Saturday, October 31, 2009

Between life and death (by Suzie)

Tonight, some Pagans will celebrate Samhain, "a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans." Other cultures around the world also remember ancestors and departed loved ones at this time.

I work with sarcoma patients, many of whom have metastatic disease, and sometimes it feels like we inhabit the borderlands between life and death. To capture that feeling, I wrote the following poem, which was published in "Something Close to Beautiful: Poems of Disability" by the Inglis House Poetry Workshop. It describes a CT with contrast.


Scan me.
Can you read the dis-ease?
Drink will reveal me,
the white-chalk taste
lining a crime-scene body.

In goes the needle.
Shoot the dye into my veins.
Shoot the die; I’m on a roll.
I’m in a role.
Radiate me, read me,
an illuminated book.

I’m told, “Hold your breath.”
I think, “I have been.”
In the stillness I hear the whir
of a thousand wings,
angels dancing on the point of a needle.

Shadows and spots
mark my fate
on a film, just a film
between life and death.
I can see through it;
I can see the light behind it.

Dancing With Demons

I saved this wonderful story for today because it is Halloween scary. Sadly, it was so scary that it was removed from the website. But that will not stop me from sharing it with you: – Halloween—October 31—is considered a holiday in the United States. In fact, it rivals Christmas with regard to how widely celebrated it is. Stores that sell only Halloween-related paraphernalia open up a few months before the day and close shortly after it ends. But is Halloween a holiday that Christians should be observing?

The word "holiday" means "holy day." But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is "hallow," which means "holy, consecrated and set apart for service." If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer's!

Lucifer is a part of the demonic godhead. Remember, everything God has, the devil has a counterfeit. Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the Antichrist Spirit (the false holy spirit); and the Spirit of Belial (the false son).

The pumpkins? They are symbols of the devil's titties! I added that bit, but not this:

The key word in discussing Halloween is "dedicated." It is dedicated to darkness and is an accursed season. During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed. A time-released curse is a period that has been set aside to release demonic activity and to ensnare souls in great measure.

You may ask, "Doesn't God have more power than the devil?" Yes, but He has given that power to us. If we do not walk in it, we will become the devil's prey. Witchcraft works through dirty hearts and wrong spirits.

During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

Now why did they remove something this wonderful? The article even spells out what goes on in Halloween parties:

The word "occult" means "secret." The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes. These activities include:

* Sex with demons
* Orgies between animals and humans
* Animal and human sacrifices
* Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
* Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
* Revel nights
* Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
* Release of "time-released" curses against the innocent and the ignorant.

Another abomination that goes on behind the scenes of Halloween is necromancy, or communication with the dead. Séances and contacting spirit guides are very popular on Halloween, so there is a lot of darkness lurking in the air.

Hecate talks about her long days of hexing all the candy, by the way.

The picture is not about dancing with demons, but it sorta fits very well with the medieval values of that story, don't you think?

Halloween Edition Poetry Slam Thread posted by AMC

An Afternoon Presence

The cat slowly stretches in the sun,
In the late fall afternoon,
Stands, reaches
And sharpens her claws
On a lichen covered stone,
On an unkept grave,
Of an unfamiliar family.

Then the wind flattens the grass.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Marvelous and hairy women (by Suzie)

I have pale skin and black hair, a bad combo in a culture that mocks women with “too much” body hair. I have tortured myself with hair removal because I don’t have the strength to transgress in one more way.

I’ve shaved, plucked, bleached and endured electrolysis. Now I have a little machine that pulls out hair by the roots. This pains my conscience as well as my body. By conforming, I make it that much harder for women who don’t.

Because of all this, I read with interest an article condensed from the new book "The Marvelous Hairy Girls: The Gonzales Sisters and their Worlds." Merry Wiesner-Hanks, a distinguished professor of history, writes about the daughters of Petrus Gonzales in the 1500s. He and his offspring had
a genetic abnormality now known as hypertrichosis universalis, which meant much of [their] body was covered with hair. They were not mocked or shunned but were welcomed in the courts of Europe, spending much of their lives among nobles, musicians, and artists. ...

