Friday, October 31, 2008

Punkin Day!!!!

Happy Halloween!

This is, in my opinion, the best fucking holiday of all. There's candy. There are scary things lurking about. You get to dress up. You get to carve cool pictures into hollowed-out gourds. It's not a disgusting, crass display of commercialism in the sense that Christmas is (although I admit that it's commercial, obv). It's not a celebration of white supremacy over the indigenous peoples of North America, like T-day. It doesn't require anyone to sit solemnly in religious services all day (unless you're a big D-bag and think that kids dressing as pirates and collecting candy is the "Devil's Holiday").

But the BEST reason to love Halloween (especially if you happen to be me or Boyfriend) is that it is our anniversary :) Yes, indeedy, we do mark this holiday as the date of our romantic beginnings (although we were friends for quite some time beforehand).

This Halloween is the three year mark (gasp! And already shacked up with each other!). I'm quite proud that despite many, many emotional problems, I have managed to find and keep a man for so long. And not just any man. A man who is totally awesome in every way. He cooks! He does laundry! He forces-feeds me vitamins when he is concerned about my health! He supported me through 4 months of unemployment! Hell, he even bought me a bunny rabbit to keep me company during those four months:

That's right. A fuckin' bunny. And he is ADORABLE. And that's not even a billionth of everything this man has done for me, on top of loving me despite my crazies (one day, I shall post on all of the incredible things that he has done. Including driving me and my 8-month pregnant best friend from Pennsylvania to Mississippi). Oh, and he's cute and smart. Duh, of course he's cute and smart. He's MY boyfriend.

So Happy Anniversary, Boyfriend, and Happy Halloween, everyone else! Please indulge in our pumpkin creations: His witch on the left, my Nosferatu on the right:

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Eep! I start my new job on Monday. Panic is setting in. I'm making a bulleted list of the things that I'm panicking over, because I find bulleted lists comforting:
  • Arriving at 9:30 am. That means I have to wake up at 7:30 to make sure the subway takes me there on time. Because I must be the only person in all of Manhattan who actually LEAVES MANHATTAN to get to her job. I'm doing it wrong.
  • Running out of clothes in the first week. Boyfriend and I made two mad dashes to acquire business-y clothes during the Time of Interviews. But I still only have three pairs of pants and three shirts. One of those pairs of pants does not match any of those shirts. Don't get me started on what shoes I don't have. And I *really* can't put more onto my credit card. Really.
  • Will you be my friend? I miss my friends. I had a lot of friends. Now most of them are a nine-hour train ride away. I know it's not always best to mix work and pleasure, but I would really like to make at least one good work friend. I need friends again. Or a drinking buddy. Maybe a dealer (perhaps you can guess what sorts of jobs I have held in the past).
  • Eventually causing a huge scene. I have a temper. And a strong tendency to resist orders. I have been known to be, ahem, outspoken. This has been problematic in the past (although it has never gotten me fired. If anything, it's almost always gotten me what I've wanted. I suppose this is why I continue to behave this way). But these people seem so nice, and I hate the idea that I may snap on them.
  • Don't touch me. One time, at one of many jobs I held in college, I was sexually harassed to the point that I had to report it (oh, I think I've been sexually harassed in EVERY job. But this one was pretty serious. As in, stop touching my tits/ass and stop removing your wedding ring and directly asking me to fuck you). So I prefer to work with and for women. You may think this sexist, but if that's your stance, you can eat shit. This boss is a young-ish male. He seems like a decent guy, but I shall be in a state of cat-like readiness.
  • Lunch. Brown sack or invite co-worker to lunch? Or perhaps bring a brown sack, but wait for co-worker to ask first? Okay, I'm going with the latter. How do I pay for a lunch if she asks me out? Shit.
  • Vacay. I need to ask off for two days in November for which I had previously planned to leave town. I haven't earned vacation time yet. I sort of assumed that they would be flexible, but my stomach is in knots thinking that for some reason they won't be. Or they will be offended that I asked. Yipe!
  • Being a big fucking white-trash weirdo. I already sort of stalked one of my new co-workers on facebook. She went to two Ivy League schools. I may appear out of place (note to self: refrain from mentioning your love of Pabst, your knowledge of farm-animal castration, and try not to pick your teeth with a pen cap). Also, I may hate her, depending on how wrapped up she is in her privilege. But maybe I'm making false assumptions here. Maybe she isn't privileged at all. Maybe she's one of those people who was homeless and then pulled herself up by the bootstraps to achieve her dreams. Psh, yeah right.
  • Being a liberal douche-bag. Sometimes when I meet other people in academia, I just sort of assume that they are all a bunch of bleeding-hearts like me. And then it turns out that I'm wrong. So I really need to keep that in check.
I feel comforted now. Sort of. Aw, I've soiled myself again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Passport 2 Teen Pregnancy

Thanksgiving is coming up, and this year we're spending it with Boyfriend's family. Boyfriend's family is sort of spread out all across the US, but they are all coming together at his parents' house this year. We decided to forgo my family's dinner for his, since I will so rarely have the opportunity to see his extended relations.

I'm sort of psyched about this family dinner because there will be 4 kids there, ranging from ages 3-13, and I feel like family gatherings are really lame without kids to liven things up. When my mom's side of the family gets together, I generally tend to go off and play with the wee ones, because I find it less stressful and more amusing than talking to the adults. Especially adults who I am concerned might disapprove of me. And what's the fastest way to earn family approval? Why, being "good" with the kids, of course! I've got it all figured out...

Boyfriend has two young cousins who I met once, two years ago. We stayed with them for a few days during a christmas-time road trip. At the time, they were 11 and 9, so we had a lot of fun with them. They were super sweet and smart little girls, and their parents were also really fun and nice.

Cute Cousins 1 and 2 will be at this particular family gathering. But something has been nagging at me about seeing them, particularly regarding Cute Cousin 1 (the elder). Apparently, CC1's parents are some sort of hard-core Baptist. And last year, they took her on something called Passport2Purity. It is every bit as ominous as it sounds. Apparently, it's a kit that you buy to help you plan a weekend retreat with your son/daughter during which you explain the importance of abstinence and purity. From what I can see from the website, it emphasizes five main areas: Dating, peer pressure, purity, sexual maturity, the importance of god's word.

Okay, cool. You're a Christian, and you want your kid to not have sex. I get it. That's okay.

But what upsets me is that I can't really find any indication about whether this kit talks about safe sex. Including preventing pregnancy and STDs with methods other than abstinence. Or, if it does include these things, how accurately it discusses them. (I'm picturing a glossing-over that goes along the lines of: "You can use a condom to prevent pregnancy and STDs. But abstinence is THE ONLY WAY THAT IS TOTALLY EFFECTIVE. Also, birth control actually kills babies.")

My parents never gave me the sex talk. I believe I got it in the fifth grade from my sister, after she heard me singing Nine Inch Nails' "I want to fuck you like an animal." And even after that I was way confused for a while. When we got the internet in the eighth grade (remember when the internet was a novelty?) I had to turn to hard-core porn to figure out how the hell a penis could actually fit into a vagina (OH MY GOD IS THAT HOW EVERYONE DOES IT?) For crying out loud, my mom didn't even tell me what a period was. I had to figure it out from a Human Growth and Development class, which left me EVEN MORE CONFUSED (does the blood only come out when you pee?). And I didn't hit menarche until I was 15, so I was confused for an awfully long time. So, I really like the idea of having a talk with your kids about sex and sexual maturity. I think it could have saved me a lot of anxiety.

