xenologer: (hope)
Oh yes.

These aren't particularly good shots of the hair (though I did do the hair), but alas. We make do with webcams!

Considering that Halloween is the holiday when people dress up as evil spirits to scare them away.... I think this is appropriate.

Edit: Okay, now I'm scared. People are more attracted to me now that I'm dressed as Palin. People keep reacting with surprise, like they suddenly realized I'm goodlooking.

... yeah. Y'know how I was all "Oh, we're awesome friends, but I'm unattracted?" Fuck that. You + Sarah Palin = Randy.

And that's just one of them.

Son of a--

This totally backfired.
xenologer: (end of the world)
I'm citing this through PZ Myers' blog because he asks a very very important question.

What word is missing in this story?
I'm sure everyone has already heard about the plot to murder Obama and many others:
Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

In all, the two men whom officials described as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people - 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn.

It's a horrible and sordid story of idiots with guns, but in scanning the various news sources, there is a curious but obvious word missing — a word that normally our media and government fling about with unscrupulous abandon.

That word is "terrorism".

Doesn't it strike you as peculiar that white homegrown right-wing fascist killers are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?

Think this is just an omission? That violent conservatives are vilified like they deserve? What about abortion clinic bombers? I would call them domestic terrorists, wouldn't you? So would Steve Benen.
I was curious about the dictionary definition of the word: "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Sounds about right.

Given this, we have an organized group of activists who feel justified killing American physicians and bombing hundreds of doctors' offices on U.S. soil because they don't like a legal, medical procedure. "I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there." Why, pray tell, not? And does John McCain, who sat silently during the exchange, agree with this?

Actually, he might. ThinkProgress noted a couple of weeks ago that McCain has "repeatedly voted against protecting Americans from domestic terrorists carrying out violence at abortion clinics."

There's a striking disconnect here. Obama has denounced Ayers' crimes, and labeled Ayers' acts "terrorism." The Republican ticket, however, is reluctant to do the same when it comes to a different kind of domestic terrorism.

Palin isn't so sure.
Q: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.

Personally, I got my yearly pelvic (Really! Just a pelvic exam! They don't just do abortions!) at a Planned Parenthood because even having my expensive insurance scamplan still doesn't mean I can see a regular doctor. Planned Parenthood is the only place around here where I can have my health needs met. And yet McCain has voted more than once to limit the government's ability to punish abortion clinic bombers.

When you're thinking about who's going to keep this country safe, please keep this in mind. When you're thinking about who's going to protect you from terrorists... remember who the terrorists are. Even if the press doesn't call them that, you and I both know.

They're fascists. They're fanatics. They're violent. And they're in "real" America, probably voting for the man who'll protect them.

Vote for the man who'll protect you. Vote Obama next week. Next time I'm in Planned Parenthood having my medical needs met regardless of my impoverished state, I'll be glad you considered me.

Thank you in advance for your compassion and good sense.


Oct. 24th, 2008 01:36 pm
xenologer: (Speak)
"Imagine John McCain getting an endorsement from a major, credible Democratic figure who was well known for his expertise in economic policy (one of McCain’s weak spots). Would anyone have attributed this to race and argued that this figure only endorsed McCain because they were both white?"

"Finally, imagine that Barack Obama was trailing in some polls by a 5-10 point lead (depending on which poll you look at), when a story surfaced in the New York Times that long ago, Michelle Obama had become so addicted to painkillers that she began stealing them from her charity foundation. Would Obama still be behind by only 5-10 points?" Full entry here.

"If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you." If you're white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you're "one of us.""

"If you're 18, white, and get a 16 year old girl pregnant "life happens." If you're 18, black, and impregnate a 16 year old girl, you're a "registered sex offender."" More examples here.

The best part is that I've been accused of racism for posting things like this before. (No really, people say that.) You see, kids, "racist" means "someone who thinks about race." This handily includes both those who discriminate based on race, and those who point out discrimination. Clearly if you notice injustice and inequality, and point out that whites are benefiting from it, it's because you hate white people, which makes you a racist, which makes you a bad person, which makes you a poor thinker, which means no one should listen to you. (See also poisoning the well.)

