when the status quo frustrates.

How much punk would a Punkass ass if a Punkass could ass punk?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Lisa and I would like to hash it out a bit and try to figure out constructive rules for engaging each other when we disagree. At least between the two of us. It may be relevant for others as well, too, though. I won’t provide a link, but I still vividly remember a great moment of shame in this blog’s history, when for the sake of a minor rhetorical ploy, a recently-deceased pet was virtually sodomized.

So what the hell, we can at least have a go at setting some ground rules for proper snarky manners. It’ll be a snoozer for most people, but for anyone interested, I hereby decree that this thread will be where we try to agree among ourselves just exactly how punkass a PunkAssBlogger ought to be. (Or at least how punkass me and Lisa ought to be.)

It’ll probably just be us two, but outside opinions are welcome.

(I’m off to bed now. When I wake up in the morning I expect there to be dozens of messages telling us exactly how unbearably snottily dismissive we are. Come on, people, don’t let me down!)

Shit.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I kinda hate talking about capitalist economics. I am also not an economist, so I’m usually talking out my ass. In this case, that’s appropriate. Here’s a question, wrapped in a story:

Let’s say that about a year ago there was a booming market in some commodity. And purely for the sake of this example, let’s suppose this commodity was, say, human excrement.

(more…)

I Like Laughing

Monday, September 29th, 2008

It’s either that or crying, c’mon!

(Though in Real Life, of course, Congress did not actually go for it.)

Weighing in Verbosely on the First Presidential Debate

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Well, I just watched the debates myself. Via YouTube. The easiest YouTube to find was via Fox News’s feed, which was annoying because they so often did closeups or split-screens of the candidates and never did wider shots– so I couldn’t judge for myself if it was true, that McCain was supposedly never able to look at Obama in the eye. But even regardless of that, McCain came across shifty; Obama, self-assured. Which just means, if Obama was saying evil things too, then they were doubly dangerous, because he was able to present them as though they were reasonable.

Now, as anyone who reads my posts knows, I’m critical of Obama/Biden. More than McCain/Palin, actually– everybody with half a brain already knows how evil the Republicans are; I just want people to assess more rigorously just exactly how much of a lesser evil the Democrats really are– if indeed, they are a lesser evil at all. Anyway, if you’re an Obama fan, I urge you to look at my analysis and tell me where you think I’m being unfair. Maybe I’ll see the light. If I did, I can tell you I’d be much happier in general right now.

Let’s just review some of the things Obama said in the debate. (All emphasis mine, of course.)

We’ve spent over $600 billion so far, soon to be $1 trillion. We have lost over 4,000 lives. We have seen 30,000 wounded, and most importantly, from a strategic national security perspective, al Qaeda is resurgent, stronger now than at any time since 2001. We took our eye off the ball… So I think the lesson to be drawn is that we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not, as president, in order to keep the American people safe. But we have to use our military wisely. And we did not use our military wisely in Iraq.

Wait– Iraq’s a clusterfuck… and so the lesson to be learned is that we should never hesitate to use military force??? Maybe we’d have a better chance of using our military wisely next time if we hesitated just a little bit more.

Now here’s Obama praising Bush and McCain’s Glorious Thrusting Surge:

Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families. They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.

Actually, this is not even nearly so bad as when Obama went on Fox News recently to declare that the surge had “succeeded beyond our wildest dreams”.

Or,  as Juan Cole put it in his recent assessment, “The level of violence at this moment in Iraq is similar to what prevailed on average during one of the 20th century’s worst ethnic civil wars! It is still higher than the casualty rates in Sri Lanka and Kashmir, two of the worst ongoing conflicts in the world.”

But nice of Obama to internalize Bush/McCain talking points so well. I’m sure he’s run the numbers and it’ll win him more votes, so that’s all that matters, right?

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Weighing in Briefly on the First Presidential Debate

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Best part of the whole debate:

When Jim Lehrer asked the candidates, “Much has been said about the lessons of Vietnam. What do you see as the lessons of Iraq?” McCain babbled about how awesomely we began there, how (for causes not even remotely articulated) we had a wee bit of a strategic stumble (managing also not to specify that said stumble stretched from about a month after we got there in 2003 til the end of last year) and finished up by announcing that we have won the Iraq War. (News to me.) Obama, who went second, then gently stepped in to say that, yeah, the actual lesson of the Iraq War that pretty much everybody (except McCain) has learned was, we should never have gone in there in the first place. Har.

Worst part of the whole debate:

Jim Lehrer’s first question: “Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

(Candidates each speak for several minutes, demonstrating remarkable ability to discuss their tax and spending platforms without once touching on the financial recovery plan.)

Jim Lehrer’s next question: “All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.”

(Candidates further demonstrate ability to say nothing to the point and also refuse, even when point-blank instructed by Lehrer, to speak to each other.)

