Sunday, April 27, 2008

Budgeting for Barack

Dear readers,

Just a reminder to take some time out of your day and donate to Obama or get involved in the campaign.

While John Kerry spent $20 million to get the nomination, Barack Obama is approaching $70 million. And we all know that Hillary is going to try and steal the nomination at the convention. Obama's advantage continues to be his broad base of small donors; anything helps.

I know it's not easy to finance ourselves, let alone a campaign contribution. But this election cycle, those dollars are really making a difference. That's why I propose Budgeting for Barack. Eat in a few extra times, cut back on one little thing, make your own coffee for a week, don't buy your favorite stupid magazine...the list goes on.

Hillary had to loan herself $5 million. We can support our candidate.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hillary on a first-name basis

I am writing a research paper on the National Organization for Women (NOW), its endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and complication of the Hillary/feminist narrative by groups such as Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama.

While I was writing my paper, I was extremely sensitive to the issue of addressing Senator Clinton excessively as Hillary. This sensitivity was due to larger cultural critique that gendered relations of power lead individuals to address women on a first-name basis, and men by last name or including a title. I was wary of this throughout the construction of my paper, and wondered why I so aptly and so strongly referred to the presidential hopeful as "Hillary."

And then I realized--she calls herself Hillary. "Hillary for President" is the tag line of her official website. Ha.

McCain-Feingold Discriminates Against Millionaires

Everyone should have learned from Mitt Romney that money alone cannot buy an office. But for some reason, the general collective cannot let go this idea that this system is bought and sold--and so we have created special and discriminatory rules for races involving self-financed candidates who rack in the bucks.

If a candidate puts $350,000 or more into one's own campaign, the opponent may TRIPLE the legal contribution cap. That is $6,900 per person.

Understandably, Democrat millionaire Jack Davis--who has lost twice in unseating congressional incumbent Tom Reynolds of upstate New York despite his fortune--followed his case to the Supreme Court, where he rightfully claimed the First Amendment has been violated. Money is political speech is free speech. End of story.

The Supreme Court is still pending on the matter, but I have to hand it to Scalia who asked if now we have to force more eloquent candidates to talk with pebbles in their mouth to "level the playing field"?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama to benefit from PA voter surge

From Politico:

An historic spike in Democratic voter registrations in Pennsylvania could help Barack Obama cut into Hillary Clinton’s vote in Tuesday’s primary, robbing her of the big victory margin she needs to justify continuing the primary fight.

The changing party demographics also are contributing to an overall bluing of the Keystone State that could dim Republican John McCain’s hopes of competing there in the fall.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

greenKarat: eco-friendly jewelry

Because extracting precious metals and gems from the earth is ecologically destructive and environmentally expensive, greenKarat makes their products from recycled and re-used jewelry.

The greenKarat selection is not exactly thrilling (although their is a piece or two that could work), but you can custom-order your eco-friendly jewelry to look however you want.

Presidential candidates and the WWE?

The WWE has invited both Barack and Hillary to RAW tonight--and while they are not expected to accept, I feel like they should.

If this race is about two minorities fighting for electability, then they are ultimately competing for the white man to take his pick. And what better place to court the white man than in the wrestling ring? Not to mention what a great GOTV effort this would be; I don't expect that demographic to be particularly politically active as a whole.

Friday, April 18, 2008

vegansexuals and inter-dietary relationships

The most recent issue of VegNews features Too Sexy For Your Meat, an article discussing vegansexuality and inter-dietary relationships.

"Vegansexuality" was coined by Dr. Annie Potts, co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Human and Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury--although she herself is not a vegan. Like it sounds, the terms describes a sexual preference for vegans exclusively. Vegansexuals refuse intimacy with those who do not share their compassion for animals, either on ethical grounds, or because the idea of carcass-consumption is just too disgusting.

PETA disagrees. It advocates sex as a tool in spreading the vegan lifestyle.