But here's the thing. There's a lot of things wrong with abstinence programs, mainly that they DON'T WORK (go ahead, Google it. It's old news, but someone just came out with yet another study confirming that they don't work). And as I implied in an earlier post, I feel like I've seen the effects of them first-hand. See, I have a theory that abstinence programs are not only damaging on their own, but that they tend to negate the effects of a comprehensive sex-ed program. In my high school, we had a good sex-ed program. The texts and teachers were honest. We got to anonymously ask whatever questions we wanted. We had sex-ed many years in a row, starting at sixth grade. A few times a year in high school, someone would drop a big box of free condoms in the locker room. But once a year, this lady came in from some religious group, and we were required to sit through this abstinence talk. I understand that this person's presence was an attempt to please the religious zealots in our rural community. But dammit if her talk didn't induce enough fear and shame to prevent us from buying condoms, or seeking birth control.

And guess what? A lot of girls got pregnant in my high school. A LOT.

This woman probably wasn't the sole cause of all those pregnancies. It was probably a combination of people like her and rural, uneducated parents who gave the same talks at home. Or who threatened to kick their kids out if they caught them fucking (stellar parenting).

But that "fear and shame" element is why hearing about this Passport2Purity program is bothering me. The program makes sex into a much bigger deal than it needs to be. It makes it into this big, scary, ominous thing that will either cause disfavor in the eyes of your god, or somehow decrease your value as a person. For chrissake, making the talk into an entire weekend getaway sends a pretty scary message all on its own, doesn't it? This "sex thing" is SO HUGE that we need an entire damn weekend to talk about it?

I'm upset that CC1 (and later, CC2) will have to hear about how shameful and dirty sex is. How it will make them lesser people if they fuck. How do lessons like this help girls who are victims of rape or sexual abuse? How do they help them make smart decisions about purchasing birth control? If CC1 happens to get molested at school, will she tell anyone after all she hears is that "God wants you to wait" and "Your future husband will be so disappointed if you aren't pure." If she hits 16 and decides to have sex, do you think she'll be more or less likely to run to the drugstore for condoms? Or ask her mom to take her to the gyno to get birth control pills?

CC1 is a smart girl. So I hope if those events do occur, she can see through the bullshit and make healthy choices. But my specific problem in this is that I don't think her world is set up to encourage this. Her parents are quite set in this thinking, her church is set, and until a few years ago, she attended a small Christian school. Now she attends public school, but it's in Mississippi. Not a very progressive state, I imagine, in terms of comprehensive sex ed. So I'm torn. I want to say something to her, anything, to help her out. But I know that it's not my place, and I could do real damage if her parents found out that I tried to undermine them. At the very least, I want to tell her that it's not dirty and she's not going to hell for it. I want her to have at least one person who tells her that. It would have been nice if someone I trusted had told me that when I was 13.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And it seems so plausible

This douche-hole from Minnesota is claiming that he and Obama did some blow back in '99, and then had hot, steamy homo sex in the back of a limo. He says that he will submit to a polygraph to prove it, and some site is offering a load of cash to record it and to reward him if he passes.

I bet this guy has a backwards "b" on his ass, too *insert eye roll*

Really, no one should be giving this guy any attention. The claims are outlandish, that much should be obvious to anyone. He hasn't got any sort of proof, and even a positive polygraph isn't proof enough, as anyone with good self-control can easily pass them.

But the reason I'm giving him attention is that I think his claims illustrate some very sad things about our country. His "scandalous" accusations involve two things: Drug use and homosexual behavior. What kills me is that these were obviously formulated to be the "worst" things that could be said about a candidate. He didn't come out and claim that Obama raped a child, or that Obama once beat his wife. No. Obama's a GAY. And a DRUG ADDICT. OH MY GOD WHAT IS THE MORAL FIBER OF THIS COUNTRY COMING TO. Now if that Arab gits elected, he surely will spend his time in the Oval Office, smokin' crack and havin' the butt-sex, y'all.

Being gay is not some sort of disease or negative behavior or devastating event. It's just how some people are. Consenting sex between two adults doesn't hurt anyone: not them, not you, not your family or your marriage. And it shouldn't be an insult, let alone a DEAL BREAKER for the presidency.

And drug use? Drugs aren't the best, mmmmkay? But guess what? Lots of people do drugs. And those people are actually okay. They aren't all homeless "welfare queens", or negligent parents, or pregnant teens or irresponsible members of society in general (as the War on Drugs would have you believe). Clinton did drugs. Bush DEFINITELY did drugs. Obama already admitted that he smoked the reefer. Hell, I did a bunch of drugs in college, and I still got into a top PhD program. So they aren't great to do all the time, but sometimes a little dabbling here and there isn't going to hurt. But what gets me is that this guy specifically said that Obama did crack-cocaine (while this guy just had some plain old blow). Allow me to translate that accusation for you: "Oh, look at the black presidential candidate! I associate crack addicts with black men! It only makes sense that this black man would also do crack! You don't want a crack-head in the white house, do you?"

Oh my god, I can see the McCain rallies now. On top of the disgusting racist diarrhea that has been spewing from their mouths (This week I heard: "I think he's gonna put a turban on, and he's gonna go into the White house, and we're all gonna be shot"), now we're going to have gems like "He's a FAG. And a CRACK HEAD. A GAY CRACK-HEAD TERRORIST."

I could turn this into a rant into how this country openly discriminates and harasses gays, or how the War on Drugs is unnecessarily overcrowding our prisons and costing us excessive amounts of taxpayer dollars. But really my main concern here is that these two "insults" were the most devastating accusations that this fellow could conjure. My main concern is that this reflects how backwards much of this country is in terms of moral priorities. These same people will talk all day about how homosexuality is the scourge of the earth, but won't blink an eye when a girl in a short skirt gets raped (she was asking for it, after all). Or when they beat their children (spare the rod, spoil the child, y'all. Gotta learn 'em somehows). Or when impoverished families continue to suffer because our government won't provide them with healthcare, childcare, or a good education (they're poor because they're all lazy drug-addicts, obv).

The people who talk the most about morality and claim to have the highest sense of morality always seem to be the people with the most warped idea of morality. The things that they seem to care about the most seem to be the things that, in reality, matter the least. And it seems that those people are always pushing their warped views into our government. So we get laws that reinforce these subjective notions of morality (anti-sodomy laws, bans to gay marriage, overly-zealous penalties for drug use). And we DON'T get laws made on the things that really matter (proper protections for victims of abuse, quality health-care for everyone, adequate educational funding for all public schools and children).

8 days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good morning, Monday

A bit of spoken word music for your Monday morning, courtesy of Sarah Palin and Katie Couric:

This is my last week as a slobbering, unemployed putz! So I'm enjoying loafing around in my pajamas with no bra,and watching viral videos, as much as possible.

Annnnnnnywho, enjoy the Monday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Movie Sign!

The prospect of a good movie gives me a boner (I said it). If I see something that looks good, I HAVE TO SEE IT RIGHT NOW. And if I see some cheesy-ass preview, or Boyfriend's mom says that she wants to see National Treasure 3, I'm apt to snort derisively. Is this pretentious of me? Am I some sort of elitist? The answer is yes. Yes, I am a huge fucking movie snob. But I get a big kick out of the good ones, and this weekend I saw a great one:

Let the Right One In is a Swedish vampire movie. How cool is that? If you're into vampire movies, I swear that you'll love it. Even if you're not so into vampires, it's really good. It's an interesting spin on the vampire-as-seducer tale. And the gore isn't overdone in a lame Van Helsing way. And it gets you into the characters' heads. Mmmm, character development.