When people looked at the Gonzales sisters, or their pictures, they saw beasts or monsters as well as young women, but this was also true when they looked at most women. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, whose ideas were still powerful in the sixteenth century, had described women as imperfect men, the result of something wrong with the conception that created them—their parents were too young or too old, or too diverse in age, or one of them was not healthy. Nature always aimed at perfection, and Aristotle termed anything less than perfect “monstrous”; a woman was thus “a deformity, but one which occurs in the ordinary course of nature.”
Echidne is covered with scales. But how do the rest of you feel about body hair?

Friday critter blogging (by Suzie)

Ginger is dressed up for Halloween. Because her ancestors came from Mexico, she might prefer to celebrate the Dia de los Muertos. I wonder if she ever thinks about her mother, her puppies and other dogs no longer in her life.

By the way, she's sitting on my new couch, which someone was going to take to the dump.

(Trick) question for the weekend (by Suzie)

For women dressing up for Halloween: Are you going as a sexy witch or a sexy animal or a sexy vampire or some other sexy something or just a woman wearing sexy stuff that she usually doesn't wear?

For men: Are you dressing like a woman because a man pretending to be a woman is so laughable? And why aren't you wearing something sexy?

(I already went to a big party where I dressed like a butterfly because I found some great wings at Goodwill. Unfortunately, I kept batting people in the head with my wings all night.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today's Article Juxtaposition

Thanks to moonbootica, who noticed these two stories on Whirlpool. First, the company got stimulus funds:

Whirlpool Corporation today announced that it is the recipient of stimulus funds as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Smart Grid Investment Grant program.

The grant of $19.3 million over a two year period - which Whirlpool will match
with its own investments - will help the company accelerate its work to
deliver to consumers smart appliances that can connect with the smart grid.

Second, Whirlpool is moving a refrigerator plant out of the U.S.:

Calling for U.S. leaders to repeal trade agreements and for citizens to buy goods made in America, current and former employees of Whirlpool rallied outside the company's Evansville factory Tuesday.

Drivers passing by on U.S. 41 honked to show support for the protestors, who stood on the highway's legal easement to not trespass on company property. Their message appeared on a number of signs, bearing the words, "Property Tax Cuts for Whirlpool = Job Loss," "Whirlpool to Welfare" and "Whirlpool Abandoned Us."

Bill Robertson, who has worked at the plant for 16 years, braved the rain that afternoon to make drivers aware of what he considers the consequences of buying products made in foreign countries. Those habits largely led to Whirlpool's decision to close its Evansville factory by the middle of next year, putting about 1,100 people out of work, Robertson said.

The company plans to stop making refrigerators there, as it has done for more than 50 years, and move that work to a plant to be built in Mexico at a cost of about $55 million.

Funny how that goes.

On Reversals

I am planning a post on othering in the context of gender relations for next week. You can get ready for some of the themes by checking how you react to this story in the news:

Hundreds of people have attended a wedding in central Somalia between a man who says he is 112 years old, and his teenage wife.

Ahmed Muhamed Dore - who already has 13 children by five wives - said he would like to have more with his new wife, Safia Abdulleh, who is 17 years old.

"Today God helped me realise my dream," Mr Dore said, after the wedding in the region of Galguduud.

The bride's family said she was "happy with her new husband".

Mr Dore said he and his bride - who is young enough to be his great-great-grand-daughter - were from the same village in Somalia and that he had waited for her to grow up to propose.

"I didn't force her, but used my experience to convince her of my love; and then we agreed to marry," the groom said.

What was your first emotional reaction to the story? And did you view it from the side of the groom (good for the old boy!) or the bride (poor thing)? Or neither?

This may not be the best possible example. Let's try another one from some time ago:

A 107-year-old Malaysian woman has said she wants to get married again, for the 23rd time, as she fears her husband wants to leave her, says a report.

When Wook Kundor married four years ago to a man 70 years her junior their wedding photos made regional media.

But now she fears her husband will not return home after completing treatment for drug addiction in Kuala Lumpur.

She told reporters she felt "lonely" without her husband, ahead of the Muslim feast at the end of Ramadan.

How did your emotional checking go there? Was it the same as with the first story?