I'd like to reiterate that ignoring racism is not the same as ignoring race, because ignoring racism makes racism worse. I'll just defer to Time Wise on this one. "Your defense mechanism is showing." But then again, how can you hide a defense mechanism that boils down to, "I know you are but what am I?"
xenologer: (hope)
Another run-down of things I'm reading right now. I'm categorizing them again so that "liberal" issues like racism and violence against women are easier for some of you to scroll past.


The Right Reacts to Powell Endorsement. Turns out Powell just saw a black man and said, "Yeah! That'll do!" I mean, I understand that they have to find a way to disqualify the endorsement of one of the most respected Republicans left in this country, but couldn't they have thought of anything better than simply pointing out that they're both black?

What kind of "Election Day unrest" are we talking about? I can't even summarize this one. But it's worth reading.

White Guys and the Prospect of an Obama Presidency "What I predict will change the most about racism under an Obama presidency is that the white guys wearing the Obama buttons will refuse to take racism seriously." Racism happens. Despite fears from some, that's not going to stop. Jessie points out some measures of racial inequality that won't be changed by Obama's election, but will be easier to ignore (not that people don't do just fine ignoring them already).

McCain supporters reveal racism, and while they're much much worse than Obama's supporters, the latter are not exempt either.


Palin: American Taxpayers Aren't Patriotic. Look at Alaska's tax system and tell me she's learned anything useful running it. They don't even pay taxes there, but can run their state on the generosity of oil companies and federal *gasp* earmark dollars.

Higher Ed and the New New Deal. What would happen if public colleges and universities were free?


NY Shelters Will Be Reimbursed For Helping Undocumented Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. I know there are people on my friends list who hate nothing more than they hate the idea of illegal immigrants getting anything from Americans, but some of us are glad of this.

The original article is here. It mentions, "Though there are many economic and psychological reasons women linger with men who beat them, a shadowy immigration status makes it even harder to break away. Five women in the two shelters told me they had feared going to the police, because they worried that that could lead to deportation. Even if they sought to do so, the women said, their companions or husbands would have threatened to betray them to immigration officials."

LAPD allows over 200 rape cases to pass the statute of limitations without testing the rape kits. Fuck you, too, LA. Seriously.


Socialists: Obama no Socialist. Red-baiting is less effective when real socialists can publicly disagree with you, isn't it?

Be careful. First sociopaths kill animals. Bear cub was shot, and its body left with Obama signs stuck over its head.

Republicans heckling voters. Not politicians. Voters. At least they didn't slash their tires, vandalize any voter registration offices, beat any journalists to the ground, or otherwise attack anybody. No one was lynched in effigy, either. So I suppose we should be grateful that they're only yelling.

The Courts. What the USSC will really look like under Pres. McCain, or Pres. Obama.

Irony Alert: GOP Political Consultant Arrested For Voter Registration Fraud.


Do the use of hand gestures slow language learning?
xenologer: (it are fact)
Palin and McCain are starting to scare the shit out of me. Their response to one key question has said a great deal about them, and about the people supporting them. The question is, "What do you do when your campaign makes no sense?"


I know that people like to blame that damned liberal media as much as they like to blame those damned liberal "experts" and damned liberal foreigners. I know that when their candidate's campaign is involved with something truly ridiculous it's easy to blame the people showing a recording and not the people in it.

Yes, I am aware that Palin's comments were edited in the interview with Charlie, so she actually wasn't as ludicrously incoherent as she seemed. I am aware of the fact that overciting that interview isn't really fair as a result. I am not aware of any reason why this excuses everything that goes down at the McCain-Palin Two Minutes' Hate rallies. I am not aware why we should refer to recordings of people shouting for a presidential candidate's death as "the way the biased media portrays Palin."

I know that no one wants to see links from the Huffington Post, but this article does have videos that you can watch for yourself (which is why I'm linking it). Be forwarned that the very last video on the article has a stupid tendency to autoplay, so you might want to scroll down and pause it as quickly as you can.


