Monday, March 31, 2008

Women's basketball: still not ready for prime time?

From our guest blogger, Catherine Kozub, comes a word on March Madness:

You may recall that it's almost one year since Don Imus uttered his idiotic comments. (Editor's note: Imus is back on the air, free to slur again from the studios of WABC in New York.) The Rutgers'women's team will be playing tomorrow night for a spot in the Final Four. Once again, like most women's college hoops, the game can only be seen if you have cable television. (It will be aired on ESPN.)

I suppose the good thing about women not having the same opportunity as men for earning a lot of dollars in basketball is that they are more likely to stay in college and earn their degrees than the top male players. I'll admit that early in the NCAA tournament many of the women's games are kind of boring compared to the men's games because scores are more uneven; I think that this is because there are not as many women competing in the sport as men. Nonetheless, as each stage of the tournament progresses, the games becoming more exciting and higher-scoring.

It's too bad that there are not any broadcast TV networks (i.e., CBS, ABC, FOX) covering the final women's games. CBS shows all the men's games. Oh, well. I guess it's not a big deal...maybe by the time I'm eligible for Social Security (assuming there is Social Security 40 years from now), women will be playing on network television.

At least there is a woman running for president this year and she's had a lot of TV time. Have any of the candidates talked about Social Security, or is that not important anymore? Are voters more excited about the prospect of universal health care than about getting $300 bi-weekly (is it even that much?) if they manage to exceed the age of 65?

I'm taking a brief break from watching a women's college basketball game between Maryland and Stanford. Well, back to the game - Maryland (my team) is down by 8 points.

--Catherine Kozub

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Bill Richardson: Yes he can
The Obama endorsement

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has endorsed Barack Obama, according to Bil Browning of the Bilerico Project. Most interesting in the text of the endorsement letter, I think, is Richardson's reference to the groundbreaking speech about race delivered earlier this week by Obama, and how, as an hispanic, Richardson was moved by Obama's words.

Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech. that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him...

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences--and place blame on others not like them.
Going into Pennsylvania -- widely seen as Clinton territory -- Obama will need all the votes he can get. If he can make a dent into Clinton's support among Latinos, that could matter. Whether or not Richardson's endorsement matters to East Coast Latinos, well, that's another question.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Attention, Pennsylvania Catholics

Barack Obama today delivered one of the most important speeches on race that your blogstress will likely get to hear in her lifetime. He took on the incendiary rhetoric of his longtime pastor and turned it into a disquisition on racial resentment, both white and black. Brilliant.

Please do watch the speech, mes amis, but don't expect one of those soaring, verklempt-inducing Obamilies. This is not his best speech, but is doubtless one of his most important.

At TAPPED today, the gang (including your Webwench) discusses why.

CLICK HERE TO READ YOUR BLOGSTRESS'S TAPPED POST ON THE SPEECH, 'THE TWO-FER.'

The Guardian
serves up Guardian America's thoughtful editor, Michael Tomasky, explaining why this speech is different than other politicians' speeches about difficult supporters.

CLICK HERE TO READ TOMASKY'S TAKE, 'IMPERFECT UNION.'

The New Republic offers the views of Michael Crowley, who doubts that Obama made a dent in the hardened psyches of working-class whites, and Jonathan Cohn gives a thorough break-down of the speech, ending up with the hope -- nearly a prayer -- that a speech so unusual can make real change for the better.

CLICK HERE TO READ MICHAEL CROWLEY, 'OBAMA'S SPEECH WAS BRILLIANT, BUT--'

CLICK HERE TO READ JONATHAN COHN, 'OBAMA'S CHALLENGE.'

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ferraro resigns, dishing out sour grapes

From TPM Election Central comes word of Geraldine Ferraro's resignation from Hillary Clinton's campaign:

Dear Hillary –
I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign.

The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST.

(It gets even better.)

UPDATE: More from your blogstress on the Ferraro fracas can be found at TAPPED, the group blog of The American Prospect Online.

CLICK HERE TO READ 'IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU, GERRY' AT TAPPED.

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Geraldine Ferraro: It's tough being white

With each passing day of campaign 2008, your blogstress finds it increasingly difficult to be her blithely madcap self. What should have been the Democrats' shining hour has degenerated into an endless feud in a dysfunctional family, with one faction recklessly hurling race around without regard for the consequences to the party and hence the nation. That would be the abusive parent faction.

If the comments by Geraldine Ferraro, a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's campaign, about which your Webwench blogged yesterday, were ill-advised, Ms. Ferraro's response to the criticism she received revealed her hand.

“Every time [Barack Obama's] campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she said. “I will not be discriminated against because I’m white. If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me.”
Nice. Maybe Geraldine Ferraro should consider shutting her own white self up and, instead of exuding resentment and fomenting division, express some gratitude for the unique role she, like Barack Obama, was able to play in American presidential politics. Instead Ferraro appears to have transferred all of her emotional baggage from that experience and more onto Hillary Clinton's quest, and in the process has done no one any favors.

So far, the Clinton campaign hasn't done much to distance itself from Ferraro's original statement. Spokesman Howard Wolfson simply said, "We disagree with her." Clinton herself merely repeated that sentiment, adding, "It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we’ve both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal. We ought to keep this on the issues..."

Wouldn't want to risk losing those over-50 white women supporters -- especially the ones with racial resentment.

Your blogstress used to love Geraldine Ferraro, whom she regarded as a hero. Bummer to learn that hero's a hater.

