Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gold Star For You

The pieces have been piling up in my Google Reader's starred file so I thought now might be a good time to air them out.

1. Verizon is offering free calls to Haiti through the end of the month. There doesn't seem to be a qualifier for this and I have no idea, given the infrastructure damage, who is able to receive calls but it's a nice enough gesture toward helping family members and first responders to connect.

2. This post may not be one note but it may be in a certain key. The White House Blog posted a short piece by one of the US Military's first responders about conditions for their members in Haiti. It's nicely written and somewhat emotional compared to the blog's usual dryly informative fare.

3. My beloved Susie Bright pointed out a victory for conservative education in TX this week. How about these sample home work questions?

"Evaluate changes and events in the United States that have resulted from the civil rights movement, including... unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes."

"Explain how the release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government."

Go over to Susie's blog to read the good news that accompanies this horror.  

4. Feministing put up this fantastic lego ad from around the time I was playing with legos. Pretty big contrast to the monochromatic girl-focused ads of today, eh?

5. While we're talking about Feministing, they had a guest post from a disabled woman discussing the ways in which the disabled people's movement has emulated and benefited from the feminist movement's strategies. I don't know how many physically disabled folks you spend time with but I have a friend I hang out with every couple of weeks who had a spinal cord injury and now requires 24 hour care, though he lives independently rather than in a group situation. There are a lot of very small things (as well as very big ones) you just don't think about when you think about how his life is lived. It's a good thing to try and imagine, though, especially in light of our increasingly difficult health care battle. 

6. I know it's old news that America's favorite wolf hunter landed herself a gig on FOX news but have you seen the clips of her sportscasting in the 80s? Robin Sherbatsky would be proud.

7. Honestly I held onto this one because I'm baffled by the timeline. Also from Feministing there's a move in the Queer community to oppose the 2010 census...oppose isn't the right term. It's a movement to insert and re-work questions in the census to more accurately reflect the Queer demographic in the US. What I don't get is why it's happening now. Is there an expectation to change this census or is this looking to 2020? If it's expected to change this census then why now? Aren't the questions already formulated, approved and practically printed since I saw an ad this morning urging me not to fear the envelope in the mail and simply to send it back? Whatever the case, you can sign the petition, get tips for filling out the census and get a free sticker to affix to the back of your census envelope when you return it that supports the movement to more clearly represent Queer citizens in the census and that seems like a good idea to me.

8. I love the Got Milk campaign and I always have. I think the pictures are lovely and the words are clever. It's not enough to make me like drinking milk but I do like the campaign. So does Tracey over at Shutter Sisters and she fulfilled a dream of getting to shoot herself into an ad. She also linked to the current celebrity offerings from the ad campaign. I eagerly sopped them up but at the end realized that only one ad right now features a man and all of them feature the new "healthy weight" tag line as the only milk-based benefit in their composition. That kind of made me mad.

9. You know I don't talk about 9/11 a whole lot here which ought to be a clue to how I feel about this real estate ad (via Gothamist). Too soon? Yes. When? How about never?

10. Aaaaaand, in the world of the short sighted it's a good idea to arrest people for carrying condoms. Buy a 3-pack, get brought up on prostitution charges. That's going to put a crimp in your legendary 3rd date. Gonna be a great way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, too. In DC, no less.

11. In the same vein, in the trial of Dr. Tiller's (alleged) killer there has been a ruling that the defendant can plead to a lesser charge on the grounds that he had "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." There are no words to express my anger at this violent hypocrisy. Even if convicted he could be released in as little as 5 years. So, I guess in about 5 years you want to be pretty careful if you drop by a family planning clinic to pick up your 2-at-a-time condoms.

12. Christ, let's lighten things up with some scantily clad people. On the way home from my birthday party we encountered this fun annual improv event overflowing into Union Square. Man it was cold that day. I don't know how they did it.

