Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I don't know if you ever read the blog cakewrecks, but it's the gofugyourself of the pastry world, and they recently had an entry about a "Kwanzaa cake" that had been featured on Sandra Lee's (just awful) Food Network show. It took me a few readings to understand what exactly it was, but the cake had been created by Lee out of a storebought angel food cake, frosted with chocolate cinnamon icing, and decorated with popcorn, corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, and canned apple pie filling.
Until I read all the text in the post, I assumed it was some kind of racist joke with a "black people are tacky" punchline the blog author was making. The possibility remains it could have been a slur of that type on the part of Lee and her producers, and Wrecks was just reporting the carnage. The Food Network has long been criticized for excluding people of color, so I wouldn't put it past 'em.
Anyone familiar with Lee's show won't be surprised that she could take a wreck so far, but if it's too much for you to believe, YouTube has the clip
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
At first, reports said that Arsenic and Mercury levels in drinking water in affected areas were safe, and there was a call to boil water (wouldn't that just concentrate the toxins that are now admitted to be present?).
If Bush really doesn't want to be remembered as the guy who bungled Katrina, he'd do well to get on this thing as soon as possible. Who else gets the chance to create and then try to mitigate this many disasters in eight years in office?
Monday, December 22, 2008
It's now the responsibility of any woman wishing to use prescription contraception to find out whether her medical providers will actually write or fill prescriptions for it. A few weeks ago, I saw someone somewhere suggest that Planned Parenthood get into the pharmacy business, and how fantastic it would be if they had pharmacies across the country that could be relied upon to serve customers' reproductive health needs. PP does already distribute birth control pills and Plan B, but a chain of pharmacies separate from clinics would surely be easier to maintain and a good revenue source. There's no PP clinic in Moscow, but I'd be happy to patronize a pharmacy if they operated one here.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Breaching dams or not is a pretty controversial subject in this area, but my feeling from what I've learned on the subject is that fish hatchery programs haven't worked, and even if we breached all the dams and tried heavy fish hatchery programs, we probably wouldn't see salmon runs return to anything but a pale shadow of their former existence. So if we don't get salmon back, what's the point of losing these green energy/economy-boosting resources?
So, who's up for a trip to the Hoover Dam?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Hypothesis: There are fewer women in science because their brains aren't suited to hostile work environments
McPherson maintains that his refusal has little to do with sexual harassment and much to do with individual dignity.Uh huh, sure, because sexual harassment doesn't harm any individual's dignity, so we can ignore it in favor of some dude who doesn't want to feel like he's ever contributed to the problem. Professor McPherson's feelings are hurt, so let's stop paying attention to the people whose careers are derailed by ignorant jerks and make an exception for him and his illusions.
Refusing to learn anything new about sexual harassment isn't making McPherson look like the expert on the issue he must be if he is so far beyond the problem that it is an insult to try and give him new information about it. If he were really worried about individuals' dignity, he would put some effort into helping maintain it, instead of derailing the efforts others are making. It's just not possible to make this kind of stink in good faith, because if the University feels the need to inoculate itself against the risk of sexual harassment by taking a shotgun approach, it must rely on a certain amount of ignorance to be perpetuated. If McPherson is so knowledgeable on the subject, he should know this, and accept help in being proactive about informing the pockets of ignorance that exist in anyone's understanding of the world. I don't think he doesn't know this stuff, but I think he doesn't care if he's perpetuating the problem. Precautions aren't punishments. People are fallible, and need to anticipate when their weak areas will be pressed beyond what their own sense of decency can withstand.
I will admit that I don't think I, as an entry-level female who has a fair amount of experience thinking about these things, would learn a heck of a lot at this kind of seminar, but a potential victim's ignorance is not as dangerous as a potential perpetrator's. When you're a man in a position of power in a field that tends to exclude women from positions of power, and you exercise bad judgement, you ARE perpetuating the status quo. Losing the privilege that the status quo awards you feels random and unfair, but never having access to it feels that way too.
Monday, December 08, 2008
I DON'T care what your business is, but if you think it will eventually come back to what it was — your brain is in the grips of the fear-based endowment effect. What I am doing is looking for new opportunities. This means applying neuroscience discovery to realms where it hasn't been used before.
I have teamed up with anthropologists to apply brain imaging to understand the biological roots of political conflict. I am starting another project to use brain imaging to predict which teenagers are likely to make fatally bad judgments and, hopefully, train them to make better decisions.
This strategy keeps the exploratory system of my brain active. And right now there are incredible opportunities to do something differently. Yes, they're risky, and some will fail. But while others wait for the storm to pass, I'm busy expanding into new areas. If I wait for money to start flowing again, the opportunities will have passed.
