Friday, August 31, 2007

Circus break (and elephant lesbianism)

CUUUUUUUUTE story about how this female elephant in India ran away from the circus with this boy elephant after he broke into her holding pen. It's sorta bittersweet because this other girl elephant that was left behind is extremely sad. I also hope the elephant was not coerced into leaving. I want to believe this is simply a story of true love.

I know I'm PMS'ing, but this story makes me all emotional. Seriously.

100 Most Powerful Women

Forbes released it's list of 100 Most Powerful Women. The top: the Chancellor of Germany. The bottom: the President of Liberia.

I will spare you, dear reader, my rant about hemispheric domination and the western world's biased concept of power. I will also avoid telling you how even the most powerful women on this list still suffer from (and participate in) a worldwide system of patriarchy that works to devalue what power women possess and aim to achieve; knowing that if I were to discuss any of those things, this list from Forbes would be rendered void and patronizing. I will not bore you with any of those things and just give you a video instead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail.

10/29/07 - Here's another angle to this story. It's a sucky one.

From the New York Times
Published: August 30, 2007
photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

JAMARCUS MARSHALL, a 17-year-old high school sophomore in Mansfield, La., believes that no one should be able to tell him how low to wear his jeans. “It’s up to the person who’s wearing the pants,” he said.

The reaction reminds some of the outrage engendered by zoot suit styles during the 1940s. Mr. Marshall’s sagging pants, a style popularized in the early 1990s by hip-hop artists, are becoming a criminal offense in a growing number of communities, including his own.

Starting in Louisiana, an intensifying push by lawmakers has determined pants worn low enough to expose underwear poses a threat to the public, and they have enacted indecency ordinances to stop it.

Since June 11, sagging pants have been against the law in Delcambre, La., a town of 2,231 that is 80 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The style carries a fine of as much as $500 or up to a six-month sentence. “We used to wear long hair, but I don’t think our trends were ever as bad as sagging,” said Mayor Carol Broussard.

An ordinance in Mansfield, a town of 5,496 near Shreveport, subjects offenders to a fine (as much as $150 plus court costs) or jail time (up to 15 days). Police Chief Don English said the law, which takes effect Sept. 15, will set a good civic image.

Behind the indecency laws may be the real issue — the hip-hop style itself, which critics say is worn as a badge of delinquency, with its distinctive walk conveying thuggish swagger and a disrespect for authority. Also at work is the larger issue of freedom of expression and the questions raised when fashion moves from being merely objectionable to illegal.

Sagging began in prison, where oversized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and their use as weapons. The style spread through rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world.

Efforts to outlaw sagging in Virginia and statewide in Louisiana in 2004, failed, usually when opponents invoked a right to self-expression. But the latest legislative efforts have taken a different tack, drawing on indecency laws, and their success is inspiring lawmakers in other states.

In the West Ward of Trenton, Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is drafting an ordinance to fine or enforce community service in response to what she sees as the problem of exposing private parts in public.

“It’s a fad like hot pants; however, I think it crosses the line when a person shows their backside,” Ms. Lartigue said. “You can’t legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has been steadfast in its opposition to dress restrictions. Debbie Seagraves, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Georgia said, “I don’t see any way that something constitutional could be crafted when the intention is to single out and label one style of dress that originated with the black youth culture, as an unacceptable form of expression.”

School districts have become more aggressive in enforcing dress bans, as the courts have given them greater latitude. Restrictions have been devised for jeans, miniskirts, long hair, piercing, logos with drug references and gang-affiliated clothing including colors, hats and jewelry.

Dress codes are showing up in unexpected places. The National Basketball Association now stipulates that no sports apparel, sunglasses, headgear, exposed chains or medallions may be worn at league-sponsored events. After experiencing a brawl that spilled into the stands and generated publicity headaches, the league sought to enforce a business-casual dress code, saying that hip-hop clothing projected an image that alienated middle-class audiences.

According to Andrew Bolton, the curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, fashions tend to be decried when they “challenge the conservative morality of a society.”

Not since the zoot suit has a style been greeted with such strong disapproval. The exaggerated boxy long coat and tight-cuffed pants, started in the 1930s, was the emblematic style of a subculture of young urban minorities. It was viewed as unpatriotic and flouted a fabric conservation order during World War II. The clothing was at the center of what were called Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles, racially motivated beatings of Hispanic youths by sailors. The youths were stripped of their garments, which were burned in the street.

Following a pattern of past fashion bans, the sagging prohibitions are seen by some as racially motivated because the wearers are young, predominantly African-American men.

