Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Ta-Nehisi Coates said


Whatever benefit of the doubt you may be entitled to, whatever raw deal you may be have caught, exchanging the defensive crouch for some self-examination is never a bad idea. It may be true that the ref may well be bias. But it may also be true that your jump-shot sucks. This is what it means to "Man Up."

This has been another addition of "What Ta-Nehisi Coates said".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One more Health Care post and then I'm done. Maybe.

Nate Silver over at argues why this health care bill needs to be supported even if it's not ideal. Way too much information to quote there, so hop on over and read it yourself.

I'm not a huge fan of the bill as it stands right now. I thought the whole point was to control costs, and I just don't see it doing that. Instead, we are just going to subsidize those costs, which the deficit hawks will have a field day with. A mandate without a public option that forces prices down is a train wreck. It's a big win for health insurance companies though, millions of new customers forced to purchase their insurance for the small exchange of not denying people based on pre-existing conditions (although that's not a huge concern anymore being that they will still be able to put an annual cap on their coverage).

With that said, I do think we have have little option but to support the bill. It's really a no win situation at this point, Democrats can either pass a crappy bill and get blamed for the crappy, or they can sink the bill and get blamed for the survival of the status quo. Republicans are probably laughing their asses off at us right now, have you noticed how they kind of faded into the background when the liberal circular firing squad began? After screaming and tea bagging for months... silence. It's the smartest thing they've done in years. They are perfectly content to let the Democrats fall on their swords.

Some have suggested reconciliation or just starting over. I don't think there's a starting over point now. Obama, unique enough in that he did have a great level of support in the beginning, has wasted his political capital. Unpopular presidents don't pass huge reforms. It just doesn't happen. So we aren't going to get another opportunity to pass any sort of health care reform in the next decade or longer if it doesn't happen now. And I'm not sure I trust reconciliation in light of some of the Democratic leadership's decisions. Allowing annual caps came from Senator Reid. The deal that protects the pharmaceutical companies came from the White House. And there was really no way around all the obstructionism coming up with the "moderates". Congress isn't going to be any less in the pockets of the insurance companies the next time around.

I never had any illusions that the perfect plan would be passed. I just feel like we could have taken it a little bit further. And I throw that failure completely on Obama, and still can't figure out what the White House was thinking. It's almost painful to watch them stand by while King Joe Lieberman tanks the last, tiny compromise liberals asked for, but they can intervene instantly and press Senators to vote down the amendment that would have violated their little sweetheart deal with the Pharmaceutical industry. People are going to remember this in 2010 and 2012.

I'd love to tell the Democrats to fuck off and sit out some elections. But sadly, we have no credible opposition party, as the Republican party, lest some forget, is insane right now. But I'm a strategic voter, I'll look at the larger picture like that. Many other voters will not. And that the White House couldn't see that coming is a massive failure on their part.

Dude writes like a lady

Anecdotal, but interesting:

But I was still having a hard time landing jobs. I was being turned down for gigs I should've gotten, for reasons I couldn't put a finger on.

My pay rate had hit a plateau, too. I knew I should be earning more. Others were, and I soaked up everything they could teach me, but still, there was something strange about it . . .

It wasn't my skills, it wasn't my work. So what were those others doing that I wasn't?

One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn't want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.


Taking a man's name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.

Women are treated differently on the internet. This has been a point of much debate, although I'm never really sure why. You are essentially wearing a huge target on your back in a land where one's true self can be expressed under the cover of anonymity, without the worry of being admonished by twisted viewpoints they hold. And there are many that hold certain negative views and expectations on women's behavior, we know this to be true in the world at large, I'm not sure why we would argue that it doesn't transfer over and magnify itself ten-fold on the internet. I've seen male colleagues given begrudging respect for stating viewpoints while I myself was thought of as shrill for stating the same thing, in the same tone. I've had nasty things said to me without consequence, until I responded in a like manner, at which the manners police came to scold me for my uncivilly. My personal favorite though, is when I'm told I'm being hysterical or irrational for calmly stating something controversial while someone nearby is screaming their fool head off at the damned clouds.

