October 19, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Obama…

…and his reasons are righteous. I appreciated the fact that someone finally spoke to the Obama-Mulsim thing and pointed out that, no, Obama is not a Muslim but followed that up with, hey, many Muslims are Americans. It’s time to cut the shit and stop dividing ourselves on this small-town/city, white/everyone else, Christian/everyone else diatribe that the McCain/Palin ticket has been promoting. I also appreciated the fact that he pointed out that it is important to have a president in office that is articulate and intelligent. What a concept, huh?

“I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance,” Powell said. “He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.”

“Those kinds of images going out on al Jazeera are killing us around the world,” he said. “And we have got to say to the world, it doesn’t make any difference who you are or what you are, if you’re an American you’re an American. And this business of, for example a congresswoman from Minnesota going around saying let’s examine all congressmen to see who is pro America or not pro America, we have got to stop this kind of non-sense and pull ourselves together and remember that our great strength is in our unity and diversity. That really was driving me.”

Read full story here.

Thanks for the laughs, Palin. And, we ARE laughing. Daily.

Filed under: Body Image,Gender,Media,Politics,Violence — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 9:55 am

Salon writers comment on last night’s performance.  Read full article here.

Jeanne Carstensen: Poor Palin –  she looked like she had just seen a moose, but didn’t have a rifle. Part of me wanted her to field-dress Alec Baldwin — but nada. Instead, she tottered off on Baldwin’s arm for a “tour” of the “SNL” set after he trashed her to her face — well, supposedly, to “Tina’s” face. Come on, Sarah, show some of that Alaska backbone, or at least a little fire and brimstone. Something. She fell flat in a way I didn’t expect. I mean, the entire Castro is going to be doing Sarah Palin drag for Halloween this year, yet when given the opportunity to make fun of herself to a national audience, Ms. Pay for Your Own Rape Kit seemed bland and muffled. The obvious parallel here is when the other female rock star candidate of this election cycle showed up on “SNL” in a skit with her “SNL” doppelgänger — Amy Poehler. All I can say is, Sarah Palin, you’re no Hillary Clinton.

Judy Berman: I didn’t expect much from Palin, so I’m not terribly surprised that her actual participation in the show was minimal. While both Barack Obama and John McCain, at the Al Smith benefit Thursday night, showed they could deliver a zinger or two, “SNL” wisely decided it couldn’t even trust Palin to make a joke. Her biggest contribution was laughing along, good-naturedly, as the show’s cast poked fun at her. The skits were funny, but they would have been just as entertaining, with a few minor adjustments, without Palin. Tina Fey carried the opening piece, as usual, and I’d like to nominate Amy Poehler for a special Emmy — “best satirical rap performed in front of and about a V.P. candidate while in the third trimester.”

Vincent Rossmeier: What was the point of her appearance? Somehow, Tina Fey managed to seem more like Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin did. But this hardly should have been a surprise. Basically, on “SNL,” Palin performed the same role she does on the campaign: Nod, pose and stay silent when asked. My only other question is: Where was Bristol?

October 17, 2008

Time to feel good

Springsteen for Obama, Philadelphia on 10/4:

October 15, 2008

John Mellencamp on nationalism, the state of the nation and McCain's use of his music

Featured in yesterday’s LA Times.  Read full article here.

He thinks Barack Obama is too conservative, and every time John McCain plays his songs at a rally, the Republican nominee gets a call from a Mellencamp rep: Play the music if you want, but you better know what the lyrics mean.

According to Mellencamp, the words mean this: The government is corrupt, the war is unjust, the middle class is sunk, people are starving, racism is rampant, and those little pink houses? Couldn’t we do better for the working poor?

And if pols still don’t get it, Mellencamp’s wish for America is spelled out in his anthem-like “Our Country”: “That poverty could be just another ugly thing / And bigotry would be seen only as obscene / And the ones that run this land help the poor and common man / This is our country.”