Yet, this legislation has been proposed largely by African-American officials. It may speak to a generation gap. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University and the author of “Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip Hop,” said, “They’ve bought the myth that sagging pants represents an offensive lifestyle which leads to destructive behavior.”

Last week, Atlanta Councilman C. T. Martin sponsored an amendment to the city’s indecency laws to ban sagging, which he called an epidemic. “We are trying to craft a remedy,” said Mr. Martin, who sees the problem as “a prison mentality.”

But Larry Harris, Jr., 28, a musician from Miami, who stood in oversize gear outside a hip-hop show in Times Square, denied that prison style was his inspiration. “I think what you have here is people who don’t understand the language of hip-hop,” he said.

A dress code ordinance proposed in Stratford, Conn., by Councilman Alvin O’Neal was rejected at a Town Council meeting last Monday, drawing criticism that the law was unconstitutional and unjustly encouraged racial profiling. Many residents agreed that the town had more pressing issues.

Benjamin Chavis, the former executive director of the N.A.A.C.P., said, “I think to criminalize how a person wears their clothing is more offensive than what the remedy is trying to do.” Dr. Chavis, who is often pictured in an impeccable suit and tie among the baggy outfits of the hip-hop elite, is a chairman of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, a coalition he founded with the music mogul Russell Simmons. He said that the coalition will challenge the ordinances in court.

“The focus should be on cleaning up the social conditions that the sagging pants comes out of,” he said. “That they wear their pants the way they do is a statement of the reality that they’re struggling with on a day-to-day basis.”


Larry Craig is SOL. Here's to you, Lar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good news is still bad news

At first glance, it looks like poverty went down in the U.S., however, reality shows us that millions more Americans (from all class levels) are uninsured, the poverty gap has widened and the number of children has grown exponentially in the categories of the poor and un/derinsured.

But somehow, the Bush regime has managed to take all this as good news AND remain steadfast in vetoing the proposed healthcare plans for uninsured children. Nice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tapping the snooze button

From Crains Cleveland

Tapping the snooze button
Blog entry: August 28, 2007, 11:06 am

Backers of a new downtown convention center/medical mart complex should give a read to this Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, which argues that urban leaders should “forget sports stadia and convention centers” because great cities “flourish on solid infrastructure.”

The piece, by urban affairs expert Joel Kotkin, notes that disasters in New Orleans and Minneapolis should focus the nation’s collective attention on infrastructure issues, “but if history is a guide, the rhetoric will be followed by another tap of the snooze button.”

Rather than deal with “the expensive and difficult task of retrofitting the sinews of commerce and communication — bridges, tunnels, roads, rail lines, ports, sewers, and drainage systems — America's urban powers focus on the ephemeral and the glitzy,” Mr. Kotkin writes. “They emphasize not brick and mortar, but sports stadia, convention centers, arts palaces, dubiously effective new light-rail lines, hotels and condo projects.”

The ultimate question here, according to Mr. Kotkin, “is that of priorities. Yes, artists and cultural institutions have always been hallmarks of great cities. But underpinning that efflorescence since the earliest times has been critical commitments to such mundane things as water systems, canals, dikes and protective walls — the economic infrastructure that supports the rest.”

In the past decade, according to a recent Brookings Institution study, “public capital spending on convention centers has doubled to $2.4 billion annually; nationwide, 44 new or expanded centers are in planning or under construction,” Mr. Kotkin writes. “But the evidence is that few such centers make money, and many more lose considerable funds. The big convention business is not growing while the surplus space is increasing. New sports centers add little to the overall economy.”

He adds, “Critically, misguided investments shift funds that could finance essential basic infrastructure. Pittsburgh has spent over $1 billion this decade on sports stadia, a new convention center and other dubious structures. Heralded as major job creators and sources of downtown revitalization, they have done little to prevent the region's long-term population loss and continued economic stagnation. Much the same can be said of Milwaukee's new Santiago Calatrava-designed Art Museum, or Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

Monday, August 27, 2007

Like Rove, Rummy and everyone else

Finally, Attorney General Gonzalez resigns. I'd like to dedicate this to G-Dub who may be feeling a little blue today:

7.75 = $42 million

Meddy Mart drama ensues. The petition failed. I'm not super surprised by that. After all, Zack Reed was in charge of it. I would have signed it, but I never had a chance to. I wonder how many other people have the same experience.

The Pee Dee does some math for us dumb Clevelanders who needed more convincing that this is the right move.

Somehow, I'm still not convinced that this Med Mart adds up.

