Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

I have been asking myself what has happened to journalism in this country for a few years now. I heard two stories on NPR recently where they spent less than 5 seconds on the fact that the Planned Parenthood videos are less than honest and really didn’t address the origin and veracity of the videos. I was and am still so incensed I felt like writing an email to NPR (see said email to NPR at bottom.)

Matt Taibbi’s tweeted something that was very on point today. Glenn Greenwald first tweeted this:

On the ludicrous conceit of “objective, opinion-free journalism

with a link to an article. Someone named The Meteor Guy tweeted back to him and another person:

@ggreenwald @JulianPhilosphy keep separate the facts from the opinions is one of the basic rule of journalism.

And then Matt Taibbi responded:

That couldn’t be more incorrect. Which facts you choose to present IS an opinion.

I think it comes down to them, NPR and the rest of the media, being terrified of the “liberal bias” label. Their fear makes them leave out key facts in almost every single controversial story. And as such are, inadvertently I think, presenting an opinion. An opinion that will affect national opinion, which will in turn affect support for Planned Parenthood. The end result is that they are carrying water for the conservative agenda. Inadvertent or not, it’s just flat out wrong and it’s piss poor journalism. I for one am sick of it.

 


Sent 8/6/2015 via Contact Us form at NPR.org

Yesterday morning I listened to an NPR report on the latest sting video of Planned Parenthood. The reporter (sorry don’t remember her name) spent less than 5 seconds on its questionable nature. She characterized it, downplayed it, so that it came off as “excuse making” by Planned Parenthood. For example, she said something like ‘Planned Parenthood as part of their defense pointed to statements that had been edited out of the video’. That is VASTLY different from the truth. The guy making the video had an agenda and he significantly altered the video in order to make it look as if Planned Parenthood was guilty of committing a crime. That needed to be said but it simply wasn’t. In the real world that’s called framing. Instead the story came across as one of the “poor optics” for Planned Parenthood. This is the exact same thing that happened to Acorn and they are now defunct.

In addition other reports and opinions expressed on NPR’s other shows has been about the optics as well. I don’t want to hear about optics in the news. I want to hear as many facts as you can put into the time slot. NPR used to be the one news source I could go to to get some semblance of reality and avoid the horse race reporting and biased news presented by the rest of the media. But over the last year that has been disappearing. Sadly it seems NPR has bowed to political pressure not to appear as “liberally biased”. NPR is over correcting and it means you are leaving out facts that are vital to understanding a story and presenting it fairly. If the reality has a liberal bias, report it and let the chips fall where they may. And vice versa, if the reality has a conservative bias, then report it and don’t worry about the shrilling of the right or the left.

That does not mean, however, that I only want a centrist view. A variety of opinion is desperately needed and is lacking on all the political shows that I have listened to to include Diane Rehm’s and This Week in Politics. “This Week in Politics” is supposed to present two opposing sides to the political debate. Instead you have E.J. Dionne for the left. He’s more of a Democratic Party supporter….which does not necessarily make him a liberal. He, more often than not, presents mild and ineffectual retorts (if given the time) to snide, condescending rhetoric from David Brooks. David Brooks is a conservative masking himself as a centrist and he does not represent the conservative base in America. Even these two gentlemen, supposedly from opposing sides, took the centrist view on the Planned Parenthood story and the conversation hinged on the bad optics. It shouldn’t be about bad optics and by making it so you feed into those bad optics and as a result carry water for a political agenda. This has been happening with increasing frequency over the last few years.

And finally, while I can see plenty of facts online in NPR articles about the veracity of the videos and how government money to Planned Parenthood is really spent and how they provide crucial healthcare to millions of women, I have yet to hear that on any of the radio shows, which is where most people are exposed to NPR. Like most people, I listen on my way to/from work. Since the radio is how most of your listeners will hear the news, the articles online are of little use in affecting the current national conversation. And make no mistake about it, you are affecting national opinion. If that opinion turns against Planned Parenthood and they lose funding, tens of thousands of women will suffer.