My main problem here is only partly that McCain and Palin are creating a vicious and dangerous hateful atmosphere at a time when people are most vulnerable to it. This essay from a very well-known priestess explains pretty well my feelings on the subject of the Republican candidates and the responsibility they bear for the conduct of their supporters.

In the normal course of events, I'm a pro-anger kind of a gal. I came up through the feminist ranks in the seventies, when we were energized by the realization that all our lives, we women had been told to be 'nice', sweet, to placate the guys and not get them riled up. If we got angry, we either looked 'cute' or were unattractive raging b-words (rhymes with Witch).

Anger was a rational response to the constrictions and dis-empowerment we faced and women, and it became a driving force in our efforts for cultural change. Ironically, one of those results is Sarah Palin's candidacy. It is a triumph of feminism that we have so changed the culture in this country that the same kinds of reactionaries that wouldn't have voted for a women in 1968 and would have opposed a woman voting in 1908 now have to turn to one to energize their base.

Anger, however, is a dangerous emotion. Like fire, to which it is often compared, it can regenerate the forest when it burns through low and fast, or jump to the crowns of the trees and burn thousands of acres, devastating life and land.

McCain and Palin have been piling up the trash to start on burn pile on a red flag day, when economic drought and winds of fear and panic are whipping it out of control. For that, they bear a huge responsibility. They have deliberately used innuendos, outright lies, and personal attacks to create an incendiary atmosphere. Palin has stood silent while her supporters chant to kill her opponent! That is tantamount to instigating and condoning political violence, if we must speak of 'terrorism'. McCain has protested some of his followers excesses, but in condoning the strategy that feeds on fear, suspicion and thinly veiled racism--but his attempts are like trying to beat out a few sparks in the tall grass after he has fed the blaze.

Those of us who lay claim to some form of spiritual leadership should absolutely condemn the tactics of personal attack. We should call our politicians and our communities to think, speak and act from our best selves, not our worst, from respect and compassion, not from stoked-up rage and hate.

Now, I grant you, it's not going to mean much to McCain or Palin to learn that a Witch thinks they are behaving in a despicable and immoral way. Might even encourage them. But I call on you, sisters, brothers and freres of other faiths, especially you Christians whose voices will carry more weight, to speak out strongly in condemnation of the politics of hate. Speak to the McCain campaign, to your own congregations and coreligionists. Become the dampening rain that can douse this particular fire. A raging wildfire creates its own wind and weather, and feeds on itself. Regardless of your political convictions, hatemongering hurts and endangers us all.

This is only part of my problem. The rest of my problem is that McCain and Palin are creating a dangerous and ugly climate for this election, and belatedly covering themselves as though they had no idea things had gone so far. Creating a mess and then shifting the blame. Obama mentioned once, "In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don't have boots. You're on your own. Well it's time for them to own their failure."


Your rallies turn into angry racist scenes from 1984 and you're hoping to blame the media for reporting it? Tough luck. No consistent stance on anything? Can't argue with the policies of a candidate you've been forced to concede his plan on Iraq, concede that perhaps we should talk about education after all, and claiming (in a ludicrously ironic twist) that "we have got to give people choice in America and not mandate things on them" when it comes to the rights of health care patients, except of course if those patients are women.

What do you do when your campaign makes no sense?

Tell lies about ACORN's voter registration efforts (if you don't like the Slate, check out ABC)so that you can keep people from voting and pre-emptively delegitimize the election if your ticket loses. Never mind that ACORN is required in most states to turn in every ballot they receive, but were attentive enough to flag the ones they felt might be a problem. Never mind that now ACORN employees are receiving death threats because of those lies.

Tell lies about Ayers. Be sure that when you do this you wave away concerns about your own associations. Those say nothing about your judgment, and you should virulently oppose any such "guilt by association" attacks.

Tell lies about Obama's tax policies.

No one will know the difference. Voters are stupid and aren't paying attention.


I know Barack Obama wouldn't want me to "give up hope" and slam whole swaths of America's population as being too dumb to save, but it's what I believe. A large percentage of voters are stupid. Give them a smile and a wink and they'll believe whatever you say! Especially if it means your ridiculous lies give them excuses not to vote for Obama, when in many cases they'd already decided for other reasons.