Go Read Katha

She has a very good post on women in the labor force:

The Shriver report's central point is a truism of women's history: women's social, economic and political power is directly related to their presence in the workforce. The gains of the last forty years--in political representation, reproductive rights, education, combating violence against women--would never have happened without the steady and massive increase in the number of working women and the transformative effects of all those paychecks. Some might be tempted to spin the magic 50 percent to suggest that feminism's job is done. First it was dead because it was a failure; now it's dead because it was such a success.

Maybe too much of a success. As Reihan Salam worries in his article "The Death of Macho," "The problem of macho run amok and excessively compensated is now giving way to macho unemployed and undirected--a different but possibly just as destructive phenomenon." If 78 percent of those who have lost their jobs in this recession are men, that must mean women's gains are coming at men's expense, right? Actually, no. Women may have a bigger slice of a shrunken pie, but because the labor force is still quite gender-segregated, mostly they are not competing with men for work. The top ten jobs for women are, in order, secretary, nurse, elementary- and middle-school teacher, cashier, retail salesperson, health aide, retail supervisor, waitress, bookkeeper and receptionist. Men have lost more jobs than women in the recession because the ax has fallen more sharply in heavily male fields like construction and manufacturing than in female ones like healthcare and clerical work. As economist Barbara Bergmann wrote in an unpublished letter to the New York Times, "An important reason for the failure to reduce the gap between women's and men's average wages is that little progress has been made in reducing gender segregation in jobs that do not require a college degree." Interestingly, according to the Wall Street Journal, on the professional end of the workforce, where men and women are more likely to have the same or similar jobs, as many women as men have been laid off.

Katha is right about the extent of gender segregation* at work in occupations which don't require graduate degrees. It is greater than similar segregation measures between any ethnic groups you care to mention. In short, women are concentrated in traditionally female occupations, men in traditionally male occupations. The latter pay better but are currently experiencing greater job losses. That work is so segregated by gender is part of the reason why requiring equal pay for equal pay doesn't really close the gender gap in earnings that much.

But what I really wanted to write about is the beginning of the above quote: How women's labor market participation directly correlates with women's political and economic power.

It does, and some of the reasons are fairly obvious. For example, having a paycheck gives one more say in the family and more respect in those societies where women's unpaid labor is invisible or taken for granted, and having economic resources means that women can leave dysfunctional marriages or contribute towards a political cause or otherwise affect their own lives more.

But there are other ways in which this correlation might work. Men and women working in the same office or factory makes them share experiences, grievances and goals. A traditional society offers few general (as opposed to intra-family) opportunities for this and may even juxtapose the interests of men and women. Work and schools are places where the sexes can meet as individuals. Well, in an ideal situation.

Finally, the presence of women in the labor market should mean that firms and the wider society can no longer ignore the traditional work women have done but must adjust work so that this work, too, gets performed. This is not quite taking place in the United States. More pressure is needed.
*This segregation may or may not be voluntary. That depends on how one views the reasons that people have for ending up in a certain job category. Note also that gender segregation in jobs does not, in general, mean that women are physically as segregated from men. Men might work in the same office or factory, just not under the same occupational title.

The House Health Reform Proposal

Here it is. It includes a public option:

Paving the way for a crucial vote on healthcare legislation in the next two weeks, the compromise unveiled by House Democratic leaders would create a nationwide government-run insurance plan but omit what many liberals consider the key to cost control.

According to senior lawmakers and aides, the so-called public option in the new compromise would not dictate what the plan can pay hospitals, doctors and other providers. Instead, the federal government would have to negotiate rates with providers, much as private insurers do.

Pelosi and her lieutenants made that concession in hopes of winning over conservative Democrats. Many of those lawmakers fear that payments based on lower Medicare rates -- the formula Pelosi originally supported -- would not be enough to sustain providers in rural areas.

Senior Democrats said that the concession represented real progress.

"Most of you all thought the public option was dead," said Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and a Pelosi ally. "Rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated."

The bit about the abortion coverage will be fought over endlessly as we all know:

The House bill also will include a complex mechanism for limiting the use of taxpayer subsidies for abortion services: Insurance companies that offer abortion coverage would be required to segregate funds received from consumers from subsidies provided by the federal government.