My understanding is that in some states, sex offenders are registered at different levels, according to the severity of the original crime and the likelihood of reoffense. This makes perfect sense to me: rape is rape, but victims are always different, as are circumstances of the crime. The article goes out of its way to excuse statutory rape as not that bad. From where I sit, it seems like the tendency to commit such a crime is something a perpetrator would be likely to mature past, especially after being punished for it. A 23-year-old may think they have a lot in common with a 16-year-old, but they're probably not going to feel that way when they're thirty (because they don't). I was most alarmed by the work of one Jan Fewell, who looks up sex crime victims and calls them to try and recruit them to her offender's advocacy group and defend their own perpetrators by asking that they be treated leniently in light of the specific circumstances of the crimes they committed.
Fewell calls a victim and asks whether they were the victim of rape or if they'd had consensual sex. Leaving the two choices that stark seems a little manipulative to me, since a sex crime is prosecuted not for how a victim eventually comes to feel about it, but for the transgression itself.
I don't think sex offender registries do what they're supposed to do: they are said to exist to protect the communities in which sex offenders reside and work, but I think this is disingenuous. These registries exist to shame sex offenders and expose them to the vigilantism that can fit within the bounds of the law, like social stigma and employment and housing discrimination.
So a level III sex offender moves in next door. What am I supposed to do about it?
It's shameful to commit a sex offense, but I don't think forcing sex offenders into isolation and poverty really protects anyone. It might feel to most like a fitting punishment, but punishment doesn't undo or prevent crimes. Whatever a sex offender takes from a victim doesn't ever get paid back. Suffering is non-transferable.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I would love to be in the room with a time-traveling Republican from 2005 who turned this disc on. Not only is this a children's movie at the beginning of a book series where the progtagonists kill God, but nestled amongst the previews was an advertisement for the World Wildlife Fund's advocacy for the polar bear in the face of global warming.
I have a hard time believing that this double-affront on Republican orthodoxies was an accident.
Even if the WWF wasn't consciously trying to get the goat of Republicans (hopefully) past, they couldn't pass up the PR opportunity that a neat-looking armored polar bear in a hugely-hyped and expensive children's movie presented.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Take that, turkey!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
"Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse."
- Sarah Palin
Via DailyKos, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute is arguing that if Obama proves the conservative idea that government doesn't do anything of value wrong, then people are going to quit paying Republicans to go to congress and complain about congress' existence.
Sucks to be on the wrong side of reality, but that's how it goes when you're a Republican in 2008.
Cannon gets all of this right, except he tries to hide this argument about principle in one about optics, by calling Obama's approach to health care "socialized," and insisting that the word magically means we need to avoid it. This doesn't make sense after he admits that a good health program would drive current Republicans away from the right by actually helping them access medical care.
It gets weird when Cannon worries that a single-payer system would trap people into liberalism by "making citizens dependent on the government for their medical care."
Like when conservatives panic about care being rationed under a socialized system, he forgets that this is already the status quo: healthcare is rationed according to income rather than need. Access to health care doesn't create the need for it. Millions of Americans already do not get the care they need, and they won't be any more needy when they've had a taste of access to care through the government. Those without insurance don't have anything to depend on currently. Need for health care is a constant, regardless of ease of access. Many Americans are currently dependent on luck to stay alive and healthy, but augmenting it with real health care doesn't mean that people will not have needed the luck in the beginning. It's not like people haven't figured out that their needs are not being met and that they'll only realize they need to treat their diabetes once they realize how much better they feel when their condition is treated.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Puh-leaze. Accepting but protesting majority rule is about as in-line with democracy as I can imagine people acting. Fisher is free to whine about people thinking he's a creepy dinosaur, and we're free to say that he is one. As it stands, I have to let Californians keep (or possibly break) families apart, but I don't have to like it.
Sounds like democracy all around to me.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Maybe it's time that I admit that I absolutely love Facebook and want to be your friend! It's been my primary social outlet since March, so I'm happily hooked.
So if these requests are coming from readers, be aware that a woman in her twenties looks askance at social networking connections from men who are old enough to be her father and have no discernable reason for contacting me. So let me know in the request if you'd just like to get in contact because you like reading my blog, and I won't heartlessly ignore your request.
Friday, November 07, 2008
If I'm going to play to my strengths, I really am interested in quantitative aspects of political science, in the same way that I'm interested in how "Wash your hands!" posters actually affect virus transmission rates.
*I'm good at writing and passionate about politics, neither of which dispose one to being really good at titrating things.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I've been thinking a lot about the value of spreading costs around, given how much I've had to rely on insurance this year, and how much better an investment health insurance turned out to be for me than just keeping/saving/investing my money. I was an unusually risk-averse 21-year-old. I'd be absolutely buried under debt now if I didn't buy health and disability insurance years ago. You really don't want the kind of return on your investment in health and disability insurance that I got, but I knew that beforehand.