I’m sad to report that NPR has now become the best of the bad and that decline will ensure that I do not rely on NPR for news or anything else in the future.

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UPDATE:  Regarding the e-mail incident between a U of Berkeley student and Sachi Landscaping–the guy is completely denying it was him but hasn’t provided one iota of proof that it wasn’t (details here).  And Mr. Zeiser contacted me via Twitter and said

Nice little passive aggressive compliment along with an insult.  But whatevs….I have not yet responded but my inclination is no. My thinking is that the kind of tripe he is pushing is already being blasted at the populace by really large media outlets like Fox, The Heritage Foundation, the American Spectator (for whom he has written in the past), the Daily Caller and dozens of other venues. Why should I let him use my little blog to broadcast his viewpoint when the entire Twitter conversation is all one really needs to know.  So I suggest you all read the entire Twitter conversation and make up your own mind.

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So, earlier today I was watching my Twitter scroll with one eye while trying to program in C# with the other and a couple of things jumped out at me.  The first was a Storify* from @AngryBlackLady (one of my favorite writers, commentators and all around smart people online) about a conversation between her and a conservative supposed PhD  who insisted on debating her about Obamacare regardless of whether she wanted to or not.

From @ABL’s Twitter Feed

If you don’t want to read the long exchange (you really should just for the giggles, the image above is a summary of his worst statements) it boils down to her getting angry at him for pestering her for days and telling him to leave her alone.  So he resorts to using some misogynist and racist terms to refer to her and finally he refuses to acknowledge the ugliness behind what he said or apologize for it.  At the end, of course, he claims to be the victim of the whole thing. It will make you feel all fuzzy inside–not.

Not long after reading that I saw a Tweet by @LaloAlcaraz, a man of many talents (you might have seen his comics in your local newspaper if you live in the Southwestern U.S.).  He shared an email exchange between a University of Berkeley student and the owner of a local business.  The student is a member of CASA (Chicano Architecture Student Association) and asked very respectfully if her organization could get a tour of his business.  His response?

You can see Lalo’s photo of the full email exchange and the explanation here.    Not only is the business owner’s response ugly he also claims to be victimized by the request for the tour.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing a rash of white males (just one example) running around crying about being victims to us “delicate flowers” and/or “savages” and/or “illegals”.  The irony is that anybody with a brain can see that white males, particularly older ones, still run this country and pretty much the entire fucking world.  This is serious “crazy making” behavior . It’s like women and minorities are in an abusive relationship with the rest of U.S. society.  They keep kicking us and then telling us that it’s our fault and we made them do it.  And then we when we legitimately confront them over it, they tell us that we’re the racist/bigots trying to stir up ill feelings that disappeared the moment the Black Marxist Muslim Usurper was elected in 2008.  And us wimmin folk, once we got the right to vote back in 1920 it’s been easy pickings since then, amiright my fellow delicate blossoms?   It’s all unicorns shitting one hundred dollar bills, rainbows and cotton candy, dontcha know!  Except, of course, for that painful black eye and those sore ribs we keep getting.

But there might be some hope.   Take for instance the revenge that has been enacted against ABL’s harasser.  If one were to Google his name (I highly recommend it, click this link and it will do it for you automatically) you will find a link to the Storify item I mentioned earlier about 4 or 5 results down.   The more people click on it, the more this will rise in Google search results whenever anyone searches for Mr. Zeiser.   And in so doing, it will air his statements about how much fun it is to “collect scalps”, how he called people of color and anyone who disagrees with him “savages”, and other various lovely things.  Note this isn’t harassment or libel or slander**.  He really did write these things and by doing this on Google we can ensure that even if he tries to deny it, the proof is easy to find.  As a side benefit whenever someone looks him up to find out more about him, one of the first things they will learn is that nature of his character is less than desirable.  Also do not Tweet about this conversation and mention ABL’s Twitter nom de plume. She’s over it and I don’t blame her–keep her out of the discussion unless she chooses to rejoin it on her own.