It happens more then you'd think. People judge my intent based on who they assume me to be, any information that contradicts that assumption is thrown out rather quickly. If I'm thought of as hysterical, everything said by me will be filtered through that lens. So when we have a prevailing stereotype that women are emotional and rarely logical, and I identify as female, I've already had expectations regarding my behavior assigned to me the minute I walk in the door.

I don't think it's a reason to throw in the towel and declare failure on unequal grounds. But it is there. And you adjust your behavior accordingly. I couldn't write a truly angry, emotional screed at this point even if I wanted to, because I know what's coming if I do.

With that said, I can't really say if using my real name in my writing has an effect, I've always used it so I have nothing to compare it to. In some respects, I think it's helped me. I figure that the audience I had when I was writing for the site that shall not be named was made up of people that were (1) drawn to the feminist aspect of my regular column, as it was a niche issue that created quite a firestorm when I wanted it to or (2) liked to watch me destroy my opponents in the comments sections. I've wondered sometimes if that last bit was a tad gendered, however. I have a reputation for ruthlessly and coldly crushing egos and can easily take what I dish out, and did so in a relatively calm and unemotional manner, all of which are associated with stereotypical masculine traits. So was it that I was actually quite successful when I would debate the topics of the day, or was it that my being female and doing so made me somewhat of an amusing oddity in some readers' eyes? It's not really a question that can ever be answered.

But back to "James" here, what I find most interesting here isn't so much about the name, as it is about her taking on of what she perceived to be the male identity, manifesting itself into complaining about bitches:

Whether you think Chartrand's choice to adopt a male name was anti-feminist or illuminating, you should know that adopting a male name is not all Chartrand did.

* She also adopted a male persona—her biography refers to her repeatedly as "he."

* She also named her company "Men With Pens."

* She also crafted a company logo (above) that looks like it was directed by Michael Bay.

* She also slipped this line into the bio of one of her employees, copywriter Taylor Lindstrom: "She's the team's rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol' boys club."

* She also introduced Lindstrom to the blog as "perky," "adorable," and capable of cooking and cleaning. (In introducing a male employee to the blog, Chartrand described their relationship as "bromantic," one in which the Men With Pens "could be laid back together, chink beers and not argue over the remote control").

* She also regularly used photos of naked women to illustrate her posts.

* She also occasionally essentialized women—"all the women" loved Jerry McGuire, Chartland wrote—while conveniently placing herself outside of the gender categories she set for them.

* She also used a photograph of a man silencing a woman with his hand as the logo for a "Men With Pens" role-playing game. When a few commenters noted that the photographed failed to create an "inviting community for women," Chartrand replied: "Photography is very subjective. You see a woman being terrorized. I see a man helping a woman stay quiet so he can save her life."

* She also penned this post—amazing, in hindsight!—which instructed "mommy bloggers" to stop "whin[ing] about being stereotyped" and begin welcoming male commenters in their spaces.

She seems to feel that her male identity wasn't complete without this, something that I don't find all that uncommon with those that rely on such strict gender division. Many of the "reclaiming masculinity" movements also stress the idea that they are "not female", having their roots in the play on fears that femininity is taking over men in general. And if it's something to be abhorred, it's not surprising that they play "not female" to the point where the female must be despised in order to show how "not female" one is. But it's a rather strange way to define a gender once you think about it.

But I don't know, at this point, if this was the game she was playing, she might as well used her real name. She may have been even more popular. Women hating on women are a pretty valued commodity in some circles.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whatever King Joe wants, King Joe gets.

Medicare buy-in dropped from Senate Health Care bill.

Health Care Joementum!