I'm an exception (one in thirty million is the incidence of the condition I ended up with), but I'm sure glad that I've got 29,999,999 others to help pay for a freak health incident. Looking back, it's nice to know that my insurance premiums during my years of perfectly good health were helping defray these kinds of costs for others.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
For some reason, when it was brought up, I never imagined that Prop 8 would even come close to passing. I didn't count on the Mormon Church flying their hate flag so high and expensively. One can only hope that those who are currently married will be grandfathered in and not lose the rights they already had.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
If Republicans are going to have such fits about voter registration, they're going to be able to see very clearly how much they lost by this year. No accusations of your victory being stolen when you're out there disenfranchising people, please.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I know I'd have a hard time setting up a whole new career in four weeks, and if my resume were mostly full of jobs about which there are lots of unflattering stereotypes, I'd resent being set up for failure in this whore-to-madonna contest. I'm not on the show, but I already resent the tone in its setup.
*It seems to me that the bar for stardom is set pretty low when it comes to pornography. Perform in an adult film, and you're a "porn star." I think of the "star" of a film to be an actor playing one of the main roles, one of the people whose name is included on the trailer as an enticement to see the movie.
I just watched the show, and I think my inexperience with reality TV is showing because I was surprised at how many lame double entendres there were, not only referencing sex, but also referencing the supposed uselessness of these women as people.
Pleasantly, the business coach has a monologue where he discusses the idiotic preconceptions that drive the premise of the show.
The objectification doesn't just hinge on sexism, but also racism, with nonwhite participants being exoticized constantly.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
But that's exactly the point, Kevin. If providers don't like the contracts they've negotiated with insurers, they need better negotiators, or to find ways to cut the costs of procedures. It costs a heck of a lot more to get an MRI in the US than in Japan, and this isn't merely because the technology is more available in Japan.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.(Sigh) is right. Plus, I think, (eyeroll).
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So it's not okay when Democrats work together nationwide to win congressional seats, but it is totally sensible to drain millions of dollars from the Club for Growth, an out-of-state special interest group, into a race a competent campaigner could easily win for Republicans?
Is it just me or is Republican hypocrisy getting less hilarious all the time? We've heard this one. It was funny the first four hundred or so times, but it's getting kind of old by now. There seems to be something flawed about the concept of trying to live as a symbol of your beliefs.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Jason, this is John Doe at XYZ Company. It's Thursday, August 17th at 10:30 a.m. My phone number is (555) 555-1212. I need to send you an inventory export from our new database system, but I am not sure what format you'd prefer. We can export in CSV, Excel or XML format. I am leaving for a long weekend today at 4:00 p.m., so if you could call me back at (555) 555-1212 by 3:30 p.m. today, I would appreciate it. You can also email me your response at firstname.lastname@example.org, that's j o h n dot d o e @ x y z c o m p a n y dot com. If you get this message after 3:30 p.m. today, call my assistant Jane at the same number."From now on, I'm going to fill in the details of what I'm trying to communicate before I pick up the phone, and use this for a script template.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I'm inspired. I might start printing out my blog posts and sticking them to the windshields of people whose bumper stickers I don't like.
It really doesn't matter whether I vote for President, as long as I'm voting in Idaho. I am going to be honored to vote for America's first African-American President, however, and might as well get that historical thrill.
A column at Slate by Bill Bishop explains why it's voters like me and the people I can drag to the polls who can deliver the red-state upsets like John Tester and Claire McCaskill - these candidates were successful by driving up their numbers in the more-urban areas of their districts. Moscow is nothing, population-wise, compared to Boise or Meridian, so there's only so much influence our area can have on this trend. I have absolutely no feel for how well Obama is doing down South, though when I was at the convention this summer, I got the impression that there was unprecedented excitement throughout the state.
If you're only going to be pulling off people who live within a few blocks of each other, you should consider the return you're actually getting for driving a couple of hours to the edge of your district to knock on the doors of people who just don't want to hear from a politician.
McCaskill won in '06, as did two other Democratic Senate candidates in traditionally "red" states: Jim Webb in Virginia and Jon Tester in Montana. It's a cool threesome. Webb packed heat. Tester sported a flattop. McCaskill could talk to hog farmers, and she looked good at a campaign event standing next to Willie Nelson. Webb dubbed the group the "redneck caucus," and the myth began.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
It was more than a handful of Americans who lost their lives on 9/11, and until we have good data on whether or not behavior detection or data mining actually do anything to keep us safe, we're risking a lot more than living with a sick kid staying up all night coughing and miserable. Making sure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest and comfort during a cold is effective at beating the cold, if not immediately so. Popping a blue pill out of a blister pack and giving it to your toddler might convince her that she's going to feel better soon, but the psychological effect is not without a cost.
Terrorism wasn't invented in 2001, and the US has been trying to prevent it for years, so we don't have to start from scratch looking at tactics that can satisfy the Constitution and a frightened public. To listen to the "Everything changed on 9/11," crowd, you'd think absolutely no one had worried about it before, so all we've got to base decisions on is our hunches.