Jesus was a leatherman: email signatures you should use with caution

So Moxie is working on a new project of sorts. It involves leather, slaves and a monologue. In doing research for this new project, I decided to post various ads for a submissive. I'm taking bits and pieces of these responses and crafting them into a critique of local BDSM culture. Most of the responses I have received are predictable and some leave me with the tingling sensation of power. But this one....this one has to be the best so far (based on ad I placed for an experienced sub to help a novice Domme), it had me rolling on the floor laughing in my PVC catsuit; not at the content, but at the signature line:

"You might do better to look for an experienced dominant to teach you the ropes, no pun intended. Submissives who top from the bottom aren't a very desireable animal. Best of luck in finding a mentor.


Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom."

Jesus is indeed the ultimate Top.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ohio according to the BBC

In the UK, thousands of BBC online readers saw this picture depicting Ohio. Nice.

Best conversation I have overheard in a long time

On the bus riding on my way to Mama Moxie's house. My Depeche Mode album had reached it's last song and I was trying to concentrate on reading the local rag mag. This girl plops down in a seat perpendicular to mine and begins talking to a young guy sitting next to me. I pick up their conversation around here....

Girl: So, did you hear?
Boy: Hear what?
Girl: [some ghetto street nickname] got 18 to life today.
Boy: Fo' real? Damn.
Girl: Pinkie gets sentenced on the 5th and [some other ghetto street nickname] gets sentenced on the 6th.
Boy: Damn.
Girl: Yeah. I am so mad at him, he owe me my money.
Boy: puzzled Fo what?
Girl: That's my baby father.
Boy: What?! You got a baby by [some ghetto street nickname]? Him? I didn't know that.
Girl: Yeah!
Boy: He's like...old. When did that happen? You had that baby young?
Girl: No, I'm 20 now. I was 15 then.
Boy: Yeah, so that is young.
Girl: No, it's not. I was 15. He' 24, so yeah. My daughter will be six soon.
Boy: shakes his head You were sneaking around then, huh?
Girl: No, I wasn't. I'm not having any kids now. Well, I'm pregnant now, but that's different.
Boy: Another baby?
Girl: Yeah, but it's for my sister. She live on the westside now, you know.
Boy: Where at?
Girl: On Lakewood. (Now, I'm not aware of a street called Lakewood, but there is definitely a city named Lakewood on the westside.)
Boy: Ok. So, what you mean you havin a baby fo yo sister? You gonna give her yo baby?
Girl: No, she has a child, but she wants another one. And she can't have anymore kids.
Boy: So you got pregnant to give her yo baby?
Girl: Naw nigga, I'm her suuuurogate.
Boy: ?
Girl: Like, dey took her egg and his sperm and put it inside me. I'll carry it for her.
Boy: Damn. That's nice.
Girl: Yeah, I got a big heart. Besides, I know she would do it for me.
Boy: So they took his sperm and her egg and put it in you?
Girl: Yeah.
Boy: So, then, the baby gonna look like you.
Girl: No it won't! It's his sperm and her egg. I just carry it. I don't have anything else to do with it. Her kid will look like her, dummy. I'm her suuurogate.
Boy: Damn. So you gonna have some more kids?
Girl: No, I'm good for now. I don't want anymore kids until I find me a good man. One who lives on the same side of town as I do.

Winner up for best overheard conversation:
Woman: I don't care what my man does as long as he comes home at night.
Girl (from conversation above): Yeah, don't let the sun beat you home.
Woman 2: Ain't nothin open after 2am. So why you out late is beyond me.
Woman 1: Yeah, the only thing open after 2am is leggz.
Girl: Okaaaaaay?! I know that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's biology, not a fad, stupid.

Females really do like the color pink. A study just released says that biology steers women towards the color pink, while there is an universal preference for blue. They say that reddish hues are signs of ripe fruit and healthy faces. Fruit is food is nourishment and healthy faces are attractive and lead to sex, which makes more people.

Blue is dark and male ancestors just looked for dark objects that moved during the hunt. Kill it, eat it...sustenance.

Simple, no?

Maybe, but I still resent assigning baby girls to pink and baby boys to blue. If blue is so universal, why do only males get associated with the color? Further, when a boy likes pink he is shunned and that is when color gets patriarchal and that when it becomes bullshit and we all know what color that is.

Blacks: 1, Gerrymandering: 0

A decision was finally handed down today that said the city of Euclid was diluting the Black vote. From the news piece:

"No black person has ever been elected to Euclid's city council or school board, even though the city's expanding black population tops 30 percent. Eight candidates have failed badly in elections since 1995."

Some progress in an otherwise ass-backward state. hmph.