Jim Lehrer’s next try: “All right, let’s go to the next lead question, which is essentially following up on this same subject. And you get two minutes to begin with, Senator McCain. And using your word “fundamental,” are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama’s approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?”

(Candidates argue about the differences between their tax and spending platforms. Neither apparently has any idea that we are even having a financial crisis.)

Jim, who has the patience of a saint and is my new hero: “All right. All right, speaking of things that both of you want, another lead question, and it has to do with the rescue — the financial rescue thing that we started — started asking about. And what — and the first answer is to you, Senator Obama. As president, as a result of whatever financial rescue plan comes about and the billion, $700 billion, whatever it is it’s going to cost, what are you going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that you would bring as president of the United States, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?”

(Candidates go on as if they never even heard the question.)

Jim Lehrer: “What I’m trying to get at this is this. Excuse me if I may, senator. Trying to get at that you all — one of you is going to be the president of the United States come January. At the — in the middle of a huge financial crisis that is yet to be resolved. And what I’m trying to get at is how this is going to affect you not in very specific — small ways but in major ways and the approach to take as to the presidency.”

(Candidates suggest that maybe we’ll stop spending money on something or other, described respectively as “things that aren’t vital” (McCain) and “things we can cut out with a scalpel rather than hatchet” (Obama). I go to the internet and start looking up emigration requirements to Australia.)

Jim Lehrer: “Before we go to another lead question. Let me figure out a way to ask the same question in a slightly different way here. Are you — are you willing to acknowledge both of you that this financial crisis is going to affect the way you rule the country as president of the United States beyond the kinds of things that you have already — I mean, is it a major move? Is it going to have a major effect?”

Apparently not.

Can’t wait for the veep debate!

Pets

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I lucked into two fish tanks, a 10-gallon and a 25-gallon, and I’d like to fill them with things. The larger one has a small hole in it, and can’t hold water. I was thinking fish in the smaller one, and a snake, lizard or turtle in the larger. I’ve heard good things about rainbow fish, and there’s neon tetras aplenty at my local pet store. If I can fit two or more species in there, that’d be cool.

For the other tank, I’m leaning towards a corn snake, but a turtle sounds nice too. My problem is finding a good place to get one.

Unfortunately, my pet experience is mostly dog and cat oriented, and I’m feeling out of my depth. So I’m interested in your aquarium experiences. Anyone got fish or reptiles? Care to share?

I Was Banned From an MRA Site

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

What I really need to go with that is, like, a Wanted! Dead or Alive! poster. I thought about whipping one up but ultimately decided against it–I’m not a good enough PhotoShopper to get the slavering fangs to look realistic, as it turns out.

Where is this coming from? My recent brief interest in Glenn Sacks, a professional concern troll who is apparently one of the favored few anti-feminists of two of my favorite feminist bloggers, Amanda at Pandagon and Hugo Schwyzer. Certainly I’ve heard of him before–he even made a brief appearance at our site a while back–and had glanced over one or two of his writings in the past, but after witnessing all the love flowing in his direction in a recent Hugo post, I decided that maybe I hadn’t really spent enough time and effort trying to make a mental connection. So, I spent an hour or two thumbing through his site today, and came to the conclusion that I haven’t been missing anything after all. No, really. Is he a good writer? Mos’ definitely. Is all of what he has to say total bullshit? Not at all. So why my (admittedly not overwhelming) distaste, rapidly faltering into disinterest?

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Final Wedding Rant and a Question

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Today I went through the wedding gifts, to send out the thank you cards and to cash the cheques (hey, I’m a starving law student). Or rather, I should say that I tried to cash the wedding cheques. I discovered that I was unable to cash a single, solitary cheque. Why? Because not a single one of them was written to me, Antigone Myname. ALL of them were addressed to Mr. Hubby Hisname, or Mr. Hubby and Mrs. Antigone Hisname or (most annoyingly) Mr. and Mrs. Hubby Hisname. Every. Single. One. And I know that people were told that I was keeping my own name.

So I cannot cash any cheques singularly, which means I have to wait for my husband to come down from flying, which means that we’ll have to put all the cheque money into his bank account. It’s a little humiliating, actually: it’s like I’m now just an appendage of my husband. I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if I HAD taken his name. It also makes me a little grateful to feminists; this is bothersome, but ultimately I can live with it. I don’t know how I’d feel if I could no longer sign a contract, or buy a house, or get a loan for just myself without my husband. I am so grateful for what I can do while furious about what I cannot, because I’m a girl who had the audacity to get married and want to still have the right to self-identify.

Anyway, my question is this: when I’m writing the wedding thank-yous, is there a good way to subtly (or not so subtly) remind people that I am keeping my name? Or would it be rude to say anything at all? I was thinking Hubby and I would just sign our respective names, so people were subtly reminded that our names are different. Thoughts?