Just like I would rather not be in the placebo group in a study of a drug that is eventually found to be effective and safe, I can understand why there are some who believe we don't have time for double-blind controlled studies on the efficacy of antiterror tactics. There are would-be Osama bin Ladens out there. I personally prefer being lucky to being crafty when all is said and done. September 11, 2001 was not when American defense was born. A terrorist attack is a bigger deal than me succumbing to a disease I already have and there is no known cure for. And if I have a headache, I can take an aspirin, even if my more serious condition is going to get me in the end.
A TSA spokesman said Tuesday the report "is not any kind of indictment of our program," adding that the TSA's behavior-detection officers do not claim to be adept at finding people with terrorist intent.An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure when it comes to terrorism, but for all we know, we're getting an ounce of magic beans.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
I'm only 26, but my middle name might as well be "preexisting condition," and finding expert care in my rural area has posed a huge challenge for me - especially since I have to be seizure-free for six months to drive in Washington. So, Mr. McCain, if my autoimmune condition confines me to a wheelchair in 10 years, how will good exercise habits keep me healthy? How will I get any kind of coverage? And if I could even buy insurance on the private market, how many hours would I be expected to travel to get medical care?
This is a problem Idaho has been trying to address for years. Programs helping pay for student loans for rural general practitioners have a lot of potential - a lot more than starting a med school from scratch in Idaho. Who's to keep students from Idaho Medical in the state after they receieve their training?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
* I started out cranky anyway.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I really loved Ta-Nehesi Coates' assessment of people who don't understand or believe in identity politics fumbling them this season:
The Palin pick was the most crassest, most bigoted decision that I've seen in national electoral politics, in my--admittedly short--lifetime. There can be no doubt that they picked Palin strictly as a stick to drum up the victimhood narrative--small town, hunters, big families and most importantly, women. Had Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton, there simply is no way they would have picked Sarah Palin. To the McCain camp, Palin isn't important as a politician, or even as a person. Her moose-hunting, her sprawling fam, her hockey momdom, her impending grandmother status are a symbol of some vague, possibly endangered American thing, one last chance to yell from the rafters "We wuz robbed."What McCain has done to Sarah Palin is what Rush Limbaugh thinks actually keeps Affirmative Action and the National Organization for Women in business. It doesn't make any sense, but conservatives think identity politics are just a nonsensical racket, so they can be aped to divert its spoils towards conservatives. Republicans are going to have to remain very committed to bigotry to not learn the lesson in what identity politics actually are that this debacle offers them.
When Palin was first picked, I thought to myself that if I were her, I wouldn't have accepted the invitation, because I would fail my own ambitions, but also my ideological allies througout the country. And not just them - a bad President can make life miserable for everyone, not just his supporters. God knows George Bush has shown us this.
Ambition is a good quality in the capable. Ambition is reckless in the incompetent.
It would be pretty cool to walk into an operating room and perform a lifesaving maneuver on a dying patient instead of watching the actual surgeon sneeze into his patient's chest cavity. But I know I would only hurt someone if I tried, so it would be monstrous of me to try.
In the Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama does a good job of telling how running for office constitutes a public service. I admire the personal sacrifices he has made so that his political career could be possible. If he didn't think that America needed the changes he's going to make, he'd have continued getting comfortably rich as a lawyer.
I sympathize with Sarah Palin's desire for power and respect, but I don't admire it. She is the archetype of the kind of politician John McCain is trying to cast himself as different than. With running mates like these, John McCain will never lose an election to win a war.
I hate seeing Palin validate the impostor syndrome, but I can't look at the election of a possible president as an exercise in shoring up self-esteem Sometimes it feels like you can't do anything right because you can't. This year I had the weird experience ofing a long episode of depression lead up to the revelation that things were really wrong with me. It was my demons' fantasy, and probably made my therapist feel kind of stupid. I'm disappointed I got sick, but not disappointed in myself for it. Judith Warner writes:
You don’t have to be perennially pretty in pink — and ditsy and cutesy and kinda maybe stupid — to have an inner Elle Woods. Many women do. I think of Elle every time I dress up my insecurities in a nice suit. So many of us today — balancing work and family, treading water financially — feel as if we’re in over our heads, getting by on appearances while quaking inside in anticipation of utter failure. Chick lit — think of Bridget Jones, always fumbling, never quite who she should be — and in particular the newer subgenre of mom lit are filled with this kind of sentiment.You don’t have to be female to suffer from Impostor Syndrome either — I learned the phrase only recently from a male friend, who puts a darned good face forward. But I think that women today — and perhaps in particular those who once thought they could not only do it all but do it perfectly, with virtuosity — are unique in the extent to which they bond over their sense of imposture
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
It's not by happenstance that I've avoided becoming pregnant or catching any sexually-transmitted bugs. Birth control and condoms work most of the time. Over a lifetime, abstinence fails.