Rip off of the day (and why weddings and medical expenses drive people into financial trouble)

Here's a story about a woman who works for a nonprofit and has cancer. Howver, this isn't about her triumph over tragedy. This is about how she stole over $1 million dollars from her employer. What does one spend that sort of money on? $200,000 on medical expenses. The rest on family cruises and her daughter's dream wedding. She is being sued. She still has cancer.

The End.

La Guerra: No mas

The Puerto Rican Independence Party has launched an awesome back-to-school campaign that informs high school students about their rights to be removed from military recruiting lists. The Washington Post covers the story in detail. Under the No Child Left Behind mess..I mean law, schools receiving federal funding are REQUIRED to supply the military with the names and contact info of enrolled students. The military's response?

"...Pentagon officials accuse the activists of "manipulating" impressionable young people. "What's going on in Puerto Rico is an artificial circumstance, where a group is trying to persuade students to take their name off a list, and of course that's going to meet in some change in behavior," Carr said. "In the event that someone approaches a young person and their voluntary behavior is to take an opt-out card and give it to their teacher, there's nothing we can or should do in that case. That's free speech. But it's curious speech, because it's manipulating the flow of information . . . and that is unhealthy."

Ha. Ha. Ha. Funny how the military is calling something "unhealthy" and criticizing the right to inform as "manipulating". More ironies abound in the article, so read away.

The article mentions the story of Cpl. Jason Nunez who died in Iraq. His funeral was covered all over the island and have to watch this footage to see what his mother did. Breathtaking.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The one thing that makes me anti-choice

Gee, how can I be pro-choice when baby girls in India are being killed at astounding rates? How can I celebrate the increased wealth of an impoverished nation when it leads to more families aborting baby girls?

Fucking patriarchy.

Deadly diamonds

More perspective on diamond mining (specifically in Angola) and the deadly costs associated with these precious stones.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Church mandated HIV tests

The Angelican Church in Nigeria is requiring couples attempting to get married to undergo HIV tests. They say it's intended to protect the individuals from entering into a partnership without knowing everything about their partner and to encourage people to know their HIV status.

They won't turn away a couple if someone does find out they're positive.

Opponents say that getting tested should be voluntary and forces people to be in denial.

I place like Africa, you can't have too much HIV testing. However, I get that their could be all sorts of consequences like ostracization from your community, or of course, your beloved decides not to marry you. But still, knowing is half the battle with AIDS.

Glam Girl coverage of the War Against Women

I'm not sure how I feel about Eve Ensler, but I respect her efforts. In this overly dramatic coverage of a serious international issue, she talks about violence against women in the Congo. She heaps shitloads of praise on the OB/GYN that works to save them.

It can be graphic at times, but it is really the only way to understand a sliver of what happens to women in war torn countries.

While I am happy to see that a mainstream mag like Glamour is covering this issue, I still think they are part of the system that contributes to an overall devaluing of women.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Um....yeah....I told you so.

I know it's just talk, but Don Imus may be coming back to the airwaves. I knew that wouldn't be long. Just the fact he and CBS are in discussion with each other proves my point that it is never about "doing the right thing", what is fair and just and all that bullshit. It is about cold hard cash. The only color that matters is green.

Yet another solution to free PR

Some Republican came up with this one. This bill, if passed, would connect Puerto Rico to the U.S. through free association: the island would give up some sovereignty in exchange for benefits. The conditions of this free association would be mutually decided.

I dunno....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Empowerment: Three Critical Tools for Philanthropy

by R. Andrew Swinney, President, Philadelphia Foundation

There's a stereotype in the world of nonprofit organizations: White people have the money, and many of them donate or volunteer to help the poor who are, more often than not, minorities.

The reality, of course, is much more complex. In today's increasingly multicultural environment, nonprofit leaders frequently find that their supporters, staff, vendors, and clientele come from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and age groupings. African American, Latino, Asian, and gay and lesbian communities are raising significant amounts of charitable dollars to support their own. Minority constituents are serving on boards and volunteering their time to nonprofits that serve the entire community. In some communities, whites are — or will soon become — the new minority.

As America becomes more of a melting pot, the nonprofit sector will be deeply enmeshed in the ongoing evolution and empowerment of minority communities. Thus, the question must be asked: Is the nonprofit sector leading this evolution, or merely reacting to it?

By their very nature, foundations and charities are expected to be transformational. Each organization has its particular vision as to what will create a better world. Yet, while focusing on our strategic programmatic goals and directions, how many of us celebrate diversity as a core organizational value? How many of us recognize that to serve our communities and our causes most effectively, we must be committed to accepting and reflecting that diversity, respecting differences, and ensuring that all voices are heard and all are served regardless of race, gender, age, religion, creed, disability or sexual orientation? The most effective nonprofits recognize and utilize the full richness of all segments of society.