That provision has come under fire from many lawmakers who are opposed to abortion rights, and Democratic leaders continue to work on ways to resolve the issue, according to one senior aide who requested anonymity when discussing the negotiations.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



Rape and robbery charges were filed this afternoon against four suspects in the gang rape of a 15-year-old Bay Area student who struggled against her attackers as more than a dozen people passed by but did nothing.

The girl was repeatedly raped, beaten and eventually robbed Saturday night at Richmond High School after she left a homecoming dance, according to police. The crime has sparked outrage and focused national attention on Richmond, a city of 104,000 northeast of San Francisco. City of Richmond

Manuel Ortega, 19, was charged with assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and rape with a foreign object while acting in concert, said Dara Cashman, Contra Costa County senior deputy district attorney.

She said three minors were also charged but declined to release their names. Two of them, 15 and 17, were charged with rape with a foreign object while acting in concert. A 16-year-old was charged with robbery and rape by a foreign object while acting in concert, Cashman said.

All four suspects were also charged with special enhancements that could result in life sentences if they are convicted, according to Cashman.

In fact, the people did not just pass by and do nothing. Some of them joined in the fun:

As hundreds of students gathered in the school gym, outside in a dimly lit alley where the victim was allegedly raped, police say witnesses took photos. Others laughed.

"As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated," Lt. Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police Department told CNN.

That quote comes from a piece which speculates about why it took so long for someone to call the police. The Kitty Genovese effect was mentioned and so was the idea that teenagers have brains like crocodiles might: incapable of making judgments or feeling empathy for the victim. What wasn't mentioned at all is whether these teenagers were male or female. Neither does the piece discuss the misogyny evident in all this or what has gone wrong in a society where this happens.

P.S. It was a female student who called the police.

Music For Tonight

In Peshawar

Over a hundred people have died in car bombings which coincide with Hillary Clinton's visit to Pakistan. Most of the dead are women and children, and though this is seen as a horrible attack on innocent bystanders it is important to remember that from the militants' point of view it is not at all so:

A representative of a shopkeepers association in the area in Peshawar said he and others had received threats from militants to ban women from shopping in the market.

The car bomb exploded between two narrow lanes of Meena Bazaar and Kochi Bazaar, an area frequented by women. Most of the bodies were charred and mutilated beyond recognition, making it difficult to identify the victims and estimate their number.

A senior minister, Bashir Bilour, said Tuesday night that the death toll, which had climbed through the day as the extent of the carnage emerged, had risen to 101. According to witnesses, as many as three clusters of shops on narrow lanes and passageways collapsed in the explosion, and fires raged out of control.

Hours afterward, people were still trying to dig bodies and survivors out of the rubble, witnesses said, and white smoke wreathed the wrecked buildings. Sahibzada Anees, the deputy coordination officer in Peshawar, said most of the dead were women and children, adding that some of the wounded were in critical condition.

I have nothing more to say.

More On Women And Health Insurance

That most health insurance in the United States is tied to employment is known to have several problems. For instance, this makes it harder for people to become entrepreneurs, even if they have great ideas, because entrepreneurs must get their insurance from that individual insurance market at a higher price. It is also harder to change jobs in general if the new firm you are considering doesn't offer the same benefits as your current employer.

But here's how this might affect women over and above the general effect:

First, if those individual insurance policies discriminate against women (see post below) then starting your own firm is even more expensive for women than it is for men.

Second, the fact that family health insurance is tied to full-time work might have odd repercussions. Think about a couple with a baby. They want to cut their hours of work to spend more time with the new arrival. But if each of them cuts the hours by the same amount they might be left without health coverage for the family! So the likely outcome is that only one of them will cut those hours and that the one doing it is the one with the lower earnings etc..

That is usually the woman, and the long-run consequences of that are something I have written about many times before (lower future earnings, more difficulty in getting promotions later on, lower retirement income).

The Egg Americans

Colorado is going to try to have them, again:

A version of the anti-abortion initiative soundly defeated by Colorado voters in 2008 is making its way to the 2010 ballot, this time reworked as an "egg-as-a-person" initiative.

This new version would move the legal definition of a person further back into the reproductive cycle, granting cells the full spectrum of citizen rights. Opposition groups, including Colorado genetic and fertilization researchers, say the law would have spiraling consequences, that it would put women at risk and freeze current work in medicine and reproduction.


