Thursday, January 31, 2008

Black History Month? Let's celebrate a whole YEAR this time...

I am posting January 31st because it's ridiculous that Black History Month is February (the shortest month of the year) and i'm posting 12 months of Black history because there aren't enough days in just one month to honors all the contributions that should be honored...

Here for the PDF

Friday, January 25, 2008

Birth control pill and ovarian cancer study

FYI: Birth control pill lowers ovarian cancer risk

British researchers found that:

Birth control pills can protect women against ovarian cancer for 30 years or longer after they stop taking them and have so far prevented 100,000 ovarian cancer deaths worldwide.

The longer women stay on the pill, the lower their risk of developing the disease, which is more common after age 50... For example, women who take the pill for 15 years cut their risk in half.


When you are 60 it matters whether you took it for five years or 10 years in your twenties, the longer you took it, the better off you are when the risk of ovarian cancer is high.

The study found that:

Taking the pill for 10 years cut the risk of ovarian cancer before the age of 75 from 12 per 1,000 women to 8 per 1,000. It also reduced the risk of dying from the disease from 7 per 1,000 women to 5 per 1,000 before the age of 75.

The study also showed ethnicity, education, family history and other factors do not seem to make much difference in reducing risk when it comes to using the pill.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let the Internet decide!

Since i'm really struggling to make my decision of who to vote for in this upcoming election, i thought i'd let the Internet decide for me (just kidding, don't worry... but this was a fun quiz with interesting results)

87% Barack Obama
86% John Edwards
82% Hillary Clinton
82% Chris Dodd
80% Joe Biden
80% Bill Richardson
78% Mike Gravel
77% Dennis Kucinich
45% Rudy Giuliani
38% John McCain
33% Mitt Romney
29% Mike Huckabee
27% Tom Tancredo
23% Ron Paul
19% Fred Thompson

Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

See whose platform you match up with! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Roe v. Wade!!

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which gave women rights to terminate pregnancy. Meaning it's also Blog for Choice Day (check out other blogs that are writing about choice today.)

"That was forever ago, why should I still care about it now?" Well, I am so glad you ask! The legalisation that made abortions legal through Roe v. Wade is historically referred to as a "technicality." This means that since no Federal legislation has ever been passed to decriminalise abortion, it could take as little as a court decision to overturn the 1973 legislation. With the Supreme Court leaning more and more conservative these days, Roe v. Wade is constantly being threatened.

Another reason to care is because the Hyde Amendment forbids federal funding of abortions which means that low income women do not have equal access to reproductive health care.

Also, limiting access to abortions threatens women's lives. Making abortions illegal will not minimize the need for them but will create a nation where women have to look elsewhere to get their needs met. For wealthy women this will mean going to Canada, Mexico, or Europe... however, for women with less resources, this will mean back alley, unsafe, unregulated abortions that may kill them.

Not to mention the dozens of fucked up bills and laws passed minimizing women's rights to choice all over the country.

Why else should we care? Feministe says it much better than I ever could. Please check out their post.

Before I continue, I want to get one thing straight: I am pro-choice. It's really as simple as it sounds. I believe it is 100% a woman's right to choose when it comes to matters of her own body. With that said, I absolutely cannot stand the pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy. It just doesn't compute. I think life is pretty fucking cool, doesn't that make me "pro-life?" What I am saying is that I don't understand why if a person believes in women's reproductive rights s/he suddenly becomes anti-life... Who doesn't like life? So, for your clarification, I call commonly known "pro-lifers" "anti-choicers" because that's what they are to me.

Not only that, they are so much more than anti-choice/pro-life. They are pro-forced pregnancy, pro-unwanted children, pro-government involvement in women's bodies, pro-limiting accurate and accessible sex education, pro-women's death. And those are all very much CONS in my book.

On the same note, just because I am pro-choice does not make me "pro-abortion." I think abortions and other reproductive rights (access to birth control, sex education, Plan B, etc.) should be widely accessible and without stigma but that doesn't mean that abortions are the right solution for every pregnant woman in the world. I think wanted babies are awesome and pretty darn cute to boot... However, I strongly believe that the only person able to make the decision whether or not to get an abortion should be the woman herself, well maybe with her doctor's help. Every woman should have a right to choose the best course of action for herself, her life, and her situation. Being pro-choice is much more than just being pro-abortion. It's being pro-women's lives, health, and rights.