Also, there was a preview for another movie that I want to see, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas:

This is because I'm a huge sucker for Holocaust movies, as well. Call me morbid, but I've been hooked since I saw Schindler's List.

Let the Right One In
is on limited release, so you might not be able to see it right now, depending on where you live (something else I've discovered that I love about New York is that it panders to my insatiable appetite for good indie flicks). Keep it in mind, though.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Check this out

After Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, a lot of people were crying that the endorsement was simply a race issue. These claims didn't sit well with me, but I didn't feel like I could adequately explain why. However, Macon D over at Stuff White People Do saved the day and put into words what I could not. Thanks, Macon D!

If you aren't already, you should be reading SWPD on a regular basis. It's an intelligent and thoughtful blog about what it means to be white in this country, and the ways in which the majority cause suffering among racial minorities (whether they intend to or not). It's a big wake-up call.

Sex with buff yet violent monkeys

Just kidding, this post is actually about the Electoral College. I just wanted your attention.

My awesome and thoughtful and- dare I say- beautiful best friend brought up the topic of the electoral college the other day. She was looking into it, and frustrated with the lack of information on the whole process. If your high school was anything like ours, you too emerged with a murky sense of governmental process covered only in School House Rock videos. I think Best Friend was smart to think about the electoral college, when it hasn't even crossed my mind, because that's really how the president gets elected.

So I'm posting my best understanding of the Electoral College, in case you were wondering, too.

*Ahem*: In case you aren't already aware, the popular vote does not determine the presidency (but it does determine congressional elections, so rest assured that your vote directly matters when you vote for the folks who actually make the bills and vote to turn bills into laws). What a jip, huh? Anyway, we have 538 electors (equal to the number of folks in the house and senate, plus three electors from D.C.). It takes 270 electoral votes to make a majority win for a candidate.

The electors are nominated by the political parties in each state. Some states nominate electors during the primaries, others do it at their state's parties' conventions. Can I be an elector, you may ask? The answer is probably no, but technically yes. Anyone can be an elector who is not a Senator or Representative, or some kind of Benedict Arnold. BUT electors are usually nominated to recognize them for their service and dedication to their political party. So, basically, your school's basketball coach probably won't get to be an elector, unless the coach is also the state's district attorney, or executive director of the Service Employee's International Union in your state (as were two PA electors in 2004).

After electors are nominated for each state (each state gets a number of electors equal to the number of people they have in the House and Senate, for instance, 34 in Texas), you vote for the elector on election day. But Phoebe, how do I know what elector I want to vote for? What are their names? I never saw this on a ballot before! Well, more than likely, your electors' names will appear as either Barack Obama or John McCain. See, when you go to cast your ballot, you don't *actually* vote for McCain or Obama. Instead, you are voting for the electors who have either pledged to support that candidate or must support that candidate if that candidate wins the popular vote. So you aren't voting for Barack Obama. You are voting for an elector. An elector who is likely to cast their vote for Obama if you did, too.

There are three types of electors: Batman, the penguin, and the Joker electors who can vote for anyone, electors bound by state law, and electors bound by pledges to political parties. There are 24 states not bound by pledge or by state law. The electors in those states are not legally required to vote for any candidate (My assumption is that the electors in those states commonly vote according to the popular vote anyway). Electors bound by state law are required to cast their votes according to the popular vote. Electors bound by pledges will vow to vote for their party's nominee. If an elector breaks this pledge, Al Gore personally breaks the elector's knee caps. I mean, the electors may be subject to different consequences that vary from state to state (some states will fine the elector or replace the elector with a substitute). You can see how your state's electors are bound here.

Even though we hear the results of the popular vote almost instantly at the end of Nov 4, the electors don't actually cast their votes until Dec 15 (that's just for this year...the rule is the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December...who the fuck made that up?). The popular vote results that you hear are just really likely predictions of how the electoral vote will turn out (more than 99% of electors have voted as pledged throughout our nation's history). After the electors cast their votes, and make a bazillion copies of everything, the election is decided.

The electoral college is why certain "swing states" get so much attention. Because most states have a "winner-take-all" system of electoral college votes, the states without clear favorites require a higher voter turn-out to make a difference (like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Florida). But in other states, it actually doesn't matter how many people come out to vote. For instance, California has the highest number of electors (55), but it is considered a "safe" state for democrats (because there are many democrats living there). And no matter how many people turn out to vote in CA, CA still gets those 55 votes. So they don't campaign so hard in California (or New York or Texas), or try so hard to encourage voters to come out, because it's already highly likely that there will be a clear winner from one party.

To sum up this whole mess in a simple way, each party in each state nominates a number of electors equal to the number of congressional representatives afforded to that state; on Nov 4, whatever candidates get the most votes get the corresponding electors "elected;" On Dec 15 the electors theoretically vote for whoever you voted for, but can be "faithless" and vote the other way (although unlikely); the winning candidate becomes the President elect and has until Jan 20 to get his shit together.

There is a site for polls that you should check out called They calculate a variety of election polls by assigning each poll a weight based on the pollster's track record, the poll's sample size, and the recentness of the polls. The more reliable polls have more weight. Then, they do a ton of statistical crap that equals a really thorough and interesting poll system that you can't get from your average CNN polling (the site explains it in its FAQs, for anyone interested). So, according to fivethirtyeight, even though the current polls estimate the popular vote to be relatively close (52.2% for Obama), the electoral vote is a friggin landslide already (354 electoral votes for Obama projected today...the site updates daily).

So it's awesome for everyone to vote, but if you live in a swing state, you can see why it's especially important that you get your ass to the polls. This year the swing states are (as listed by CNN):
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • Missouri
Are you in one of these? Don't be a dick. Go vote for the electoral college member who will in turn vote for your presidential candidate of choice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The end of an era

...Sort of? I have not been without a job since I was 14 years old. I have been known to keep two jobs at once. And yet, after an unfortunate and traumatizing incident with graduate school (see comments section in "Epiphany!") , I have been unemployed for almost four months. There has been much mooching off of the Boyfriend, which has made my feminist self very unhappy.

Some good things came out of the Great Unemployment, like this blog. And a close and personal bond with my pet bunny (he's litter trained AND he responds to voice command. That's good bondin'). But now, thankfully, it's time to move off of my crumb-encrusted couch, turn off my Simpsons season 4-7 DVDs, and put my pants back on (if I can find them). Because today I accepted a job offer.

Because I want to keep my blog as anonymous as possible, and because I want to avoid getting Dooced (although that worked out well for her in the end, didn't it?), I probably won't reveal much about my working life. I guess I can say that I'm involved in academia, and that it involves Psychology, because I've already revealed that much in past entries. And it helps to know that information in order to understand my extreme nerdiness.

But I promise that even though eight hours of my day will soon be consumed by other activities, you can rest assured that I will still have an endless supply of things to write about ENTIRELY IN CAPS LOCK BECAUSE IT MAKES ME SO FUCKING MAD. Because those things never go away.

Plus, if I use this blog as an outlet, I have a lesser risk of alienating my future co-workers with insane ranting. Or maybe, if I get really lucky, my co-workers will be just as crazy as me, and we can rant together, like a bevy of homeless schizophrenic bag-ladies.

I don't start for a few weeks, but I'm celebrating today anyway. I'm going out, putting a new coat and hat (I want a cloche!) and boots on my already-bloated credit card, and then buying me a Max Brenner hot chocolate, because that shit is DE-FUCKING-LICIOUS. What now, Economy? What now?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hm. Turns out I'm NOT an Ameican citizen.

