when the status quo frustrates.

Restavec

Monday, February 1st, 2010


An interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom.

A restavec (or restavek; from the French reste avec, “one who stays with”) is a child in Haiti who is sent by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. (wikipedia)

I came across this article today, about a 9-year-old restavec named Sende Sencil.

Beaming, and in clean clothes for the first time since the earthquake, Sende, who was thought to be an orphan, returned to the hospital’s tents with the doctors.

As they walked, a man approached them on the street and reached out to grab Sende.

“I’m looking for her. She’s my family,” the doctors remember the man saying in broken English. “I’m taking her home.”

Pediatricians Tina Rezaiyan and Liz Hines, had been looking forward to the day when Sende’s parents might come to claim her, but this was not what they’d anticipated.

“She was trembling and hiding behind us. She was so scared of him,” said Hines, a second-year pediatric resident at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Flashback to 1982: Walking home from school with my best friend, Sheila.* We’d been best friends since the first grade; we walked home from school every day together, hand in hand–though not that day, because one of her arms was in a cast and she needed the other one to carry her books. My eight-year-old self didn’t even notice the cast; it had been there for a few weeks, it was part of the scenery. Only my thirty-six-year-old self stares at it, remembering how Sheila got it.

“So can you spend the night tonight?” Sheila asked me.

I could, and I did, though even my eight-year-old self dreaded it a little. Not a lot, because Sheila was there and she was my best friend and we always had such fun–putting her mom’s 45s on the plastic record player upstairs and setting it on “78″–who needed an actual Alvin & The Chipmunks record when you had a stack of 45s and a record player with a “78″ setting? And eight-year-olds think that what they see and live is the way it is for everybody–they don’t resist the system because they aren’t even aware that there is one. But the night Sheila’s stepdad broke her arm was still fairly fresh in my memory, and I had no cozy feeling that I was entirely safe from him either–he’d hurt me before too, though nowhere near to the degree he hurt Sheila.

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Because racism’s dead. You knew that, right?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Interracial couple denied marriage license in La.

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

Yep, children from those marriages, even the ones that don’t last, I mean it’s not like they could e-v-e-r grow up to become President of the United Sta—

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Mostly I think of “piles and piles” as describing my laundry. And did he seriously just brag about letting black people use his bathroom..?

I sure love living in “post-racial” America!

It’s Banned Books Week!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I love Banned Books Week! Some of my favorite books of all time are banned books…I mean, check out this list of classics! Admittedly, a lot of the banning action took place decades ago, but lest anyone think we’ve relaxed our deathgrip on the minds of our children in this new millenium, here are a nice collection of more recent incidents to sneer at:

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger: Removed by a Dorchester District 2 school board member in Summerville, SC (2001) because it “is a filthy, filthy book.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck*: Banned from the George County, Miss. schools (2002) because of profanity.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Challenged in Foley, Alabama (2000) because of the depictions of “orgies, self-flogging, suicide” and characters who show “contempt for religion, marriage, and the family.” The book was removed from the library, pending review.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Burned in Alamagordo, N. Mex. (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.

If you’re interested in the most up-to-date reporting on the 2008 open season on communication of unapproved ideas, the American Library Association puts out a yearly list of the books that are challenged, restricted, removed or banned–see if your favorites are on there too!

Leaving you with the bittersweet taste of irony, from January of this year. Enjoy!

*I might sympathize with an attempt to ban it from required reading lists–yes, it was on mine in high school–based on the fact that it sucks ass and there are at least one hundred more interesting and compelling novels that could immediately and happily replace it…but no, I have to defend John Steinbeck’s biggest load of crap evar based on principle. A shame, but there you have it.

Polanski arrest worse than Nazi aid

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A woman named Joan Z. Shore from Belgium founded an organization called Women Overseas for Equality. Sounds like a good thing, right? I mean, I tend to be for equality whether or not you and I are separated by large bodies of water, but unless she’s straight-up old-school colonialist about it, I can endorse being concerned about the combination of Women, Equality, and Oversea-ness.

Now, last I checked, America was overseas from Belgium. And it has women in it. And sometimes those women are raped by famous movie directors who flee the country when a judge catches that person acting like an a-hole after making a plea deal that will get him off scot free.