Looks like Lieberman might have pushed Reid too far with his filibuster threat, and now that Reid's been made to look the fool and his feelings are hurt, he doesn't want to compromise away the Medicare buy-in just to appease Joe. Luckily we finally have the White House stepping in to twist some arms:

The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.

Yes, we have to make sure we don't upset our little obstructionists. They might go on Meet the Press and accuse Obama of socialism or something. Let's just repeatedly kick our own party in the face instead.

The White House is honestly just fine with whatever crap bill ends up coming across the President's signing desk, just so long as they can sign it and crow about passing "historical" Health Care reform. We are going to own the consequences of this one for a long time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Mara Blogging

We've pretty much abandoned all hope of ever keeping her off the couch. Could you say no to that face? Didn't think so.

The Health Care debate makes me stabby.

So this fall I apparently decided that I wasn't frustrated with politics enough, and as such had to torture myself by following up-to-the-minute blog posts regarding the health care reform debate in congress. I'm kind of a masochist like that. The nausea-inducing roller coaster ride that passes as "debate" in our country, in case you missed it, went a little something like this:

Hey, Obama is going to bring us health care reform! Yay! He gives pretty speeches about it. Yay! While cutting sweetheart deals with Big Pharma on the downlow. Boo! Maybe we can have single payer! OMFG TEABAGGERS! Hitler Hilter, Socialism and whatnot. Seem to have an effect on public's perception of health care reform. Boo! White House and congressional Democrats seem content to let that perception go unchallenged. Boo! Oh, no single payer, let's not even bother bringing that to the table as a place to compromise down from. Boo! Oh no, the progressives are pissed about that. STFU, progressives. Yay! Polls indicate that the majority of the public does not support the health care reform bill. Boo! But wait, they seem to favor a public option. Yay! All hail Queen Snowe and her White House endorsed trigger option! Boo. But it's okay, we can have an "opt-out" plan instead, now everybody happy. Yay! But that's not enough to appease "moderate" Democrats (What about Republicans? There are Republicans in this debate?) And speaking of which, where's Obama? Well, House democrats are saying "fuck all" to that, Pelosi and her posse went straight for the public option instead. Yay! Who the hell is Bart Stupak and why does he desire an increase in septic abortions? Boo! Oh no, the liberal women are pissed. STFU, liberal women. Yay! The bill passes the house, anyone not needing reproductive care say Yay! Onto the Senate, where Harry Reid is going to play hardball because his poll numbers are down. Yay! Except when it comes to the public option, oh obstructionists, we can haz our Medicare buy-in instead? Sounds workable. Yay! Bill Nelson is jealous of all the attention Stupak got for his "fuck women" amendment, proposes one of his own. Boo! It fails, Nelson says he won't filibuster over it. Yay!

I'm sure I've left stuff out, as following this shit is exhausting, but let's keep it at that and say that brings us to about the current go-around. Which is starting to get more teeth-gnashingly irritating by the minute, as it is starting to now even make sense anymore. So it turns out Reid, with the full backing of the White House, wants to keep the sweetheart deal that the pharmaceutical companies have already by blocking an amendment proposed by Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) that would allow us to import drugs from other countries, hence, lower our collective costs on health care. Reid has also slipped back in the allowance of annual caps, something that Obama explicitly promised would end under his health care plan:

"They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick."

Yeah, he said that.

And to top it off, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-Liebermanville) have decided that they haven't quite received enough air time on the cable news networks and as such, must obstruct the fuck out of health care reform, as the villagers just adore those hippie-punchers and will shower them with affection for their "moderate" views. Just don't ask them why they are actually threatening to filibuster, because they don't have an actual answer for that.