Jon Stewart has brought up his qualms with the McCain Campaign's excessive pandering to "small-town" America a few times. I hadn't really noticed it until he mentioned it a few nights ago and again last night (it was the main theme of his show last night). This issue grinds my gears.

Until I was 17, I lived in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. The population in 2000 was 3,512 (smaller than Wasilla!). When I was 16, I worked for a summer picking strawberries on a farm. My high school was surrounded by farmer's fields. My best friend grew up on a farm (and naturally, being best friends with her, so did I). My memories of childhood include playing in woods, barns, creeks, and cornfields (damn it's easy getting lost in that shit). My best friend's father was a truck driver. My own mother worked a series of factory jobs. I have seen cows and goats get castrated (and I have seen it go horribly, horribly wrong). I have taken my father's pick-up truck and ramped it over road-bumps and done donuts in fields (don't tell my dad, for the love of god). I was once asked to go line-dancing for a date (I declined, for the record). The Olive Garden is "fancy." I've shot a gun many times (I took the Boyfriend to the local armory the first time he visited home. The fine fellows at the armory hailed me as the best girlfriend ever).

So yes, I am from "Real America." I am from the "hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America area of this great nation" (Thank you, Ms. Palin. How kind).

But in those 17 years, despite lovely scenery, fond childhood memories, and a healthy knowledge of farming, I have seen things that have deeply disturbed me. I have seen ignorance, racial intolerance, and deep-seated sexism. I have seen abusive parents, neglected children, and low education levels. I've seen teen pregnancies (a LOT of teen pregnancies. I've also seen one barely-a-teen pregnancy). I've seen violence and hatred towards gays, atheists, blacks, and women. And I've seen all of this condoned, if not actively encouraged, by authority figures (be those figures religious leaders, parents, or school personnel).

So I got the hell out of dodge and went to a university in a moderately-sized city (pop over 300,000). There I learned that more people existed than white, small-town people. That those who are not white, straight, christian males of comfortable means face a TON of discrimination that is often subtle and easily-ignored by the majority's eye. I learned to respect other people and their struggles, and I learned to be skeptical of many things and trusting of very, very few.

And then I moved to New York (pop: over 8 million). I learned that Harlem is a very friendly place, and everyone says "hello" to you on the sidewalk (contrary to popular myth, this is not something that happened often in my hometown). I learned that almost everyone holds the door open for everyone else. I found a city where people from VERY different backgrounds co-exist. Where over 170 languages are spoken, and no one tells anyone that "you gotta speak American in America." Where accents might be hard to understand, but everyone makes the damn effort, because how many fucking languages do you speak? Where gays, atheists, blacks, hispanics, women, the transgendered, the poor, and the just-plain-eccentric are not open-season for bigots. Diversity is king, here, and we are happy that way.

I'm not saying that intolerance or discrimination doesn't exist in NY. It exists everywhere, as it is a product of our society and culture. A product partially fed and fattened by people like John McCain, Rush Limbaugh, George W., Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and the like.

But what I AM saying is that New York (and Chicago, and Boston, and San Francisco, and Dallas...) are REAL parts of America, too. And that we're often much nicer and more pleasant in terms of respecting our fellow human beings. And you can't disenfranchise us by saying that we're not. Many of us, like myself, came from what McCain is calling "real America" (which, by the way, I read as white, uneducated America), and we left because we didn't like that those places had no opportunities for us. We could not grow and thrive there either financially or intellectually, because those places are very limited in the experiences that they offer. We knew that there was more out there, and that the "more" is available where the population is larger and more diverse.

Places like my hometown are "real" America, too. But they aren't to be glorified. They aren't any better than New York. For the people who choose to live there, they offer something more than New York: families, jobs, lower costs of living, a different style of living. But they aren't some special piece of heaven, either. They have nasty sides, and if you've lived in a place like this, you know that the nasty parts are NOT few and far in between. Low levels of education and global awareness are not something to be celebrated. Ignorance isn't something to be celebrated. Associating an entire religion followed by 1-1.8 billion members with "terrorism" isn't something to be celebrated. Automatically associating brown people who have funny names with said religion and terrorism isn't something that's "folksy" or "charming", either.

McCain and Palin are insulting EVERYONE in America when they claim that people from small-towns are "real" and "patriotic" and "love their country the most." I'm real, too, and so is my vote. Patriotic shouldn't mean "unquestioning, die-hard fan of war and the current administration." To love one's country shouldn't mean "I have a yellow ribbon on the back of my truck." Loving one's country means questioning the government, questioning the status quo, and actually giving a shit about EVERYONE who lives here, including non-whites, immigrants, and people with diverse backgrounds. Loving one's country DOESN'T mean only loving the white parts, or the male parts, or the Christian parts, or the 4-person nuclear family parts.

To the people in small-town America: When McCain and Palin tell these things to you, they are diminishing and dismissing the problems that you face. They are ignoring your underfunded schools. They are dismissing the social ills that chill your community. They are underestimating the problems that you face in accessing good jobs and healthcare. They are making you into some sort of magical, mythical being: The strong farmer, the wise factory-worker. They are boxing you in and trying to woo you with vague rhetoric. They are trying to tell you that you love this country the most, so that you will be content and follow them wherever they go. But you have problems, don't you? And you shouldn't be content, should you?

There are 8 million people in New York, 3.8 million in Los Angeles, 3 million in Chicago, 1.2 million in Dallas, and 223,000 in New Orleans. Those people are real. Those votes are real. Attention must be paid.

Friday, October 17, 2008


When I was something like 7 or 8, my parents called me downstairs where they were watching TV. Because I was a really lovely and special child, instead of going downstairs, I'm sure I angrily called out "WHAT?!?!?!" from my bedroom. "Just come here!" my dad said. There was urgency in his voice. So I traipsed downstairs, all SIGH! And my dad was all "just watch this!"

"Why? What is it?"

"Just watch!"

And this, my bloggie friends, is the fine piece of Americana that my father was so excited to finally share with his youngest daughter:

That's right. The motherfucking Thriller video. And what did I do, after standing in stunned silence for thirteen minutes and 41 seconds? What would any eight year old do?

I screamed and then ran up to my room, where I'm sure I sat on the bed sucking my thumb for an hour and waiting for Michael Jackson and his team of perfectly choreographed zombies to take me away and force me to learn their dance moves. IN HELL.

In retrospect, I guess I was wise to fear Mr. Jackson.

So, enjoy the video. I hope it gets you in the Halloween spirit, because it sure still scares the hell outta me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Women's "health"

Are you fucking kidding me, John McCain? You just put women's health in QUOTES??? OUR HEALTH IS NOT A JOKE. AND YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL US WHAT IS HEALTH-RELATED OR NOT.

Carrying a baby for 9 months is ALWAYS RISKY. ALWAYS. So, John McCain, who will NEVER HAVE TO CARRY A BABY, we are not fucking walking uteri. I know you and your trophy wife love your damn adopted baby so much, but GUESS WHAT. We are not here to make babies all the time for people who can't have them. That's not how it works. And it's our bodies that get FUCKED UP for 9 months, so if we don't want to do that, WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO. And that's PART OF WOMEN'S HEALTH.

Oh and also, you're offended at being called a racist? Maybe you should try NOT MAKING RACIAL COMMENTS. Calling Obama a terrorist is RACIST and that is the end of it. If you think that you're offended, you should try being in Obama's shoes.