Now, I could be completely hammer-to-the-head insane, but doesn’t it seem like “equality” is meant as a synonym for “justice,” and that justice for a woman who is raped is, at the very least, to see her attacker brought to justice? I realize Polanski’s victim just wants the case gone, but there’s also the question of the broader social implication of just letting rape go if you’re famous and rich enough to evade the law for a couple decades. That doesn’t seem like much equality to me.

Apparently Joan Z. Shore disagrees. But before we get into that, let’s be clear about something: The Swiss used to be cool.

I used to admire [The Swiss] — their clean, orderly, decorous way of life. Their stubborn independence and self-reliance. I forgave them for the years they never joined the United Nations, and even now, not joining the European Union.

I always love talking about a nation’s people like they’re identical beings popped right off the national assembly line. Who doesn’t love the Borg?

There was so much affection wafting from Shore towards the Swiss that she even waived the Wand of Dismissal o’er the Swiss collaboration with Nazi Germany:

When I learned, years ago, that they had blithely allowed German military trains to transit their country during the Second World War, while claiming Swiss “neutrality,” I was shocked, but tried to excuse them on grounds that they were protecting their country from invasion and armed warfare.

But now? This Roman Polanski extradition is, objectively, the most heinous act in the history of the multiverse.

Arresting Roman Polanski the other day in Zurich, where he was to receive an honorary award at a film festival, was disgraceful and unjustifiable. Polanski, now 76, has been living in France for over thirty years, and has been traveling and working in Europe unhindered, but the Swiss acted on an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and seized him!

So, we have understandable Nazi compliance, but “disgusting and unjustifiable” extradition of an admitted rapist escaping punishment. This seems like a clear-headed view of the situation.

Making this an even more sensitive equivocation by Ms. Shore, Polanski was a Holocaust refugee. I wonder what he’d say if you put this question to Polanski himself: is it easier to forgive a country for turning over a wanted criminal or for letting the Nazis ship troops and supplies on its railways?

I won’t answer for him, but I will say this: Switzerland may be brought to their knees by Shore’s uber-classy, enlightened call to action.

I suggest, in the finest American tradition, we protest this absurd and deplorable act by smashing our cuckoo clocks, pawning our Swiss watches, and banning Swiss cheese and chocolate.

And let them yodel all they like.

Sounds like a person totally invested in equality to me.

Don’t do it, don’t look, don’t do it, don’t look–!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

…well, I couldn’t help myself. I heard about this on the radio today:

George Sodini finally got the attention he wanted. After years of hoping women would take notice of him, Sodini allegedly entered a Pennsylvania health club Tuesday night and murdered three women in cold blood before turning a gun on himself.

Investigators need not puzzle over the motives for Sodini’s rampage; the 48-year-old suspected killer spelled them out in blood-chilling detail in an online diary.

“These are the rambling messages of a likely psychotic” and display characteristics of a man who has been “severely depressed for a long time,” forensic psychologist Naftali Berrill said of Sodini’s writing.

The image that emerges from his blog is that of a loner — a psychopath, routinely rejected by women who spent a year casing the gym and plotting his revenge on the “the young girls here [that] look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible.”

–and I really couldn’t help it–I thought to myself, I wonder what the good old Men’s Rights Activists think about that, hmm? I bet I can guess! But No, surely not!–not even those guys would excuse someone like this. So, after some internal squabbling, I gritted my teeth and nipped over to the foremost of MRAs, whose site I have not visited in a good seven months at least–Mr. Sacks.

Happily, neither Glenn nor the other dude who has apparently taken over much of his blogging activities seems to want to touch this one with a ten-foot pole. That was a genuine relief, and inclined me to think I was perhaps being overly hasty and judgmental in my assumptions regarding any general MRA opinion on the matter. With a somewhat lighter heart I typed in “George Sodini MRA” into Google and hit Search!–

Yeah, that wide-eyed optimism didn’t last too long. Very first hit?

George Sodini is an MRA hero!