I basically am living the end result that abstinence-only education seeks, but if I were a lesbian, I wouldn't ever get to be the object lesson in the way a person can be comfortingly conservative and lustfully liberal.
In the film, Shelby makes clear that she does not plan on having sex before marrying, and distances herself from teens who do decide to have sex, and aren't conservative Christians. She can make political hay out of her identity, and in doing so, undermines her case for the uselessness of the abstinent-until-married ideal. Pledging abstinence did not help the youth of Lubbock, TX, so we don't have any reason to believe it's going to help Shelby outside of the political realm. It certainly won't hurt her, but neither will knowing how a condom works.
But Shelby is looking for results in the form of fewer teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases amongst her classmates, not guilt-free sex for teens. As far as I can tell, she thinks - or thought - guilt and fear are fair game for sexually active teens, but teen pregnancy and STIs just aren't necessary. To the parents and school officials in Lubbock, premarital sex itself was the problem ensnaring their children, and any means, like teen pregnancy or STIs, to keep them from engaging in it were going to justify the sexually pure ends.
If I'd reserved sex for marriage, I don't think I'd have ever gotten into a serious relationship with Andy. Abstinence pushers would call my premarital sex unnecessarily risky. Me, I'd rather have gonorrhea for a couple of weeks, or decide what to do with an unexpected pregnancy than have missed out on my marriage. Not only do I value my relationship with my husband, but I also value my premarital sexual experiences. I know it's cold comfort to be smart when you've been unlucky and had a great loss. In nonreproductive areas of my life, I've learned the intimate emotional details of when the smart decision turns out to be the wrong decision. You don't care that it was unlikely that you would get pregnant while you were on the pill and taking antibiotics, you care that you did get pregnant. I don't deny or downplay the downside of risk, but I revile and live to tell the tale of the intellectual dishonesty in abstinence-only attitudes about birth control and protection from disease.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Mr. Ledford, women ARE human beings, and when we are denied the rights that men are afforded, humans are denied human rights.
So what does that have to do with abortion? Men can't be pregnant, so they have no rights regarding abortion.
When we talk about women’s rights, we should consider whether they are good things or whether they are the best things, because many people treat them as the best things. Of course, I will say it is better to have women’s rights than not to have women’s rights, but the only way to put women’s rights first is if we are willing to say — which I am not — that women are better and more important than humanity as a whole.Funny enough, you seem to be treating women's rights as "the best things," and seperable from human rights. Do I need to draw you a Venn diagram here? I see that you're trying to include the right for a fetus to develop to full term in a woman's body amongst the basic human rights, but I am getting stuck on what you are actually saying.
Yes, I will assert that women's rights are more important than fetal rights. Like it or not, women in America are endowed with the right to abort pregnancies under most conditions. It doesn't seem very "arbitrary" for you or anyone to declare the right of a fetus' development in my uterus inviolable in a society where women are shamed and punished for expressing their sexuality. It has an intentional and chilling effect on the behavior of women, which it would be very difficult not to notice.
Note that multiple commenters at the Argonaut have declared that women don't have any right to sex if they ever want to have abortions.
Not all of humanity is currently residing in a woman's uterus, so the rights of the nearly 7 billion people on the planet and the rights of the proto-people in women's uteruses are going to play out differently even if we "arbitrar[ily]" decide that women get to control who's taking residence in their body.
Thanks for simplifying things by fabricating a competition for human rights between women and the rest of humanity, and deciding that the essential conflict between a woman's right to bodily autonomy and a fetus' desire to set up shop in my body is a done deal, with my right being nonexistent and my protestations moot.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
You're getting kind of cynical when you think to suspect a presidential campaign of covering up the death or disability of their candidate.
The situation does look pretty fishy, though...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I've dabbled enthusiastically in vegetarianism, but am downright opposed to veganism. Even so, this nearly-vegan dish meets my criteria of 1) tasty 2) filling 3) healthy and 4) quick. I picked it up from a conversation about go-to staples on the Home Cooking boards of Chowhounds, and it's usually at the back of my mind when I'm trying to figure out a simple and satisfying dinner.
2 cans diced tomatoes
Couscous, to serve.
Warm the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and add the diced onion and minced garlic. Allow to brown and soften, and add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to reduce for at least 10 minutes. Add the spices and oregano and tomato paste, and blend the sauce with an immersion blender, mixing in salt and pepper to taste. While the sauce is still warm, add the chickpeas and spinach and simmer until the sauce has reached a thickness you like and the spinach has a satisfying soft-but-not-slimy texture. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Once you're ready to stop cooking the sauce, stir in the yogurt.
Prepare the couscous, and serve the chickpeas and tomatoes over the pasta once it's ready to be eaten.
I'd recommend going a little crazy with the garlic - lots is really tasty in this. I've also thought that it could use a sweetening agent to tone down the acid - maybe just some plain old brown sugar.