Caps lock aside, this was a much juicier debate than the last one. The moderator did a really good job, I thought, of trying to make the candidates answer the questions. I wish they had done that at the VP debate. I'm sorry they didn't mention gay rights at all.

My childhood is disappearing!

Aw fuck. Another piece of my childhood is going far away. American girl announced that it's discontinuing Samantha Parkington and all of her accessories (in a ploy to make us all rush out and buy stuff).

Coincidentally, I was just telling my dad about how when my little cousin visited, we went to the American Girl store. This excited me to no end, because I was freaking OBSESSED with my Samantha doll when I was a kid. I asked for nothing but all things related to Samantha for every major gift-giving occasion. As a result, I didn't have many normal toys, but I did have a ton of shit for the doll, including a bed, wicker table/chair set, a school desk, and more outfits than I had for myself. I also had a ridiculously detailed knowledge of the Victorian era (also: Didn't the Victorian era end in 1901? Shouldn't the doll have been marketed under the Edwardian era? Or is it different for the states v the UK?).

My little cousin has a "modern" doll, which sort of annoys me because I feel that the historical dolls really teach more valuable information (because who else teaches a ten year old detailed lessons about 1904 child labor?) I also knew a great deal about the other time periods through the other dolls' books. But my cousin, who said that she liked the Kit doll, couldn't tell me what time period the doll lived in (the great depression, of course!). And I was all, SEE? IF SHE HAD A HISTORICAL DOLL SHE WOULD KNOW.

Sidenote: If I had ever been to an American Girl Store when I was 9, it would have BLOWN MY MIND. Seriously. I would be standing in the middle of all of the outfits and accessories, and there would be a small "pop!" And then you would see brains start running out of my ear.

Siiiiigh...I guess my future daughter will just have to settle for the accessories that I collected back in the day. Hopefully I can glue some of the broken ones back together...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You have a long way to go, baby.

There is an article today about a school in Tacoma that is apparently treating their special ed students like horse shit.

To sum up, a father recently found out (through other students) that his 17-year-old special needs son was routinely picking up garbage and performing other custodial duties throughout the school. The school did not obtain the parents' permission for the boy to do this sort of work, and it was never included in his IEP (for those of you not in the know, that's an "individual education program". It's mandated for all disabled students by law, and is generally developed in part by close communication with the caregivers). In addition to recycling and collecting garbage, the boy has been observed scraping moss from between the cracks of the sidewalks, scraping gum off of the lunch tables, and using his bare hands to pick up condoms and cigarette butts.

Now, I know that special ed students often have vocational training during their school day in order to help them adjust to society and to facilitate independent living. But this does not sound like it falls under that category. What is sounds like is that someone decided hey, those kids who can't speak for themselves would make AWESOME free labor. Get that kid a garbage bag.

This news item is disturbing in its own right, but I find that I am particularly sensitive to injustices such as this. See, my mom was a special ed kid. She developed epilepsy as a child. Her first seizure left her in a coma, after which it was apparent that she had developed learning disabilities. I can't specifically tell you what, if anything, she has been diagnosed with, because this was back in the 50s and 60s, and I'm not even sure if they had a name for it. My best guess is dyscalculia (think of it as dyslexia, but for math instead of reading), based on the fact that she was always in special ed classes for math (she was mainstreamed for most of her other classes), and that she seems to fit the criteria for it based on everything that I've seen. For instance, the difference between tens and tenths confuses her to no end. I don't believe that she has ever taken an algebra course, due to her inability to comprehend these concepts.

My mom is a person that tries very, very hard in everything that she does; however, her disability has left her unable to accomplish as much as she would like, and it often holds her back (she wanted to go to school part-time to be a phlebotomist, but when she looked into colleges and realized that she would have to take math courses, she stopped pursuing that goal).

But here's the thing. My mom has been held back by HER OWN TEACHERS so much more than her actual disability. She had to endure special education in the 60s at Baltimore public schools. Allow me to now share with you a couple charming tales from her school days:

-When the elementary class was graduating from fifth to sixth grades, the school had a cake and ice cream party for them in the cafeteria. The special ed students were not invited. When the special ed students complained, they were allowed in the cafeteria alone the next day to eat the leftovers from the day before.

My mother and her mother went in for a conference with the guidance counselor. In front of my mother, the guidance counselor proceeded to tell my grandmother that my mom would never amount to more than a cashier or a waitress, if she was lucky, and should stick to those things.

There are more horror stories, but you get the picture. Inept and insensitive school staff basically made my mother feel worthless and incapable of anything. She's pretty dependent on us for a lot of things that she is capable of handling herself. And it's because they basically took any self-esteem that she had and shredded it into a hundred pieces. And then they took those shreds and burned them into ash, and then took the ash and put it in a concrete block and heaved the block to the bottom of the sea.

So you can see the problems that are caused when school personnel fail to take the education of the disabled seriously. They squander potential and deprive their students of fulfilling lives. They do a lot of damage that goes on to do more damage (for instance, my own mathematical knowledge is lacking, which I feel is partially due to the fact that I was unable to get much support for it at home).

After hearing my mother's school horror stories, I always took comfort in the fact that disabled rights and education have evolved and are much more sensitive and sophisticated today. That if I had a child with epilepsy, she would receive all of the positive support and encouragement that she needs to succeed. That no one would ever tell her that there is something she "can't" do, when she may very well be capable of it.

But I guess that's not really the case, is it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Look at this tangle of thorns

Apparently Lolita turns 50 today. This is my all-time favorite book for about a hundred reasons, and I think I've read it about three times now. I'm at that point where I like to open the book to a random page and read for a short bit, then flip through to another section. You bibliophiles know what I'm talking about.

So if you haven't read it yet, go pick it up. It's not even that long, I swear. Or, if you haven't the time for reading, go netflix Kubrick's 1962 version of Lolita. This is one of my favorite movies, as well. James Mason, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers, and Sue Lyon couldn't have been more perfect picks.

EDIT: Hm, apparently I wasn't supposed to use that pic of the book cover, because they replaced it with a huge red square proclaiming what a low-down dirty thief I am. Duly noted.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blogging is dangerous work

Quick post: A blogger that I like very much was bullied into leaving the blogosphere, recently
(let's count how many times I can fit the word "blog" into this post. Blog). Going by the handle "Possummomma," this particular writer used her space on the internet to broadcast her thoughts on her family, religion, and atheism. She mainly documented the challenges she faced as an atheist and as a parent. Given my interest in developmental psychology, and the fact that I am also an atheist, her topics were relevant to me.
It's a long story, but here is a good link that explains what happened to her (there is also a short summary at the top, for all of you with goldfish-like attention spans).

It's so sad that this woman has to endure death threats, zealots posting her personal information, and threats to her family simply because she isn't afraid to talk about her atheism. She has been stalked and threatened on numerous occasions, all by people claiming to be Christians (Jesus is LOVE, DAMMIT). By the way, she's a mother of four and she has LUPUS. Way to bully a mother with a severe illness. Totally what Jesus would have done.

Sometimes I forget that we live in America. Because I thought that not only were we allowed to have free speech, but that we could also have any religion (or non religion) that we wanted. I didn't know that we all had to believe in a god. What a great fucking country this has turned out to be. We're all so very free.

My sincere condolences to the P-momma family, and I certainly hope that she is able to eventually return to the online community.