Keep in mind that this will only work in parts of the country that are "pro-America." You and I may not know the difference, but Sarah Palin does. Makes me wonder what she thinks should be done about these other areas.

Michelle Bachmann has a good start. "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that," she said.

I bet she has in her hand a list of names that were made known to her as being un-American and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the legislature. I bet she already knows. I bet it's somewhere around 51.

What do you do when your campaign makes no sense? Quit fussing with little lies. Man up and tell the big lies. You should "fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

I won't even tell you who pointed out the efficacy of that particular tactic. The comparison is so ugly that no one really wants to go there. Even when they should.

But come on. What else can you do when your campaign makes no sense? When smaller lies aren't working well enough or fast enough to make people frightened and angry enough? Tell bigger lies.

Because voters are stupid.
xenologer: (it are fact)
Y'know, I love reading about people's experiences and observations. I think there's something to be said for finding out what other people see, and in the current political climate it's easy to miss out on opportunities to observe McCain and Palin supporters in "their native environment," surrounded by other supporters without supervision by those dastardly 100% Jesus-Free Marxist Wiccan Jihadists (no, really, watch this video because it's long but gets better and better as it goes) like Obama and his ilk. They can't possibly spending all their time crying for the death of Barack Obama at one of McCain-Palin's regular Two Minutes' Hate rallies.

Turns out that, no, sometimes they have the decency to be self-righteous instead of violent. I guess it's an improvement.

Upon entering Starbucks, I immediately realized that the McCain/Palin folks were having a little meeting. I saw several women in dresses wearing pink buttons proclaiming "Women for McCain/Palin". A few of them brought their husbands who were sporting buttons saying things such as "Sportsman for McCain/Palin" and "NOBama". I sat down at the table next to the group just as they were starting their meeting.

As soon as the last member of their group came in, they prayed. In their prayer they begged that God "deliver the country from the evil socialists" and even prayed that "Obama find God". Well, damn, how offensive I thought to myself. (...)

They talked a little more about how Obama would destroy our country with "free health care" and "gay marriages". The feared his daughters would probably play loud rap music in the White House while world leaders were staying. They feared that Muslim would become our official religion. One of them even feared that "the Muslim language would be taught in schools." Priceless.

They went back to the fact that they all believed McCain would lose this election, but they were excited that Palin would probably run in 2012. (...)

At that time, I decided to pull out my laptop. You see, I have an Obama sticker on it. Well, one of them noticed and gave the rest of them a look and said SHHHH! One of the men didn't notice and kept talking. He said that "Obama is part of a sleeper cell and he will use our own nuclear weapons against us." One of the women nodded her head in agreement. Finally, the woman who noticed me said in a soft voice, "there's an Obama supporter behind us...BE QUIET". The group suddenly got quiet.

They changed the subject for a while, but on the way out the door one of the men told me "you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man."

One blogger commenting on this little account had this to say:

This isn't a movement; this is a psychotic break occurring simultaneously in millions of people. One wonders if mental illness, paranoia to be exact, is a communicable disease. And to all of the professional evangelical Democrats who claim if we just acted a little more friendly towards religion, Democrats could gain votes (although we seem to be doing just fine with black Protestant voters....), how do you respond to this:

"you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man."

Do you think that has anything to do with abortion? This is tribalism wrapped in a veneer of religiosity. Someone tell me how exactly we're supposed to reach these 'values' voters?

I have to say. I'm not sure whether this has squelched my curiosity or stimulated it. I rather I wish that I, like an acquaintance of mine, were headed to a Palin rally in the area tonight. I could bring my little ethnographer's notebook and take notes on the capering and posturing of these exotic humans.


Here's a better question than how we're supposed to reach out to these people.

How can you even satirize them anymore?


Oct. 10th, 2008 01:00 pm
xenologer: (BEEP)
Betty White.

Betty White, I love you so much.

And I agree with anjala. Maybe McCain really should hire her to be one of his writers. Might help his case a little, because right now I just adore this woman.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anjala who got it from [livejournal.com profile] filkertom who presumably got it from someone else.
xenologer: (ouch)
From this blog entry, via metaquotes.