13. Again, I recognize that it's old news but I cannot let pass any opportunity to point out what an arrogant, ridiculous, cocksucking bastard Rudy Guiliani is. Nope, no terrorist attacks with Bush at the helm, you know, except that eensy, tiny one that you bring up every time you open your truthless gumflapper.

14. Anybody want a cat for their bookstore? Comes available January 31, 2010.

15. Wow, I do go on, don't I? I'm getting tired but I'm not burnt out quite yet so just a couple more. While we're all trying to reduce, reuse and recycle big clothing corporations are apparently protecting themselves from illegal....wearing by destroying (not recycling, destroying with knives or hole punches) perfectly good yet unpurchased clothing.

16. I had heard briefly about Uganda nearly deciding to impose the death penalty in gay people. I did not know until recently that three American anti-queer activists were instrumental in bringing that possibility to the fore. Of all the things we export, and I include widespread genocide in my calculations, this might be the one I'm least proud of.

17. This article about inflated bonuses in the finance industry is hopelessly outdated by now. I'm throwing it in to say something I've been wanting to say for ages. The phrase "retention bonuses" is out and out stupid. All bonuses are "retention bonuses!" People decide whether to stay in a job based on many factors, money can be a biggie, and bonus time in the financial sector is a huge deal, even to lowly plebes like me. If you get a big bonus you're more likely to hang around, I sure did and I got my ass kicked by that job. During the 2004 election year I had the audacity to ask for a raise mid-year because I was doing all the work I'd been hired to do plus another half a job worth of PR work on behalf of the democratic party. To say that people disliked my boss's involvement in the election would be as understated as Jennifer Aniston's Golden Globes dress. I was denied, categorically, for the raise but in December my bonus was tripled from the year before. "Retention bonuses" is redundant, stop saying it and stop believing it when other people do.

18. OK, OK, shutting up now but let's end on a high note. This article (Susie Bright, yay!) on how intelligent lawmakers are counting the death penalty in the US as a failure on a number of levels makes me (very cautiously) optimistic.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. Re: 14. That bookstore is across the street from my office. I pet that cat all the time. The place is pretty smelly, but it might not be entirely her fault.

  2. 11. Deadly force is only justified in self-defense. i.e. The only logical argument here is that Roeder thought that Dr. Tiller used his mind control to lure Roeder to his office in order to kill him, and after Roeder showed up and saw him unarmed, Tiller told Roeder he was a late-term fetus and wanted to abort him and Roeder, being paralyzed with fear and unable to flee, had no choice but to kill him.

    Roeder already admitted doing what he did and saying he did it on purpose. That's the definition of murder. Manslaughter, by legal definition, is causing a death unintentionally through negligence, like drunk driving. This was murder. The only conceivable gray area may be what degree it was.

  3. Miflohny9:40 PM

    4. There was a way too short period when most toys were designed and marketed in such a way as to appeal to both sexes. That period was way too short. Pink is Little Seal's favorite color, but I don't expect that to last too long, sadly. He'll learn way too soon that pink is not supposed to be a boy's favorite color.

    7. As for adding a question to the census asking about sexuality, that would be kind of cool. But I clicked on your link, and found that proponents of the idea were stating that somehow only married gay people were going to be counted. Which is just a flat out lie.

    Everyone who returns their census form will be counted. All the occupants of a household will be counted, if they are included on the form. One person from the household is designated as person one. Everyone else answers the same questions as person one, with the additional question that asks what their relationship is to person one. There are 14 ways to answer this question, including Husband or Wife, but also including Unmarried Partner. If you are gay or straight you could choose either answer, among others. If 2 women indicated that they were wives or unmarried partners, their sexuality could be inferred, the same as if a man and a woman chose those options. If a single woman or man was not in a co-habitating relationship with someone, she could not be assumed to be straight any more than she could be assumed to be lesbian. Sure, we're not counting how many LGBT people there are in the US, but we're not counting how many straight people there are either. That would be an interesting thing to know, but to claim that LGBT people aren't being counted because their sexuality isn't being counted is like implying that the only important thing to know about a person is their sexuality, which is insulting.