However, diversity alone is insufficient: To be highly effective, nonprofits must also link diversity to inclusiveness and empowerment.

Inclusiveness is a commitment to policies and procedures designed to change the dynamics of bias and ignorance that have often excluded individuals and groups from their rightful place in the community. An effective nonprofit should aspire to treat everyone equally, serve as a role model, and change others through its actions.

Empowerment represents the ability of individuals to be the best they can be and to participate fully — with the freedom to do so. Nonprofits should be taking the lead to ensure that barriers, where found, are broken down and that all of an organization's actions are aimed at empowering individuals to achieve their full potential and control their own destinies.

There are any number of ways in which nonprofits can implement these tools. It starts with hiring practices, declaring in employee handbooks and employment policies that the organization is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a work environment free of discrimination and unlawful harassment. Nonprofits should be taking the lead in making employee benefits available to domestic partners and offering reasonable accommodations because of an employee's disability or religion. Organizations should operate with clearly articulated value statements regarding respect for one another and the constituencies served, as well as a commitment to personal and professional development.

The vision should extend to the selection of board members who represent a wide cross-section of the communities that comprise your service region. For example, the Council on Foundations requires that for a local community foundation to comply with its rigorous national standards it must demonstrate an awareness of the community's demographics and how this awareness is integrated in the process of nominating or appointing members of the board.

The vision also extends to policies regarding selecting consultants and vendors who provide services.

A commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and empowerment is significant not just for moral reasons, but economic ones as well: communities of color have money. Many people equate foundations with the awarding of grants to minority communities, yet community foundations are seeing a tremendous increase in the flow of philanthropic resources from minority communities.

For example, the Philadelphia Foundation, which works to empower people throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, can trace its support of the civil rights movement as far back as 1948. We adopted our first empowerment policy in 1983 and undertook a pioneering strategic initiative in the early 1990s to increase philanthropic resources from minority communities. Today, more than 175 of our 750 charitable endowments have been established by and for the African American, Latino, Asian, and gay/lesbian communities.

The foundation has long embraced diversity, inclusiveness, and empowerment as core values. Our mission statement announces that the foundation "practices and encourages diversity, equity and inclusiveness as fundamental values of community." Where many foundations are perceived as being aloof and apart from their communities, we consider ourselves part of the communities we serve. We are accessible to all, and we value — and embrace — the differences that each person brings to our work. All people are created equal, and as such are regarded as equal when they interact with our organization — internally and externally.

The benevolent tradition of minority communities is rich, diverse, and steeped in history. These constituents may or may not necessarily be wealthy, but they are all people who feel a keen sense of responsibility for giving something back to their community.

In fact, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in 2003 that the African American community doesn't just participate in philanthropy — it trumps other major racial and ethnic groups in its generosity. According to the study, African Americans who give to charity donate 25 percent more of their discretionary income than do whites.

Today's philanthropists are as likely to be minorities as whites, whether they are a group of university women, a family who lost a loved one in an accident, someone who wants to find a cure for a disease, or an entrepreneur who wants to endow a scholarship to help others follow in his or her footsteps. And with growing numbers of minorities entering the middle and upper classes, many of today's more affluent minorities represent the first generation of wealth in their families, creating a new dynamic of people who feel a responsibility to give something back.
We cannot just pay lip service to diversity, inclusiveness, and empowerment or add them to a mission statement. We have to live them and breathe them every day, in all of our programs, services, and activities.

The nonprofit sector has a particular responsibility to set the highest standards. By focusing our energy and our resources, we can promote social change. We are a significant societal and economic sector — one that is largely driven by values. To fail to take a leadership position in this critical issue would do each of us individually, and the field collectively, a huge disservice.

— R. Andrew SwinneyPresidentPhiladelphia Foundation
R. Andrew Swinney is president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. Established in 1918, the foundation provides philanthropic services to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. An active member in the field of community foundations both locally and nationally, Swinney has been involved in the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin community foundation associations, and chaired the Professional and Organizational Development Action Team of the Council on Foundation's Community Foundation Leadership Team.

Oh, happy day....

Peace out, biatch.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Inconvenient truths

Sometimes, the truth is hard to accept. Recently, a study was released by famous political scientist, Robert Putnam that revealed that diversity contributes to a decrease in civic engagement.

BBC Science Radio covered a story that sought to explain why women were severely underrepresented in science/math/engineering fields in academia. Ironically, a woman scientist tries to explain that nature is why women are underrepresented in the field.