Atheists are still the most-hated minority in America. People seem to think that it's okay to hurt us, to intimidate us, and to keep us from holding public office in 7 states. This, despite the fact that we never knock on your door with pamphlets, tell you that you're going to burn in hell, or try to indoctrinate/convert your children. We've never started a war based on our non-religion. And we've never told you that you can't practice your religion within your home or church/synagogue/mosque. We rarely commit crimes (less than 1% of the prison population is atheist). So why all the hatorade? Seriously. If you want to have an open discussion, that's okay. But if your intent is to make us miserable because our non-belief makes you insecure, then just go away and leave us alone.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I weep for the girls of America

I know, I know: two posts in one day, right? Get a life, Phoebe. But I just HAD to share this story.

My aunt, cousin, and her 9 year old daughter (that would be my first cousin once removed for all you genealogy buffs out there) were out visiting for the day, and we were at the giant Toys-R-Us in Times Square. They had Halloween costumes out, and my little cousin was flipping through them. She pulled one out, whirled around, and exclaimed, "I like this one!"

This is what she picked out:

Get this: It's even called "Major Flirt."

Words could not describe my horror. This should have been a key teaching moment, but I think all I could manage was "Oh my god...that's not...put that back."

DO NOT even try to argue that this is not "supposed" to be sexy. Yes. it. is. EVERYTHING about it suggests sex. The name alone disqualifies it from being innocuous.

Little girls ARE NOT sexual objects. Their purpose in life is not to look pleasing to men. Their purpose is not to flirt, or tease, or tantalize. They are not, as Humbert Humbert would say, "nymphs." They are CHILDREN and they are PEOPLE. They have BRAINS AND POTENTIAL. That potential is not to serve you in any way, shape, or form. That potential is for them to do really great things for themselves and for humanity. And when you put them in these skanky little outfits, because it's so fucking "cute," you INSTANTLY tell them that their real potential lies in a sexualization and objectification.

The little boy costumes we saw were firefighters, superheroes, astronauts, pilots, ninjas, pirates, and zombies. They sent messages of strength, skill, and assertiveness. Many were actual professions to which one could aspire.

The girls' costume options: "Twinkle pretty witch", Fairy, "asian princess", "pirate hottie", "pink batgirl" (short skirt, knee-high boots), and monster bride. They sent messages of weakness, passivity, and sex. They ALL had skirts. None were actual professions. Oh wait. You CAN have sex for money. I forgot.

Apparently the costume that my cousin actually got is no better. Of course, it's from Wal-Mart, the family-friendliest company ever (Because family-friendly=making sure women know the importance of looking sexy)!

If you feel like wanting to blow your brains out, scroll through Wal-Mart's selection of girls' Halloween costumes. This Lolita culture is not okay. Shit like this is why women aren't taken seriously, starting from childhood. Shit like this is part of the reason why we experience rape, abuse, lower pay, fewer educational options, and higher rates of depression.

I'm always on the fence about whether I want children or not (largely because stuff like this scares me), but I do know that if I have a daughter, she will be my first action towards correcting these problems. She will NEVER be dressed in such a degrading Halloween costume. She will not own Bratz dolls. She will not have Hannah Montana as a role model (or whatever demeaning show Disney is shitting out that particular decade). And she will know exactly why not.

He's an Arab

This was already posted at one of my all-time favorite blogs, BitchPhD, but this blew me away so much that I had to re-post it here:

First of all, even though he did not handle it particularly gracefully (immediately countering the claim that "Obama is an Arab" with "he's a good family man"? Arabs are not mutually exclusive with good family men), I think this is the single most admirable thing that McCain has done his entire campaign.

Secondly, it is SO FUCKING SAD that McCain's supporters are so nasty that he had to make a speech telling them to calm the fuck down and be respectful of Obama. Because his supporters were screaming things like "Obama is a terrorist!" and "Kill Obama!" at rallies. When you have incited your supporters to such a murderous rage, you have failed. And your supporters have failed as human beings (And I know that I made a joke about wishing McCain would have died in 'Nam, but the key word is "joke." Those people screaming at McCain's rallies aren't joking. Those batshit insane people would ACTUALLY kill Obama if they had the chance. Oh wait. Some neo-nazi meth heads already tried).

If I was a politician, and one day I realized that my supporters were a bunch of Klan members and racist old ladies who think that "Arab" is a dirty word (it's the new N-word!) , I would be so ashamed of the terrible monster that I had created. I would be so ashamed that I would totally re-think every single goddamn thing that I had ever said over the years that caused disgusting wastes of human life to gravitate towards me.
I would think really, really, fucking hard about it.
I would think.
John McCain: Are you thinking yet?

Friday, October 10, 2008


Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have the right to marry!!!

This news, in addition to a newly scheduled job interview, has really perked up my dwindling faith in humanity and America. In celebration, I am letting our pet bunny rabbit eat all the household cardboard that he wants, and I am having a peanut butter and grape jelly sammich.

Ok, so California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have finally come to their senses and stopped legally discriminating against gays. Who's gonna step up to the plate next? New York, I'm looking at you...


So I was thinking about Amelia Bedelia, as we all do from time to time. And then I realized!!! Amelia Bedelia falls on the autism spectrum! How could I have overlooked this?! She takes everything literally...figures of speech and metaphors are lost on her! Symptom of autism/aspergers!

Okay, this is a major pitfall of having a degree in Psychology (um, aside from unemployment and a lifetime of low pay, I mean. Don't get smart). You can't stop diagnosing. Fictional children's characters included. Realizing this ACTUALLY excited me. I really do belong in grad school, with the other nerds (but alas, grad school is reserved for those with trust funds. At least, the sole program that I got into was. Damn you, ivory tower!!!).

Remember the time Amelia Bedelia was supposed to trim the x-mas tree, so she cut the branches off instead of decorating it? And then she made a date cake by cutting up the calendar into the batter? Good times, Amelia. Good times.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

John McCain made us less sensitive towards war veterans

While watching clips of the debate:

Boyfriend: I hate the way he holds his arm like that.

Me: That's from a war injury!!!

Boyfriend: Really?

Me: Yes!

Boyfriend: I still hate the way he holds it.

A few minutes later...

Me: *googling* Looks like he has degenerative arthritis in his shoulders.

Boyfriend: From the prisoner camp?

Me: I guess. I wish he would have died.

Boyfriend: We are horrible people.

Then we aborted 6 babies and went to bed. The aristocrats.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So, McCain believes himself to be a liberal, apparently

My sister sent me this link to a Times piece about the origin of the word "maverick." The piece is short, but in summary, it explains that the Maverick family from which the term originated is totally offended that McCain calls himself that, because the word and their name is linked to progressive and liberal values.

Even if we are to go off of the more "standard" definition of maverick (someone who takes a stand independent of others in a group, Webster's College Dictionary), I don't see how this description fits McCain at all. As far as I can see, his "group" is the GOP (Grand Old Poopheads), and since he has voted with his party 88.1% of the time (Source: WaPo), I guess that doesn't make him a "maverick" of the Republicans. Unless disagreeing with your party a mere 11.9% of the time makes you a maverick.

I'm not saying that McCain should be voting against his own party more. There isn't anything wrong with voting along your own party lines. You belong to that party for a reason, and that reason is that you often agree with them. I am saying that he's NOT A FUCKING MAVERICK.

Also, I was watching the season finale from the first season of Roseanne today (you know, the one where she stands up to her sexist asshole boss and quits the job at the plastics factory), and it got me all riled up because that show was made 20 years ago and the issue featured in the episode isn't laughably archaic yet. And people actually want to elect officials who will do NOTHING to fix those problems. Or better yet, who will exacerbate those problems.