The message seems to have gotten through; McCain has all but stopped playing Mellencamp’s songs, except for a few instances when the sound-booth guy accidentally cues the wrong track…

“I grew up in the late ’60s, early ’70s, during Vietnam, and so my liberal views were pretty much cast during that time period through the music that I was listening to,” he said. (His parents were also liberals, who encouraged him to speak his mind.) He has a single coming out this month: “Troubled Land.” It was officially unveiled during Mellencamp’s set at the Farm Aid concert last month. In the wake of the Wall Street woes, the song was eerily foreboding. It also underlines how Mellencamp secured his reputation as the heartland bard: “I’ve got many screaming children / Ten million rows to hoe / Bring peace to this troubled land / Deader than a hammer/ But I can’t let go / Bring peace to this troubled land.”

Mellencamp explains the song this way: “I have felt that the government has betrayed most people in turning their back on the working class.” He said, “Deregulation has destroyed so many things that worked so well, destroyed the airlines, destroyed trucking, destroyed, as we see now, Wall Street. . . .

“We’ve got to have guidelines, and strict guidelines, that are enforced by the government. That’s the government’s job. Now, their idea of making law is ‘We’re allowed to tap your phone, we’re allowed to enter your house without a search and seizure.’ That’s wrong.”

Mellencamp was one of the first musicians to oppose the war in Iraq, a position that made him unpopular in his hometown. Neighbors would row up alongside his lakefront house and shake their fists. Mellencamp’s wife was heckled in the grocery store.

The singer stayed firm in his beliefs.

“If you just step back and take all the particulars: We’re going to invade a country on the other side of the world, and we’re going to kill people and we’re going to have our people killed, and our information is tainted?” he said.

He blames the strong nationalism that clenched the country after Sept. 11.

“When people are for the country right or wrong, America right or wrong, it’s a lot like Germany. Nationalism is a bad thing. And when you have a mob mentality over a country, over a swastika, over the Führer, over the Iraq war, the outcome is not going to be good.”

Yup, I do love Keith.

This comes from Keith after more shouts of, “kill him” at at a Palin rally on Tuesday. Tonight could be interesting.

October 13, 2008

Ugh: Palin Halloween costumes and sex dolls

It continues.  From Palin porn, sexy action figures, offers to appear in Playboy and a nod from Maxim

Thanks to the women at Feminsting:

Palin Halloween costumes and Palin sex dolls.  Gross.

The cost of silence

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 2:45 pm

“I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood…. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you…. and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.”
Audre Lorde (The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Sister Outsider).

The latest post from Tim Wise, antiracist writer and educator (see post on white skin privilege here):

For those who have seen the ugliness and heard the vitriol emanating from the mouths of persons attending McCain/Palin rallies this past week–what with their demands to kill Barack Obama, slurs that he is a terrorist and a traitor, and paranoid delusions about his crypto-Muslim designs on America–please know this: This is how fascism comes to an ostensible democracy.

If it comes–and if those whose poisonous, unhinged verbiage has been so ubiquitous this week have any say over it, it surely will–this is how it will happen: not with tanks and jackbooted storm troopers, but carried in the hearts of men and women dressed in comfortable shoes, with baseball caps, and What Would Jesus Do? wristbands. It will be heralded by up-dos, designer glasses, you-betcha folksiness and a disdain for big words or hard consonants.

If fascism comes, it will spring from the soil of middle America, from people known as values voters but whose values are toxic, from simple folk whose simplicity, far from being admirable, is better labeled ignorance, from “all-American” types whose patriotism is a dagger pointed at the very heart of the national interest, for it so forsakes all the best principles upon which the republic was founded, choosing instead to elevate and ratify the narrow-mindedness, the bigotry, and the intolerance that also marked our country’s origins.

Read full article here.

October 12, 2008

The culture of fear continues…

Haven’t been to The Culture Wars: Abortion Edition recently?  Check out the latest tactic employed by those parties interested in voting passing Prop. 4. (see why Prop. 4 is dangerous for teens), the proposition that mandates parental notification in cases of pregnancy termination among teenagers. This advertisement is absolutely ridiculous, misleading and characteristic of the fear mongering and scare tactics that the conservative right has been waging in the months leading up to this election.

As always, Laura Frankel keeps us informed and provides excellent commentary.  Click here for the complete story.

It’s uncanny how they’ve turned an issue of abortion into an issue of fear by using the idea of a sexual predator taking advantage of California’s daughters and getting away with it because–there’s no parental notification in CA. Look at that. My favorite is the very beginning where in small print at the bottom of the ad it reads: “Dramatizaton Based on Actual Facts.” REALLY?! Show me the facts. I want to see where it says that older men in California are more likely to have sex with/take advantage of younger girls because they know that the girl’s parents won’t find out if they take her to get an abortion after.