More difference, less engagement
Putnam's research has unleashed a flurry of discussion within various circles. Liberals are afraid that the study hurts years of diversity advocacy. Conservatives are using the study for evil saying this is why segregation works and why illegal aliens are threatening our country.

Putnam has been criticized because he is one of few researchers that wants to address social issues instead of just studying them. Even he is bothered by his work.

Why? Because the numbers tell us that the more diverse a community, the less people vote and participate in philanthropic causes. The study says that people are more isolated and care less about the "us" and more about the "we" within their own circles.

In other words, there is no common good. Some experts within related fields are saying that we just need to work to make these results a positive thing. They refuse (as I would, too) to accept that diversity is a bad thing. The answer: amend the conditions of diverse communities and help the process of assimilation so that diverse groups can identify with the "greater good".

The problem I have with that idea is that concepts like "philanthropy", "greater good" and "civic engagement" are all broadly defined and viewed within the lens of the dominant culture. The reality is, communities of color are highly philanthropic and have strong histories of being civically involved. How else would you explain the role of the Black church in the Civil Rights Movement? How do you explain Jewish philanthropy? How do you explain the large amounts of money that flows from here back to Mexico by way of Mexican workers?

These are all ways in which communities of color have defined engagement. To only look at engagement as voting or how much you donate (monetarily speaking), it will look like diverse groups muddle the patterns of a community. Can you explain voting participation by education or income instead of race? The article suggests that there are high levels of distrust for the "other" in these communities. Gee, I wonder why? Could you wonder why people of color vote less when the democratic process is constantly being undermined by this administration?

Could you explain financial giving in terms of income? Another study that was just released showed the giving trends of low-income people and their giving habits aren't too shabby.

Does Putnam's study assume, then, that when communities are homogeneous that people give more because it's "their own"? I don't see anything wrong with that, but it alarms me that people will somehow use his work to argue that diversity is harmful. Even Putnam warns against doing this.

It alarms me how much we examine communities/people of color through a white lens. When we do this, things are suddenly viewed as problematic and the solution ends up being assimilation. How do we define "we"? When we talk about protecting the greater good through increased civic engagement, whose "greater good" are we talking about?

Out of the kitchen and into the laboratory
The BBC article talks about women in academia. It's no secret that women suffer grave discrimination in higher levels of education despite enjoying increased presence overall. In this piece, scientists say that maybe it really is a matter of nature versus nurture when it comes to women and math/science. Maybe people were too harsh on Larry Summers.

I'm not the sort of lady-ist who will not hear people out when they talk about biological differences between men and women. I know that I am one of those people who were not wired for math and science, nor was it nurtured in me by parents or teachers. But I guess I don't care, because I know plenty of women who love and excel at these technical subjects. Just like I know plenty of men who are better wordsmiths than techies.

I guess I am not bothered by science that shows we're different. I guess I am more bothered when people use it to discriminate or discount when there are living exceptions to the research. Remember when white people used "science" to prove that the Negroid race was genetically stupid, thus slavery was completely justifiable?

If a woman is genuinely adept at math and science and has proven her worth in the area, why are we still giving her a hard time? It's pretty difficult, in my opinion, to BS your way through med school. So I would assume that any woman who is a researcher, practitioner, scientist, smarty-pants whatever really knows her shit and worked hard to do so. Maybe she has better/different wiring than me even though we're both XX.

Feminists and liberals and the like shouldn't cringe at the science that says maybe we're different. We should cringe at the people who say that science proves that the differences make women the lesser sex.

Science sometimes presents us with inconvenient truths; things that challenge our way of thinking. However, it's only inconvenient when science is used to hinder the progress of social justice. Diversity is still a good thing and women are still deserving of equal treatment in the workplace no matter what the numbers say.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

This Presidential Election: Color Yourselves Screwed

We know Republican candidates don't like the gays (so why this group exists is beyond me), but who knew the Dems were such sell-outs on the queer issue?

Passivity gets personal

Moxie visited Mama Moxie yesterday. Mama Moxie told me about her nephew's (I refuse to claim him as my cousin) girlfriend. The woman called my mother and told her that he beat her the other day. Her eye was swollen shut and she has difficulty swallowing because he choked her so hard.

Mama Moxie was the surprising DV advocate and asked the woman all the right questions and encouraged her to develop an escape plan. My mother called her sister to tell her about the wrongdoings of her son. My aunt defended him by asking is there was something the girlfriend could have done to provoke him. My mother hung up on her in disgust. Then my mother tells me that her nephew is coming to the house in a few weeks to do some home repairs for which she will pay him.

