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Archive for March, 2008

Posted by pocochina on March 31, 2008

I’ve been pretty happy to be an all-Clinton-all-the-time blogger (BECAUSE I LOVE HER and SO SHOULD YOU) but I am going to follow her strong fucking lead and talk about a super important issue.  Via Kate at Shakesville, this horrifying story about a 14 year old child who suffered a stillbirth/miscarriage on a plane on her way home from a school field trip.  (Trigger warning on the link and the rest of the post, this story’s important but incredibly disturbing.)

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Posted by pocochina on March 27, 2008

I know I’ve had this talk about how it’s none of my business where (or if) Sen. Obama prays on Sunday (or Saturday or Friday) mornings.  And how the Rev. Dr. and I tend to agree on things that need to change in US public policy.  I kind of never wanted to think about him again in the context of the election.  (I bet I’d learn an incredible amount from his books, but since I have every reason to think Obama isn’t trying to force me to live by his faith, I kind of didn’t want to see him in the news until after the convention/general.)

And then I log onto my beloved clinton_2008and I see this, and I track it back to this. (Cause unlike some people, I’d rather track stuff down and even then admit that the source could be imperfect, but that’s just me, using ethical standards to determine what I write.  Jerk bloggers who cite the Drudge Report as a sole source when attacking a candidate, I’m looking at you.)  I wasn’t going to talk about it, because I know some Republican operative dug this up so that we’d beat each other up over it, but now it’s out there, and as the most important Italian-American on this LJ, I feel ethically obligated to weigh in.

I started thinking about this because I needed to do a privilege check on myself.  See, I heard about this, and I was a little annoyed, and much more amused.  I don’t agree with some of the other members that this is racism, per se, because racism is prejudice+power.  If I were the victim of systemic social bias based on my ethnic identity, I wouldn’t have been able to laugh.  I also am sure that there is a great deal of scholarship out there which deals with comparisons of the social inequalities of the ancient Roman world, and the power structures we work in today.

And then he went on with the “garlic noses” comment.  As I said in the clinton_2008 thread, this is an ethnic slur based on two things (1) that ethnic Italians are often made fun of for the size and shape of our noses and (2) that garlic, which has a strong odor, is a common ingredient in traditional Italian cooking.  So Wright said he was going to talk about social injustice in comparative historical frameworks, and then in the next sentence limited it to “HEY GREAZEBALL, YOU SMELL AND I HATE YOUR FACE.”  By doing so, he not only diminished the credibility of the argument itself, but also ceded a solid amount of moral credibility by using an ethnic stereotype.

It’s also problematic because it was published at the end of 2007, when Wright was either on the Obama campaign, or would shortly be seated in the position he held until two weeks ago.  At the time, Obama was selling himself as the non-divisive, bipartisan, unity-and-respect candidate.  And the Republican front-runner was Mayor Guiliani.  I have no love for Mayor Guiliani.  I never drank the oh-he’s-from-NY-he’s-a-moderate kool-aid.  He deserved to be attacked on his gleeful abuses of executive power, his unquestioning embrace of President Bush, his policies which are purposefully especially unjust towards people of color.  But he would not have deserved to be attacked on his ethnicity.

And though Giuliani might not have given a crap, there are older Italian-Americans who do remember suffering discrimination because of our stinky breath and ugly noses and heathen Catholic ways.  There’s a long and ugly history between African-Americans and Italian-Americans, and to be perfectly honest, Italian-Americans enjoy white privilege in American society because we are more white than African-Americans.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.  The resentment is real, and while it is justified, the use of ethnic slurs is not.

And as a historical quibble, pedantic but interesting, he shouldn’t have mentioned relationships between the Italians and the Galileans.  IIRC, (maxima cum laude National Latin Scholar, BITCHEZ) people who lived in the geographic area including Rome, which we now call Italy, were a mix of ethnic groups:  Etruscans, Germanic tribes, people from North Africa and the Middle East.  Some of these people were Roman citizens – those with power, to whom he compares white America – but most of them weren’t.  The concept of “Italian” didn’t exist until relatively recently.  So he should have said the Romans and the Galileans if he were going to speak of the ethnic groups that existed at the time.  If, as a rhetorical tool to create modernity and immediacy, he were going to use the modern geographic and ethnic correlaries, rough as they are, he should have said the Italians and the Jews.  Given his pattern of insensitivity to anti-Semitism* this omission is a little troubling.

Of course, in the history of bias in this country, this is not even a drop in the ocean, and insofar as any of this actually matters, well, there go the swing voters.  Wheeeeee!

*I’m only going to go so far as insensitivity, but I do see and respect the reasons why some people feel it goes farther.

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Posted by pocochina on March 26, 2008

A truck full of explosives sat, for a full three weeks, two blocks from the U.S. Capitol building.

Three weeks.

Two blocks from the Capitol.

And somehow we’re not calling this terrorism.

And for extra media bias bullshit:

Court records show Gorbey is a convicted felon and has been in and out of prison since 1991 for convictions on larceny, domestic violence and illegal gun and drug charges.

Since 1991.  Combined with “in and out” and the list of other charges, this means that in less than 17 years, he terrorized an intimate partner, went through the trial process, went to jail, and got back out again.