Amanda already talked about the blog this was culled from, so I won’t reinvent her wheel. I did scroll down the comments, though, and plucked out the following gems for your indigestion:

George Sodini is an MRA hero as much a reason to learn game. Finally a mass murderer writes a relatively coherent manifesto. Could be better, but at least it is implied that feminism is to blame and he is taking a last stand. I had been waiting for this (almost thinking I had to do it myself) and I am impressed. Kudos.

Arpagus, whose own blog links to the Men’s Activism News Network, among other things

One thing that might help prevent future incidents of this sort is repealing IMBRA, the federal law that essentially put the mail order bride industry out of business.

–Peter, who is probably too stupid to have a blog

I think every man DOES deserve to get laid.

For every nerdy, smelly, fat, or otherwise socially undesirable man out there, there is an equally unattractive woman walking around. (more than one actually because there are more women than men on the planet)

The problem is, our feminized society has given every woman the power to hold out for higher quality men than they deserve.

This creates an imbalance that leads to tragedies like the one in PA.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Newton’s 3rd Law)

If empowered women keep applying pressure, they will create an explosion.

A.J. Travis, whose entire blog consists of (a) how to finely tune a woman’s 1-10 hotness rating to suit your personal life goals before you decide which one to like, devour or whatever and (b) a detailed dwelling on the flaws of the “9″ woman versus the flaws of the “6″ woman

Every man knows they have to EARN respect.

They DESERVE to get laid.

A decent looking man who earns a good living and does not abuse women DESERVES to get laid. Period.

The fact that so many do not, is a crime.

And in a just society, all crimes are eventually punished.

–More A.J. Travis, who I’m starting to really hope lives nowhere near me, especially since there is one non-woman post on his blog and it’s about guns

Have you guys noticed a trend in fat women? Some of the ones I have spoken to actually believe they can get alpha cock. They don’t want to hook up with beta men either. This is a troubling development.

–Game in BK, and nope, no clue what this has to remotely do with the thread, but I just had to reproduce his comment here ’cause can you believe that someone’s really that moronic..? LOL!

…and it goes on, and on, and on…there are a few dissenting voices in there, but mostly they’re drowned out by the angry horde.

Note to anyone who feels e-n-t-i-t-l-e-d to any type of use of my body for any reason whatsoever: No, You Aren’t. Get Over It. And if violence committed against my person of any description based upon this feeling of entitlement seems even remotely justifiable to you, you had probably better commit it like George Sodini did, with a distance weapon and without warning and resulting in me getting killed dead. ‘Cause otherwise, you’ll find out that I have an equally enthusiastic belief in and comfort level with extreme violence in cases of self-defense, and I do tend to hold a grudge.

‘Nuff said.

Sometimes, I Thinks Guys Really Hate Us

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I’m a big fan of reading Cracked.com (the articles, not the comments…dear sweet Jebus, the comments). Normally, it’s pretty funny, and a little off the wall, and very occasionally, I get the idea that the writers might have a progressive bent to them (the article about racist Disney cartoons definitely suggested it). Sometimes, they totally miss the boat entirely, and then I do like I do with most of my media- complain to Hubby, and shrug it off as “that’s the world”. Cracked does a photo-shop contest once a week, the grand prize being 50 dollars normally, and most of the time the pictures can be quite clever. This week, the thread was “If Everyone Had An Unlimited Advertising Budget“.

And this is the point that I felt like I had to say something to the interwebs.

My reactions looking this over were thus:
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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.

The Evolution of A Feminist; or, Don’t Like Feminists? Stop Helping Create Them.

Friday, November 21st, 2008

(Cross-posted from Glenn’s site. Note: Feminist-friendly moderation is in effect.)

Pat Robertson said it best: “”Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” More succinctly put, feminism is a favorite whipping girl. Feminism has become that magical word–”mainstream”–but that hasn’t made it popular or generally regarded in a positive light. And of all the folks out there that really hate feminists, men’s rights activists are probably among the most virulent and vocal about it.

The big difference between hating black people or Jews and hating feminist women–the difference espoused by people who hate the latter and not the former, say–is that black people or Jews are born that way. It isn’t a choice; being a feminist is a choice, a philosophy, not an ethnicity. Very true–but this argument leads to another, conspicuously not followed through upon by those who advocate it. As they say, feminist women are, indeed, not born feminist. But this does beg the question, doesn’t it..? –why do they become feminist?