So what do all of these things have in common? If you guessed that they make absolutely no sense and are nothing more then a sell-out to insurance agencies, give yourself a cookie. Look, as much as I hate it, I understand the rationale behind the Stupak amendment. I understand the rationale about the "opt-out" prevision. But to allow Big Pharma to continue price gouging customers in a bill that was sold as saving us money? To give away the public option (for nothing in return), which would make many of the oligarchies that make up the private health insurance sector compete on an affordable level, not to mention is very popular with Americans (that aren't housed neatly in the little village of the Washington elite)? The White House going back on one of it's main promises, one that we were lectured to sacrifice our other health care ideals for? What is frustrating now is not that it's not my ideal health care plan. It's that these last few changes before we go into committee (if we even have one, that is) make little sense in the context of the plan they were selling.

I understand the logic, if self-serving as hell, behind Lieberman and Nelson's complaints. The more hippies they punch, the more airtime they get from the Very Serious political venues. Nelson I'm not too familiar with, but Lieberman has been a self-promoting whore for a while now. It is typical sociopathic behavior, from a couple of kids that know by now they have nothing to lose, and all the attention to gain. Lieberman's an asshole and should be kicked to the curb, no doubt. But can you really blame him for trying after he campaigned for the Republican candidate during the last presidential election and got not even a slight slap on the shoulder? Of course he's going to run with this.

It's more the White House and the other congressional Democrats that I'm not quite understanding here. Health care is a very direct issue in our lives. We will notice if the premiums go up (which, per Health Insurance company threats, they most certainly will). We will know if ourselves or our neighbors are still paying too much for prescription medications, or are dropped under annual caps. Obama can't just give a pretty speech and wipe this all away. Are they worried about a 60s-era cultural backlash? News flash: We are going to get the backlash anyway no matter what is passed and who supports it. Health care is a liberal issue, there's not slapping a bright red conservative bow on it. Maybe, if we are going to have that backlash anyway, we should get something good with it?

If they continue to water down and compromise on this bill, and do not craft the best health care legislation they can (and really, keep everything in and let the obstructionist assholes filibuster it, because at that point, it's on them, isn't it?), they will be the ones held accountable for it. Them. The White House. The Congressional Democrats. Not Republicans. Not Joe Lieberman. There is no one left to blame for their own naivety with caving to people that sought only to obstruction in the first place. Do they really think that demoralizing their own base and pissing everyone else off is the path to re-election? If so, welcome President Bachmann, people. I'm serious.

The stupid makes me want to claw my own eyes out. Good thing I couldn't afford to do so.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging and Random Top Ten

I've no idea why she has that look on her face. Maybe she's contemplating debating Sarah Palin about climate change.

No big news around the house. Jim is bottling his honey wheat beer tonight, in hopes it will be ready by Christmas eve. We have some Best Buy drama going on, but really, it's the holidays and Best Buy, so who doesn't have that type of drama? I just want my damn free PS3. I've got a couple of actual blogs posts in the mix, but snarking on the news is just so much more easy (and fun). And there are people on Facebook that I'm seriously considering trolling the fuck out of, because they need it. Aside from that, it should be a quiet weekend, being that I have to work tomorrow.

~ Cheers!

Random Ipod Ten (in which one puts their current music player on shuffle and lists the first ten songs):

01: Jorge Ben - Fio Maravilla
02: Erica Badu: Sometimes
03: Sunny Day Real Estate: Pheurton Skeurto
04: Depeche Mode: Halo
05: Exposition: Down with Us
06: Ramona Falls: Salt Sack
07: Q-Tip: Life is Better
08: The Pixies: Velouria (My ipod has a serious Pixies obsession)
09: The Twilight Singers: That's Just How That Bird Sings
10: The Pixies: Ana (See?)

Also, ACORN. Also too.

I'm absolutely shocked that a conservative sting operation against ACORN would turn out to have some major, malicious flaws. That right-wing activists would deliberately tweek their video "evidence" by dubbing over the audio to smear an organization they'd had it out for almost over a year now is unheard of. They seemed like such nice upper-class kids, who bravely decided their energy is best spent on targeting an organization that helps out the less fortunate in our society (I mean, if these privileged kids won't take on such an atrocious organization whose demise wouldn't affect them and theirs in the slightest, who will?) Such a shame. But it's time to pay the piper as I'm sure the ever vigilant media that was pushing this smear story for weeks will get right on this correction.