Some omnivores have not taken well to the concept of vegansexuality, even comparing it to racism (which is stupid--food consumption is a lifestyle choice). Whether vegansexual or ecosexual, I respect and understand those seeking partners who make similar lifestyle choices--but values can be expressed in multiple ways, not just what goes into your mouth.

As a partner in an "inter-dietary" relationship, I can tell you that my boyfriend's meat and mayonnaise consumption baffles me on multiple levels. But I can also say that I feel extremely loved and fortunate to be with someone who supports and accommodates my decisions (especially when family members have not), regardless of his differing views and practices. It warms my little heart when my boyfriend wants to take a trip with me to the vegan bakery, or when we have bagels and Tofutti, or when he checks menus to make sure there is something for me to eat. I find that extremely attractive.

On another note, I'm all about freedom. He does not attempt to control my body; why would I want to control his? No coercion in my relationship (although there is a lot of mayonnaise-teasing).

Bottom line, we share many values, beliefs and attitudes--and what I express through my veganism, he expresses elsewhere. It is not as if two people can always agree on everything.
And the truth of the matter is, sharing veganism with non-vegans creates a more accepting and accommodating environment. And who wouldn't want to increase vegan-friendliness?

I can understand that for some vegans, this scenario might not work. But I would like to go on the record that for others, it absolutely can.

vitamins may shorten your life

This is fun--you think you are helping yourself, but really you may be interfering with your body's natural defenses.

The study concludes with, "just eat well."

Glad to be a vegan.

Representative Baldwin has perfect response to Bush's climate speech

Representative Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin responded yesterday to Bush's speech on climate change, and she hit it right on the money.

“On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed America’s goal of putting a man on the moon in that decade. In that famous speech, he not only set out the goal, but announced a commitment to invest the resources needed to achieve it within eight years. He did so even though he acknowledged it was “in some measure an act of faith and vision,” because no one knew what the future would hold.

Today, America is facing a real crisis--with oil supplies limited, prices of oil and gasoline skyrocketing, and climate change threatening serious damage to our planet. The benefits of energy independence and security would clearly be significant.

When President Bush addressed the nation today to outline his new global warming strategy, he had the opportunity to provide the same kind of bold leadership shown by President Kennedy, but he did not.

Instead, he offered vague proposals that fall far short of what is necessary to meaningfully curb greenhouse gas emissions. He is offering conditional measures when we need concrete solutions to end our dependence on fossil fuels.

What we need and what President Bush has failed to provide again today is bold leadership. American and global research has already resulted in amazing ingenuity in innovation as we design new technologies that reduce our energy use and lower our greenhouse gas emissions. With additional investment, incentives and a serious commitment to addressing this challenge—similar to the commitment made by President Kennedy—we will see significant results within 10 years.

While President Bush is finally talking about the problem in real terms, I am disappointed that he is apparently unwilling to act with real leadership.”

Democratic lawmakers think Obama is a stronger candidate

From Political Wire:

The latest National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll finds that Democratic lawmakers -- by a 54% to 41% margin -- believe Sen. Barack Obama is a stronger candidate than Sen. Hillary Clinton against Sen. John McCain in the fall election.

However, Republican lawmakers think Clinton would be stronger, by 53% to 45%.

atheist soldier suing Defense Department

Spec. Jeremy Hall, a soldier in Iraq, was prevented from gathering with other atheists and non-Christians, and is basing his lawsuit on practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military. His First Amendment rights were also frequently violated due to discrimination he faced when refusing to join prayer.

Atheist Revolution
reports the full story, as well as Hall's jeopardized safety resulting from his suit against Maj. Freddy Welborn and Secretary of Defense Gates for violating his religious freedom--meaning freedom to both participate in and refrain from religion.

I don't know why it is so difficult to tolerate atheisism. If anything, a group of people who value reason are an asset to society--even if a theist disagrees with one belief in a larger framework that values critical thinking.

Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy launches its blog!

