when the status quo frustrates.

Roy Zimmerman

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Just for fun :)

Lyrics under the fold:
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More Shameless Glee

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Obama signs equal-pay bill

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama signed an equal-pay bill into law Thursday before cheering labor and women leaders who fought hard for it and the woman whose history-making lawsuit gave impetus to the cause.

Obama, choosing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as the first bill to sign as president, called it a “wonderful day” and declared that ending pay disparities between men and woman an issue not just for women, but for all workers.

Darn skippy.

GOP fails to revive abortion-group funding ban

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans have failed to revive a prohibition on using federal funding for international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information.

By a 60-37 vote, Democrats turned back an amendment that would have denied aid to groups that may be involved in abortion but also work on other health care issues abroad.

The amendment was offered by Republicans during debate of legislation to expand the government-backed health insurance program for lower-income children.

Stay strong, my brothers and sisters!

Delighting little girls with hours of enchanting entertainment.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

1.

So, Ann and I are poking about, looking for lunchboxes suitable to house her new computer. We came across a mind-blowing amount of Disney merchandise, some miscellaneous transformers paraphernalia, some cute retro designs… and this.

One of the greatest adventures on–(sic) or under–the seven seas, this charming, lively tale based on Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved children’s story comes to splendid life ini an enchanting animated film. The beautiful and adventurous mermaid, Princess Lena, lives with her family in a watery castle and has everything she could ever need, but she longs for only one thing; to explore the world of humans. Determined to marry Prince Stefan, whom she sees when a whirlpool takes her to the surface, Princess Lena must turn to the evil sea witch Cassandra and pay a heavy price for her promise of help.Description of The Little Mermaid

I’m sure I’ve seen that movie. I just… can’t quite place it.

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Rape Culture: We’re Swimming in It

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, I am in law school. This semester, we’re taking criminal law.

Now, this one professor irritates me on sort of a low level; he says “um” a lot, and that always has bothered me, he shows movies that I think are a little ridiculous, and most irritatingly of all, he always has “he” as the aggressor pronoun and “she” as the victim pronoun. But, these things are fairly waivable.

Something happen today that really irritated me.

We are talking about “intent” and what constitutes that. We are following the Model Penal Code, which outlines in Section 2.02 what the general requirements of culpability. Subsection 2)b) relates what it means by “knowingly” committing a crime.

The language of the MPC is in legalese, so in order to clarify what this stuff means, he gave an example. The one he gave was this:

“Party A (defendant) spikes punch with alcohol b/c he wants to seduce one of the guests but knows another guest is violent allergic to alcohol.

He can be penalized for homicide if the allergic guest dies.”

I raise my hand. “Isn’t that rape, not seduction”.
Him, “Well, that might be “date-rape”, but what we’re focusing on is the homicide, not him getting lucky”.

WTF ponies?!?

We’re going to be LAWYERS. Aside from cops, we are going to be the people most involved in the criminal process. If professors are teaching us that poisoning women is just a wink-wink, nudge-nudge “getting lucky” lubricant, we are normalizing rape.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this idea that getting a girl drunk is just an easier way to get her into bed. I can’t possibly imagine what’s so fascinating about having sex with a woman who isn’t even there to give equal effort. But this is even worse, because arguably, those are women who knowingly drink- this is about someone making them drunk with her consent.

This is what feminists mean by a “rape culture”.

Welcome, Angry Internet Citizens, to Punkassblog

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

We are pleased to welcome the new friends who have joined our close-knit internet community since the election of our lord and savior, Barack Obama. We realize that the President’s Abortions for All plan, which exists only in your head but is nonetheless real and scary to you, angers you greatly, and we’re always pleased to provide a space on any and all posts for you to vent your frustration at the expense of any other topic we might wish to address. Really, we love it. This blog is all about you.

That said, we have a few rules here to keep the peace. The official PAB banning policy is as follows: banning is done at the discretion of the blogger whose post you are shitting on. The good news is, like most liberals and progressives, we’re a bunch of pussies and rarely do anything so confrontational as banning a complete stranger from our text-kingdom. Banning is also usually preceded by lots and lots and lots of warnings, de-vowelings, pleas for less jackassery, and the like. You will almost never be banned without plenty of notice and justification before hand.

UNLESS you do something like the following:
- Threaten to kill, rape, stalk, or harm people
- Publish personal identifying information about yourself or others
- Be a racist and/or sexist and/or homophobic jerk for the pure glee of being an anti-pc sexist, racist, homophobic jerk
and new for 2009:
- hijack the screennames of regular commenters to be a douche

We are much smaller than Pandagon, and hope to avoid the mandatory registration policy that name-hijackers have driven them to. Please assist us in this and we will continue to allow you to vomit all over our comment threads to the very limit of human endurance.

Thank you.