Perhaps this will be what teaches us that domestic violence is actual violence committed by violent people towards actual human beings, and we should start taking it seriously.

And at the time, he either had a gun or was able to acquire one afterwards.

And yet this is not terrorism, it is not a moment to scream from the rooftops about our shameful law enforcement priorities.

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they just keep comin’

Posted by pocochina on March 25, 2008

Today’s All-High Badass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker, in a surprise upset* is Jeff Fecke!

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Posted in all-high badass dick-swingin' motherfuckers, clinton, feminism, idiots, obama, politics | Leave a Comment »

a twofer!

Posted by pocochina on March 23, 2008

This weekend’s All-High Badass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker:  MARK HALPERIN! Mark, your momma must be so proud.

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thoughts on The Speech in the form of a letter

Posted by pocochina on March 22, 2008

Senator Obama,

Like so many Americans, I was moved – in fact, emotionally shocked – by your speech this week.  I’ve already had an imaginary word with Rev. Wright during Pastorgate 2008, but well, he’s not asking me to hire him for a job next month, and you are.  So, Senator, we need to talk.

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in which i blow my gasket over something relatively minor

Posted by pocochina on March 20, 2008

I don’t know where this idiot meme got started, (maybe here) but I want to do a Logic Check.

Ezra the All-High Badass Dick-Swingin’ Motherfucker* Says:

….Family and Medical Leave Act, another product of the Dodd-Kennedy duo which Clinton takes credit for, had nothing to do with her.

Nothing to do with her!  Them’s fightin’ words!  Silly Hillary, making things up as usual!

Her site talks abut her experience “Helping to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act,”

Helping?  If you think “helping” is the same as “taking credit,” one (or more) of those words does not mean what you think it means.  “Helping” implies an ancillary part of a group effort, in fact, in context, it’s the exact opposite of “taking credit,” which implies leadership or sole responsibility.  Helping?!  Why, you’d think from that regal language that Queen Hillary Spaketh, and lo, it was so!  Where does she get off?  Or, you’d think that maybe she was part of a huge, concerted effort on an important issue that affected the entire fucking country.

but her newly released records show that she never held a meeting or hearing on the bill.

And, as we all know, everything she ever did in six decades was contained in a day planner which spans eight years.  She sprang from the head of Zeus as a full-grown, headband-wearin’ First Lady!  It’s almost like magic!  And you know what else, I like HRC and I didn’t read through the whole fucking thing.  So points for that.

And given that Bill Clinton signed the FMLA 10 days after he entered office, it’s a bit hard to see what role she could have played.

I am going to use my wild, active imagination here, and my KILLER FUCKING RESEARCH SKILLZ, and come up with a theory.  How in God’s name could a prominent Democrat, someone who was twice named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, who sat on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, and who worked on the Committee of Women in the Profession of some tiny little unknown organization (by which I mean the American Bar Association, which is KIND OF A BIG DEAL) have anything to do with the Family and Medical Leave Act?  I’m RACKING MY GODDAMN BRAIN.  No way she could have met with committees, or provided studies, or worked with representatives and senators from Arkansas or neighboring southern states to try to convince them to vote for it.  I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING.  AND I GAVE IT LIKE A WHOLE MINUTE AND A HALF.  She must be a lying-ass motherfucker.

I’m not saying she did any of those things.  I don’t know, I wasn’t there, I was busy reading about the Sweet Valley Twins or some shit.**  But it’s not “hard to see” how she would have been involved, unless you assume that the only thing she ever did was be the First Lady, which is not true.   It makes perfect fucking sense that she would have been involved.  So to imply that she’s a random-ass liar, based just on her day planner from the time of the Clinton Administration, is to directly ignore all the work in her life from before that time period.  It’s a little thing, really, in the scope of all the crap that gets thrown at Senator Clinton, but it’s emblematic of the desire so many people seem to have, which is to take everything she says or does and twist it into a self-aggrandizing lie.  I’m all for skepticism when it comes to elected officials, but jumping straight to accusations of lies and credit-stealing, admittedly based on the entries in ten days of a fucking day planner, isn’t skepticism, it’s silliness.

*Yes, I’m aware that he’s far from the worst.   But it caught my eye and pissed me off.

**Shut up, I was in first grade.  I stole it from my cousins because I wanted a chapter book for myself.

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Who Institutionalizes Sexism? Man with Two Daughters Edition

Posted by pocochina on March 19, 2008

This makes me want to fucking gag.  I don’t even know what else to say about it, except that I am terrified by a father to whom it needs to be explained that the confirmation of an anti-woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is not politically expedient.   This is a snapshot of a removed, elitist, and – dare I say it?  I dare!  I dare! – ivory fucking tower of law approach to those who, with lifetime appointments, are the last defenders of our Constitution.