Friday, September 19, 2008
This sure makes me mad; I was positive I was basically fixed up.
When the New Yorker attempted to parody email-propagated smears of Barack Obama by illustrating them on its cover, it was widely denounced as unfunny, due to the real foothold the wholly fictional smears had taken in the public consciousness. Things played out a little differently when Bob took it upon himself to fabricate views espoused by Sarah Palin.
I think the key difference between Bob's alternate-universe Sarah Palin and Fwd: Fwd: Re: Re: MUST READ ABOUT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA!!is that Bob didn't demonize or directly insult. He dealt only with the words of a fictional Sarah Palin that would either charm or repel, and it required synthesis, like any actual joke. "Palin's" quotes were equally ridiculous as the actually-used arguments that support her policy positions, but they were not the same ones, and can't be used in their stead. He put extremely stupid words in her mouth, but did not just call her bad and unpatriotic and stupid. The Obamas' depiction on the New Yorker showed a couple that actively undermined White American interests. The Obama emails were either sincere or non sequiturs. If I had entitled this post, Barack Obama hates America, I would only be saying something untrue, and not satirizing anything. People falling for a foolish lie is funny, but the humor is in the falling, not the lie.
Bob's Palin is the image-conscious Christian Evangelical's worst nightmare. The New Yorker's straw-Obamas were Joe and Josephine White Middle American's worst nightmares embodied, ready to step off of the page and into the White House. There's really no way to exaggerate or equivocate that.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Before I get too excited, I should note Obama has had a significant wage gap problem in his senatorial career. Add that with nice ad like this and you get plain old hypocrisy. To McCain's credit, this is not a problem he has. Given the opportunity to guarantee equal pay for equal work for all Americans, McCain declined to vote, spoke explicitly against the act, and Obama took time out of campaigning to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 0f 2007, in the face of a Republican filibuster, which stymied the passage of the act for the moment.
I think we can thank Hillary Clinton for making feminism cool enough again that the McCain campaign will claim it as one of its values and use a watered-down, tokenism-based form of it to prop up their joke of a vice-presidential pick. Just like no one wants to explicitly say they're afraid of putting a black man in the white house, the fact that the Republican ticket is proudly trying to claim to be the real feminists shows that progressive values are American values. It's a testament to the ridiculousness of our political dialog that Hillary couldn't object to the sexist smears against her, but if you're not a feminist, you need to say you are. Only dogwhistles allowed.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sarah Palin has claimed to support rape victims, and I don't doubt that she personally sympathizes with all victims of crime. But I also know she lies a lot. She also presided over a change in policy in the Wasilla, AK police department that charged victims for the analysis of rape kits. No one's sympathy is going to make paying $300-1200 for the investigation of their own rape any less of a burden. I don't care how a politician feels, I care what they do.
Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said in an e-mail that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."
"Gov. Palin's position could not be more clear," she said. "To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice.
Luckily for victims in the 90's, the police chief Palin later fired, Irl Stambaugh, yearly requested discretionary funds for the department and used some of them to pay for rape exams, so there were no victims who were stuck with the bill during Stambaugh's tenure. The USA Today article says:
It is not known how many rape victims in Wasilla were required to pay for some or all of the medical exams, but a legislative staffer who worked on the bill for Croft said it happened. "It was more than a couple of cases, and it was standard practice in Wasilla," Peggy Wilcox said, who now works for the Alaska Public Employees Association. "If you were raped in Wasilla, this was going to happen to you."
Stambaugh's Palin-appointed replacement, Charlie Fannon, justified cutting public funding for the investigations with a weak attempt to shift the burden onto not-yet-convicted rapists:
Fannon told the Frontiersman that the tests would cost the department up to $14,000 per year. He said he would rather force rapists to pay for the tests, not taxpayers.
I'd sure like rapists to pay for rape investigations too, but that requires conducting an investigation and convicting the perpetrator. There's also the fact that The Republican/fiscal conservative operating principle that a government sins by comission, not omission, gets good-intentioned people into trouble this way quite a lot. Palin raised funds as mayor through raising taxes, and didn't have a budget shortfall that put rape forensics on the chopping block.
I am inclined to believe what people say about what they feel. It is also quite clear that people support policies that undermine their stated beliefs.
When the McCain campaign adds together a trumped-up number of spending cuts Palin made as governor or mayor, and calls them all "wasteful spending," they can construct out of thin air a narrative about her hard road as a reformer and ally of the taxpayer. Victims are taxpayers, and before they were shoved into the middle of this budget indesrcretion, had shared the bill with the other citizens of their town.McCain's heroic campaign narrative about resisting earmarks and porkbarrel spending sound real nice in general, but when it comes down to the specifics of what happens when the money isn't there, it gets ugly.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
"They're a bunch of socialist maggots, that's what I'm going to call them -- socialist maggots, that's what they are, a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots," said Burke
"Yesterday, I was probably a little over the top,"Burke and anyone with any kind of observational power can't claim to have never noticed the threats and harassment that follow releasing the personal information of an ideological opponent to an audience that's treated to a denouncement of said opponent.