Who would make a better world leader; The Master, or Sarah Palin?

I think it's a valid question. On one hand, you have a raving egomanical nutcase with no idea about planet Earth who will no doubt bring the world into chaos resembling a horrible apocalyptic dystopia. And on the other hand, you have a renegade Time Lord.

If I may interject an opinion?


Oct. 8th, 2008 12:57 am
xenologer: (mutants)
The "I have a terrifying job interview tomorrow and don't have the presence of mind to blog about all these things separately" roundup. Catchy, huh?


You wanna talk about McCain's service? Let's talk about McCain's service. Four words: Do a barrel roll.

For those of us who have forgotten who the Mavericks were: They're pissed. Thanks to motherwell for linking this one.

Neo-Con Bullshit

Dear Republicans: Stop hatin'. Start making rational arguments and East coast elitists will stop treating you like slavering racist liars.

Don't you love how abject poverty isn't an issue for "values voters?" Never mind all the suffering poverty causes. "Values voters" only care what kind of sex people are or aren't having.

Story that's been going around about an effigy of Obama being lynched. Still think that race "doesn't matter?"


Richard Cohen tackles the VP debate, and how the choice between style versus substance influences the choice of one's winner.

Sarah Palin: Friend of Joe Drunk-driver. Say it ain't so, Joe!

A linguist attempts to diagram Palin's sentences and fails, accusing them of being "not English."


Students Active for Ending Rape "SAFER and our project partner, the Dru Campaign, are creating a national online database of schools and their sexual assault policies and programs, with comments on specific positive and negative elements of each policy. Combined with our current guidelines for the elements of a better sexual assault policy, students will have a powerful, flexible resource for challenging college policies that do not address the root causes of sexual violence and do not involve students in meaningful ways."

"Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis?"

Ethics and social policy in research on the neuroscience of human sexuality. Just a decent overview in general, I thought.

Rape On Subway Platform Ignored By MTA Employees As Cara states, "This means that either the MTA has ridiculous rules stating “do not leave your booth, under any circumstances whatsoever, even in an emergency” which need to be changed immediately (for the safety of employees as well as those riding the subway!) and the guy really needed his job or he’s full of shit."

The Cross-Cultural Classroom, a great blog entry about one teacher's experience dealing with students from different cultural backgrounds who're encountering each other for the first time.

rm linked this great article about how "elderspeak" is more than annoying and more than hurtful. It actually harms elderly people. rm brings up a good question: should we be calling women "sweety" or "dear" either?
xenologer: (prophet)

If you want to read pro-choice women compared to white slaveowners, check out Advance Liberty, Overturn Roe. Bonus points if you can spot Reynolds' complete misunderstanding of Federalism.

If you're interested in a Wiccan perspective on abortion, check out Starhawk's article "Abortion and the Goddess."

Experts on Election Issues

Concerned about health care? Obama's health plan may help more uninsured: report.

Concerned about the economy? The unaffiliated economists surveyed by The Economist prefer Obama's policies to McCain's.

Double Standards

Here is an interesting entry about how Palin benefits from being a semi-coherent uneducated white candidate whereas I think we know how well-received a semi-coherent uneducated black candidate would be.

Who's worse? William Ayers or G. Gordon Liddy? Is Liddy a dodgy enough figure that we should be discussing McCain's close connection to him? Or Palin's marriage to a man who was a member of a party whose founder once said, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government...and I won't be buried under their damn flag... I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

Obama is unpleasantly "uppity," compared to O'Reilly who considers himself proof of the existence of God.


The World Health Organization can bite me.
xenologer: (swagger)
Edit 1:Added as an afterthought: link to a transcript in case I start rambling about random crap and people want to know what the heck I'm talking about.

Edit 2: This reply got so long that I'm dividing it up under headers just to ensure myself that it's organized coherently. Don't mind me, I'll just be over here failing to repress my anal retentiveness....