Stay up to date with policies affecting and supported by the secular humanist community. Check out the blog.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

need a community of free-thinkers, science, and reason?

The Center For Inquiry promotes secular humanism and freedom of thought, focusing on culture, science, and public policy. But I am much more excited to learn about chapters in different states. Finally, people with whom to meet and speak freely. Since I'm leaving Washing DC soon, I will wait until I get home to meet some of the one-million skeptics, humanists, and other rationalists in the Greater Los Angeles.

Peruse the website; there are centers and communities throughout the country. I am so excited.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The "Soy Belly" is not a vegan urban legend

As a vegan newbie, I was confused about the factual validity of the "soy belly"--awkward tummy-excess related to mock-estrogen accumulations from too much soy.

I took on my own independent research project, but found no credible science to back this midriff mystery--and so I brushed it off. It must be like women who are unhappy with their bodies and blame it on birth control.

Even so, I tried to moderate my soy intake. The thing is, virtually everything has soy or soy byproducts in it--just look at the ingredients. Cereal, bars, cookies. And most vegan options are just exploding with soy (mock meats and the like). Plus, I like my cappuccinos, and it ain't like Starbucks is brewing with almond milk.

Sooner or later, I came to the realization that while my body has been toning up (yoga addiction), something funny was going on with my stomach. I am not going to pretend that you could have scrubbed your laundry on my abs, but they were still a fairly smooth operation. Except now my tummy was bulging from the moment I woke up (whose abs aren't flatter in the morning?), and I was a good three months preggers all day, everyday.

Enough was enough. I had to figure out what was going on--were all those lattes and vegan what-nots catching up with me, or was this just an exhilarating new change in my body?

So I cut the crap. And by crap I mean soy. Not like I have eliminated it--no, no...that would be impossible. However, I think it is fair to say that I have cut my intake in half, and a few weeks later, my abs are right back where I thought I left them.

So it's true; the soy belly is real--although each body will react differently to varying amounts.

Of course, I could write a whole other blog on why the degree of my stomach protrusion is so significant to me, and how discovering the truth of the soy belly has alleviated such a heavy weight on my chest (This can't be my fault; I work out all the fucking time, I promise). In fact, I even debated writing this post; why should I fuel damaging and unrealistic bodily expectations?

But my blog is about truth--and the truth is, like it or not, the soy belly is real--and like it or not, I care about how my body looks. I will still continue to explore and challenge my own assumptions and values, and share them on The Colonic, but all that oppressive female propaganda--I'm not numb.

I feel a follow-up brewing...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bush is above the 4th Amendment?

A 2003 Justice Department memo was recently disclosed, and in its 81 pages, it declared that George W. Bush is above the 4th Amendment. This memo was made public last week in response to an ACLU lawsuit. No Court has ever ruled that the 4th Amendment does not apply to the military.

The Washington Post writes:

The document disclosed, for example, that the administration's top lawyers had declared that the president has unfettered power to seize oceangoing ships as commander in chief; that Congress has no ability to pass legislation governing the interrogations of enemy combatants; and that federal laws prohibiting assault and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives.

One section discussed to what extent the president might be allowed to legally maim a prisoner, such as through the use of a "scalding, corrosive, or caustic substance." A footnote argued that Fifth Amendment guarantees of due-process rights "do not address actions the Executive takes in conducting a military campaign against the Nation's enemies."

These bold assertions surprised many experts, including career officials and Bush appointees at the Justice and Defense departments, who said the previously secret opinions are overly broad and improperly granted vast powers to the president without adequate internal debate or judicial oversight.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

wtf is wrong with saying "bitter"?

I am so sick of this "bitter" business--and how it has now become fuel for both Clinton and the GOP.

Did Barack say that small-towners are horrible people? No. What is wrong with describing people who are traditionally ignored by the political system as bitter in that respect? What is wrong with pointing out the undeniable truth that these frustrations can be vented in other issues? NOTHING--aside from the fact that this train of logic may be too sophisticated for the electorate as a whole.