October 10, 2008

Guest post: Nina on last week's rally in Carson, CA

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 7:55 pm

I have only been to three protests in the duration of my life. Considering my age (19) and the current state of the majority of my generation, that is saying a lot. For the most, part my experiences have been extremely positive. My first protest was guided by an old hippie couple who had been protesting since they were my age in the 70’s. They taught me the ins and outs of protesting – bring a bandanna, a tangerine, water, and some comfy shoes. The opposition had always been minuscule in comparison to the masses gathered for the said cause (against the war, keeping a wommin’s right to chose, etc.) and the police had always been a looming, often racist, gathering on the sidelines that was and is difficult to ignore.

The protest against Sarah Palin in Carson, California this past Saturday, October 4th was the first time I had been within close proximity to hardcore Republicans supporting the McCain/Palin ticket. Sure, my Aunt and Uncle are conservative Republicans from Fresno who support that ticket, but when I see them they often hug me and buy me dinner. They don’t call me a whore. It was very different to see the opposition as a visible, violent force and the police as a support and protector of that force and not those protesting.

I  have been in the area surrounding the Home Depot Center in Carson many many times.  I used to go to band practice literally blocks away. The place was always very quiet and devoid of any inkling of political uprising such as the wheatpastings you will see in Santa Monica or Los Angeles. To see the intersection hugged by protesters and passing motorists honking furiously in support was overwhelming and amazing. I  parked in the designated parking structure amongst the Republicans attending the event and what immediately caught my eye was a father and his young daughter. Someone had meticulously painted a sign (much larger than her) in big hot pink sparkling letters that said, “Girl Power” and she didn’t look too thrilled to hold the damn thing. They were obviously attending to support Palin and it broke my heart.

I walked down the boulevard to where the protesters were gathered to meet up with my friends from CSULB who, like myself, run a Feminist Alliance on campus.

We demonstrated on the corner, encouraging people to join us and reveling in the support of people passing by. One thing I  noticed in Carson was that it was not just rabble rousing, but actual progression. People were networking, signing up to phone bank for candidates or propositions, exchanging numbers, and organizing further events. It was wonderful to see so many different kinds of people from all walks of life gathered on the street working together.

Eventually, we began to proceed up the walkway into the actual Home Depot Center to demonstrate nearby the line of Republicans entering the stadium. This is where, just earlier, John Voight stood in support of Sarah Palin and ordered his bodyguards to cover the signs of Democratic demonstrators so that their message would not be seen on TV. Don’t you just love him?

We all gathered along the line, “welcoming” those attending the event with posters, chants, and our presence. For the most part it was like many other demonstrations, with the Republicans not saying much. Those who had yelled profanities and flipped us off from their cars on the boulevard simply walked by, flipping us off once more or not looking at us whatsoever. But as more and more people began to show up, you could feel the tension from the opposition. There were many womyn Union Workers at the event, and you could feel their disgust as womyn walked by wearing the Rosie the Riveter icon on her t-shirt with Sarah Palin’s face superimposed on top.

A woman next to me, a union worker said, “I want to rip that shirt off that wommin. Palin is no Rosie the Riveter. I  am Rosie the Riveter!” As we shouted, talked to one another, and held our signs, two young womyn walked by with an open container of homemade cookies. They offered them to the crowd, and I assumed they were from Food Not Bombs, a vegan-friendly organization that cooks food for the homeless and often brings water and sandwiches to protests for demonstrators. As I placed the cookie in my mouth, however, I  was overcome with the distinct taste of Raid and immediately spit it out and crushed it with my food. As the girls proceeded onward I realize they were wearing McCain buttons. The first instance physical of violence I saw, however, was against none other than Jesus Christ.

Jesus had been visibly peaceful during the event, hugging people, chanting, and doing his thing. One wommin (wearing a cross), however, was visibly upset at him dressing as such, and began cursing profanities at him from the sidelines. He began to film her as she did this, and she punched his camera into his face. As the man began to yell at her why she would do such a thing, she continuously smacked his camera and pushed her way towards him. I  found it ironic that the wommin’s husband went to go get the authorities even though she instigated it. This obviously angered the crowd because he had done nothing wrong, but this often happens at demonstrations. Because those protesting are seen are “more radical” the police often push them back or force them to disperse because it is assumed they “started it.”