I vote pro-choice because:

No woman should be forced into an economical, emotional, physiological, and socio-cultural situation that she does not want to be in.

Because I trust women to make the best decisions for themselves and their bodies.

Because even though I may not agree with everyone's decision, I strongly believe in their right to have one.

Because legal abortions save women's lives and decrease abortion rates.

Because people like Mike Huckabee are running for president and write on their campaign website that they, "support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life... and believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned."

Because Bush's Global Gag Rule makes me want to gag.

Selfishly, I vote pro-choice because I want to decide whether or not to have children, and when. I don't want some white man in an ugly tie and over-priced suit making that decision for me.

Why do I vote pro-choice? Because there's too much at stake.

People searched WHAT and found me?!

Keyword analysis of Google searches that have recently landed people on my blog:

  • getting pregnant man on heroin
  • fingering and eating woman out
  • jimmy's racism sprinkles
  • fat woman fingering
  • traditional marriage of mike huckabee's dreams
  • jamie lynn spears and her puppy
  • heavy lifting woman's uterus
  • mrs. pacman women's rights
  • pregnant 12 year old teenager baby kicking
  • hillary cry onion
  • videos jenny jones marriage proposals
  • is it difficult to get pregnant on heroin?

I see...

Hopefully they got something useful out of their visit...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cocaine and thinness

Does anyone read the Post Secret blog?

Many postcards they receive break my heart, this one though was especially saddening...

New Year's Goals...

Not resolutions, not resolutions!
(resolutions have no chance of sticking, at least i have a shot with "goals")

I realize i'm a bit late on this one seeing as it's mid-January but i wanted to jot a few things down in writing to hold myself accountable ;)

Goals for 2008:

  1. Be more patient. Towards my partner, towards our puppy, towards others, towards myself. This includes not jumping down people's throats when i disagree with them, having more patience with my clients (recovery is a disease of relapse and i have to understand that,) and being more patient with myself, allowing myself time to achieve my goals.

  2. Master the Bakasana (Crow Pose) and start working on the Vrischika-asana (Scorpion Pose)

  3. Relinquish control regarding grad school. It will happen. And when it does, it will be the right place and time for me. And i will do research that works for the community, marginalized groups, and activism. It will be awesome.

  4. Complete a triathlon. I chickened out on the swimming last year. I gotta get my butt in a bathing suit, in a pool, and start kicking...

  5. Reconnect with friends. Being an adult is not conducive to maintaining relationships... It was so much easier in college when friends were constantly around and relationships didn't take much work. This all changed post graduation, when everyone scattered about the U.S. Now it's time for me to step up and hold on to the people that mean the world to me. I need to let those close to me know how much i value their friendship and invest more time and energy in maintaining the amazing group of friends I've developed.

  6. More activism! Again, college makes it easy to protest, campaign, and generally be an activist. This year i hope to surround myself with others that are as passionate about social change as i am and start doing, not just talking.

  7. Let go. There are still a few grudges I need to let go of. My goal is to find the balance of forgiveness and let go - for me, not for those who hurt me.

  8. Paint more, and with brighter colors.

  9. Find more time for family. With the possibility of a 6 year ph.d. program around the corner, i need to take advantage of the next few months to spend with family, while I'm close to home.

  10. [insert #10 here] :)
What are some of your 2008 goals, and have you been successful so far?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Sounds dirty doesn't it?

Unfortunately it's not. It's actually a term that was used today in a HIPAA refresher training i had to sit through. The presenter's recurring use of the term "fat-fingering" to imply typing passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, etc, incorrectly left me alarmed. Weightist attitudes are a huge problem in our society and weightist comments are much more socially accepted nowadays than racist, sexist, or homophobic ones even though they are just as discriminatory. The problem of weight bias is very real and can be just as oppressive as the other "isms" we fight against. Since the presenter is also the same guy who does the cultural diversity trainings for our company (HAHA!), i know that he didn't mean to be offensive by using "fat-fingering" and probably didn't even realize he was saying anything wrong. The problem that i see with it is that using the term with a negative connotation only further perpetuates weightist attitudes. Whoever said "fat is a feminist issue" hit the nail right one the head...