And what about Hillary? Is she so desperate to distract the public from $110 million in earnings that she is going to blow up a trivial issue of semantics, and further disenfranchise the Democratic party in the general election ta boot?

Yes, someone who was raised by a single mother and worked as an organizer in one of the poorest communities in Chicago post Ivy League-graduation is DEFINITELY an elitist.

Why are people eating up this crap? I hate to call people stupid--but I really have no other explanation.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bush aware of torturous interrogation tactics

From ABC News:

President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.

Daunting reminder that our political climate is such that it is okay to admit to pre-meditated torture--signed off by the President.

Friday, April 11, 2008

House GOP moves from FISA to taxes

From The Hill:

House Republicans are poised to shift their focus from national security to the economy, hoping to rally opposition to what they claim are Democratic plans to raise taxes amid the economic downturn.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to announce Thursday that the House GOP floor emphasis will transition away from passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and earmark reform to “stop the tax hike.”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Did Mukasey Lie About the 9/11 Call?

Great post from the ACLU Blog:

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has been chasing down the story behind the comments Attorney General Michael Mukasey made in a speech in San Francisco last week. In the speech, Mukasey claimed that a pre-9/11 call from an "Afghan safe house" to a number somewhere in the U.S. wasn't intercepted because of the intelligence community's inadequate wiretapping capabilities under FISA. Mukasey implied that 9/11 could have been prevented if that call had been intercepted. Greenwald writes:
Mukasey's new claim that FISA's warrant requirements prevented discovery of the 9/11 attacks and caused the deaths of 3,000 Americans is disgusting and reckless, because it's all based on the lie that FISA required a warrant for targeting the "Afghan safe house." It just didn't. Nor does the House FISA bill require individual warrants when targeting a non-U.S. person outside the U.S.
Greenwald pointed out yesterday that there are only two possibilities:
(1) The Bush administration concealed this obviously vital episode from the 9/11 Commission and from everyone else, until Mukasey tearfully trotted it out last week; or,
(2) Mukasey, the nation's highest law enforcement officer, made this story up in order to scare and manipulate Americans into believing that FISA and other surveillance safeguards caused the 9/11 attacks and therefore the Government should be given more unchecked spying powers.
Abusive secrecy or calculated deceit? Frankly, we wouldn't be surprised by either, but we're hoping Rep. John Conyers' inquiry into this matter yesterday will shed some light on this quandary.

The Equal Rights Amendment and the Three-State Strategy

Campaign Strategy:
The Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) expressly declares men and women as equal under the law, and if passed, it would serve as a necessary and fundamental step in both the women’s movement, as well as a larger humanist struggle for the equality of all people. In order for the ERA to succeed as soon as possible, the “Three-State” campaign strategy must be maintained and expanded vigorously across the nation. This strategy focuses on collecting the three final state ratifications necessary to achieve the three-fourths state majority (thirty-eight states) mandated by the amendment process. Despite opposition declaring the thirty-five previously ratified states as null due to expired congressional deadlines, the Madison Amendment and other Supreme Court rulings, the language and body of the ERA itself, as well as powers granted in Article V of the Constitution, support the ERA as viable before the states. Although the Three-State approach is controversial, the women’s movement has never been, nor will ever be, free of controversy. All factors considered, the Three-State strategy is the most efficient plan for passage, given the political climate. The Equal Rights Amendment does not have the cultural or political capital necessary to infiltrate mainstream discourse and create a national narrative powerful enough to motivate Congress in favor of re-introducing and passing another version of the ERA. What is more, proponents of the ERA are not powerful or vocal enough in the national debate to frame legal equality of the sexes as a pressing issue of our time.

