sherrod Brown is caving to the pressure on the grounds that there’s still some “good stuff” in the bill.  No word yet from Sanders or Feingold, however, we may be getting a dose of principle from a very unlikely source.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

No word from the House Progressive Caucus that I can find.


Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce is offering opportunities to win gift certificates to Hooters.  All you have to do is oppose health care reform.  Unlike the purported Blue Cross/Blue Shield ads, this offer does not incentivise action; you just have to accept their emails.

Blue Cross is claiming that the Facebook ads offering opportunities to win video games in return for sending an anti-reform email are fake.  The same story notes ads offering opportunities to win a TV.  Blue Cross has suspended all online advertising until they can “investigate” the matter.


The executive director of the Arizona Republican Party has been charged with stalking.  He’s accused of using the party’s database to stalk a female grad student.  Mum from McCain so far.


Add Chuck Schumer to the list of Limousine Liberals who have trouble getting along with the little people.  I consider the Stewardess a heroine if she managed to slow up the HCR sell-out for a few hours.


In a surprise move, Time Magazine named a warm body as Person of the Year.


Naomi Klein is in Copenhagen.  What she says in the video about “a deal” applies also to the health care debate.  Synchronicity?

She’s also telling Obama not to bother with Copenhagen because he’s already blown the opportunity.  I haven’t kept up on the story to be able to discuss the details.


Is Obama going for the long ball in Afghanistan?


After last week’s tomato incident, Salt Lake City’s Costco isn’t taking any changes ahead of today’s book signing event.  They’re removing the tomatoes.

No word on the eggs.


The Iranian guerrilla blogs have received much well-deserved coverage.  Apparently it’s taking off in Cuba too.  But the Cuban government seems to have more success in keeping the lid on the phenomenon.

According to the National Office of Statistics (which doesn’t count anything outside of formal channels), out of a Cuban population of more than 11 million, only 1.5 million use the Internet. Online connections made through student or work centers ban “pornographic and counter-revolutionary” sites, creating an incriminating nexus between those two words, and denying access to almost everything published by Cubans abroad. Domestic connections authorized for individual government officials are, in practice, also domesticated: portals such as Cubanet and Cuba Encuentro, both exile news services, are blocked by the Cuban government, as are various proxy servers. Cuban national servers, such as Infomed and Cubarte only allow browsing on “.cu” domains, which are exclusively Cuban State pages and as such are a kind of cyber chastity belt euphemistically referred to as the “Intranet.” In practice what this means is that most of the few Cubans who have online access don’t, in fact, have access to the Worldwide Web at all—only to e-mail.


Lastly, Barbara Ehrenreich posted a column calling for a new woman’s health movement in the aftermath of the new mamogram guidelines.


Addendum: The subtle differences between liberal pols and conservatives – the former can’t get along with them while the latter just screw them over.  I guess the reward was in the honor?

“Don’t talk to her unless she talks to you first.”  I wonder if that rule came down after the Couric interview.

Also, I guess we are expected to take comfort in this.  This kos poster argues that profound political sellouts are part of the history of every president, even liberal heroes like FDR.

Franken’s first legislative win – the government will not hire contractors who mandate arbitration clauses for victims of sexual harassment or assault.  The text is as follows:

Sec. 8104. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any existing or new Federal contract if the contractor or a subcontractor at any tier requires that an employee or independent contractor, as a condition of employment, sign a contract that mandates that the employee or independent contractor performing work under the contract or subcontract resolve through arbitration any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.

It arose from a particular story of a brutal rape victim, drugged and attacked by her fellow KBR employees and denied legal recourse.  Franken grills the KBR attorney.