Right after CNN reports on the "12 mistresses of Tiger" complete with Christmas-y jingle by the similar name. Trenchant as hell.

All I want for Christmas...


INGRAHAM: Would you agree to a debate with Al Gore on this issue?

PALIN: Oh my goodness. You know, it depends on what the venue would be, what the forum. Because Laura, as you know, if it would be some kind of conventional, traditional debate with his friends setting it up or being the commentators I'll get clobbered because, you know, they don't want to listen to the facts. They don't want to listen to some reasonable voices in this. And that was proven with the publication of this op-ed, where they kind of got all we-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers of changing weather patterns and climate conditions. Trying to make the issue into something that it is not.

Pure entertainment, what with all the winking and disgusted sighing and whatnot.

One thing you can say about wingnuts is that they are awesome at derailing a debate right off the bat by just putting as much inane pseudo-intellectualism in their first declaration. Which in turn sends you scrambling to correct it in good faith as they ignore you and move on to the next inane declaration. So poor Gore would be still be earnestly trying to debunk Palin's first rebuttal ("It totally snowed today, ergo, HOAX!!111!!eleventyone!11) while Palin has moved on to how this is some sort of Kenyan conspiracy to destroy America. Also, ACORN.

They go on to agree that Al Gore's snobby ass would never take on Palin's aw shucks I'm jus' regular folks ass. Not that they have any rationale behind that claim, but they just know, like all folksy folks know. It's because of the elitism. And they are probably right in a sense, being that any logical person would see that it's a lost cause, as you just can't cut through bullshit quick enough in a timed debate like that. And then we'd be subject to Palin whining for the next few weeks about how pointing out that the Arctic cap is melting is totally sexism. Because the wicked witch melted too, and she was a woman like Palin is a woman, are you calling Palin a witch? And then the Very Serious pundits on the cable news networks would take on the major debate about whether climate change is real or if Palin is really a witch (and being that Palin isn't a witch, she's a good Christian woman, climate change must be a hoax and by the way, did you see it snowed last night?), because it would be irresponsible not to speculate if Al Gore was elitist-ly using "climate change"and "science" as a front for his raging hatred towards Real Americans.

On a side note, check the amount of major projection in that paragraph of Palin's. It's just stunning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looks like Reid forgot the "This is excellent news for Republicans" rule.

Oh hey, Republicans are pissed off about something.

Much like the incessant whining over being judged negatively for their votes against Frankin's recent proposed amendment, current conservatives remind us once again that everything is good news for Republicans, so it's unspeakably cruel - vulgar, even - to remind everyone that their party is made up of the kind of assholes that are consistently on the wrong side of history.

This kind of reminds me of the "the first amendment protects my right to have no one call out my bullshit if I decide to spew it" rationale. The over-arching theme of the refusal for the GOP to be held accountable for their words and actions is really something Democrats should play on.

Which means, of course, Harry Reid will probably apologize tomorrow.

Oh noes! Please don't throw us in that briar patch!

Five AIG Execs Say May Quit Over Pay

AIG executives continue the whiny pattern of threatening to quit if their paycheck is compromised. Naturally, instead of calling their bluff, we'll fall all over ourselves to keep them, because... they are the best and brightest in the business and their uncle totally has connections, or some other nonsense. Why this warrants nothing more then a "Don't let the door hit you..." is beyond me, I'd think there are many qualified folks, that didn't need a government handout, that could probably do these jobs. Heck, they'd probably kill for these jobs right about now.

I just wish these assholes with major entitlement issues just go Galt like they've been promising for over a year, already. 

You mean to say that Chuck D doesn't have a time machine for the sole purpose of hating on future events?

Quite possibly my favorite newspaper correction ever.

Blog Hiatus Over?

All right, let's do this.