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Mmm, Babies! They Stay Crunchy in Milk.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I like babies. They’re cute. I have about 50,000 pictures of my sons as babies and with the slightest encouragement, especially after a glass of wine or two, I will happily haul them out of the closet and make you admire each and every one of them.

However, I am pro-choice. I say “however” because clearly, there is a fair contingent of people out there who genuinely believe that people who are pro-choice don’t give a rat’s ass about babies. Sometimes, they even seem to believe that what pro-choice people really, secretly want to do is rend and splatter as many babies as possible limb from limb, and the only reason women are out there still getting abortions is because they just don’t realize that that’s what abortion is really all about. For example:

Oklahoma’s new [abortion] statute dictates that either the doctor performing the abortion or a “certified technician working in conjunction” with that doctor do the ultrasound, “provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,” and also “display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them.” The law goes so far as to specify the doctor’s script: The physician must describe the heartbeat and the presence of internal organs, fingers, and toes.

Widdle fingers and toesies! (ahem) I repeat, WIDDLE FINGERS AND TOESIES!!!!! To be smashed, crushed, torn, shredded into bloody BITS!!!!

Next up! Addendum to the statute: “Doctor (or a certified technician working in conjuction with doctor) must describe embryo’s desperate screams of ‘No, Mommy! Noooo! Don’t let them rip me apart, Mommy! I love you!’”

(Sigh.)

Usually, I’ve tried to shoot for compassion in my dealings with the pro-life mentality. As I said, I like babies and I think they’re cute. However, I’ve noticed that with the passage of years, my patience has shrunken gradually down to, well. The size of an eight-week old embryo. This big: ——-.

I’ve gone into great detail about my abortion stance and my feelings about the pro-life stance on more than one occasion already; I won’t rehash them yet again. I believe, though, that I am officially “done” with attempting to extend any sort of respect at all towards those who self-identify as “pro-life.” Seriously, why should I extend respect to people that have codified it into law that they have not only no respect, but anti-respect for those who self-identify as “pro-choice?” That does not mean that I will cease to extend respect towards those who personally would choose to never have an abortion; that is an eminently respectable position. It definitely doesn’t mean I will cease to extend compassion to any woman who was pressured into or otherwise regrets her abortion; that is a personal, not political, matter. However, anyone who affiliates himself or herself with any group of persons seeking to pass legislation that restricts, in any way, the right of women to choose..? I consider you fair game the minute you open your mouth (or heat up your keyboard) to say so. Be warned.

Let’s Talk About Abortion

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Maybe it’s because it’s an election year, but I’ve been feeling outright pounded by abortion news lately. To wit:

WSJ:

The American Psychological Association said Wednesday there is “no credible evidence” that a single, elective abortion causes mental-health problems for adult women.

The report, which came after a two-year review of published research, was anticipated by both supporters and opponents of legal abortion.

Women’s psychological reaction to the procedure has become a key issue in the abortion debate, with some judges and lawmakers citing mental-health concerns as reason to impose restrictions on abortion.

and:

Two years after a strict abortion ban [in South Dakota] was overturned by voters, backers have brought a similar measure — but one laced with complexities that could bode well for its passage, and ultimately could bring about the challenge to Roe v. Wade desired by abortion foes nationwide.

ABC News:

The Democratic Party is planning a convention designed to soften the edges on the party’s support for abortion rights, with a revamped platform and a speaking lineup that reinforces efforts to broaden Democrats’ appeal on the hot-button issue.

In a statement fraught with symbolism for those on both sides of the abortion debate, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., an abortion-rights opponent, will be given a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month.

WaPo:

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has denied that a controversial draft regulation would redefine common birth control methods as abortion and protect the rights of doctors and other health-care workers who refuse to provide them.

According to the language in a draft of the regulation that leaked last month, the rule would apply to anyone who participates in “any activity with a logical connection to a procedure, health service or health service program, or research activity. . . . This includes referral, training and other arrangements of the procedure, health service, or research activity.”

One section of the draft regulation defines abortion as “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

US News & World Report:

John McCain yesterday said he would not rule out picking a pro-choice running mate, a move seen as a boost for former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who joined the presumptive GOP nominee for two days of campaign events in his home state.