“Virgin pure, brand-new”*

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Amanda and Hugo both have posts up on the fetishization of virginity, and since I have given the issue a few passing thoughts since I first espied this headline on CNN, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon too. Several months ago I wrote a post about abstinence, which touched quite a bit on how the process of losing it affects teenage girls; in it I describe (G-rated, of course!) what my own experience of that situation was. One thing I didn’t really discuss, though, was what that long-ago boyfriend’s feelings were about my virginity, or what the men I was involved with during my younger years thought about the virginity of their prospective sex partners.

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Happiness Is

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Obama reverses abortion-funding policy

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama signed an executive order Friday striking down a rule prohibiting U.S. money from funding international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion services.

The order comes the day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.

It reverses the “Mexico City policy,” initiated by President Reagan in 1984, canceled by President Clinton and reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Obama signs order to close Guantanamo Bay facility

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Promising to return America to the “moral high ground” in the war on terrorism, President Obama issued three executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration, including one requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.

During a signing ceremony at the White House, Obama reaffirmed his inauguration pledge that the United States does not have “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

US Senate passes wage discrimination bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A wage discrimination bill that heralds the pro-labor policies of the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House cleared the Senate Thursday and could be on President Barack Obama’s desk within days.

The legislation reverses a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that narrowly defines the time period during which a worker can file a claim of wage discrimination, even if the worker is unaware for months or years that he or she is getting less than colleagues doing the same job. It has been a priority for women’s groups seeking to narrow the wage gap between men and women.

The House is expected to act quickly to again approve the measure, sending it to Obama for his signature. The House passed a nearly identical version two weeks ago but then combined it with another bill that the Senate didn’t consider.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted that “the first bill that President Obama will sign will be this piece of legislation.” He said the bill would send an important message because “this administration stands for equality and fairness.”

Obama strongly backs the measure and invited Lilly Ledbetter, the retired Alabama tire company worker whose lawsuit inspired the legislation, to accompany him on the train trip bringing him to Washington for the inauguration.

Deporting people? Hi-larious.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Apparently, ABC premiered a new show a few weeks ago: Homeland Security, USA, a reality TV series following several Homeland Security officers as they go about doing Homeland-Security-type things and if this sounds like vapid nationalist-porn, well, you’re probably not wrong, but I’m certainly not tuning in to find out.

I was twigged to this when I heard this NPR story. I thought NPR’s journalists performed, y’know, actual journalism. And I suppose sometimes they might. And sometimes, we get this:

There aren’t any terrorist plots uncovered, though viewers do get to watch agents thwart drug smugglers. And then there’s the lighter side of the job. In one scene, for instance, an immigration officer deports a busty belly dancer from Switzerland. Homeland Security Gets The Reality TV Treatment, NPR

I wonder what’s funny about that. Her occupation? She’s a sex worker—how quaint! Her country of origin? Just listen to that funny accent. My Swiss-German sounds just like a native speaker’s! Her tits, and the size thereof? Hurr. Hurr. Tits. Hurr. The fact that she’s being arrested, detained, and deported? That her life is, if not being ruined, then at least being massively changed without her will or consent? That she could, in fact, die during this process?

My sides are just splitting, let me tell you.

Random Shuffle

Monday, January 19th, 2009

…Because, why the hell not?

This is the drill: take your music player of choice, hit random, and post the first 10 songs.

1. Blue Danube by Johann Strauss
2. I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor by Artic Monkeys
3. Fallen by Bree Sharp
4. Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor from Fantasia
6. Lighthouse by The Hush Sound
7. Jealous of the Moon by Nickel Creek
8. Killer Queen by Queen
9. Survivalism by Nine Inch Nails
10. Enemy by Jesca Hoop

Fun!

Monday, January 19th, 2009

I like helping people. So, in the spirit of liking to help people, I thought I would help Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va), the new Republican Whip, with his recent CNN Commentary entitled, “Big Risk in Obama’s Stimulus Plan.” He clearly means to Set the Tone of His Whipness Early On, By God! with that Daring, Aggressive Commentary Title! or should that be his “whiphood,” or perhaps his “whipdom,” or maybe even his “whipshiz,” which bears a remarkable resemblance to the word “dipshit” but I’m sure that’s a total coincidence. Given that the entire thing is a masterful exercise in passive-aggression, one might end up being entirely unable to decipher whom it is, exactly, that he thinks will be the source of the “Big Risk”…but, here I am to the rescue! The PunkAssPolitoPictoralTranslator! is at your service! Ready…set…go!

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The Poor, Abused 9th Amendment

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I have run across arguments online that say things like the “right to privacy” and “the right to marriage” don’t exist anywhere in the Constitution. When people say this, I’m very curious if reading a short list of 10 things is too taxing for most people, so they stop at the 2nd Amendment or if they’re reading comprehension is so poor that words that have more than two syllables start to go over their heads. Possibly, it might be that since they can’t see the word “privacy” in there, it must not exist. It is possibly some combination of the two. In any occasion, I would like to take this time to go over some basics of Constitutional law, focusing particularily on the 9th Amendment, and talking about the history of some of the rights we “don’t” have because they’re not explicitly stated.