Point the First: Palin's Job

I think Palin did a good job of bolstering her own image after the disastrous interviews with Katie Couric, but she didn't do too much for McCain. McCain's big sticking point right now (with people scared sh*tless about the economy) is to make Obama seem risky, and she didn't help her ticket on that one. She was too busy saving her own backside and her own credibility. But, despite not helping her ticket with its main task, she did salvage some of her credibility, and that'll be good for improving the morale of Republicans.

I think that was her real job here, not earning any new converts. She needed to remind McCain's supporters why, at first blush, they liked her so much.

Point the Second: Biden's Job

Biden wasn't perfectly on topic with each question (which saddened me as a debater myself), but I felt he did better about sticking to issues than Palin did. He brought it around to concrete and specific references to the Constitution and various bills. However, judging by the meter at the bottom of the screen from CNN's undecided voter focus group, they didn't like him talking about the specifics of people's voting records. Biden didn't do a good job of convincing people they should care about which bills are what, and I was hoping that he'd be able to hammer that in much better than he did.

What Biden did hammer in, in my view at least, was Obama's stance that McCain is no maverick these days--even if he undeniably once was. He didn't accomplish the specific task I was hoping to see (which was convincing "values voters" that economic viability and our international reputation are tied to "values," too), but he did his ticket more good by emphasizing McCain's lock-step with Bush than Palin did by recovering her own tattered credibility.

Point the Third: What's a VP do, anyway?

I think it shouldn't be forgotten that Biden and Palin aren't campaigning for POTUS. But! Their stances on what a VP is and should do were very very good to see. This was really the most interesting and instructive part for me tonight.

I think Ifill did a good job of asking them what they expected their roles to be, and that Biden was able to offer much more concrete answers there than Palin (who at least managed to prove this time that she at least read a junior civics text before she came). A big area where they differed was Dick Cheney.

Palin doesn't quite seem to understand (or willfully ignores, like Dick Cheney) which branch the VP is actually in. His role as president pro-tem of the Senate notwithstanding, Cheney's willingness to use that as an excuse to avoid Executive oversight (while theoretically retaining the ability to invoke Executive privilege in case the legislature gets too nosey) is disturbing to me. I think Biden did a better job here of tying the VP's role back to what it says in the Constitution, however... the focus group didn't really want to hear about the Constitution.

Point the Fourth: Who won?

Not sure how to feel about that, but part of a debater's job is making people care about the evidence. For all that I think Biden is a better debater by the standards I was trained in, he did not do a particularly good job of getting the focus group to care about what how he supported his statements. By all technical standards and rules of how debate should happen, he outperformed Palin (but I think everyone expected this). What I should have expected (but didn't) was that he would be so ineffective at reaching the focus group by referencing facts.

So yeah. Palin did her job and helped herself. Biden helped his ticket. It's up to personal preference whether viewers felt the VP candidates were here to help themselves or help their respective campaigns, and I'm predicting how people prioritize those two goals will probably influence whom they felt won the debate.
xenologer: (hope)
Absolutely incredible article on white privilege by Tim Wise.

Read this. You guys all know by now that the term "privilege" is not something I'm comfortable with, but limitations of jargon aside... this essay is fantastic.
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

Yeah, so. No surprise. Palin's benefiting from the privileged position her race gives her. She's allowed to claim all sorts of goofy-ass things that no minority could get away with. We knew this. But how in the world can people pretend it doesn't matter?
White privilege is being able to give a 36-minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and Harvard Business School (George W. Bush), and still be seen as an "average guy," while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then Harvard Law, makes you "uppity" and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.), and that's OK, and you're still cut out to be president, but if you're black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can't be trusted to make good decisions in office.

Thanks to One Day for the Watchman for the link to this essay. Lots of people should go read it.
xenologer: (swagger)
Here's the current word around the campfire, according to this article.

Sarah Palin had a yahoo email account to avoid government transparency laws (because while she can be ordered to share the contents of her official email, any official business she does with another email is still "off the record"), which is some dodgy shit. So when "Anonymous" found out about it, someone hacked the account and posted all the content to the public web. The account was deleted after this, but if Palin deleted it all, she broke the law by destroying evidence of her first pseudo-crime.