The other little bit of good news is that the Berkeley student has approached her College’s faculty in hopes that they will address the matter but many people have seen this exchange online now and I’m hoping it will descend squarely on this guy’s head so that he loses his license to practice.  However, the student has asked people online not to interact with the company directly so DO NOT contact the business owner or the company.  Nevertheless, if you live in Southern California (and I know a few people that do) keep this guy and his business in mind because if he or his company tries to get your business (or anyone you know) you can tell him to “piss off”.  If he wants to know why tell him it’s the “Free Market” coming back to bite him in the ass.

The ugliness of these kinds of exchanges is why I have to take a break from the Internet on occasion.  Then again, people like ABL and Lalo pull me back in because they are never afraid to point it out, call it what it is, and they don’t let it make them crazy.  I don’t have their coping mechanisms yet but I’m getting there.

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*For those who don’t know, Storify is a way to document a series of Tweets over a long period of time.  It puts them in the proper time order which can be very hard to do on your own without such an app.

**I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.  However, libel/slander is propagating something you know is untrue.  And it don’t get any more real than that there Twitter exchange.

The link to the Spanish version of this post

The following news stories actually make me not only wonder if our species will survive for much longer but also if we deserve to survive our own stupidity and neglect.

  • The City of Detroit found 11,000 rape kits that were abandoned and never tested.  After testing less than 7% of them they identified 100 serial rapists and 10 convicted rapists.  So if that pattern holds and they test the rest of them, they can expect to discover several hundred more of these scumbag.  ht mistermix at Balloon Juice
  • The AZ legislature is pushing a bill that would allow people to carry guns into building even if it’s forbidden (if they don’t have lockers available you can ignore the ban).  They’ve also advanced the idea that some gun owners can carry even if there are lockers and ban.  And to make it truly impossible for local governments to forbid guns in their government buildings, they’ve approved and forwarded a bill that says any local government who enforces local ordinance over state law can be fined.  This is like the trifecta of stupid.  They’re begging for someone to go into government buildings and commit mass murder.  I certainly will be avoiding those buildings like the plague if this crap passes.  ht JM Ashby at Bob Cesca
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, back when he was a prosecutor, let a child slaver off easy so that he could take down a political rival.
  • Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, told a woman that having cancer was her own fault for not forgiving her abusive father.  Okaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy
  • A new law went into effect in Michigan that says businesses and individuals who purchase private insurance must take out a separate rider to cover abortion care.  Essentially, if a woman needs an abortion for ANY reason and if she doesn’t have  a separate rider for it, she will have to pay out of pocket for the cost of that care.  So if I lived there, had a miscarriage and needed a D&C to shorten the process  and suffering so I could get back on my feet sooner, I would have to pay completely out of pocket for it.  Likewise for women who have become pregnant as a result of incest and rape.  That’s insane.  The real kicker is that there is not a single private insurance provider in the marketplace that provides this insurance.  This could not only bankrupt women and their families, it in effect nullifies Roe v. Wade, and will force women to seek out cheaper and more dangerous care for such things.  I hope the women in Michigan enjoy being second class citizens because it looks like the state is on target to vote the same politicians who’ve created these laws back into office.
  • Billionaires in the 1% are getting their panties in a twist and crying lots of salty tears because the rest of us are tired of having the economy manipulated while they gamble with our money and take what little wealth Americans have managed to accumulate over the last few decades.  The 99% have had the temerity to exercise their Freedom of Speech and the Right to Vote in more progressive candidates.  However, so far as I know there have been no lynch mobs or guillotine lines nor any proposed by anyone of significance in any “likely to happen” fashion.  The 99% are simply using the peaceful system of governance and the wonderful mechanisms given to us by the Founding Fathers.  However, reading some of the recent comments by the 1% (here’s a few examples here and here) might make one think that we are in the midst of a communist peasant uprising (or fascist style takeover depending on which historical example they erroneously choose).  Truth is, if we were in such a state, their heads would already be on pikes.  In reality nothing is happening to them and that’s the stupid thing.  We should be curtailing their almost godlike power over our economy and our elected officials. Their message gets broadcast loud and clear.  We hear about their perspective 24/7 on Fox News, read their whining on major websites and news sources (in addition to reading about their phenomenally ignorant take on history), and suffer under the vagaries of the worldwide economy which they essentially control.  As Jon Stewart said the other day, they make money regardless of how the economy fares.  So why should they give a crap about us? They don’t and the majority of Americans haven’t yet grasped this fact and what it will mean for this country, and indeed the world, in the long run.  Until Americans decide to stand up and pull up our pants, they’ll be back there having their way with us and complaining that its hard, nay dangerous, to be a billionaire.