Weight bias can interfere with getting a job, obtaining fair health care, being promoted, and being treated equally in general. I don't mean to be the p.c. police here, and i swear that as a feminist i have learned to pick my battles. I realize that he was simply using a term that may have been thrown around (although i must admit i've never heard it before) but the truth is, a lot of discrimination is intrinsic and unintentional. I don't think that all people who say discriminatory things are terrible people, i think a lot of them don't realize the effect of their words and/or never took the time out to consider it.

For example, i've mentioned before that i work at a substance abuse clinic and see a diverse population of clients. A year and a half ago a client walked into my office for an appointment in a really bad mood. As we started talking through why she was pissed, she explained that, "the chink at the nail salon jewed me!" Holy Shit, WHAT?! Yea... You'd imagine i had an incredibly had time navigating between remaining unbias for my job to maintain the rapport i've established with her and wanting to shake the hell out of her based on my feminist values. What did i do? I calmly repeated back to her what she said and explained how offensive she was being to a number of different racial/ethnic groups. She said she knew "chink" was offensive but was really angry (and offending the Asian woman was a defensive mechanism) yet didn't realize "jewed" was a bad thing to say. I explained that "jewed" was based on the concept that jews are cheap, to which she said, "well aren't they?" I don't know ya'll, what then? It's not my job to teach her social politics, or even manners for that matter. Being a Jew, I had a hard time with that. I tried to explain the background to terms like "jewed" and "gyped" and relate them to race because she was a quick one to speak up when the counselors were being racist. I related the words she used to "jimmied" which seemed to do the trick and she quickly understood.

Tangents aside, words have power that people do not intend them to. A lot of the time this creates problems because people don't think before they speak. We are constantly bombarded with social messages that are nothing but discriminatory and perpetuate white/male/hetero/"good looking"/Christian/etc. norms. It takes a lot of effort to walk through life with a constant critical lens and those who do it seem to bitch, rant, and rave, a lot (i very much included). It's easier to ignore the status quo but like the pin i got from one of my favorite teachers, Marita, says, "if you want peace, work for justice."

Back to the original point (sorry, i'm pretty distracted tonight,) weightism is not ok. Not only is it not okay but it's one of those means of discrimination that is often overlooked and not acknowledged making it even less ok. Especially with the current push out there to get everyone "fit" (by whatever means necessary, i.e. The Biggest Loser). Now please don't get me wrong, "thin" doth not "fit" and "healthy" make. There's this overarching concept (read: misconception) out there that thin = beautiful = happy. This equation is faulty on many levels. Firstly, thin does not equal beautiful. Many a woman is absolutely gorgeous with curves (to link a few media crazed examples.) Next, even thin & "beautiful" does not equal happy. There are many "beautifully" miserable women out there as well (i simply couldn't resist). Now i'm all about being fit and healthy, hell, i'm the loudest proponent of women lifting weights, staying active, being strong, kicking ass out there... but not because media tells us what is "beautiful." Overweight women (more so than men) are constantly overlooked. How many plus-size female CEOs do you know? Now think, how many male CEOs that you know are plus-sized. Exactly. Once again we are whacked with the double standard stick.

As much as i hate the idea of "i lived for a minute in an oppressed person's shoes [or fat suit] so now i know their struggle," Tyra Banks did a show where she wore a "fat suit" for a day and, followed by her cameras, "experienced" the trials and tribulations of being discriminated against because of weight. Although a lot felt off about the whole thing, it did bring light to the issue of weightism in our society to an audience that may have not considered it prior, this i believe to be a success.

For what it's worth, the presenter that used the term, "fat-fingering" apologized and commented on how glad he was that i was comfortable enough bringing this directly to him (read: and not going over his head). But really folks, he must not know me... He said he never considered that it may be offensive and will find a different term for future trainings.