If enacted as the 28th Amendment of the United States, the Equal Rights Amendment would mandate equal application of the constitution to both men and women. It includes three sections:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

For a constitutional amendment to pass, it must gain a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress, and then must be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or thirty-eight out of fifty states. Although the ERA passed in both the Senate and House and was sent to the states for ratification in 1972, only thirty-five out of the thirty-eight necessary states supported the amendment. The 15 states that have yet to ratify are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. As the seven-year deadline drew closer, ERA supporters petitioned Congress and were granted an extension until June 30th, 1982. While the ERA has been before every session of Congress since 1982, the debate remains as to whether or not the ratification process is still open, whether the previously garnered thirty-five states should remain, and whether or not states can rescind ratification.

In the 1940’s, freedom from legal sex discrimination was a politically viable cause; both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party added the ERA to their platforms. While professional women such as Amelia Earhart, organized labor, and other mainstream groups supported the passage of the ERA, it still met opposition from social conservatives who sought to maintain traditional and gendered relations of power, as well as labor reformers who wanted to “protect” women in the workplace. Right-wing leader of the Eagle Forum/Stop ERA movement, Phyllis Schlafly, warned that the Equal Rights Amendment would eliminate the traditional familial model of women as homemakers, integrate women in the draft and military careers, create government-supported childcare, give fathers paternity leave and restrict the scope of maternity leave, eliminate the assumption that a woman must take on her husband’s name, create sex-integrated schools and organizations, and substitute language such as “manmade” with artificial.

In 1980, the Republican Party removed ERA support from its platform. The change in political tide has not only made further state ratifications more difficult, but has also kindled the issue of rescission. What is more, the conservative right has emboldened opposition through equating ERA passage with tax-funded abortions and the legalization of same-sex marriage, thus “wiping out” the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) . Given these difficulties, it is simply not feasible to dismiss the state ratifications already collected and begin the state ratification process all over again. Considering that only twenty-one states have established men and women as equal in State Constitutions, it is hard to imagine that thirty-five ratifications can be easily won again; if this were the case, many more states would already have such protections. Clearly, political support for the ERA has drastically changed since its introduction, and in order to gain success as soon as possible, the process must resume from its previous status rather than start over.

In order to pick up where it left off, the ERA must withstand arguments that it has expired, as well as oppose a state’s ability to rescind ratification. The feasibility of the Three-State strategy relies on legal precedent that allows Congress--not the Supreme Court or an arbitrary deadline—to determine whether an amendment is still open for ratification. In 1921, the Supreme Court ruled in Dillon v Gloss that proposal and ratification are “succeeding steps in a single endeavor,” that nothing in Article V of the Constitution declares that the ratification process is open for all time, and that Congress may indeed impose deadlines for state ratification. However, this was later modified in the 1939 case of Coleman v Miller, where the Supreme Court ruled that Congress has the power to determine whether or not too much time has elapsed between the proposal of the amendment and the final state ratification based on “an appraisal of a great variety of relevant conditions, political, social and economic.” Furthermore, Dillon’s assertion that proposal and ratification must take place contemporaneously was discounted as dictum. Thus, a congressional deadline alone does not determine the viability of an amendment; rather Congress itself has the final say.

This power was first exercised in the passage of the twenty-seventh Amendment, where Congress promulgated the Madison Amendment despite a 203-year ratification process, which Congress found to be a reasonable period of time. This rationale has lead proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment to believe that Congress will likewise recognize the timeliness of the ERA, and deem state ratifications made prior to the extended deadline valid. Additionally, although the ERA passed in both chambers of Congress with a time limit for ratification, the time limit is in the proposing clause and not the text of the amendment. In sum, the states did not ratify language including any deadline, but rather the pure text of the ERA . What is more, Article V of the Constitution grants Congress the power to propose Amendments whenever both Houses find necessary. The Article fails to mention time limits in the process of state ratification, and therefore there is no constitutional foundation upon which to dispute the validity of the thirty-five states that have already ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Therefore, state ratification is not bound to a deadline.