30 Senators voted against the amendment – all of them Republicans.  Only Jon Stewart can respond to that.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Stewart“, posted with vodpod

I’m just glad that some of the Code Pink activists have the depth to listen to their sister organization in Afghanistan.  I don’t know where I fall in terms of policy in the country, but sometimes life just isn’t simple enough to accommodate an ideologically based absolutist position.  Do progressive activists really want to pull out of the country and leave girls vulnerable to the men throwing acid on their faces for showing up to school to learn how to read?  Do American feminists continue to  argue that the burka in Muslim culture context is actually a symbol of empowerment?  Bear in mind that a large number women in Kandahar, upon arrival of American troops, tossed their burkas into piles on the streets and torched them.  Afghan women, the feminists, are afraid.

Kudos to Medea Benjamin for thinking it over.  And it’s not an easy paradox – reminiscent of the progressive activists during the civil rights era who had mixed feelings about the use of National Guard to enforce integration.  Certainly her intelligence can respond to the cognitive dissonance, integrating the new data into a fresh ideological framework.  Of course, preferable would be the loosening up of dogma and the recognition of nuance and complexity.  Advocating independent thinking however carries a price.  Slogans are harder to write.  You can’t work speeches off a template of “isms” and villains.

Solidarity carries certain responsibilities.  Maybe the peace movement in general can learn to listen a little.  It’s out of practice.

But really, we shouldn’t judge.  That’s “cultural imperialism,” right?

From AP:

KABUL (AP) — A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives, human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers said Thursday, accusing President Hamid Karzai of signing the legislation to bolster his re-election prospects. Critics worry the legislation undermines hard-won rights for women enacted after the fall of the Taliban’s strict Islamist regime.

The law — which some lawmakers say was never debated in parliament — is intended to regulate family life inside Afghanistan’s Shiite community, which makes up about 20 percent of this country of 30 million people. The law does not affect Afghan Sunnis.

One of the most controversial articles stipulates the wife “is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires.”

“As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”

The article goes on to suggest it’s about courting the Shiite vote.

The intro from an atheist blogger:

While perusing through Fundies Say The Darndest Things, a user-provided content site where people submit ridiculous and sometimes hilarious fundamentalist views and rants, I found a very interesting quote. The quote comes from David J. Stewart, from and addresses the question “Is it okay to divorce an abusive spouse?

And the passage he or she quotes:

Interestingly, and sadly, all we see on the internet and in society today is talk about domestic violence; but NEVER do we hear anything about statistics on wives who refuse to obey their husbands. It is evil. It is just as sinful for a wife to frustrate her husband through insubordination and disobedience as it is for a man to commit domestic violence. I am not lessening the sin of domestic violence, I am emphasizing the sin of wives who rebel against their husbands by not being obedient. I realize this is ancient mentality to feminists today; but it is 100% Biblical doctrine. A wife is expected by God to obey her husband. Feminists are eagerly willing to crucify abusive husbands; BUT they won’t even address the issue of wives who disobey, mistreat, and frustrate their husbands. It takes two to tango.

Please understand that I believe a wife who is being physically abused should leave if she feels threatened; but not divorce. Such a wife needs to sincerely ask herself “why” her husband is being abusive–there’s ALWAYS a reason. …”

David J. Stewart, [2007-Feb-17]

I’m not particularly religious, so I just don’t understand.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Yeah, it’s sexist and all that. But I’m envious of people with the time and energy to worry about stuff like this.

From Corriere Della Sera:

In 2017, only two doctors in ten will be male. Surgeons and urologists dwindling. Federation of medical associations warns that countermeasures must be taken.

ROME – Can you imagine a man letting himself be examined by a female urologist?

Okay, I’m imagining. I guess it could be awkward. But, yeah, I can imagine it.

In a couple of years’ time, this will be a situation that many men who are currently reluctant out of pride or embarrassment will have to accept. Italy’s medical profession is rapidly changing sex. Already, some 60% of the students at faculties of medicine and surgery are female and forecasts predict that in the next ten years, as many as eight white coats in ten will be worn by women. The topic will be on Friday’s agenda at a major conference organised at Caserta by the FNOMCEO, the federation of medical associations chaired by Amedeo Bianco.