The Guardian:

In Colorado voters are being asked whether human “personhood” begins at conception. If passed, that measure would make Colorado the first state to outlaw abortion outright since the Roe court ruling.

The Colorado ban has secured endorsements from “over 70″ anti-abortion physicians, according to its backers. But in the state’s closely fought Senate race, both Democratic candidate Mark Udall and self-described “pro-life” Republican Bob Schaffer are opposing the ban.

“I think there are other strategies and tactics that get us far closer to advancing the cause of human life,” Schaffer told a local Colorado radio station this month.

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Rita MacNeil, Communist menace

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Mountie
How quaint! Too bad he’s spying on you.

I’m no fan of the RCMP, one of our glorious national symbols. They had a historical role in abducting indigenous children from their families so that they could be tortured, brainwashed, and frequently killed in residential schools. More recently, they’ve been responsible for an out-of-control taser epidemic that has included the violent sexual assault of a young girl.

Occasionally, though, their role has been laughable as well as simply evil. Yesterday, for example, it came out that they spied on the Canadian feminist movement in the 1970s, apparently on the lookout for commie infiltrators.

Instead, they found Canadian musical icon Rita MacNeil.

Rita MacNeil
Communist menace Rita MacNeil

This is particularly funny if your knowledge of MacNeil comes primarily from catching the odd Rita and Friends on CBC when you were a kid, but apparently she wrote a lot of “women’s lib songs” back in the day.

The article is a scream. Some choice quotes:

While the Mounties recognized the groups were out to “stop so-called exploitation of women,” as one officer put it, the force was much more concerned about the apparent infiltration of the movement by avowed Communist interests.

So-called.

The memo on the Winnipeg conference describes one session as “consisting of about 100 sweating, uncombed women standing around in the middle of the floor with their arms around each other crying sisterhood and dancing.”

I am really glad it wasn’t my tax dollars paying for Mounties to go see Rita MacNeil in concert.

The Mounties, used to keeping tabs on organizations run by men, didn’t know quite what to make of the long-haired women in scruffy blue jeans.

“They were at a loss to understand their strategies, their goals, their tactics,” said Sethna, who teaches at the University of Ottawa.

Blue jeans, as we know, are a feminist and lesbian uniform.

Anyway, my country is apparently laughing its collective ass off today, but I hope some people will pause in their well-earned giggles and see the reflection of this absurd “intelligence gathering” in the present day War on Terror.

Mass graves

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

50 comments and still going strong! I don’t normally get that many comments on anything I post here, so I’m happy to see a lively debate. (That’s not sarcasm. It’s pretty cool that the discussion remained relatively civil, too.)

Anyway, new PunkAssReaders, I hope you’re still reading, because now that I have your attention, I’d like to draw it to something that I care far, far more about than who gets to carry guns in the U.S. That something is the grotesque case of denial that my country has about the violence on which it was founded, the history that makes one poverty-stricken Third World nation for the people who were here first, and another, relatively safe and secure and prosperous country for mostly everyone else. Sure, our government recently said its sorries to the indigenous people, but they stopped short of naming the crime: genocide.

I don’t think they’ve ever done a survey of how many people in Canada know that there are mass graves of children here, but I’m guessing if you randomly suggested it to strangers, all but a few would splutter and deny it. According to Hidden From History, there are possibly thousands of dead indigenous children buried at 28 different sites. While most, if not all, of the murderers and kidnappers of these children are dead, the institutions—church and state alike—responsible for this crime against humanity are still at large.

I guess I mention this now because we all have issues that drive us into a frothing frenzy and issues that we might recognize as important and might even have an opinion on but we don’t really care all that much. I can’t stand it when people ask why I don’t put the energy into pro-Tibet activism that I put into pro-Palestinian activism (there is a reason, but it probably belongs in a different post). But I really do wish more people would get into a frothing frenzy about residential schools. It’s a crime that’s gone unpunished because the only ones speaking about it are its victims.

That page I linked to has the locations of the graves, as well as the sources of information. Much of it seems quite credible. I’m not sure what to do with this information, other than keep talking about it until I’m blue in the face, because as long as we continue to deny the fact that genocide took place here, we are still perpetrating it.