In addition to the issue of timeliness, the question of rescission must also be addressed. Four out of the thirty-five ratified states (Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee) have rescinded their ratifications, with a fifth declaring its ratification void if the amendment did not meet full ratification by its extended deadline (South Dakota). However, just as Article V is silent on the matter of deadlines, it is also silent on the matter of rescission. Article V only grants states the power to ratify—not to rescind. Consequently, the five states seeking to rescind their ratifications have no constitutional basis to do so. As with the issue of timeliness, rescission also has legal precedent. The fourteenth Amendment was ratified by the Ohio and New Jersey legislatures, both of which attempted to rescind their ratifications—but these rescissions were not effectual. Congress included Ohio and New Jersey as having ratified the Amendment, which consequently became part of the Constitution.

Aside from the Three-State strategy, other alternatives are being pursued; members of Congress continue to sponsor and cosponsor the ERA eighty-five years after its birth. In 2001, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts reintroduced the amendment, stating “Enactment and ratification of the ERA is essential to ensure that the law reflects our country's commitment to equality by guaranteeing equal rights for women.” In 2007, Senator Boxer, Senator Kennedy, Representative Maloney and Representative Nadler reintroduced the Women’s Equality Amendment (H.J. Res. 40), and planned hearings in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil rights and Civil Liberties, chaired by Representative Nadler. Although H.J. Res. 40 has 202 co-sponsors (with four Representatives withdrawing co-sponsorship) , and the related Senate bill, S.J. Res. 10, the support does not come close to the two-thirds majority necessary to send the ERA to the states. While these efforts are praiseworthy and keep the issue of sex-based inequalities alive, re-introducing and re-passing the ERA through Congress and beginning the state-ratification process all over is not a politically realistic or expedient strategy.

While there is ardent support for the Equal Rights Amendment, there is simply not enough for re-introduction and passage. The Three-State strategy is the most promising because it does not demand a national narrative that is impossible to achieve in this socio-political moment—it needs only support from three state legislatures. If the battle is to be won, it must be won in the Supreme Court once the three final states have been ratified. It is much more feasible to argue over the constitutionality of state ratifications on legal terms than to frame a debate capable of gaining national support and congressional approval. Mainstream American culture has lost the momentum gained through the first two feminist waves, female suffrage with the nineteenth amendment, and equality in the workplace achieved with Title VII on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Public discourse simply cannot support the level of sophisticated dialogue necessary to explore sex-based equality and its implications. Most notably, Eagle Forum/Stop ERA crusader Phyllis Schlafly warned that the ERA does not seek to create equality for women in the Constitution—because the word “men” is not even in the Constitution. Rather, Schlafly claims, “It was obvious that the ERA’s goal was not to benefit women, but to force us into a gender-neutral society.” Her fears of gender-neutrality reflect an inability to challenge cultural norms and cultivate deeper understandings of the artificial social constructions of “man” and “woman.” While the socially conservative may be phobic of such discussions, de-bunking gender constructions is simply off the radar of mainstream America. An issue that holds little weight cannot create the attention or public space to delve into the distinctions between sex and gender, challenge compulsory heterosexuality, and question the normative family model—all possible implications of gender-neutrality.

That only 21 states include equality of the sexes in their respective State Constitutions showcases the fact that the ERA is not considered a national issue, and any change in frame will necessitate another change in political tide—and who knows how long that will take. Therefore, this is a battle that must be won in the Courts after straining for the final three ratifications.

"19th Amendment." A Digital Archive of New Jersey History. 2004. Electronic New Jersey. 9 Apr. 2008.

Equal Rights Amendment: Ratification." Online Map/Still. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 9 Apr. 2008 .
"Female protestor campaigns against the Equal Rights Amendment." Online Archive of California.Walter E. Bennet Photographic Collection. 9 Apr. 2008 .

Francis, Roberta W. "The History Behind the Equal Rights Amendment." The Equal Rights Amendment. 9 Apr. 2008 .