"You're going to support this abuser?", I asked.

"I can't afford to pay anyone else to do this job and I trust his work. I don't really have a choice."

I came home and attempted to sleep when Mademoiselle Kitty came in to tell me that she had to file a sexual harassment report at her job. This creepy colleague of hers has been inappropriate with her since Day 1. Finally she had enough. When she brought the problem to her bosses, she learned that she was the third woman with multiple complaints against the same guy. The first woman was relocated and the second woman....well, we don't know what happened to her.

Needless to say, Kitty has a couple of questions for the management at her workplace. Her boss was even subjected to Creepy Colleagues inappropriate advances and yet no actions were taken. Did I mention the part where he went to jail for aggravated murder? And now he is back to being a productive, employed member of society with a penchant for harassing white women.

Both Kitty and my cousin's girlfriend live in fear of retribution if they take actions against their perpetrators. The worse part is that while they have support--for the girlfriend, my mom and for Mme. Kitty, her bosses--the reality is that no one has done anything to take action that will protect these women and prevent their abusers from striking again.

My mother told the girlfriend, "Honey if you don't do something now, you will leave that house in a body bag." And she's right. So right that the girl said, "Yeah, his friend just went to jail for killing his girlfriend."

The worst case scenario for this woman is death. Death. Because no one is doing anything...not even herself.

Mademoiselle had to recount all the weird and inappropriate advances her coworker made only to learn that she wasn't the only one. So, why is she the only one dealing with it now and why hasn't this man been removed from the workplace?

These are textbook examples of how women suffer and how society condones abusive male behavior. Hearing these stories reminded me of story after story where women have lost their lives at home or the workplace at the hands of men who thought so little of their lives and so much about their own power. And people are always faced with the question: Why didn't anyone do anything? Because the harsh reality is that there is always more than one perpetrator when the system fails to protect victims. There will always be blood--real or symbolic--on more than two hands.

This dangerous passivity hit closer to home than usual. My mom looked helpless saying that all she can do is pray for the girl and hope she'll be ok. And my roommate can no longer stand to be by herself in her office and she worries how Creepy Colleague who went to jail for murder will react when confronted with his actions.

And what could I do in my own inaction, but listen? In some ways, my hands need washing, too.

Gearing up for a race war

MrL sent me this link today. The subject line of her email was: The Race War is Coming.

Tally ho indeed, my white friend.

The article describes how whites are now numeric minorities in various parts of the US of A. Boo fucking hoo. Let me remind white people that while they are now outnumbered their power and privilege still exists. Somehow whites have--throughout history--managed to dominate over large populations of people despite being outnumbered. Some examples: apartheid South Africa, Spanish conquest in Mexico, and Americans and the First Peoples/indigenous/Native Americans, etc.

The article highlights that this shift in numbers is creating an unwarranted fear in white people and a mounting backlash against racial/ethnic minorities, especially Latinos. Not so surprisingly the white people are most concerned about this are the same ones who are against "illegal" immigrants and have names like "Bubba" and "Big Joe".

Nevertheless, tensions are rising (again) in America. But white people really don't have much to worry about. Their privilege is OK. I repeat: *bullhorn* White people of America, your privilege is safe."

For now.

Killer Boobs

From column:

Over a 19-year period, women who got cosmetic breast implants were three times as likely to commit suicide as women who didn't, according to a Swedish study. They were also three times as likely to die from alcohol or drug addiction. This echoes other studies. Caveats: 1) Some studies suggest "women felt better about themselves after implants." 2) In this study, "There was no higher risk in the first 10 years afterward … but the risk was 4.5 times higher after 10 to 19 years and six times higher after 20 years." Theories: 1) Women who got breast implants 19 years ago were disproportionately prone to distress over their bodily flaws; that's why they got the implants. 2) The implants made them happier for a while, but then the underlying disorder took over, driving some to suicide. The good news: Women who get implants today will be less suicidal. The bad news: … because now everybody's getting them, disordered or not.

Great. This further underlines the need to provide women and girls with positive messaging around body image. You don't see men killing themselves over small penis size.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This is why I advocate birth control

First they wanted to name their baby "4real", now they want to name the 2-month old, "Superman".

These people should not be allowed to procreate ever again, their child should be removed from their care and they should be charged with child abuse.

What will white people on West 6th do this weekend?

I'm not sure if I should be happy or concerned, but there is a "drought" in Cleveland's powder cocaine supply. Somehow officials including the Mayor are celebrating this, cautioning that supplies are likely to rise in the coming months. Some hope that the decline will force some users into treatment. Ha.