If you have forgotten what a gem the first season of Roseanne was, you should netflix it ASAP. I swear that show was like watching my own family. I make no apologies for identifying with TV's favorite white trash family.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Shady, shady business

The apartment that I occupy now is my fifth apartment in as many years (I'm a nomad!), so I have a lot of experience with landlords, both private and corporate. But I have NEVER had as shady of an exchange as the one that I had with my landlord two days ago:

Me: Hi, L, I was wondering if you could come and make *insert minor repair.*

LL: Sure, sure. Listen, while I have you on the phone, I've been meaning to tell you something. When the fire department comes, don't let them in.

Me: Oh?

LL: Yes, you see they are troublemakers. They make trouble for us. They want to remove the locks and empty the closets (side note: each apartment has a hallway closet containing a boiler. The apartments have no closet space save for these and a small linen closet in the bedrooms. This closet contains all of our shit, but the fire department deemed it a hazard because the shit blocks the boilers).

Me: Uh, well...

LL: So when they come, do not let them in. I will make an appointment for them to inspect. Then I will call and let you know, and you can clean the closet. Temporarily, no? (my landlord is Russian. Imagine all of this in a thick Russian accent). Then they go, and you will put it all back.

Me: *dumbfounded* I don't know...

LL: They are troublemakers. Ok, so tell your neighbors if you see them. Good bye!

what the fuck am I supposed to do now?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Doncha Know, Bobby

Anyone who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons around the same time I did will recognize the similarities between Sarah Palin and Martha Generic of Bobby's World (aside to Bobby's World fans: Did anyone else ever figure out the gag in their last name? Spelled as "Generic" but pronounced "Jen-a-rick"? When I was googling for a picture of Sarah Martha, I was pleasantly surprised.

I am armed with a transcript and a youtube video of the debate, and I am ready to tear this shit up.

The first question Ifill asked was whether what we are seeing in Washington is its worst or best during the passing of the bailout bill. Admittedly, I don't think that this was a great question. What was Ifill specifically getting at here? Partisanship? Biden said that he thought it was neither, and then went on to talk about how it evidenced how poor our economic policies have been under Bush. Then he succinctly outlined Obama's rescue plan.

Palin on the other hand, starts with this crap about "going to a kid's soccer game" to get a good barometer of the economy. I know that she's trying really hard to be all folksy and a "real person" and "just like us!" but seriously, if she is measuring the economy by how worried parents are at a soccer game, I'm worried. Try watching mortgage rates, the Ted Spread, the Direction of the Treasuries. Try to sound like you know what you're talking about. Palin also spoke only of what McCain had done in the past, rather than what he planned on doing in the future, unlike Biden. She also had the cajones to defend McCain's flimsy attempt to suspend the campaign. Really?? That was a notoriously unpopular decision, so much so that McCain did debate. Do you really want to bring that up?

Ifill then asked what they would do as VP to put partisanship aside. Once again, I don't think this was a great question, and the candidates didn't either, apparently. Biden glazed over it by saying that he has friends on both sides of the aisle, and then asked if he could go back to talking about the economy. Then he brought up McCain's infamous "fundamentals of the economy are strong" blunder.

This is where Palin really started to screw herself. Also the first time she used the phrase "team of mavericks." I'm only going to say this once: YOU CAN NOT BE A TEAM OF MAVERICKS. IT'S LIKE A CLUB OF ANARCHISTS. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT A MAVERICK IS?

I feel better. Now Palin brings up that Obama has voted along party lines 96% of the time. Are you kidding me? You want to play that game? McCain has the same number for voting in-line with Bush. Everyone knows that by now.
Then she used the word "maverick" again.

On the topic of lenders v. borrowers in the subprime fiasco (what I like to call "the noodle incident"), Palin started off strong by stating that the lenders were to blame (I totally agree with her. BitchPhD posted a good piece from the Columbia Journalism Review pointing out the extremely unethical behavior of lenders like Countrywide). But then! Then she ended with this gem:
...we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this.

Nice, Palin, nice. First of all, let's point out that it's fucking impossible to own a car or home or education without debt. So "let's not get ourselves in debt" isn't really feasible, is it? And sure, I agree that folks need to be taking personal responsibility. But as is pointed out in the CJR piece, "irresponsible" individual borrowers did not cause this problem. There have been irresponsible borrowers since debt began. There has not been a huge decay in ethics among all borrowers. So you know, try to stick to the fucking lenders. We don't need a lecture.

Biden didn't answer the question (-1). But he did point out that McCain has been largely in favor of deregulating Wall Street (and health care, for that matter), while Obama has been in favor of imposing more regulations. When Palin got to respond (specifically to what Biden said about health care), I guess she couldn't defend McCain's deregulation policies, because she said outright that she wanted to talk about taxes instead. And then did. WTF.

THEN after she made a shoddy attempt to claim that Obama had voted to raise taxes, which Biden refuted, Biden called her out on not answering the question. The moderator gave her YET ANOTHER chance to respond. What did Miss America Gov. Palin respond with?

I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.

Wow. Basically she told the moderator, Biden, and everyone watching "FUCK OFF LALALLALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA"

The closest she got to answering those questions was a weak attempt at claiming McCain's attempts at campaign finance reform and regulating the tobacco industry were evidence of his commitment to regulation. Yes, Sarah, because those two things are exactly the same as Wall Street and Health Care.

I think Biden nailed her when it actually was the time to talk about taxes. She tried to claim that small businesses would hurt under Obama's plan to increase taxes for those making over $250,000. Biden pointed out that 95% of small businesses make less than that, and won't see an increase. Palin also tried to promote McCain's $5,000 tax credit for health insurance, and Biden was quick to point out that the tax credit will be paid for by taxing our health insurance through our employers, then giving that money to the insurance companies. And then that 12 million of us will be dropped from our regular plans for the $5,000 plan. Swish!

Ifill then asked what promises the campaigns had previously made that they could no longer keep in light of the economy shitting blood on everyone. Biden gave an answer ("slow down" commitment to double foreign assistance). Then he went on to explain how they planned on not going through with tax cuts to the wealthy and oil companies promised by the current administration, and what they absolutely would continue to do (providing incentives for new jobs with an energy policy, education, universal health care).

Palin? Did not answer the fucking question again. Wanted to talk about the energy plan now. Is she even listening? She also slipped in a "bless their hearts." Acting like my mother DOES NOT EXCUSE YOU FROM ANSWERING THE QUESTION.

Then Ifill called her on it. "there's would take off the table?" Now there has to be something. Biden manned up and admitted at least one thing. Come on, be honest here. It will build trust. Everyone will respect you for it. We're all waiting with baited breath:

"There is not."

Strike three, Governor.


And how long have I been at this, like five weeks? So there hasn't been a whole lot that I've promised.

WHAAAAAAA? Allow me to translate: "I've only been following this whole "politics" thing for five weeks! Golly, I didn't really know a gosh darn thing about it before, huh? At least not enough to know what to tell ya we're gonna do for ya!"

Governor Palin. Please. I know this only happened a little while ago for you, but if your political knowledge doesn't expand beyond this time, why the hell are you in politics?

Later, Biden was talking about his stance on bankruptcy, and said that he believed McCain's stance differed (but that he wasn't sure if he differed). When asked if that was true, Palin said "That is not so." Okay, fine. It's not true. Care to elaborate on that? NO, she DIDN'T care to elaborate. She wants to talk about ENERGY instead. And so she did.

