Aug 312008

When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, one of the first thoughts that ran through my head was that surely this was Christmas in July (or more accurately, August) for those of us in the punditry and comedy biz. Even the mainstream media is having trouble keeping a straight face. Last night on the evening news, CBS’s Bob Schieffer referred to her as a “pistol-packin mama.” It’s just hard to resist, plenty of issues to take potshots at. But that in no way excuses Comedy Central’s blog for this post admiring her “gubenetorial knockers” and referring to her as a VPILF, which in case you are clueless as I am means Vice President I’d Like to F*ck.

As one comment posted to the blog said,

“(D)id you make fried chicken and watermelon jokes for Obama too? Probably not..but what this shows along with Hillary’s candidacy, is that its still a man’s world, and those men only think of one thing and view women as good for one thing.”

To be quite honest, I’m getting tired of talking about Comedy Central’s sexism (here, and here). Enough already–evolve!

Once again, I would encourage you to comment on their blog and to write to Comedy Central and tell them you aren’t laughing.

Many thanks once again to Amee Chew for alerting us to this latest incident of media misogyny.

 August 31, 2008  Posted by on August 31, 2008 2 Responses »
Aug 302008

Sorry, swore I wouldn’t join in the media Palin-drone, but just had to write that headline.

Figuring that it would take the media maybe 5 seconds to start slobbering about how McCain’s Veep pick would be very appealing to women who were disappointed that Clinton had not gotten the Democratic nomination, my first inclination after Sarah Palin’s nomination was to unplug the television. That they seriously think that there are a significant number of women who are so pissed off that they would jump ship from a strongly pro-choice, pro-woman ticket and vote for a ticket that is strongly against women’s human rights is both shallow, misogynist and racist.

Undoubtedly there are some Clinton fans whose support was based on their inner sexist being less powerful than their inner racist, but I’m guessing those folks are more likely to be part of the white male democratic demographic than to be women. Kim Gandy, President of NOW put it succinctly in a statement issued shortly after the nomination,

“The fact that Palin is a mother of five who has a 4-month-old baby, a woman who is juggling work and family responsibilities, will speak to many women. But will Palin speak FOR women? Based on her record and her stated positions, the answer is clearly No.”

In other words, as Hillary Clinton made clear the other night, “No way, No how, NO McCAIN!” Over at American Prospect, Ann Friedman points out that,

“It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics — only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it’s akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.”

And then there is this fine missive from Richard Power on his Words of Power blog,

“Life is all about the choices we make.Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) has the freedom to come and go, to speak and choose.

What has Palin done with that freedom?

Palin, like about 60 percent of Alaska voters, favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her environmental credentials are, at best, mixed. She favors what we in Alaska call “predator control,” including, if necessary, the hunting of wolves from the air. Just recently her Dept. of Fish and Game pulled some wolf cubs from their den and shot them as part of a program to improve moose survival. Washington Post, 8-29-08

Sarah Palin wants to let the polar bears die, too. On global warming, she’s aligned with” most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints” America Blog, 8-29-08

Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom is very different. It is the inner freedom of an imprisoned dissident; it is a mute freedom of heart, mind and spirit.

What has Aung San done with her freedom?

She has gone on a hunger strike. (Note—see the Feminist Peace Network’s recent coverage of this story)

Weigh the US mainstream news media coverage of Sarah Palin’s political ascension against its coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi’s hunger strike; then ask yourself, “What has happened to this culture?””

But perhaps the best quote I’ve seen about Palin, was this gem from the Associated Press,

“She has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs.”

That about sums it up. Better stock up on the popcorn, the Vice Presidential debate is going to be a hoot.

 August 30, 2008  Posted by on August 30, 2008 Comments Off on McCain Picks Pistol-Packin Wildlife Hating Right-Wing Tina Fey Wannabe Former Beauty Queen With Minimal Political Experience Who Loves To Fish And Bear Babies With Dude-Like Hubby As Running Mate
Aug 292008

From The Telegraph (UK):

“Anna Goeldi was executed in 1782 after she was convicted of poisoning the eight-year-old daughter of a family she was working for, causing her to have convulsions and spit pins.”