I count myself among the concerned because I know that "crack is whack" and the only respectable form of the coca plant is the powdered stuff. If you use crack, don't worry because that is still available. All crack manufacturers do is cook it with more low quality materials and sell it on the streets as the same thing.

Yet again, the PD drops some B.S. on us. Drugs are always available when you want them. If you are fooled by this headline, you must be on something yourself.

From back of the bus to back of the class

Just in time for Back-to-School: A recently released study shows that teachers discipline Black girls for "unlady-like" behavior more than their white counterparts. This leads to under-engagement of Black girls in the academic process.

Some of the rationale for this as shared by teachers who participated in the study is hilarious. I often ask myself how some of these people managed to get teaching degrees or were licensed to teach. It's sad because schools are the second most important socializing agent in our society and they have consistently been shown to be sexist and racist in their practices. And for some students schools are the main agent of socialization because their parents are absent as active role models and caregivers. It's alarming--then--to see studies like this that show teachers crushing the curiosity and academic pursuits of little Black girls.

I really don't think that educators get it: what they do now has effects on the rest of students' lives. I remember the day a teacher chastised me in front of the class for not understanding a math problem. I have sucked at the subject ever since.

To force conscious or unconscious thoughts, attitudes or beliefs on girls based on racist ideologies and stereotypes hinders what progress has been made by Black women in education and limits what these girls can do in their future academic careers. The effects of limited education spill into other aspects of society. It's one big clusterfuck of white domination and as usual Black women bear the brunt of it.

Solutions? I'm not sure I have any. How can you treat the conscious of an individual? To re-wire them without prejudice? Maybe more diversity training? Black people home school their kids? Homogenous learning environments: Black teachers, Black students? More active participation in schools on the part of parents and caregivers?

I don't know, but I'll take suggestions.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

PC according to Samantha Grace

An excerpt from our daily email exchange:

To: Samantha Grace
From: Moxie Lady
Subject: PC Police

I want to call the PC Police today. My boss comes into my office showing me these sarape (those Mexican-type poncho things) that she made for a company special event that was fiesta-themed.

She pulled them out, why? you ask? because she's bringing them for her rowing team to wear on Corona night.

um....yeah, no.

little bothered by that and i'm not even mexican. more like, why do white people think chi chi style antics are ok?

like this doesn't warrant arrest by the PC Police, more like a citation.

From: Samantha Grace
To: Moxie Lady
Subject: Re: PC Police

Chi Chi style antics. Ha. Mexican is just a party theme to white people. Why do you think white people love Cinco de Mayo so damn much? It's the same way with St. Patricks...though the festive wear isn't as demeaning.

.....Unless you're going to some heritage festival, people should stay away from ethnicly-themed events. Especially white people.And what kind of rowing team has a Corona night?

Monday, August 6, 2007

No ringing of wedding bells anytime soon

More coverage on why I should call it a day on finding someone anytime soon. Based on these statistics, I might as well turn to bestiality.

Five minutes later after I posted this - I just got an office card routed to my desk for me to sign. It's for my coworker who is getting married this week. ugh.

Yes, I do like music made by Black people. I swear.

Here's proof. Although it took CYBT buying the CD to get me to listen, I will reluctantly admit that do you say it? R&B, soul music stuff is not that bad. Even if it is all mushy and about doing it. Her name is Chrisette Michele and she's cool.

Friday, August 3, 2007

She had some nerve

Ay Dios mio! The Mayor of LA is caught in a scandalous web after his relationship with a Telemundo anchor was revealed essentially casting the light on him cheating on his wife. This is no surprise to most people: politicians are notorious cheaters, but what makes this situation extra shitty is that the woman he left is wife for is the same woman who reported the story on the news. Ouch.

Mayor Villaraigosa is dating Mirthala Salinas, a Telemundo anchor. She reported on the story of the mayor and his wife. This is turn led to her being suspended without pay and a number of television executives being disciplined by the head honcho of T-mundo, who happens to be....white.

Anyway, how lame is this? I don't feel sorry for either one of them. Sadly, fucked up people will use this as ammunition to taint the image of the mayor, women anchors, Latinos, etc.

I mostly feel horrible for the wife because who wants to have the news of your breakup all over the news and reported by the woman who stole your man?

This ranks right up there with the Angelina/Brad/Jennifer slap in the face media frenzy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


More proof that rich, white people essentially suck.

8-10-07: Interesting perspective on the same issue.

Words can paint a thousand pictures

My workplace according to the Honorable Samantha Grace:

It's like a circle jerk of femininity over there every day of the week.