Many a time i've had people read my blog only to comment that i "read into shit too much" and i need to "calm down and not take things so seriously." I guess i'll get preemptively defensive on this one: if you think that weightism and fat-hate doesn't exist, please see here. Not only does it exist (as represented on the video) in mainstream America, but also within the feminist community (check out the comments that correspond with the post.)

(oh and p.s. it's De-Lurking Week so please leave a comment or just say "hey, sup?" :) I'd love to see who reads and especially what your thoughts are. Feel free to leave post ideas and comments with what you love/hate. Also, leave a link to your blog, if you have, for me to check it out! I'd enjoy reading what you have to say!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Guantánamo Bay

Friday is the six-year anniversary of Guantánamo Bay. Why is this incredibly important? Because Guantánamo Bay is not only a blaring violation of human rights, but also undermines the constitution. The Military Commissions Act (MCA) unconstitutionally eliminated the right of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantanamo Bay. This means that our government can hold prisoners of Guantanamo Bay for more than five years without charges.

Basically, the "justice system" set in place at Guantánamo Bay allows the president to decide who is an enemy combatants, who should be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime, and define what is and what is not torture and abuse.

There are many human rights concerns. The legal system in place at Guantánamo Bay:

  • Deprives defendants of independent judicial oversight by a civilian court.
  • Restricts the defendant’s right to choose his lawyer.
  • Prosecutes prisoners-of-war in a manner that violates the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
  • Fails to guarantee that evidence obtained via torture or ill-treatment shall not be used.
  • Allows wide latitude to close proceedings and impose a “gag order” on defense counsel.
  • Provides lower due process standards for non-citizens than for U.S. citizens.
  • Prejudges the detainees as “enemy combatants,” thereby keeping the tribunals from making determinations with full independence and impartiality.
    Place severe limits on detainees’ ability to make their claims, including denial of assistance of counsel.
  • Erroneously adopts the U.S. government position that all enemy combatants at Guantanamo can still be held under the laws of war.
  • Does not recognize any legal obligation on the part of the U.S. government to conduct reviews of their detention nor any legal right of the detainees to such a review process.
  • Reflects the U.S. government’s assumption that all those detained at Guantanamo are “enemy combatants” and that none are entitled to prisoner-of-war status.
  • Assumes, erroneously, that all those held at Guantanamo can be detained under the laws of war; an unknown number of detainees were taken into custody where the laws of arm conflict did not apply.
  • Provides for only an annual review when the laws of war require reviews for security detainees at least every six months.
  • Places the burden of proof on the detainee to demonstrate why s/he is no longer a threat to the United States.
  • Limits the detainee’s access to relevant information.
  • Requires family members to provide information through their governments even in cases where doing so would place the family at risk.

The image above is of detainees upon arrival in January 2002

On an international note, Guantánamo Bay is an abomination of American values and continues to shame our country. Detainees have been held for years without fundamental legal and human rights. Even former Secretary of State Colin Powell has spoken out against Guantánamo Bay, “we have shaken the belief the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantánamo open and creating things like the military commission.”

Because justice is almost entirely about activism, here are some things you can do:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Breaking News: Hillary Clinton is a REAL PERSON with REAL EMOTIONS!

News media is in a frenzy after Clinton shows debatably genuine emotion in response to a question asked by an undecided voter earlier today. The woman asks, "How did you get out the door every day? I mean, as a woman, I know how hard it is to get out of the house and get ready. Who does your hair?"

I'd cry too, but for different reasons. Seriously, who asks that bullshit? "how do you get ready...who does your hair?" Really?! You are an undecided voter and have a lead candidate in front of you and that's the question you ask... What would she ask if Obama or Edwards was there? Certainly something more politically relevant.

I am really impressed though with Clinton's ability to turn a ridiculous question into an opportunity to show emotion, passion, and intellect. Here was her teary-eyed response:
I just don't want to see us fall backward as a nation. I mean, this is very personal for me. Not just political. I see what's happening. We have to reverse it. Some people think elections are a game: who's up or who's down. It's about our country. It's about our kids' future. It's about all of us together. Some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some difficult odds. We do it, each one of us, against difficult odds. We do it because we care about our country. Some of us are right, and some of us are not. Some of us are ready, and some of us are not. Some of us know what we will do on day one, and some of us haven't thought that through. This is one of the most important elections we'll ever face. So as tired as I am and as difficult as it is to keep up what I try to do on the road, like occasionally exercise, trying to eat right—it's tough when the easiest thing is pizza. I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation. I'm going to do everything I can to make my case, and then the voters get to decide.