So I was over at The Daily Banter commenting and reading a satirical piece on how white women have appropriated belly dancing from the Arabs (it makes fun of Salon.com’s weird penchant for fainting over really stupid shit).  Anyway, that’s when I stumbled across this little gem of a comment:

Stupid, racist comment

Stupid, racist comment

My initial reply:

My not so friendly reply

My not so friendly reply

Another bigot anonymously decides to join the party and support the first comment:

2nd asshole chimes in

2nd asshole chimes in

I just can’t stand it anymore and I unload:

My last reply

My last reply

My work is done

“Find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.”

—-William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

There is something rotten deep inside the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It’s some kind of infection that permeates the entire agency and results in pustules that force the public and the larger justice system to take notice. Sometimes those pustules burst and leave no doubt that something is terribly wrong. Rank problems include too many poorly explained and poorly handled inmate deaths, charges of racial discrimination, profiling and harassment, and 6,300 lawsuits that have cost County taxpayers over $50 million and counting. Just to put that into perspective for you….take Harris County, Texas (which includes Houston)….over the last 17 years Arpaio’s MCSO has had 6 times as many lawsuits against it. Yes, I said 6 times. Something is indeed rotten…we should just call Sheriff Arpaio “Cousin Fester” and be done with it.

Not as if we need any more convincing but there’s yet another sad and infuriating story coming out of Joe’s jail hellscape.  Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an illegal document with forged papers, was arrested in 2009 and she was pregnant.   What she says happened to her is a nightmare that no human being should ever have to endure.  Here’s a list of her charges:

  • They put her in jail while she was in active labor instead of keeping her in the hospital.
  • The purposely ignored her cries for help because they were in Spanish and not English (The Justice Department has confirmed that this was a common pattern of behavior for the guards.)
  • After being taken back a day later to the hospital to give birth via C-Section, she was not allowed to hold her son or nurse him.
  • She was shackled to her hospital bed immediately following the C-Section.
  • They took her out of the hospital early before she could be given pain medication and even before the hospital had officially discharged her.
  • When taking her out of the hospital, they had her shackled at both the hands and feet.  Her attorney said in an interview that I heard on KJAZZ this morning (can’t find the actual transcript) that she was bleeding down over her ankle shackles.

I don’t know about you, but I have had a C-Section and you can’t walk for quite a while afterward–like a full day afterwards. It’s major surgery and it hurts like hell.  It takes a minimum of 12 weeks of rest to recovery from. The fact that they had her up and walking out of the hospital (without doctor sign off) within hours not only violates hospital rules but the fact she had no pain medication is just plain cruel and unusual.

The lawsuit against MCSO was filed on Jan. 21st and one day later U.S. District Court Judge Joe Campbell threw it out of court saying that since she was not shackled during the actual labor her lawsuit cannot show that a constitutional rights violation occurred.  See the law says you can’t shackle a woman during labor but says nothing about before or after.  Industry practice, even in Arizona Corrections, is to never shackle a pregnant woman at any time unless she is a danger to herself and others.  So even though MCSO was violated their own industry practices, they weren’t technically violating the law–according to the judge.  A quick note, Judge Campbell is a well-known conservative.  In other words, there was little hope that this case could get past the patriarchal firewall of misogyny here in Arizona.  Thankfully, that’s what appeals are for.  Her attorney plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Until then, when will Maricopa County residents realize that this “effect defective comes by cause” and the cause is the guy at the helm of the rotting body that is MCSO.