"Frequently Asked Questions." Equal Rights Amendment. 9 Apr. 2008 .
Held, Allison L., Sheryl L. Herndon, and Danielle M. Stager. "The Equal Rights Amendment: Why the ERA Remains Legally Viable and Properly Before the States." Law Article. 9 Apr. 2008. Path: Full Article.

"H.J. Res. 40." Thomas. 27 Mar. 2007. The Library of Congress. 9 Apr. 2008 .
Kenedy, Edward M., Senator. "Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Equal Rights Amendment." Newsroom. Mar.-Apr. 2001. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, US Senator for Massacusetts. 7 Apr. 2008

Macleod, Jennifer S., Dr., ERA Campaign Network. E-mail interview. 2 Apr. 2008.

Maloney, Carolyn, Representative. " Senators Kennedy & Boxer, Reps. Maloney & Nadler Begin New Push for Women’s Equality Amendment, Women still have no guarentee of equal rights in the Constitution." Press Release. 28 Mar. 2007. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. 7 Apr. 2008 .

"Proposing a Constitutional Amendment." Find Law for Legal Professionals. 9 Apr. 2008.

Schlafly, Phyllis. "How ERA Would Change Federal Laws." The Phyllis Schlafly Report 15.4 (Nov.1981).

Schaffly, Phyllis. "Left Schemes to Revive ERA." Human Events. 16 Apr. 2007. 9 Apr. 2008.

Schlafly, Phyllis. Stop ERA. Eagle Forum. 9 Apr. 2008 .

"The Constitutional Amendment Process." The Federal Register.The National Archives. 9 Apr. 2008.

"US Supreme Court Cases." US Supreme Court Center. Justia. 9 Apr. 2008 .

"U.S. Supreme Court, Coleman v Miller." Find Law for Legal Professionals. 9 Apr. 2008 .

"Why the ERA Remains Legally Viable and Properly Before the States." Three State Strategy. Equal Rights Amendment. 9 Apr. 2008 .

CA puts anti-cruelty farm bill on the ballot

This is great news, especially as CA state legislation tends to set trends:

A measure that proponents say would provide basic protection for 20 million farm animals in California has qualified for the November ballot.

California Secretary of state Debra Bowen certified the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act for the Nov. 4 general election.

The measure would mandate that farm animals including cattle, pigs and chickens would be given enough room to turn around and extend their limbs in the crates and cages in which they are confined by food producers.

If approved, the law would not take effect until 2015, allowing seven years for compliance.

Seven years is a bit much.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obama is catching up in superdelegates

Obama got another superdelegate pledge today, and is within 30 superdelegates of Hillary (255-225).

self-interest versus national interest

I had an interesting conversation today regarding self-interest versus national interest. I agreed with the argument that popular and national issues do not affect many Americans on an everyday basis, yet those same Americans focus on and become emotionally invested in these causes. In short, a person who does not feel affected by immigrants or the economy will still buy into these as factors directly linked to self-interest. Some one(s) or something(s) has succeeded in framing the debate.

This experience moved me to realize that I too conflate national and self-interest, partly because I lose myself thinking about the "whole" or dwelling upon what makes a group strong. The truth of the matter is, I would rather be more self-interested, and the issues that affect me on a daily basis are gender oppression and religious tyranny. I realize that, if it were not for my blog, I would lose sight of these given the bombardment of issues I face reading the news, working on the hill, and taking Political Science courses. Ah, the days of pure academia where I could ponder theory and conceptual frameworks all day.

Don't get me wrong--as I become older, the issues that directly affect my self-interest will change, especially as I will join the workforce and become financially independent after law school. And I would never ignore the needs of humanity as a whole--but the truth remains, I need to prioritize what affects me the most.

There are definitely classist dimensions to my frame of thought. Clearly, job availability, gas prices, and school tuition are not at the top of my list. I have the luxury to spend my free time worrying (among other things) about how independent thinking is squashed by compulsory monotheistic dogma, how small children are emotionally abused by religious indoctrination...don't even get me started on gender, sexuality, and "nature v nurture". But these are still my issues, and I will not lose focus amidst a national debate.