Dr Bianco’s warning is based on figures collated by his deputy, Maurizio Bennato: “We have to address the future differently, otherwise some specialisations, especially the ones that today are single sex, will be facing a crisis. I am very much in favour of women doctors but I do admit to a certain concern. We have to design a system that will ensure quality and potential without reducing supply”. Hospital roles will be turned on their heads with beskirted doctors and nurses in trousers. For there is also a new trend in nursing. Once, nurses were female but nowadays the profession offers more promising prospects for men. Nursing is no longer just about care and has acquired a managerial, coordination-oriented focus. In other words, old-style ward sisters are on the way out.

See, I find the image of a “beskirted” doctor appealing. Why can’t a female doctor, or CEO for that matter, wear a dress? And not just any dress, but a decorative colorful one? If I was waiting in fear of test results or some sort of diagnosis, I can tell you that the image of a woman walking in with a big smile in a dress with lilacs printed all over it, it could help settle my nerves.

Okay, so let’s say I accepted that this anticipated disparity is a problem. I’m a young, intelligent, heterosexual Italian man thinking about med school. The women in med school are going to outnumber men 4 to 1? I mean, if that perk isn’t an incentive, I don’t know what is!

I tell you, I was born a couple of decades too early!

Photo comes from the Witch Doctor.  Youth is so wasted on the young!

Humboldt County Women’s Gathering
& Planning Meeting

Purpose Statement:
Gather Women and Girls and Friends of Women to
Make Connections – Find Common Ground – Develop Clout
To Enhance the Status of Women in Humboldt County

Next meeting:
Monday, Feb 19 12:30PM
Location: HSU Multi-Cultural Center, Building 55
Parking: pay meters are available, or a permit at Parking Services on Harpst St, first main entrance off L K Wood Blvd (parallels 101, on th East), 1 block north of 14th St.
Directions: Parkg Svc has campus maps! Walk up steps and soon on the left is Bldg 55 / Balabanis House.

Please forward this notice to other women, women’s groups, and communities throughout Humboldt Co – so we may gather more interested parties to the network.

The design of the gathering has been discussed. The consensus of the group is to convene a forum for open and inclusive dialogue. This gathering would aim to bring together a diverse, multi-faceted group: women and girls, non-profit & non-Gov’t organizations (NGOs), government and municipal agencies, various communities (geographic; ethnically diverse; age-diverse; multi-class), and people who are interested in the status of women in Humboldt County – to meet one another, to discover and form connections.

Rather than lecture or panel format, we envision a dialogue in which all participants share their purposes, concerns and needs; in which individuals can educate one another on their agencies mandates and concerns, or their communities’ needs and perspectives. A brainstorming and listening session would identify and surface issues seen as priorities by the various groups and community representatives – to understand one another and to find common ground.

How do we build energy for action: continuity and clout between the participating groups and individuals from throughout the county? We envision this brainstorm of information to motivate energy for action.
We envision sustainable communities that are knowledgeable of its resources with connectivity and ability to network and provide mutual support on shared goals and issues. The sustainability is helping each other to act in a good way. We hope to promote camaraderie and collaboration among people with like energy and aims. A desired outcome is formation of several action circles around common concerns – an infrastructure to increase collaboration and clout.

Outreach, with a personal touch, is key now. We rely on our many sisters and brothers to help us reach the communities, groups and individuals with interest and energy who you know, and who might not otherwise respond to announcements of this forum.

Two DATES for the Women’s Gathering have tentatively been set:
— Monday, April 23, or
— Sunday, April 29, at HSU’s Goodwin Forum
We planned for April to include college students, who have finals in May. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month – and busy with Take Back the Night activities and so forth. The April 21-22 weekend is totally booked at HSU. Is a weekday feasible? Is a Sunday feasible?

Let us hear from you and those you know – to plan a broad and deep gathering of women.
Jene McCovey 707-822-4233 & Lauren Oliver 707-923-0152

And here is the CAWA site.


June 2020