All joking aside, when i think about the current state our country is in, i want to cry also. After what the Bush administration has done, we desperately need a determined and focused leader in office. Is Clinton the right person for that job? I don't know... but she is the one i seem to be defending more and more lately...

The truth is, i'm fed up... with the media, with the general population, even with various friends and family when it comes to Hillary Clinton. The point is when she's strong and steadfast she is viewed as uptight, unapproachable, and too "masculine." Now when she shows vulnerability and emotion she is being too feminine and obviously not suited for the role of president. Spit it out people, what are you really saying? You're saying that women shouldn't be president because when push comes to shove, it's a (white, straight, Christian) man's job. And no matter how hard any "other" tries to fit the status quo, there's just no way to win.

I hope this election is different. It's time for a change in our country, and "change" seems to be the operative, buzz word nowadays which is a great thing in my mind.

Back to Clinton: was this whole teary-eyed, passionate, emotional response orchestrated by her campaign? Maybe... But this is politics people, and in 2008 it's a dirty race.

Below are some very well thought out and intelligent reactions to the article (read: sarcasm). I thought they would be fun to post here for your reference. Via Newsweek:

Comment: Do we really want a president who cries when the going gets tough?

Comment: Sure, I want a president that breaks and cries under pressure. NOT!!!!!!!Hillary can't even come close to being the statesman Muskie was, don't insult him by the comparison. Hilbillary admitted it. It is not about politics, it is "PERSONAL". Yes, her quest for power, and not politics.Don't let the crocodile tears fool you my democrat sheep friends.In short Hillary Clinton can't cut the mustard as President.

Comment: All I'd like to know is, how did she get that slice of onion into her handkerchief? If on the outside chance that it wasn't faked, then I'd say that the last thing this Nation needs is a crybaby with her finger on the nuclear trigger. " were mean to me!".....BOOM!

Comment: Thanks, Hillary. Thanks for setting women back oh-so-many decades. Appreciate it. Really I do.
(i don't get this one - how did she set women back?)

Oh and here's a doozy:
Comment: hahahahaha...what a cry baby. She needs to grow up before she gets her ticket to the white house. I'm surprised she hasn't ordered a death sentence on her opposition yet. I mean, we all know that's what she did to JFK Jr when he challenged her for the Senate seat in NY. Damn right we're more educated here on the West Coast. We know all about the Clinton Regime and their conniving schemes. It's too bad Hillary had her husband pull the trigger on John John. The country would have been better with that young honest Kennedy alive.

Even this, pseudo-positive comment left me cringing:
Comment: I find it funny that she is resorting to tears at this point. She's never shown a vulnerable side, a womanly side before. She's played hardball with the big dogs, and now, polls show she is down in N.H. and all the sudden the tears come out? I feel for her, this country needs a woman president, but not her.
(why is a "womanly side" parallel to a "vulnerable side"?)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Civil Unions in New Hampshire!

I'm a bit late on this one but due to its importance, i wanted to share:

Via the NY Times...

New Hampshire's civil unions law - enacted by the Democrat-dominated Legislature early last year and signed by Democratic Gov. John Lynch in May, gives same sex couples the same rights, responsibilities and obligations of marriage without calling the union a marriage. New Hampshire is the fourth state in the nation to allow civil unions.

So far, civil unions are legal in Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and now New Hampshire. Massachusetts is still the only state that allows same sex marriage.

Hopefully more states will follow suite, although my hope is they follow Massachusetts' same sex marriage laws... Oh and don't forget about all the same sex marriage bans we have to still overturn...

To leave off on a positive note:

Dozens of gay and lesbian couples entered into civil unions in New Hampshire in the early moments of New Year's Day as a new state law legalized the partnerships after midnight.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Day After the Iowa Caucus!

Sorry i've been a little MIA. I'm actually spending the week on vacation in North Carolina visiting friends :)

However, i couldn't pass up a chance to write about the Iowa caucus:

Obama and Fuckabee: Any thoughts?