Such a detached, cold, rationalized, and deeply wrong assessment of the situation reminds me of some of the professors around here that have been out of practice and in their (FUCKING FABULOUS, BTW) offices for a while.  We spend so much time thinking about how far this precedent extends and where the potential analogies will lead, and that’s important, but some of the truly great theorists forget that at some point, you can’t keep babbling about How The Logical Outcome Is Always The End of Civilization* because out there in the system, some poor schmuck is waiting for a decision.  Those who make the system must not take for granted that they are above the system.  (See:  Spitzer, Eliot; Nixon, Richard)  I love academia.  I love professors, I love learning, I love going to class, I even love the 1200 page tome of international jurisdiction that’s open underneath my elbows right now.  But so help me God, I hope I never forget that the law impacts people’s lives – that in a county such as ours, we still grant the law the power to end people’s lives.  While that which is politically expedient must sometimes be the priority over ritual suicide by principle, there is also a time and a place for principle to come first, and the composition of the High Court is unequivocally within that time and place.

*We have this conversation once a week.   All things considered, I’m Little Mary Fucking Sunshine.

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I Am Hillary Clinton

Posted by pocochina on March 17, 2008

This campaign, thought up by the inimitable Red Queen, is a public expression of the outrage that many of us feel at the hatred directed at Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I, as both a Hillary Clinton supporter, and as a person who realizes that these attacks are not just about Hillary but about me, am taking this moment to stand and say that I am Hillary Clinton.

When Senator Obama attempts to diminish legitimate criticism of him by a strong and well respected opponent by saying that she “periodically feels down,” this is not just an unconscionable slur towards Senator Clinton, but it is a reminder to me that if I speak up for myself , I will not be taken seriously. Instead, I will be trivialized, humiliated, defined by a simple and healthy process of my body which has nothing to do with the occasion at hand except that I am a woman, and therefore, what I say should be accorded no merit.

When Senator Obama downplays a disagreement from a political opponent as saying that “the claws come out,” he is actively and carefully choosing language which casts that disagreement as less valid because it comes from Senator Clinton.

When Senator Obama attempts to discredit Senator Clinton by saying “I don’t know which Clinton I’m running against,” while sitting on stage two feet away from Senator Clinton, it is not just a willful mischaracterization of her campaign, but it is a clear statement to me that because I am a woman, my marital status will always define me to some people.  No matter how important my job, no matter how well-respected I am, what my husband says will still be more important than what I say, and if I do not have a husband, I will be incomplete.

When Senator Obama derides the eight years of political and diplomatic service First Lady Hillary Clinton gave to this country as “tea parties with ambassadors,” he is personally benefiting from a patriarchal system which only values work done by men, and grants the value of work done by women to men, and because I am not a man, he is saying that whatever work I do, its value belongs to someone else.

When Senator Obama asserts that Clinton voters may vote for him, but his supporters will not support her, this is not just an attack on the candidate I support, but an outright assumption that even in the face of such statements against me, I will hand over my support unquestioningly.

When voters and media outlets willfully ignore this pattern of misogyny in order to characterize the Obama campaign “clean” or “positive,” they are actively asserting that the sexism directed at Senator Clinton, and at all of us who do not live our lives as masculine men in male bodies, is acceptable and should be rewarded.  Active hatred directed at me is acceptable and deserving of the most powerful office in the country; perhaps in the world.

When Senator Clinton is accused of “pimping out” her own daughter, because an adult Chelsea Clinton has decided to campaign for her mother, it is not just a vile attack on Senator Clinton, but an active attempt to cheapen the relationship between mothers and daughters.  It implies that when I help my mother because I believe in and care about her, she is a madam and I am a whore.

When Senator Clinton is criticized as “negative,” or “ambitious,” or any of the other traits necessarily shared by all politicians, it is a reminder that should I ever achieve success, the qualities necessary for that success will be used to discredit me.

When Senator Clinton is singled out for unpopular or difficult positions held by both candidates, it is not only a distortion of the political facts, but it is also an unquestioned acceptance and perpetuation of the cultural maxim that says “a woman must be twice as good to receive half as much credit as a man.”  It is a reminder that no matter what I do, I will not be good enough.

When political pundits and bloggers blame or project the shortcomings and hypocrisies of the Obama campaign onto the Clinton campaign, they are not only grossly mischaracterizing the facts of the primary thus far, but they are telling me that I must not only atone for my own sins, but for someone else’s.

When those political inconsistencies which benefit Senator Clinton are denounced constantly as undemocratic, but those political inconsistencies which benefit Senator Obama are praised as unproblematic traditional aspects of our system, it is a reminder to me that because I am a woman, I will be crucified for someone else’s wrongdoing, because when well-liked men make poor choices, we must have a scapegoat, and I am less important and can be sacrificed.

I will not be shamed or frightened by these tactics.  I support Senator Clinton.  I stand behind her with ferocity and pride.

I am Hillary Clinton.

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Irish-Americans for Hillary

Posted by pocochina on March 17, 2008

So it’s all-Hill, all the time around here.  I have the obligatory Spitzer post in the works (of course now that I’ve said that I’m sure I’ll accidentally delete it somehow) but the primary keeps catching my attention.  In this case, it’s the Irish-Americans for Hillary campaign on the website.  It’s politically relevant, both in that it sheds light on international political activities of HRC when she was the First Lady and in sordid horserace terms, but Northern Ireland is also personal for me.

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