Way back in the day, we had two (major) different schools of thought about the Constitution. There were the Federalists, whom included Alexander Hamiliton, James Madison, and John Jay, and the Anti-Federalists lead by Patrick Henry. There where any number of difficulties between these two groups, but I’m going to focus on the Bill of Rights.

The Anti-federalists wanted a written Bill of Rights, and the Federalists did not. The Anti-federalists felt that without a Bill of Rights, the government would inevitably steal authority for themselves that violated human rights. Henry, in “Need for a Bill of Rights” said quite forcefully:

You ought to be watchful, jealous of your liberty; for, instead of securing your rights, you may lose them forever… I beg gentlemen to consider that a wrong step made now will plunge us into misery, and our republic will be lost, and tyranny must and will arise…

The necessity of a Bill of Rights appears to me to be greater in this government than ever it was in any government before… All rights not expressly and unequivocally reserved to the people are impliedly and incidentally relinquished to rulers, as necessarily inseparable from the delegated powers…

This is the question. If you intend to reserve your unalienable rights, you must have the most express stipulation; for, if implication be allowed, you are ousted of those rights. If the people do not think it necessary to reserve them, they will be supposed to be given up.

The Federalists, on the other hand, thought a Bill of Rights was at best redundant and at worst something to be feared. A Bill of Rights would be redundant in the sense that the Constitution already limited the power of the federal government. It would be dangerous in the sense that, if written down, the government would think that those were the only rights in which a person/ state had, and that a specific prohibition would be taken as an invitation to push their powers. Alexander Hamilton stated in the Federalist Papers No. 84:

I …. affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.

But, the Anti-federalists had enough political capital to force an explicit Bill of Rights. However, in order to do this, they had to address the concerns of the Federalists. Thus enters the 9th Amendment.*

The 9th Amendment states: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people**

In very plain language, this amendment states that just because the Bill of Rights doesn’t explicitly say you have any particular rights, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. For that, you have to go to the common law.

To back-track just a little bit, I need to tell you that there are two different kinds of law in the US: statute, and common law. Statute law is the laws that legislative bodies pass; the text of any particular statute. Common law is the law that results from judicial delibration; ie what the courts have determined what certain laws mean. For example, if the state of North Dakota was to ban red-headed people from driving on Sundays, the statute law would be the text that says “red-headed people may not drive on Sundays”. The court would then hear a series of cases, and from those cases we would get an idea of what the words “red-headed” “driving” and “Sunday” meant for the law. You may get a bunch of judges that decide that this is the dumbest law ever, and decide to very narrowly interpret it so that “red-headed” means “only people who are 90% or more on the red spectrum” and “driving” means “in a four-wheeled vehicle, that is started, in motion” and “Sunday” means “from the hours of 7 am to 10 pm on Sunday”. If the legislator gets really irritated by this series of actions, they can pass a new law, specifically writing what these words mean, that would constrain the judges interpretation.

In the case of the 9th Amendment, the common law has already clarified a number of rights that the people have. In Lochner v. New York the right to contract was stipulated. Skinner v. Okalahoma said we had the right to reproductive rights when it banned punitive steralization. In Meyer v. Nebraska the Supreme Court established a series of rights, including the right to academic freedom, students’ right to acquire knowledge, and parents’ right to control children’s education. In that case, the majority oppinion stated:

Liberty denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but (individual right) to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God

.***

The Supreme Court looks to a number of things to determine if an individual has certain rights. Routinely, they will look at the preceeding eight amendments and see if this “new” right fits in the spirt of the Bill of Rights. The moral norms of society are frequently referenced, as are common law cases. Finally, they make a determination if the right being argued fits the definition of “liberty”.

In the next part, I will talk about the right to privacy, and the history of how we gained that right.****

*And also the 10th Amendment, but I’m not going into that here.
**Can I just squee out for a second and say how awesome I find the US governing document? This is a really impressive document, and one of the few things that inspires a sense of patrotism in me.
***If you look real close, you might notice that the phrase “to marry” and “bring up children” are in there, among other things.
****I am NOT a lawyer. Please do not use anything I say here as binding.

Sea-kittens

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

It’s not news to anyone that PETA is completely crazy, but in case you didn’t know, there’s a hilarious little Flash game on their eyesore of a website. And it, like so much of their “shock” advertising, is entirely sexist. Hey PETA: Why can’t you put a princess dress and a biker jacket on the fish at the same time?

By PETA’s logic, all we need to do to end the attacks on Gaza is to rename the Palestinians “desert-kittens.” Couldn’t hurt, right?

Anyway, here’s mine:


Create Your Own Sea Kitten at peta.org!

(The entire site is hilarious. Check out the awesome bedtime stories. If they hadn’t been around for so long, I’d be convinced that PETA is some sort of viral marketing campaign for the meat industry.)