I experienced another incident of sexism over the Holidays that I thought I’d share with y’all.

I typically put up Christmas lights every year the day after Thanksgiving. My usual design is white icicle lights across the eaves of the house and then colored lights on the windows and bushes. A funny thing happened this year. My neighbors to the west of me are an elderly couple, the man retired and his poor wife is bedridden with COPD. He is very friendly coming out to talk with us and the other neighbors while he putters around his yard and his garage where he does various hobbies. I was balanced near the top of an 8 foot ladder with a staple gun in one hand and lights in the other behind a corner of the garage where the guy next door couldn’t see me. I heard him say to the neighbor across the street, “Let me go say hello and see what this young man is doing.”. He came around the corner, saw that it was me and not my boyfriend and stopped short, surprised. He recovered nicely and we joked briefly about how we should make our kids put up the lights. He said something about me being “amazing” or “incredible” before he beat a retreat.

I didn’t think anything about it at the time but later it occurred to me what he thought and said to me was pretty sexist. He assumed it was my boyfriend and not me and then he commented on how “exceptional” I am for putting the lights up, which is ridiculous. Why wouldn’t a healthy full grown woman put up her own damn Christmas lights? Because I had a man in my life, he should automatically do it? Actually, I didn’t see any other women on my street doing it but that doesn’t mean they can’t. It just means that the men in their life prefer to do it.

He has a pattern of this behavior. When I first moved in he would take my trash and recycling bins down to the curb for me until he learned I had a boyfriend and then he just stopped. He also used to offer to help me whenever he saw me doing work in the yard and that stopped at the same time too. And then there was the time where I cleaned up the garage and put together a shelving unit…that blew his mind too so he had to comment on just how “capable” I am. These are the kind of subtle and not so subtle things that women notice but men often don’t that wear on us…those things that say, that assume, that I as a woman am incapable of doing pretty basic things.

I’ve never said anything about it to him and I never will. He’s elderly and from a completely different era that expected women to all be June Cleaver, so there is little likelihood of “converting” him to my way of thinking. But it’s annoying. And when you’ve heard stuff like this almost every day, your entire life, it adds up to one big burden that I and all the other women in the U.S. carry (whether they acknowledge it consciously or not). Just because I have a vagina AND can operate a staple gun on a ladder does not mean I am extraordinary. Sigh……

I’m laughing my butt off watching a video by Lily Allen for a song called “Hard Out Here[WARNING NSFW] and it really does have some funky stuff going on.  I’m not advocating the video per se but I do so love the lyrics (and they are NSFW either).   Without further ado, here they are (with bolding on the ones that made me smile):

I suppose I should tell you what this bitch is thinking

You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen
I won’t be bragging ’bout my cars or talking ’bout my chains
Don’t need to shake my ass for you ’cause I’ve got a brain

If I told you ’bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut
When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss
There’s a glass ceiling to break, uh-huh, there’s money to make
And now it’s time to speed it up ’cause I can’t move at this pace

Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say
I’ll go ahead and say them anyway
Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits

It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard out here for a bitch
It’s hard, for a bitch (for a bitch)
For a bitch, it’s hard
It’s hard out here for a bitch
It’s hard, for a bitch (for a bitch)
For a bitch, it’s hard
It’s hard out here

You’re not a size six, and you’re not good looking
Well, you better be rich, or be real good at cooking
You should probably lose some weight
‘Cause we can’t see your bones
You should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own

Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you?
Have you thought about your butt? Who’s gonna tear it in two?
We’ve never had it so good, uh-huh, we’re out of the woods
And if you can’t detect the sarcasm, you’ve misunderstood

A bitch, a bitch, a bitch, bitch, bitch

Inequality promises that it’s here to stay
Always trust the injustice ’cause it’s not going away
Inequality promises that it’s here to stay
Always trust the injustice ’cause it’s not going away