Here are mine:

First i'd like to ask the general population, along with political analysts, the media, and government officials to start focusing on Clinton's politics rather than the fact that she is a woman. On a personal note, as of right now i'm not voting for Clinton come February 5th. There are actually tons of reasons to critique Clinton based on her politics and I agree with many of those who do so. However, no one really ever seems to. Instead people focus on the fact that she has a vagina. Clinton is female. And she's a forerunner for president! Get the fuck over it and move on to her politics. Then we can have some real political conversations. Here's a very pertinent example of something you can do to change the dynamics of how Clinton is seen: If/when referring to her with one name, call her Clinton rather than Hillary! Listening to political analysts and reporters last night i couldn't get over the fact that we had three candidates neck in neck: Obama, Edwards, and "Hillary"... seriously? I can't think of a better way to show someone that you don't take them seriously and that they don't have your respect than to call them by their first name while everyone else is addressed by their last name.

Truth be told, I'd prefer Obama, Edwards, and even Kucinich (although he's a space cadet) to Clinton. I don't agree with some of her key policies but find myself more defensive of her than any other candidate because of all the misogyny thrown her way.

Moving on...

On one hand, the thought of Huckabee gaining GOP support terrifies me. On the other, i'd much prefer him to take the republican nomination and lose by a long shot... I predict that he will alienate the moderates and either lose in later primaries or (definitely) in the general election.

I suppose i'd be more nervous if someone like McCain got elected, he'd actually have a chance at beating the dem nominee.

My only real fear for Fuckabee is that he's really smooth. The media loves to talk up his musician side, which makes him more relatable and he definitely has charisma. He has a sense of humor and charm, those are two scary characteristics in someone so extreme and so into what he's selling. What's even more scary is that he seems to genuinely believe all the radical politics he's endorsing... his beliefs paired with his personality are a scary combination (especially since now it's obvious he's gaining support). My fear is that a lot of the American population doesn't do their research and doesn't really get to know the candidates. Instead, they would vote on first impressions and Huckabee gives off a hell of a first impression.

However, the Iowa exit polls showed 60% of the GOP voters were Evangelical Christians. Also, polls showed that immigration was the top issue for those who voted. I don't believe either of these demographics are representative of the population, even within the GOP.

Whoever wins the republican nomination will have an extremely difficult time gaining widespread republican support, especially since candidates' religion seems to be such an important characteristic this term.

The other interesting thing i heard from NPR is that the gender gap, at least on the democratic side, was very wide. Among women, Clinton did as well as Obama but received only 23% of the vote among men. This tells us one of three things: 1. men are still reluctant to elect a female president on the sole reason of her being a woman; 2. women are voting for Clinton solely because she is a women; 3. one group (male or female voters) are more invested in the candidates politics and vote solely based on policy and not sex of candidate.

Some interesting demographics from last night:
  • Six in 10 GOP voters said they were born again or evangelical Christians, and by far the largest share (almost half) supported Huckabee.
  • Romney led among non-evangelical voters, getting about a third of their support.
  • More than a third of Republicans said having the same religious beliefs as their candidate was very important, and of that group just over half favored Huckabee.
  • More than half of voters younger than age 30 were supporting Obama, and he even had a roughly 2-to-1 lead over her among those age 30 to 44. Clinton had a decisive lead among the oldest voters.
  • As in past Iowa caucuses and other presidential nomination contests, the Democratic turnout was predominantly female, while a majority of Republicans were male.
  • Early Democratic caucus-goers were a little younger on average than their Republican counterparts.

Oh are there actual issues to consider? Looking past religion and demographics:

Given three choices, just over a third of Democrats said Iraq was the chief issue facing the country, with about the same number naming the economy. Healthcare was close behind. Obama had the most support among those naming Iraq and the economy, while the three candidates were close among those citing healthcare.

What are ya'll thoughts? Who do you predict will win the primaries, and just as importantly, who do you predict will be appointed as a running mate to the nominee?

In the words of Jon Stewart, i can't wait to see what happens in this "clusterfuck to the whitehouse!"