Colorado Right to Life and Personhood USA, the groups behind proposed Initiative 25, are undeterred by the fact that Coloradans voted against the test-run amendment last year by a margin of three to one. The new amendment is even farther reaching, moving the initial marker for the beginning of life from "fertilization" to "the beginning of the biological development of a human being."

Personhood Colorado Director and the initiative proponent Gualberto Garcia Jones told The Colorado Independent that the change was made "to be more comprehensive in our definition of a person" and was not done to make it more appealing to voters.

"It's intended to account for human beings who may be created through asexual reproduction in laboratories and used as raw material for research, organs, or stem cells. Fertilization would not have properly applied to asexually reproduced humans, but even asexually reproduced human beings have a definite biological beginning," Jones explained.

I keep thinking of that old ad: "Let Go Of My Eggo." Then I try to imagine all the laws that would have to be amended to treat Egg Americans right. Surely there would have to be some sort of surveillance of women's wombs to know if Egg Americans are threatened? What if a woman drinks in a bar? She might, just might, be giving alcohol to a minor. How can we know if we don't do a pregnancy check at the door?

And then all those women who work in adult environments might be guilty of taking a minor to places where they are not allowed to be. Every miscarriage would lead to a criminal investigation.

It's the old problem: We would suspect that there are people inside some people but not inside other people. These babushka dolls are not going to have men as the outermost layer and their rights will not be reduced but all fertile-age women just might be carrying an egg American inside them! It's not possible to enforce the rights of Egg Americans without making women into containers.

That is the odd aspect of the pro-birth debates: They argue for more rights for Egg Americans and therefore by necessity less rights for their containers. Yet none of this seems to affect the rights of men at all. That may be why I find it so distasteful to watch two men debate abortion on television or to read the opinions of Mr. Something-Or-Other (coughSaletancough) as THE expert on abortion. He has nothing at risk there, you know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Hoax?

That was my first thought when I read through this post (via Eschaton):

I just received an email (from this guy's PR outfit) with the subject line:

President Obama's Attacks on Free Speech Opposed by Most Americans, Zogby/O'Leary Poll Finds

Here's one of the "questions" asked in the poll, tailor-made for Fox News Channel:

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?

This would serve as an excellent example of biased polling if it were true. Is it from an actual poll? I have no idea, but it is listed in this file (which is chock full of bad polling examples). Now why would Zogby be involved in something which would kill its reputation forevermore?

In any case, the O'Leary reference is to Brad O'Leary, a right-wing consultant who specializes in Obama bashing.

Why Women Need The Public Option In Health Care

Here are the reasons:

1. Individual health insurance policies are allowed to discriminate against women in many states in the sense that women pay more for identical policies (this is called gender rating). Two extreme examples: a 25-year old woman can be charged as much as 84% more than a 25-year old man for a policy which does NOT cover maternity care, and a 40-year old woman who does not smoke can be charged more for an identical policy than a 40-year old man who smokes. And maternity care is rarely covered.

These are the markets in which we are supposed to seek coverage today if we are not qualified to be covered under an employer group plan.

2. What about those group plans? They can charge different average premia based on the number of women firms hire, provided that the states have not made that practice illegal. Thus, firms in traditionally female dominated fields may be made to pay more for the very same package of health insurance than firms in a traditionally male dominated field.

What is going on here? The dry statistical explanation for gender rating is that women consume more health care than men, as a group, until a fairly advanced age, and because it is not possible to tell which women the high consumers are, all women are charged more. (After a certain age men's consumption increases and even exceeds women's average use levels. But soon after that point Medicare takes over and Medicare does not practice gender rating! Interesting, eh?)

Looked at in another way, every individual woman is sorta "punished" for women's higher medical care use, because the statistics assume that she is going to have the average use pattern of other women like her.
Link via Southern Beale

On Ovens

I have been reading pro-birth sentiments about women. Women who have abortions were too lazy to use birth control, too weak to say no and too vain to carry the pregnancy to birth. A baby is the proper punishment for all these ethical failings! Men don't appear in those screeds at all, except as the saviors of unborn babies. I guess women get pregnant all on their own, inbetween botox treatments and trips to the mall, and they abort a pregnancy because it is inconvenient. "Inconvenient" is a word that crops up a lot.

