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Jane Smiley has an excellent post up at HuffPo today on the Palin pregnancy:

Sarah Palin and her church and her pastor have made themselves abundantly clear on issues of reproductive privacy — there won’t be any. In a Palin world, if my daughter wanted birth control, she wouldn’t be able to get any, and if I wanted sex education to be taught in my son’s school, I would be out of luck. If a girl I knew were raped and impregnated by her uncle and she elected to have an abortion, she would not be allowed to do so. She wouldn’t even be allowed to take the morning after pill in case he got her pregnant. Maybe there’s something you guys don’t get about this. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is at the heart of what women and the right wing have been fighting over for thirty years, and it isn’t abortion, it’s privacy and the right to control your own reproductive choices. There will always be abortion, and there will always be choice, but Palin would like the choice to be illegal and punishable. Same with birth control.

Right on, sister! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sarah Palin hates women. She hates me. She hates my freedom to control my uterus. She hates my access to contraception. This is not a woman who should be anywhere near a Presidency. Neither should John McCain. The Bristol Palin pregnancy is not an issue of family privacy, it’s a reminder of the bigger problem: the Vice Presidential nominee’s archaic and misogynist attitude towards reproductive health. Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to live in a world based on The Handmaid’s Tale, vote for McCain/Palin in ’08.


Amy Goodman and two Democracy Now! producers were violently arrested outside the Republican National Convention yesterday.

Watch the video:

The Democracy Now! site has updates.

“It’s a little hard to take. In the big picture, Keith, I think this is a Dan Quayle choice. I think it’s great to have a woman on the ticket, but I think Sarah Palin as this specific woman on the ticket, is a bit of a laugh-out-loud choice.” – Rachel Maddow

While we’re still talking Sarah Palin, check out this great piece by Michael Seitzman at the Huffington Post. He asks a question I think many people are thinking about but are too polite to ask: what if McCain kicks the bucket early? What if Palin has to take over the role of President in an emergency? Says Seitzman:

She’s never actually used the word Shiite in a sentence before. She’s never had to. She’s never given any thought whatsoever to nuclear proliferation. She’s never had to. She’s never thought about Israel, Russia, Korea, or Iran. She’s never even thought about Mexico. So, what HAS she thought about? I mean, what has she thought about that’s going to directly affect you and me if (yes, God forbid) she has to slip into the role of the most powerful leader on the face of the planet? Well, we know she’s given a lot of thought to your uterus. Hell, I think about your uterus all the time and nobody should ever elect me to any office.

Dude, it’s clear what else she’s thought about: drilling for oil and shooting polar bears. But federal budgets and foreign policy and defense spending and nukes, nope. I guess she still has 64 days to figure this stuff out.

I can’t wait to watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow respond to McCain’s pick. That’ll make my weekend.

Sarah Palin is ridiculously stupid when it comes to climate change. It’s like she’s a Bjorn Lomborg disciple (ewww…). It would be nice if she’d read Tim Flannery or George Monbiot or Elizabeth Kolbert. Then again, she is a fan of Big Oil. And she clearly doesn’t understand Science, given that she wants Creationism to be taught in public schools. But this is just heartless: she doesn’t think polar bears should be added to the list of threatened species.

“Why have you forsaken me, Governor?”

After four days of moving speeches and inspiring messages at the Democratic National Convention, we woke up this morning to find John McCain naming Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin is the first-term Governor of Alaska, 44 years old, whose Republican-endorsed attributes include being a former beauty queen and a “hockey mom” to five kids. She’s anti-choice, against same-sex marriage, and supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. She’s also a proud member of the National Rifle Association. In short, she’s a right-winger bent on taking away the rights of women and destroying the environment for Big Oil.

McCain probably thinks he’s done a great thing, putting – gasp! – a woman on the Presidential ticket. Ooh, look, we’ve got a person with a vagina here, folks! A vagina that produces children! And she’s pretty, too! And she’s not uppity, either! She’s one of them good ladies! Welcome, Sarah!

Here’s one word the Republicans need to consider: tokenism. Palin actually celebrates being compared to Margaret Thatcher, calling herself the “Iron Lady of the North.” Check it out on the Palin for VP website. (John Rentoul of The Independent caught this first). It’s as if the Republicans think we can’t tell two women apart. Hillary Clinton may not be a radical, but she’s sure as heck no Margaret Thatcher.

Here’s my problem with Palin as VP pick: I suspect McCain’s team chose her because she’s a woman, and only because she’s a woman. I suspect they think that disgruntled Hillary supporters and people on the fence will look at this woman and say, “wow! glass ceiling!” and vote for her. McCain just doesn’t get it. Palin will not work for women, she’ll work against them. So she has five kids – well, that’s nice. But she supports policies that hurt other people’s kids. She supports policies that will destroy the very environment that her kids will inherit. She supports policies that hurt women, including other mothers. She may be a woman, but she’s still a Republican. Is she supposed to make me feel better about voting McCain? Do they really think I’m that stupid?

While we’re here, I wonder if Palin has any comment on a) McCain calling his wife a “trollop” and a “cunt;” b) McCain volunteering his wife as a contestant in a bikini contest a few weeks ago; and c) McCain cheating on his first wife after she was in a car accident. Let’s not forget that McCain has a really shitty position on birth control – although Palin probably agrees with him on that one. Nice attitude towards the ladies, eh?

The choice of Palin as VP candidate is insulting to women. In fact, the entire Republican ticket is insulting to women. You can’t cover up misogyny with a pretty face, dudes.