Obama says he doesn't think McCain doesn't care about how disastrous his policies would be, but that McCain just doesn't get it. When we see this behavior committed by right-wing media personalities over and over, it's clear that they neither do not understand what the result always is, nor are they uninterested in whether their opponents are harassed and threatened. Harassment and intimidation are clearly intentional results.
Burke says he released the information across the airwaves because organizers had included their contact numbers in the press release.
Mr. Burke, the fact that contact information is listed with a press release is not an explanation for this behavior. Using the word "because" here is the hallmark of playing dumb about your real motivations. He had access to these numbers, yes, but no excuse for releasing the hounds. I know how you did it, but I don't think you've at all explained why.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
As for the good, I'm of course excited to see a woman nominated to the office of Vice President. What I'd like to see follow is a national conversation about affordable child care
Regarding the bad, I'm really displeased to see such an extremely anti-choice woman pushing her agenda on the national stage. I'm also irked that she's made so much of herself by doing something she thinks should be required of any woman. Post-Roe, if you carry a fetus carrying Down Syndrome to term: ho hum.
Without Roe v Wade, carrying her last pregnancy to term would be a non-story. Her political side ought to be thanking its lucky stars for Roe.
I can be counted among those who believe she's utterly unqualified to become POTUS, should the situation arise. If I were her, I'd have declined the nomination.
Two-word verdict: not impressed.
As for her daughter being "in a family way," all I can think is "Poor dear - good thing she doesn't need to rely on the state for financial support. "
Friday, August 29, 2008
So was it heads or tails? It's sure hard to get a close look at the back of your thigh, so I can't tell. Andy says it's tails.
If it's heads, what year is it?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
What did Hillary Clinton's body language give away at the Democratic National Convention?It's entirely possible -- I think probable -- that Clinton isn't as gung-ho about Obama's candidacy as her speech says. I've long been an Obama supporter talking back to angry Clinton supporters I hear on the radio, but this "She's crying on the inside" story strikes me as intended to rub salt in Democratic Party wounds, especially Clinton supporters' wounds. Having gotten quite sick of the Clinton campaign months ago, I still think this is really uncool.
Dan Hill, a body language expert and author of "Face Time," told CNN that even while the words Clinton delivered offered an unequivocal endorsement of Barack Obama, her body language was much less affirmative.
I don't think I've ever read an article that tries to triangulate a male politician's real feelings about a subject over which he must have conflicting emotions.
I'm reminded of a time when at work someone had posted a list of things women/men say vs. what they mean. I took it down, thinking propaganda encouraging the idea that women and men are so drastically different that they can't - or won't - use the same language to communicate is not very productive at all. Humorless feminist me, getting sick of the kind of sexist humor that people like to think is harmless, even as it buttresses sexism. In a workplace that includes both men and women who need to negotiate the power differential that they bring from the outside world into their jobs, this is quite counterproductive - encouraging people to think they are so clever they know what their coworker of the opposite sex is really saying, without needing to explicitly communicate their understanding of what's been said. According to jokes like these, you don't need to actually say what you mean, as long as everyone's got the decoder ring.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I am pretty goddamn funny. If I'm going to say something to a stranger, it's almost always a joke that I break the ice with. Thinking of something funny to say about the situation I and a stranger are in always emboldens me to lean over and introduce myself to whoever it is that's sitting next to me. I would say that the thing over which Andy and I are most deeply bonded is humor. We're each the funniest person the other has met.
It makes me a little queasy that the article is titled "Michelle Obama's Savvy Sacrifice," since it implies that Michelle made a calculating and clever move, letting Barack's career take precedence over her own. But who knows, maybe she'd be the politician by now if she'd stayed on her career track.
Most women who go down this path aren't setting themselves up to be First Lady. They're setting themselves up for letting their degree waste away in a filing cabinet, and possibly financial insecurity after divorce or their husband's death.
I thought of this after seeing this video (Via) of a conversation between female comedians who all happened to be the youngest child in their own family. So I wonder if this kind of birth-order social selection is common.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Do we have a deal then? I really don't wanna, but I suppose I'll have to if it's my only option for family planning. Who wants to give me a ride to the nearest clinic (2 hours away) where I could access such a procedure?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
If Hallmark started producing a "So you're going to hell 'cause you're gay" line of cards, and lost money, wouldn't it still be accountable to its shareholders, assuming it's a public entity?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Don't blind-drunk women who cry rape bear any responsibility for what happens to them?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Reading Melissa McEwan's feminism 101 this weekend inspired a change of heart, and made me realize how easily I've swallowed the misogynist, sexist old saw about emotions being for girls and therefore boring and stupid.