But mostly the screeds are about life beginning at conception (what about all those fertilized cells in freezers?) and about the woman being a sort of oven which is to bake the babies until they are nicely done. Once the babies are out of the oven they are forgotten by the pro-birthers. But the ovens are not!

It really is all about who controls the ovens and who controls reproduction.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On Free Snacks

This blog has none, sadly. But some time ago Senator Landrieu from Louisiana told us that there is no free lunch in health care, either:

Asked specifically about polling data showing the public option with strong national support, the conservative Democrat added, "I think that when people hear 'public option,' they hear 'free health care.' Everybody wants free health care. Everybody wants health care they don't have to pay for. The problem is that we as government and business have to pick up the tab, and as individuals. So I'm not at all surprised that the public option has been sold as free health care. But there is no free lunch."

It is of course true that there is no free lunch. Resources are spent to make that salad and that omelet and those resources are not then available for other uses. The same basic arguments apply to health care.

Where Landrieu goes wrong is in her assumption that we don't already grapple with the same dilemma. When an uninsured person goes to the ER, who pays for that visit? Take a few guesses and you will probably be right on all of them. Some of the costs will be passed over to the government, some to the charges insured patients pay.

On The Public Option

I have not written much about the public option in the health care reform debate, mostly because discussing a formless ghost is pretty pointless, and a formless ghost is what the public option has been so far. Until we know who is allowed to join it and under what conditions we can't really tell what its effects would be on access or the costs of health care or the general competition in health insurance markets.

Now Harry Reid has brought out a Senate version which includes a public option with a right for individual states to opt out of it. I'm not sure how that would work in detail and those details do matter. But I can already imagine the pressure the individual insurance industry would put on states to opt out. It also looks to me as if the states most likely to opt out right now are the ones with the most uninsured, and that would be pretty bad. On the other hand, no state has opted out of Medicaid, so perhaps no state would ultimately opt out of the public option, either.

Today's Silly Thought

I like broccoli. It's like a cabbage with a college degree.

Gah. Mark Twain said it first about cauliflowers.

Pussy, Pussy, Come here!

It is not a cat I'm calling but Pussy Galore. A column on marital infidelity among athletes and sports commentators defines the enemy as Pussy Galore, and it would be very odd if those big burly men were waging a war on kittens. So it's probably the vagina with its frightening appendices that is the danger of he-men everywhere. It causes them to lose their jobs, their sports and their families, And All That Must Stop:

There are moments in our history when common sense forces us to change the rules in deference to a unique, unprecedented force of nature.

In the aftermath of ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips' sordid affair with Monica Lewinsky II, we can no longer deny the inadequacies of America's current relationship rules as they pertain to the battle against Pussy Galore.

It's time to change the rules of the game.

There's been too much carnage. She shredded Rick Pitino's reputation. She pushed Josh Hamilton off the wagon. She sweet-talked Charles Barkley into driving drunk. She hoodwinked Dirk Nowitzki into falling in love with a fugitive.

And now a 22-year-old slump-buster has apparently cost Steve Phillips his marriage and his credibility to analyze baseball.

It's not right. A little off-the-books nookie should not infringe on man's ability to discuss bats and balls in October.

Enough is enough. It's time we had an adult conversation about Ms. Galore and her ability to ruin lives, careers and reputations. We have given her this power and it's obvious she's abusing it.

If we don't soon take action, she threatens to bring down our democracy and wreck the overtime budget of ESPN's human resources department.

Bam! Pow! Take that, you horrible pussy.

I love this so much that I want to do a reversal, about Dick Peter, that horrible enemy of all womankind and all the havoc he has created. But the writer of that piece would never get it. In his world the vaginas walk on two feet while gunning for men in a war of destruction. Poor penises just rise and fall on their own accord, innocently.

So what is the solution to the pussy war? To allow for male infidelity, naturally:

Yes, I said it. It's time for change we can really believe in, a relaxing of sexual monogamy laws for men. Our antiquated system nearly cost us a president. And now, just days before Halloween and in the middle of a terrific American League Championship Series, it has cost us John Kruk's wingman.