There are some good discussions on this going on at Feministing, Pandagon and Feministe. Go check ’em out!

Dudes, go watch this. Sooo funny!

It’s hard not to love this man:

The Erminskine band of Hobbema, Alberta, is suing the Canadian Government for $270 million, accusing it of not providing adequate health and sanitation:

The native community alleges the government hasn’t ensured the necessities of life — including water — are available on the reserve. According to the statement of claim, the federal government has not funded a well upgrade or installed pipe necessary to carry water, so the band must continue to truck supplies in from a nearby community.

The statement also suggests programs by the Indian and Northern Affairs Department to reduce hunting and fishing have resulted in substantial changes to the Ermineskin way of life and diet.

These changes have led to a “calamity” consisting of “overwhelming” diabetes, gangrene and kidney disease, alleges the statement of claim.

The Hobbema reserve faces massive challenges, including serious gang violence, on top of the challenges that are all too common on Indian reserves in Canada. In May CBC’s The National aired a 20-minute documentary on Hobbema called “One Bullet Too Many.” It’s a devastating portrait of this struggling community. The Canadian Government needs to bear its share of the responsibility for these troubles and live up to their promises to provide health care and support for Hobbema. Good luck to the Erminskine band in their campaign for justice.

[See other CBC news stories on Canada’s Aboriginal communities here.]

The Conservative Government of Canada had decided that it would be really nice if veterans of the war in Afghanistan were included in the torch relay leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Let’s bring ’em on out and cheer them as they run through the streets carrying the Olympic torch! Forget about the injuries, the PTSD, the fallen comrades! Forget that we’re losing the warand will still be losing in 2010! Veterans are a national symbol, dudes – we’ve got to put them on display at every special occasion, even when the occasion has nothing to do with their military service.

There’s more:

The federal government is also pushing to have Canada’s French and English “linguistic duality” highlighted by the relay, going so far as to propose a list of 83 communities that could be part of the run — and provide a chunk of the roster of torch bearers, expected to number 12,000.

Both those proposals are put forward in an undated memo from the official languages group of the 2010 Federal Secretariat obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin under an access-to-information request. The proposals on the torch relay follow revelations last week in The Globe and Mail that the Harper government provided $20-million for the opening ceremony of the Winter Games to ensure the event “adequately reflects” its priorities and “to achieve its domestic and international branding goals.”

Dudes, there’s so much wrong with this. First, why does the Harper Government want to associate the Olympics with the war in Afghanistan? It blows my mind that they have no problem militarizing the Olympic Games. These are the same people who insist that the Olympics aren’t political. The war isn’t political, right? War isn’t contrary to the spirit of the Olympics, oh no. War = peace, didn’t you know?

Here’s a second problem I have with Harper’s approach: the French and English “linguistic duality” argument is fundamentally flawed as it ignores a whole bunch of Canadians who don’t identify as “English” or “French.” Way to whitewash the country’s diversity with old-school colonial labels, Stevie. No mention of Canada’s Native communities, to start, nor any mention of the many immigrant groups that have built the country. And third, all this talk of “domestic and international branding goals” is code for “making sure the whole world knows about Canada’s NEW Government and the great war we’re fighting in Afghanistan!”

We all know that the Vancouver Olympics are plagued with problems. To begin with, the activists supporting the no2010 Campaign have some damn good points to make about indigenous rights, poverty, and injustice. Check out the words of Zig Zag over at no2010:

The 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver-Whistler from February 12-27, 2010, is today a very real threat to Native peoples, the urban poor (many of whom are also Native), and the environment.

While cutting social services, healthcare, education, etc., the BC Liberal government is at the same time providing billions of dollars to construction companies & other Olympic-related industries. The capitalists are making millions, while the poor are literally dying in the urban & reservation ghettos.

The Harper Government, along with the Liberal Government of B.C., need to be paying more attention to these problems in Vancouver instead of pushing their pro-war and pro-business agenda at the Olympic Games.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now is an exceptional journalist who asks the right people the right questions. A few months ago she gave a talk at a WILPF meeting, and some wonderful person uploaded it to YouTube. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes wishing I’d been there. Here’s Part One:

And Part Two:

The wonderfully smart and sexy Rachel Maddow is getting her very own show on MSNBC. Dude, this woman has a doctorate from Oxford, has done AIDS work in prisons, and has maybe the biggest brain of any political commentator in the United States. Here she is with Keith Olbermann, another crush of mine. Swoon!

A long hiatus, to be sure. Still have a lot to say, though, so let’s get started…

There’s a really good post up at Adventures in Ethics and Science on whistleblowing at universities – check it out.

From CBC News:

Family and friends of missing aboriginal women were set to hold a rally in Edmonton on Saturday to raise awareness of the unsolved disappearances.

Organizers of the Stolen Sisters Awareness March say they’re staging the event to remind people of the grim realities some aboriginal women face.

They say far too many — in particular those who live on the streets, are drug addicts or work as prostitutes — have disappeared without their families knowing what has happened to them.

April Eve Wiberg, one of the organizers, said that over the last 20 years, more than 500 aboriginal women in Canada have been murdered or they’ve just disappeared.

Zoe Williams has a wicked* article in The Guardian today that responds to the recent report from Sweden which stated that gender equality in the household literally makes us sick.  At the same time she nicely slams the idiotic arguments that feminism causes, among other things, an increase in rape,  the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and the decline of our society. Read it.

 *By “wicked,” I mean good. They still say “wicked” in Newfoundland. I like Newfoundland.