It's shocking the number of times I've said this, but... go 4chan. You made my day again with your wacky vigilante hijinks.

(h/t rm)
xenologer: (pistol)
Gloria Steinem. You and I, we've had our differences. We have, really. There've been times when the phrase "calm the fuck down this isn't about vaginas" crossed my mind, and times when it came right out my mouth before I could stop it.

But you definitely nailed it this time. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaiserbrown for linking this. I went ahead and linked to sources so that no one can claim Steinem's talking out her ass.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does."

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.
Damn, Gloria. 
xenologer: (hope)
Lying about Fact-Check.org like they're not going to call you on it is... an interesting strategy, guys!
A McCain-Palin ad has FactCheck.org calling Obama's attacks on Palin "absolutely false" and "misleading." That's what we said, but it wasn't about Obama.

We don't object to people reprinting our articles. In fact, our copyright policy encourages it. But we've also asked that "the editorial integrity of the article be preserved" and told those who use our items that "you should not edit the original in such a way as to alter the message."

With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said "completely false" attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.

I'm getting really tired of these assertions that both sides are running dirty campaigns, both candidates are dirty greedy lying criminals, and there's just no point in reading anything about politics, or heaven forbid voting, because it's all lies anyway.

House did say everybody lies. He also said, "I lied when I said that."

Look. Saying "there've been smears on both sides, politics is just like that" is untrue. I'll stop short of saying anyone who claims it is a liar, because perhaps it's cynicism or simple ignorance talking. It's much more fair to say there are stupid rumors about both tickets' candidates, but that only one campaign is actively encouraging these nonsensical smears.

For example, there've been wild accusations online that Palin is a witch because of the names of her kids (because two of them happen to match the names of two TV witches whose shows aired after the kids were born). Not only did Obama state that people need to leave her family out of this, his campaign didn't bring those attacks to the fore with a supporting ad from the campaign.

Contrast this with McCain, who saw crazy conspiracy theories online about Obama being the anti-Christ (google "Obama Nicolae Carpathia" and you'll see what I mean), and instead of denouncing or ignoring them McCain's campaign aired that dog-whistle ad calling Obama "The One." There is a big difference in the level and type of attacks on the Dems and Repubs sides here, so treating this election like it's everybody smearing equally is inaccurate and deceptive.

Wild and stupid rumors are spreading on both ends of the political spectrum, but only one candidate is encouraging them: McCain. Grouping Obama's campaign in with McCain's is either a startling display of ignorance about what these campaigns are really doing, or it's a deliberately deceptive attempt to drag Obama down to McCain's level in the minds of people who aren't paying enough attention to know the difference.

Steve Benen has a good essay over at Political Animal called "Thinking like a Republican."
The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne Jr. had a column four years ago this month that's always stuck with me. He noted, in the midst of the last presidential campaign, that Republicans are not above lying, but Democrats just can't bring themselves to do the same thing. "A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats," Dionne wrote at the time. "If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too."

I thought about the column when I was chatting this morning with a friend who works in Democratic campaign politics. We commiserated over the fact that Obama has become efficient in responding to the constant barrage of deceptive attacks from the McCain campaign, but doesn't launch deceptive attacks of his own against the McCain campaign.

My friend asked me what Atwater/Rove/Schmidt would do if they worked for Obama. What kind of attacks would they make against McCain? It got me thinking.

You should go check out the rest. The comments don't really answer Benen's challenge for the most part, but some of them do. It's just for fun of course, since there's no way that Republican tactics would work for Democrats this election cycle, but it's interesting to see what the campaign would look like if both sides really were running smear campaigns. And yes, it's very different.

Most people spend the comments bringing up things that are true, which totally spoils the fun of playing Karl Rove for an evening.

John McCain says he has a plan to catch Osama bin laden -- but he isn't telling President Bush. That leaves all Americans vulnerable to a terrorist attack from Enemy #1.

Why won't John McCain help us get bin Laden, so America can be free of that terrorist threat? -MarkH

The hell! That's just pointing out that he's got a foolproof plan to protect our country and hasn't shared it with anyone with the power to put it into practice. We're not here to point things out. We're here to make them up! Gawd!