I could see another concern that encouraging self-interest as opposed to public/national interest may ignore certain classes or groups of people. However, I would never become apathetic, would certainly never live under a rock and ignore the discussion, nor would I stop caring about the human family.

I am simply reminding myself and all of my readers that the public world will push issues that likely don't even affect you, and you should not forget about the ones that do.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama

I take major ideological issue with self-proclaimed feminist women who are sexist enough to vote for Hillary just because she has a vagina. Since when does anatomy qualify one for the presidency? It never has, and it never will. Genitals aside, Hillary is simply not the best choice for presidency.

Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama. I greatly appreciate the spirit of the group:

In the coming elections, it is important to remember that war and peace are as much "women's issues" as are health, the environment, and the achievement of educational and occupational equality. Because we believe that all of these concerns are not only fundamental but closely intertwined, we will be casting our vote for Senator Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Hillary demotes chief strategist

Things continue to look rocky for Clinton:

Last week, Penn acknowledged that while advising the campaign, he was working on behalf of a proposed trade pact with Colombia that labor unions fiercely oppose. Clinton, who has been courting union members, especially ahead of the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, has said she will vote against the treaty in the Senate.

Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams said in a statement Sunday that Penn had asked "to give up his role as chief strategist," but would "continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign."

Friday, April 4, 2008

waiving federal laws to build the border fence?

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is waiving 36 federal laws in order to build the border fence, drawing upon the power awarded him through Section 102 of the Real ID Act of 2005 states:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section."

I have been unable to find a list online of the 36 broken laws, but I do recall that it include senvironmental laws. It's actually strange that I can't find more sources online to back this, because it is legitimate and happening. Expect a follow-up.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Congress Honors Dr. Martin Luther King

Congress marked the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death Thursday with tributes by House and Senate leaders and words of remembrance by lawmakers who once worked alongside the civil rights leader.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FISA without retroactive immunity?

This brightens my morning:

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the Bush administration is “now in a position where they want to talk about a possible compromise” on controversial electronic surveillance legislation, signaling a possible breakthrough in the stalled negotiations over the bill.

Hoyer said the White House was “surprised” that House Democrats had the votes to pass an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that did not include immunity for telecom companies who aided the government in the program. As a result, Hoyer said, the White House has been forced to rethink its position.

Both President Bush and congressional Republicans have been calling for the House to vote on a Senate-passed FISA update, which includes the immunity provisions for the telecom companies.

But House Democrats have refused, instead choosing to hold a vote on their own version. It remains unclear if, or when, a potential reconciliation of the two bills will take place.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

elephant art

Another reminder of how aware, intelligent, and expressive animals are.

fat bias worse for women--duh

Yet again another example of did-we-need-a-research-study-for-this?

It only takes a modest weight gain for a woman to experience weight discrimination, but men can gain far more weight before experiencing similar bias, a new study shows.

The notion that society is less tolerant of weight gain in women than men is just one of the findings suggested by a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, published this month in the International Journal of Obesity.

"men and women" in uniform

You hear it from elected officials across the political spectrum, laced in and out of the media, and charging from the mouths of disgruntled voters. Whether you want them home or abroad, in better health, given more job opportunities, better equipped, or just more respected--we are inundated with references to our "men and women in uniform."

Why insist on creating mental categories of men and women as separate from one another? Why reaffirm men and women and separate social characters over and over again?

We could call them troops or soldiers or brave citizens or patriots in uniform--anything at all. But we insist on categorically differentiating based on genitals. Perhaps you scoff at this as pure semantics. But these words are culturally loaded and work in tandem with a greater social structure that not only separates men and women, but presents them in diametric opposition to one another. These words service a larger and deeply-embedded socio-political framework that processes "male" and "female" differently, and perpetuates gendered assumptions and gendered relations of power.

Do the humanist movement a favor: drop sex/gender-differentiated vocabulary from public discourse and cultural vernacular.