Let's redefine marriage by putting sex in its proper place. Reproduction should remain sacred between a married man and woman. Sex should be enjoyed between consenting, mature adults.

I say a moderately famous man earning between $250K and $500K a year should be allowed a mistress he can see weekly, one week-long, $8,000 vacation he can take with his mistress and five strip club nights with his boys a year.

A moderately famous man earning between $500K and $1 million a year should be allowed a mistress he can see weekly and every other weekend, a 10-day, $15,000 vacation with his mistress, a $1,500-a-month, fully-furnished apartment for his mistress and seven strip club nights with his boys.

Any man earning more than $1 million a year should come and go as he damn well pleases.

How sweet to have an income-gradient on the number of Pussy Galores a man can have! It could be because they all have to be paid for.

Indeed, the whole column is so sweet and delicious! I rarely come across an explicit contemporary view of the world where women have no say over anything while the success of men greatly matters! Indeed, the guy compares us to steaks! Steaks:

Man is most happy when he is free to experience her pleasure in her varied forms, textures and styles of dress.

I like steak. Capital Grille is my favorite steakhouse. I could eat at Capital Grille seven nights a week. But, especially when I'm traveling, I like to experience different steakhouses. My occasional trips to Shula's, Morton's, Ruth's Chris and Smith and Wollensky in no way infringe upon my undying love and support of Capital Grille. In fact, shortly after I've digested my meal at a different steakhouse, I'm reminded just how much I love Cap Grille.

Consequently, if a man can afford a no-disease, no-pregnancy occasional night on the town without it affecting his financial and lovemaking responsibilities at home, as mature adults we must reach the point where we can allow this without breaking up the family or running a man from political office/off the set of a popular TV show.

I don't want to be a steak. Perhaps boiled eyeballs of a cod?

My fingers itch so hard to reverse all this, because such a reversal would not only treat all men as dicks but also tell married men that it's up to other women or some weird public opinion to decide whether their wives can be unfaithful and how many pool boys or gigolos they can have. But it really would be a waste of my time.

So just enjoy the piece while reversing it in your mind.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

PC World on the Pepsi Amp App (by Liz)

As you probably know, I am neither as brave nor as wise, as our goddess Echidne. While she boldly explores the comment sections online, I avoid them at all costs. After all, I can hardly handle the stories themselves. In conducting research for Hello Ladies, I came across a troublesome article in PC World magazine.

But first some background: Recently, Pepsi released an iPhone app for its energy drink Amp called “Before You Score." The app was designed to help men "score" by providing pick up lines and other useful tidbits for 24 different types of women. You know, those categories we all fall into: business woman, tree hugger, married, twins. And, the app encouraged men to brag about their scores using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. It prodded them to share details. Following an uproar on blogs and Twitter, the company eventually pulled the app.

JR Raphael, PC World writer, said in an article entitled, "Sex and Smartphones: 5 Apps Edgier Than Pepsi's 'Amp Up'," the app was pulled when people complained of "stereotyping and sexism." He's wrong. It wasn't just the stereotyping --it was the encouraging men to brag about their conquests. That's more than sexist. That's irresponsible and potentially dangerous in a rape culture.

Then he goes on to write, "The objections to Pepsi's app included claims that it objectified women and turned sex into a game. The people lodging these complaints, I have to assume, have never picked up a copy of Men's Health or Cosmo (or watched a single movie made since 1967)." So is he saying that because women have been objectified for years, we shouldn't get upset at any new offense? I believe he is.

Raphael implies, by comparing the Amp app to other apps that remind men when their girlfriends are menstruating or that provide texts to help men "chat with the hottie whose number you got," that women are just humorless and opposed to anything sexual. But Raphael is comparing merely stupid apps with a potentially dangerous app. Reminding men to send email to their dates is very different than telling men to "raise your expectations" with regards to scoring. According to his byline, Raphael "swims in satire." I failed to get the humor in his post. But, oh I forgot, I am humorless.

To be fair to PC World, they ran another piece on the Pepsi app. This one by David Coursey, "Pepsi Removes "Amp Up" iPhone App, Humanity Rejoices," was encouraging. Coursey says, "Complaining about this application isn't just "political correctness," it's wanting to live in a world where men and women are treated equally and with respect." And Coursey is not being sarcastic.