McCain denounced his country during time of war. At the time, he said that he did so under torture.

Nowadays, he agrees with Bush that the things done to him were NOT torture, just ways to get the truth in an interrogation.

So, McCain denounced his country without ever being tortured. -John

See what I mean? It's clever, but it's totally off-topic, by dint of it being merely unflattering. All that's doing is pointing out McCain being inconsistent and fucking himself over. Pointing out hypocrisy is not what we're here to do, people! We're here to lie our asses off and see if we can think of anything to match Benen's earmark slam. Come on, guys! What's all this reflexive honesty bullshit?!

Yes, I realize that we can completely destroy McCain's credibility on nearly all domestic and foreign issues using actual verifiable truths, and so does Steve Benen. The point here is not to encourage people to talk about McCain cutting off support for Israel, but to make people realize that the reason we're not hearing the same trash from Obama that we hear from McCain is not that McCain has no weaknesses to exploit. It's not that Obama can't. It's that he doesn't.

One guy posted an interesting little quote in a comment, and I'll leave you with it.

"If the Republicans stop telling lies about us, we will stop telling the truth about them."
--Adlai Stevenson
xenologer: (wickerman)
...so there's no reason I should have to go down with it if McCain and Palin get elected. I'm evidently not the only person who feels this way.

From a link on admnaismith's journal.

Here is a link, and here's some of the text:
The bar was set so low for Sarah Palin's speech that she could have taken two giant dumps on the podium and been praised for not taking a third. She read the words on the teleprompter – written by George W. Bush's speechwriter – with gusto, but offered nothing but tacky denigrations of Barack Obama's character, along with a litany of complete and utter falsehoods.


How fucking DARE she make fun of community organizers? They're the only people left in America who help those who've been abandoned by everyone else, and to hear this horrible woman demean them for laughs... frankly, I couldn't bear it. Besides her bizarre, psychosexual repetition of McCain's time spent as a prisoner of war, Palin said nothing to inspire people upwards, only taunts, lies, and jokes fed to the convention hall like gazelle meat to rabid lions.

In a way, tonight was calming. Because truly, if McCain/Palin wins an election over Obama/Biden, this country is so fucked as to warrant abandonment. If this guttersniping, lying marionette and her twisted, ghoulishly-grinning mentor are the people America wants, then the debate is over, les jeux sont faits, we know not to care anymore.


I tell you, that's fine. Us elitists, you know, the ones with education, the ones that took an active interest in the world around us, the ones that flourished in the many-hued world of nuance and occasionally tried to make the world a better place - rather than hoarding as much as we could for ourselves and putting barbed wire and guns around it - We will opt out.

We might go to our own version of Coastopia, we might take our talents to another country. There will be a brain drain, the best and brightest fleeing to another place that doesn't make them sick to their stomach.

To be fair, it's begun already. America used to be the land where science advanced, and fifty years ago (or even about twenty years ago) the Hadron Collider would have been built here. Now it's in Switzerland, and whatever technology advances scientists make as a result of greater knowledge will create jobs on another continent.

And Americans don't even see it happening. They're too busy causing recurrances of preventable diseases, because they don't want to vaccinate their kids, killing not only themselves, but immunocompromised individuals depending on herd immunity. They're too busy keeping scientific knowledge about the advancement of life out of our schools because they don't want their kids learning theologically inappropriate truths. They're too busy preventing young people from learning to make responsible choices because they're far more afraid of free will than the Lord God who allowed Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge and become more like him than less.

They're too busy turning our reputation for producing scientists into a reputation for producing xenophobic fanatical anti-intellectuals to realize that it is to our detriment to be xenophobic fanatical anti-intellectuals. They won't know until it's too late, and it's possible they won't even see it then.

And there's nothing I can do. There can be no dialogue here. There are a lot of people out there with nothing better to say than, "I hate intellectuals and I can't trust them and neither should you. Trust me instead, because I have no evident credentials and that makes me more credible."

I have a degree in a social science, which means neither of us can listen to the other without sanity loss. I don't know what to do but wave it away and walk off shaking my head.

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