(Please note that the BBC has a somewhat different version of this story:

“She found work (in the Swiss canton of Glarus) with Jakob Tschudi, the magistrate and a rising political figure.

We know from records of the time that Anna Goeldi was tall, generously proportioned, with dark hair, brown eyes, and a rosy complexion. These attributes were not lost on her employer.

All went well to begin with, until one morning one of the Tschudi children found a needle in her milk.

Two days later needles appeared in the bread as well and suspicion fell upon Anna.”

Despite her protestations of innocence, she was sacked by the Tschudis, accused of witchcraft, tortured, and finally executed.

Not in the Middle Ages, but in 1782, at the height of Europe’s so-called Age of Enlightenment.”)”

In any case, according to the Telegraph story,

“(T)he parliament of the Swiss canton of Glarus has decided to pardon Goeldi as a victim of “judicial murder”.The Glarus government said the Protestant Council, which conducted the trial, had decided in advance that Goeldi was guilty and ordered the execution despite there being no death penalty for non-lethal poisoning.

(Her employer) was thought to be having an affair with Goeldi and if it had become common knowledge his reputation would have been seriously tarnished.”

You can learn more at the Anna Goldi Museum.

 August 29, 2008  Posted by on August 29, 2008 Comments Off on Last ‘Witch’ To Be Beheaded Exonerated 200+ Years After Her Death
Aug 292008

From Amnesty International:

“On the second anniversary of the launch of the Campaign for Equality on 27 August, Amnesty International is renewing its demand that the Iranian authorities cease harassing and imprisoning women’s rights defenders and to restrict their campaigning activities for the repeal of laws and policies which discriminate against women in Iran.

The Campaign for Equality is a network of individuals working to end legal discrimination against women. The campaign informs women of their rights, and is aiming to collect one million signatures from the Iranian public to a petition against discriminatory laws.

Two years into the campaign, women’s rights defenders are facing increasing repression as they try to take their demands for equal treatment to the broader population while the authorities continue to impose restrictions on their use of public space to carry out their peaceful and legal activities.

There are also worrying developments that seem to be further entrenching discrimination against women in Iran. In particular, a new Family Protection Bill passed in July by the Law and Legal Affairs Committee of Iran’s parliament not only fails to address discrimination against women in relation to marriage, divorce and child custody but, if passed into law, would also lift the condition requiring a man to get the permission of his first wife before taking a second wife. The bill still needs further parliamentary approval and to be agreed by the Council of Guardians, but it represents a very worrying trend.
Continue reading »

 August 29, 2008  Posted by on August 29, 2008 Comments Off on Amnesty Calls On Iran To Quit Harassing Women’s Rights Defenders
Aug 282008

According to The Scotsman,

“Only one in 14 reported rapes in Scotland is taken to court, according to new figures that have triggered calls for a national inquiry into why so many cases collapse.

Statistics seen by The Scotsman reveal that 922 rapes were reported to police in 2006-7, but only 65 of the alleged crimes were prosecuted.”

“Of the 65 cases that were prosecuted, 27 ended in a guilty plea or verdict – giving Scotland a 2.9 per cent conviction rate, one of the lowest in Europe.”

“Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland co-ordinator, said an independent inquiry was needed to ensure every aspect of the system – from the police to the courts – was no longer failing victims.

She said: “A prosecution figure of 7 per cent for rape is extremely low. What this means is the vast majority of rape cases never make it as far as court. No-one can suggest with any credibility that the vast majority of women reporting rape are lying.

“Rape is a crime which can take a lot of courage to report, and it can come as a shock for women to hear that their case is not being prosecuted.”‘

“Independent MSP Margo MacDonald backed the call for an independent inquiry. “I’m supportive of an independent inquiry,” she said. “Instances of rape, or at least allegations of rape, are too numerous for us to accept 7 per cent of cases ever being prosecuted. That doesn’t make sense at all.””

We couldn’t agree more.

 August 28, 2008  Posted by on August 28, 2008 Comments Off on Shocking Number Of Rapes Go Unpunished In Scotland