Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let the market decide

I was at a mall last night, and noticed a display of politically-themed calendars that included calendars that count down to [your favorite candidate]'s victory in the presidential campaign. There were four types: Clinton, McCain, Giuliani, and Obama.

Poor Obama and Giuliani, theirs were both marked 50% off.

The sales clerk said that the stickers were supposed to be on all of them, and that they weren't trying to make a political statement. I say that the market has spoken, and Obama and Giuliani ought to give up already.

If only I'd had my camera...

Cross-posted at Cogitamus.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No race card up my sleeve, nosiree

I was rather disappointed to see the way Obama felt the need to step in to the "Clinton's going racist," "No she's not!" argument, and be the Reasonable Black Man (who abhors racism, but doesn't think you're racist at all, not one bit!) and make a big deal about how not-racist Clinton is. I've heard the idea floated that the tone-deaf-to-plain-racist comments coming from Clinton's "surrogates" (I'm just not sure what's up with that term) are intended to incense black politicians, and therefore prompt a bunch of angry black folk to show up both and angry and black on teevee and scare white liberal voters about the prospect of racism being amongst their own motivations for voting how they plan.

But if that's the case, Obama has played to the defensive white liberals' feelings very well, by downplaying race as an issue in the election. Kevin Drum quotes Obama:

I think that I may disagree with Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We're all Democrats. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. We all believe that regardless of race or gender that people should have equal opportunities....I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think they care about the African-American community and that they care about all Americans and they want to see equal rights and justice in this country.

Given all that's been said and done, it's arguable that Obama is giving the Clintons (and Democrats in general) too much credit. But Obama is working to win a large number of votes (even from defensive white people), and if it takes a pep talk from a Real Live Black Person to comfort a white liberal about his or her own unresolved issues with race to do so, then I can see why he'd go that route.

Good news for Idaho Liberal Drinkers!

Idaho is reviewing its ban on the sale of liquor while the polls are open. Moscow's Drinking Liberally has been on an unofficial hiatus over the holidays, but we're regrouping this Thursday. Interested in coming? Email for more info.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not an isolated case

The story of the (allegedly) raped, kidnapped, and murdered pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach has had only one revolting development after another. "Missing pregnant woman" is unfortunately not an unusual headline, nor is "female member of US military raped by colleague." I could only interpret the mother's entry onto the stage to destroy her daughter's credibility as a HUGE red flag, and wasn't sure how things could get worse. Until we learned that Lauderbach's body had most likely been found in her accused rapist's backyard, and that (from the article):

Military officials said Laurean was not taken into custody after Lauterbach reported the alleged rape because there was information the two carried on "some sort of friendly relationship" after she filed the complaint against him.

Right, because a rape victim has enough power over her assailant to avoid contact with him.

It's been infuriating, seeing a picture forming of something very terrible and unfortunately plausible having happened. I don't have much analysis to add, except that in the coverage I've seen on CNN, no mention of a historical problem with sexual assault in the military, nor the prevalence violence against pregnant women, was made. The story is getting the amount of coverage it deserves, but its place in larger trends of violence against women deserves more emphasis.

A gold star to Caitlin Flanagan

I'd like to congratulate Caitlin Flanagan for making the astute observation that women get pregnant and men do not.  Rather than deriding the unfair stigma and disproportionate economic and emotional burden that girls are asked to bear for unplanned pregnancies, she argues that women should just be scared of sex, and be happy they're not raising a brood of bastards in a grimy cave on a diet of lichen and shame.

But if, as Flanagan says, "biology is destiny," it might be a lot easier for a society to ease off the stigmatization and maybe lend a hand or two to a teenager that's following the path biology has made for her. 

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here I am!

I'm back, I'm tanned from a week on a beach on the Yucutan Peninsula, and I think I can safely say I'm not addicted to blogging if I didn't touch a computer between the afternoon of January 1 and the morning of January 9.