Posting Pictures

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The last post seems to be fairly unanimous: people want to see wedding pictures. This makes me happy that people care, but it also makes me a little bit nervous.

I have never put pictures on any of my political blogs before. Even back when I was on live-journal, my avatar was always something besides a picture of me.

I would hope that people would respect me enough to not to take my wedding pictures, pictures that have particular meaning to /me, and spread them, and photo-shop them, and make them into something dirty, crude, and mean. But, this is the internet, so I have no guarantee of that. I would also hope that this would not undermine any credibility I have as a feminist, based on my appearance (for good or for ill), but again I have no guarantee of that. I always thought that people who put their photos out there (particularly feminist bloggers) were brave: they deal with all this stupidity day-in and day-out, and it just seems to roll off their back.

But then I thought about it some more, and I realized that I put myself out there on this blog all the time. I talk about personal things (hopefully, linking them back to feminism), I put my opinions out there for people to mock and ridicule all the time. It hurts, but I have a number of ways to deal with it (from ignoring it, to rationalizing it, to sometimes actually responding to it). Why should my appearance be any different? I then realized that I am so worried about my appearance because it is the thing that I am least secure about. If someone calls me stupid, I can easily ignore it: I know that I am at average to above-average intelligence. If someone says my logic is flawed, I can re-examine it, and change it if I made a flaw, and leave it if I did not.

But if someone says that I’m ugly, they might be right. It’s not something I can argue against. And it’s already something that changes the terms of the debate into something that I don’t want to talk about. If I write that “women are judged on beauty standards that don’t have a reasonable basis in reality, and those women who do meet those ridiculous standards are rewarded with illusonary and temporary benefits to undermine everyone else” someone can come back with “Well, you just say that because you’re ugly”. Even if I respond “that has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand, and whether or not those unreasonable standards are moral or not”, it is still an effective method in derailing the thread. People will come in and defend my looks, and others will go against it, and the whole thrust of the post is lost. (If you think I’m being overly cynical, please give me a link to any post by a feminist author about beauty standards where it hasn’t happened.)

So, I’ve decided to go with somewhat of a compromise. I will post some pictures, heavily moderate the comments, and the pictures will be taken down in a week.

Photos have been removed.

I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for 700 billion dollars today

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I’m not really at a moment in my life where I’m able to post properly, alas. Just thought I’d pop in to register a quick nod acknowledging that this Hellbound handbasket we’re all riding in has just picked up some steam, now that the Democrats appear to be joining hands with the Republicans to raid the US Treasury and hand it all to the rich bastards who got us into this mess in the first place. Rather than, say, bringing them up on charges for it.

For the in depth analysis, I recommend any of Arthur Silber’s last 10 posts or so. Please don’t mind the naughty words he uses. Sometimes “stupider than shit” really is the apropos turn of phrase.

And if you don’t mind a healthy dose of smug in your pith (and I for one don’t!), IOZ really satisfies:

How can I make this into a metaphor that everyone can understand? Remember in mob movies, how they’d set up a front business to launder money, run as much through as they could, run the business into the ground, torch the place, and then collect the insurance? Well. There it is.

In the mean time, I’m going to make a small prediction.

Although much of Charlie Chaplin’s humor is timeless, some of it doesn’t fare as well today. One reason is because so much of his humor was “food humor”. The Little Tramp was perpetually hungry, and scrounging or stealing food in ingenious ways (sometimes even from children!). This is a famous scene from The Gold Rush (1925– do your best to ignore the unnecessary narration that Chaplin added later):

Humor like this is only moderately amusing today; but it used to be HILARIOUS. That’s because starvation was a common cultural theme 100 years ago. Americans could relate in a way that, nowadays, most of us (thankfully) don’t.

I think that, the way things are going, “food humor” is poised for a comeback before too very long.

Wedding Day, Redux

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

The wedding is over: the dress has been worn, the sand has been poured, the party has been danced. We had a blast, and while there are some things that we wish we could do-over, all in all it went pretty well.

Since I don’t know what the level of interest is on the blog, I’ll let people leave comments on whether they want pictures or not. If most do, I’ll update with some.

Only fucking elitists know what “fungible” means anyway!

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin…responding to a question about how oil obtained from offshore drilling can be kept in the country instead of sold on the world market, with an answer CNN’s Wolf Blitzer characterized as “not exactly easy to understand:”*

“Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules,** where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.”

(hat tip: Pandagon)

In other news, Governor Palin’s apparently good-humored response to the skewering of herself by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live was due to the fact that she watched the entire skit on “mute.” Wheee!

*Fucking liberal sexist media, they’d never expect Biden to answer that question!

**Dying to know what commodities are flagged by molecule.