It wasn't until my personal life got kind of interesting this winter that I ever wrote much about myself on my blog.
Being a rookie at the whole fat acceptance thing, I was a little nervous about posting anything reflecting my struggle with body image to the Cogitamus audience. Previous experience with writing about body image and fat has taught me that putting together a post that advocates for myself is a good exercise in aligning my emotional and intellectual positions on my value as a person and how it relates to the form my body takes.
But as Melissa says,
Making the personal public and political is serious business.
Because women's stories aren't told, it's incumbent upon female
feminists to tell their own stories, to fill that void, to be
unrepentant and loquacious raconteurs every chance we get, to talk
about our bodies, our struggles, our triumphs, our needs, our lives in
every aspect. It's our obligation to create a cacophony with our
personal narratives, until there is a constant din that translates into
equality, into balance.
Until then, I had probably done it every day of my life since fifth grade. It's a really boring game after a while, Clive.
Keeping that tally in the back of my mind was an unnecessary stressor taking up thinking capacity. I got all excited when I realized what a difference I could make in my life if I devoted all that energy and number-wrangling to making myself happy, instead of pursuing weight management or loss, which was never the result of all the calorie counting.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
I had a similar experience today on my way home from work, when I stopped at a light and heard Robert Siegel echoed in the car next to me.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thanks so very much!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
We want gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military...but it's not like we're interested in extending normal civil rights to them!
Given the very poor job the US military has done of integrating women safely into the service, I find my instinct to roll my eyes at the homophobia driving the policy a little thwarted. If the leadership in the US military doesn't expect itself to be mature enough to deal with potential harassment of gay servicepeople, and we have a ready example of the military dealing poorly with social change, I would be inclined to believe the claim that people would be freaked out by openly-serving gays and lesbians in a way that discipline and official policies couldn't guarantee their safety.
This is not to say that I am comfortable letting the rapists and homophobes dictate who can and cannot serve to defend this country. Though, knowing the stats about sexual assault in the military, I would definitely discourage my daughter from entering. It would sure be nice if Americans could grow up already and realize that women and homosexuals (do I need a Venn diagram here?) are currently and have always been contributing to every sector of society.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
If you regard Beatie's sex change as a crime against nature, it's not clear what you should propose to do about it now. He and his wife have a baby. As things stand, this girl will grow up with a mom and dad. Do you want to tell her she has no dad? Do you want her to have two mommies? Do you want to nullify her parents' marriage?
Friday, July 04, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
He told a woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to "purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself." The woman moved back in with her mother after the May 4 incident on E. 17th Street.
Judge Moon said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all citizens have a right to purchase a weapon to defend themselves, their families and their homes - unless there is some disqualification that prevents them from owning a weapon."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I was starting to feel a little guilty about how much traffic I get via the fatosphere, considering how little I add to the conversation
Since my recent conversion to Lane Bryant's line of undergarments, I've been amazed to find out that my DD cups can be made to defy gravity (and actually create cleavage) with the aid of the seamless 6-way convertible bra by Cacique. I can report with relief that it is not a long-line bra, but it is still a challenge to get the thing on.
Now I finally get why I see so many plus-sized tube tops for sale.
I'd link, but I can't find one. I'd suggest a trip to a mall to see this modern miracle work.
Idaho can tell kids not to have sex without the guidance of the federal government, thank you very much.
If there's an objective reason that feminism can't work or I should be a jerk to gay people, I'd like to know about it, personally.
Why do they bug me? Because the premise behind studying the why of sexual difference is unfair. When we decide to look for the cause of queer sexual orientations to me that says "here we have a problem. let's find the root cause!" Queer sexualities are not a problem, or an abnormality, or a disease that we need to cure.Queer sexualities are a problem for science, where everything not well-understood is referred to as a problem.
As for the "abnormality" thing, let's appreciate that most people aren't queer. But so what if some people are? The chips have fallen in such an arrangement where we've got gay people all around us. In itself, this is not morally meaningful. It makes you think a little about how the term "deviant" is used in our culture, and how much importance we place on conformity.
I kinda hate to do it, but I have to refer back to a post I wrote last summer about this subject (In which, I feel complelled to explain, the "zombie fat" subject was a bit of a tangent, and not me stamping my feet and demanding everyone believe it.) I said:
I have a lot of faith in my socio-political understanding of the world. I think that my feelings about equality and justice and race and gender and class are borne out by reality. This is sometimes true because the reality that controls how these things affect us is entirely human-created: why would we want to use a legal system that puts men and women on unequal footing? Other times, it's empirically true: women are perfectly capable of changing the oil in their cars.So when some conservative who fancies himself a rebel brings out the "dangerous truths" that liberals can't handle, I shrug so hard that people think I'm having a seizure.*
*I swear, I'm not. I just took my Keppra, thanks.