The next instance of blatant hatred was toward the two men pictured above, who were Iraqi veterans protesting both Palin and the war. An older man broke from the Republican line and began shouting, “Faggots! You are a disgrace! You will burn in hell!” The two men tried to talk to him, stating their reasons for being here but all he could do was shout until another man pulled him back into the crowd. More and more men began to break from the crowd, shouting at us, calling us “faggots” and a “disgrace.” One man in particular came to scream at all the young womyn ad said that we had dead babies smeared on his face. He was gripping the hand of his young son, who looked confused and scared. He was wearing, like his father, a shirt that said “NoBama” with the community hammer and sickle in the “O.” It broke my heart because his son was smiling at us and visibly fearful of his father. We shouted back, “great thing to teach your son!” But it doesn’t end here.

Comments were directed several times to the African American crowd protesting, just a few of these clever outbursts being, “Go home and drink your Kool-Aid” or “Go back to Africa!” At this point, many of the demonstrators had had enough and you could feel the tension in the air. The young womyn dressed as the polar bear and Sarah Palin began to do a skit in which Sarah Palin chased the polar bear with a small machine gun, killed her, and took her ears as a trophy.

Then there was the obvious way to make a statement on their hateful comments, which rose applause and smiles from the protesters. During this process I  was violently grabbed by an older wommin, who shouted in my ear, “Baby Killer! Whore! You will get what’s coming to you!” People chanted “show your face! show your face!” and an older man attempted to pull the bandanna from my face as he passed.

A few people were wearing bandannas because we have been photographed before at larger protests and as a result, have been harassed by the police for being “communists, anarchists, terrorists,” etc. Covering your face conceals your identity, and if the police see you otherwise they would have no idea you even attended such an event. Several police officers began threatening those with covered faces, claiming that the Home Depot Center had a policy that you could not be on their grounds if you covered your face. The police came up to me, grabbed my arm, and told me they would have to escort me out if I would not uncover my face. I told them I would escort myself out, and went back to the boulevard to join the other protesters.

Despite the media coverage of the stadium “overflowing” with supporters, it has to be taken into consideration that they were filling the smaller stadium of the Home Depot Center, and not the larger one used for concerts and such.

You could liken its size to the stadium where Shamu does his flips and tricks, which is not saying much. As everyone knows, this is the event where Palin made her inflammatory statements about Obama “palling around with terrorists.” After a few hours of demonstrating people began to disperse because it was rumored that there would be another demonstration in Costa Mesa near the Performing Arts Center, where Palin would be fundraising.

It was unclear whether Palin was at the fundraising event or whether it was a leak to keep protesters away from where she was speaking in Carson. Aside from a few people walking by in suits and formal attire, she was m.i.a., and so after a few hours the crowd began to leave. For the most part my friends and I sat on the floor with our signs, overwhelmed by the division at this event. People began to take photos of us, taking our like circle of friends on the floor as a statement, when we simply were tired. Our spirits were risen by a few other students from CSULB who were dressed as McCain, Obama, and Clinton. They held these signs beneath them, and often danced around with gay-pride flags.

The protest ended with a man and his young daughter playing the bongos and cowbell and as the man dressed as McCain did a striptease to the counter-protestors on the other side. After this, everyone left the premises, going home to flip through the channels to see if we got any coverage. It’s obvious we didn’t.

And so that is my summation of the protests last Saturday. Carson, I felt, was much more spirited and progressive than the demonstration in Costa Mesa. There was too much inner argument in Costa Mesa and the circular space where everyone was standing made it so that many people were hidden in the back and could not be seen. It was wonderful, however, to see so many small children running around in Costa Mesa in their heely shoes, shouting, “I think she’s here! Grab your sign, Billy!”

And I will leave you with this, a picture of a dancing vagina and the previously mentioned Sarah Palin look-a-like, both wommin from feminist organizations at CSULB.

Peace, Love, and Pie –
Nina, the babykiller whore who no one will sleep with

October 9, 2008

Oh, Jon.

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