Ifill was all, okay bitch, let's play energy. What of climate change? Predictably, Palin tried to blame it on "cyclical temperature changes." READ A BOOK PALIN. Then she said she didn't want to argue about causes. As Jon Stewart so eloquently put it when Palin said the same thing during the Couric interviews: THE CAUSES MATTER. We don't know what caused your lung cancer, but here, have another cigarette! You can't fix it if you don't know how it started. Biden said as much. And admitted that global warming is manmade. I applaud you, sir.

The next question was on gay marriage. This is a big one for me. Ifill asked if they supported granting same-sex benefits. Biden did well here. He said he was absolutely in favor of it. I was cheering him on. Palin answered like the bigoted homophobe that we all know her to be. She stated that granting same-sex benefits goes "closer and closer" to redefining marriage and that would be "unfortunate." Then she tried to say that she would be "tolerant" of people "choosing" those relationships. So obviously she is super-enlightened on homosexuality. And really committed to tolerance. Then she said outright that gay marriage was a no for her, but that she would never do anything to prohibit things like hospital visitations. Well that's mighty generous of you, Governor, but guess what? Not granting gay marriage AUTOMATICALLY makes those things impossible for gay couples. And a lot of other things too. Thanks a lot for ensuring that gays remain second-class citizens. So "tolerant" of you.

Ifill didn't fuck around here. She just asked Biden straight up if he supported same-sex marriage, rather than just benefits. His answer rang in my ears: "No." Aw, Biden. Why'd you have to drop the ball here. I know he "has" to say this, or whatever, and I knew that he had taken this stance before (So has Obama, unfortunately). But it hurts so much. In 25 years, this bigotry will be as outrageous as having blacks drink in separate fountains from whites. But why can't they see it now?? We have such a long way to go in this country.

On the topic of the war, Palin went on to claim that "the central war on terror is in Iraq." No it's not, you ass. Iraq didn't attack us. Iraq is where the oil and money war is. Go fuck yourself.

Palin also said this, which just killed me: ...with some of these dictators who hate America and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms, our democracy, our tolerance, our respect for women's rights...

I love this rhetoric. "THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM!" Yeah, people hate freedom. That's exactly the problem. They are super-villains who hate freedom and want to enslave the human race. Oh, and our "respect" for women's rights? You respect women's rights? YOU? REALLY? You are EXACTLY the kind of person who is RUINING WOMEN'S RIGHTS.

She also said that it was "beyond bad judgment" and "dangerous" to attempt diplomacy with enemies. Yeah, let's just bomb the shit out of everyone we disagree with. Don't talk about it first or anything. Since it's so "dangerous" to have an open discussion with people you disagree with. God, you are like the second coming of Christ, aren't you, Palin?

But then? Then she said that they would engage in diplomacy "first and foremost, but diplomacy is hard work by serious people." Huh? So engaging in diplomacy is "dangerous," but you would try it first? But it's too hard and only for serious people? So you aren't serious? And can't do it? Man, you ought to be a salesperson. Because you are really selling me on yourself.

You know what, this is a really long fucking post. And as I'm looking at the transcript, I could keep going and going and going. But I think we all get the idea. And I want to point out Palin's latest blunder (misquoting Madeline Albright in stating that all women who don't support her are going to hell) over at Jezebel. The Jezebel author did a good job of telling Palin to go fuck herself, so I'll let you go read that for yourselves.

Since my brains started leaking out of my ears before I could finish dissecting the debate, why doesn't everyone share their favorite "Jesus Christ WTFOMGBBQ" moment in the comments?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Great Debate!

Er, not really? But I am super jazzed up for tonight's Palin-Biden Smackdown. I don't think that the shortened time frame will help her. If anything, rambling is her secret weapon. She talks in circles for so long that if you aren't paying attention, you forget she didn't answer the question (unless Katie Couric is present, in which case you and Gov. Palin will be reminded THRICE of the original question). Speaking of Katie Couric, does anyone feel as bad for her as I do? She had to spend the whole goddamn day with that blathering ex-beauty queen. The look on her face for every question was all STOP REPRESENTING MY GENDER YOU ARE RUINING EVERYTHING.

The Boyfriend and I were discussing last night how we know so little about Joe Biden. I guess in a sense, I don't really give a shit, because I would vote for a box of cling-wrap over McCain/Palin (It keeps your government fresh!). But I guess that would make me an uninformed voter, which is the worst kind of voter, so I did some digging and here's my list of Pro/cons concerning Mr. Biden:

  • He's made some reasonable choices concerning abortion, including voting no on defining an unborn child as eligible for SCHIP, no on prohibiting minors from crossing state lines to obtain an abortion, yes on expanding stem cell research, yes on funding to educate teens on contraceptives, no on banning human cloning, no on maintaining a ban on military base abortions.
  • He would like to remove troops from Iraq and invest in new programs by eliminating war funding and tax cuts.
  • Ok'd civil unions, voted no on flag-burning ban, no on constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, yes on defining sexual orientation in hate crimes, no on ending special funding for women and minority-owned businesses, yes on prohibiting hiring discrimination due to sexual orientation, no on banning affirmative action federal funding.
  • Voted no on limiting death penalty appeals
  • Voted no on increasing penalties for drug offenses
  • Has said that voting for No Child Left Behind was a mistake, voted no on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer,
  • Provide for emergency fuel assistance, make every car sold a flex-fuel car, voted yes on factoring global warming into federal project planning, yes on reducing national oil usage by 40% by 2025, yes on banning arctic wildlife reserve drilling, take away subsidies to oil companies
  • Voted no on declaring English as official language of government
  • Commitment to never use torture, disappoves of Don't Ask Don't tell, limit soldier deployment to 12 months.
Anywho, there are a lot of other things he has done, but those are some of the things that jumped out at me as that of which I approve. That said, Biden has also done a lot of things that just really piss me off:

  • No public funding for abortion, supports partial-birth abortion ban, accepts Catholic Church view that life begins at conception
  • Voted yes on prohibiting same-sex marriage (god seriously? Every candidate will say they approve unions and partnerships and all these other words, but they won't call it "marriage"???? SEPARATE ISN'T EQUAL, DUMMIES).
  • Voted yes to loosen restrictions on cell phone wiretapping (I don't care how scared you are that a terrorist will bomb your beloved shopping mall. People who would give up their freedom for security are stupid, stupid fuckheads who deserve the Orwellian society that they get).
  • Fought for up to 12 weeks leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act...but FMLA has a LOT of problems that I am not okay with. Including that 12 weeks isn't really long enough. It has a ways to go and I would hate to see Biden contented with that.
  • Voted yes on reauthorizing the PATRIOT act, no on prohibiting same-sex basic training in the military (go ahead and segregate the troops by sex some more, that will really help foster understanding and eliminate violence towards women when the troops do have to work together).

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about Biden. Overall, I agree with him more than I disagree. But the things that I disagree with him are really important issues to me, so, you know, I'm conflicted. Either way, he is OBVIOUSLY a better choice than Sarah Palin, whose views are so incomprehensible to me that she might as well be from Mars. I eagerly await the debate tonight.

Also, can anyone picture what Palin is doing right now? I envision her sitting in a room with a McCain aide, smiling vacantly as the aide futilely attempts to coach her for tonight.
Aide: Now what do you say when they ask you about foreign policy?
Palin: *blinks* Some folks get to travel abroad, but I never did!
Aide: ...Yes. Now what is your stance on education?
Palin: I wish they taught shopping in school!
Aide: Close enough. Women's issues?
Palin: Let's buy makeup so the boys will like us!
Aide: I don't really think McCain wanted the presidency anyway. You're gold. Go get 'em, tiger.

*special thanks to Simpson's Episode Lisa vs. Malibu Stacey
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