This post is presented by your sponsor, Affirmative Action, which reminds you that the foremost beneficiaries of affirmative action have been white women.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro and the politcs of race & gender

Oy, my girl really put her foot in it. So bitter are the feelings of some feminists about the way this primary season has played out that they're deaf to the overtones of racial resentment that permeate from their umbrage. Add Geraldine Ferraro to the list. Here's what she told John Farber of the California Daily Breeze:

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
This one hurts. As a feminist sprung from the Roman Catholic faith, Ferraro's vice presidential candidacy always held special meaning. She was a two-fer. She stood up to the church, which tried to take her down. And now she's taking herself down a path she had best not travel.

Your blogstress opines upon this fine mess at TAPPED, as does her blogsister, Dana Goldstein.

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Take Back America - March 17-19

Come meet your blogstress, and a whole lotta other cool liberal and progressive folk, at the annual Take Back America conference in Washington, D.C.

Always a great time, and lots to learn.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR TAKE BACK AMERICA

Tell them your blogstress sent ya.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Not so dumb, after all

At the Washington Post Online today, Katha Pollitt has a devastating rebuttal to the absurd Charlotte Allen that ran in the paper's Sunday opinion section, "Outlook."

Herewith a taste or two, to whet your appetite, mes amis:

But back when the experts were explaining why women couldn't be lawyers or professors or poets (at least not very good poets), nobody said verbal skills and memory were trivial; they only became trivial when women were found to excel at them.
Here's the money quote:
What bothers Allen about this picture is that these women reject, with every fiber of their latte-loving beings, the abstinence-only, father-knows-best, slut-shaming crabbed misogyny of the Republican right.
CLICK HERE TO READ ALL OF POLLITT'S 'DUMB AND DUMBER'

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dumb girls (is there any other kind?) unite!

For those of us too, um, like, numerologically challenged to comprehend Tomasky's piece (see below) for all the arithmetic involved, fear not. For a pleasant diversion, you can participate in a discussion with Charlotte Allen, author of the ridiculous essay published Sunday by the Washington Post in its opinion section, in which the author asserts the mental inferiority of herself and all of the female race.

At 2:00 today: Knock your stupid selves out. Somebody remember to bring the bon-bons.

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Clinton wins: What do they mean?

With Hillary Clinton now having scored what Guardian America's Michael Tomasky regards as "decisive" victories in last night's primaries (Barack Obama won only Vermont), the question becomes, "What now?"

As Tomasky astutely concludes, Clinton hasn't much chance of winning the delegate race, and that's that it takes to win the nomination. The path to victory from here will likely be to win by wounding her opponent, because that is what it will take to win the superdelegates she will need to put her over the top.

Barack Obama will find himself in a difficult position, unable to go truly negative against Clinton without damaging the rationale for his campaign: "I come in peace."

CLICK HERE TO READ TOMASKY'S ESSAY, 'RESULTS ORIENTATION'.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Letters to Verizon - Part 1

For more than a year, your blogstress has lost landline service every time it rains, because Verizon cannot find a way to protect the line that runs from my apartment to the pole from voracious, ferocious squirrels. Having gone without service for four days last week, and two days the week before, having fielded all sorts of lies from Verizon, having waited all day on Monday for the technician who never came, your cybertrix now resorts to blogging her complaints, which she sends to her Verizon abusers via their Website:

ONCE AGAIN, I HAVE NO DIAL TONE. THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME IT RAINS. IT HAS BEEN HAPPENING FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SEND A TECHNICIAN ON MONDAY, BUT DID NOT BECAUSE MY SERVICE WAS MAGICALLY RESTORED AFTER FOUR DAYS OF NO DIAL TONE. THEN YOU INSULTED ME BY LEAVING ME AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE TELLING ME THE PROBLEM WAS ON MY END, SINCE THERE IS NOTHING WRONG ON YOURS. YOU KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS, BUT YOU REFUSE TO FIX IT. SQUIRRELS CHEW THROUGH A LINE THAT YOU REFUSE TO REPLACE WITH A LINE THAT CAN'T BE CHEWED, OR TO ENCASE IN A SQUIRREL-PROOF CONDUIT. I WILL BE POSTING THIS ON MY BLOG.
Oh, and have a nice day.

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Brilliant send-up of "Women v. Women"

At Feministing, Ann Friedman offers a laugh-out-loud visual send-up of the front page of Sunday's now infamous Washington Post Outlook section.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO "MEN VS. MEN" ON FEMINISTING.

UPDATE: Check out Laura Rozen's incisive questioning (at her fine blog, War and Piece) of what was really going on when Post editors assigned the "Women v. Women" pieces to Allen and Hirshman.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO "PULLING UP THE DRAWBRIDGE" ON WAR AND PIECE.

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Meanwhile, at the Washington Post Web site...

...your blogstress states the feminist case for Obama:

The feminist rationale for an Obama vote is really quite simple: My grand-niece. Your daughter, if you have one. All the little girls who are growing up at a rather grim hour in American history.

Our nation is sinking deeper into recession. We are mired in a bloody, intractable conflict in Iraq, and may be losing the war in Afghanistan.Our beloved Constitution has been raped and pillaged. Instability and the specter of war threaten every continent. Climate change is hard upon us.

In difficult times, inspiration matters. The ability to lead lies less in the details of policy than in the ability to call people to sacrifice and courage, and to get them to comply. I'm not absolutely certain Obama can do that, but I'm pretty sure that it's not Clinton's strong suit. And given the similarities in their policies, I've cast my lot with him.
Meanwhile, at Comment is Free, the Guardian America's delicious blog, you can find your cybertrix's take on the Washington Post's decision to run the Charlotte Allen and Linda Hirshman pieces.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Women for Obama: educated, callous and fickle

Reading today's Washington Post, one would be forgiven for concluding that the editors of its Sunday opinion section, "Outlook," decided that they didn't care if another woman ever bought the paper. In essays run side by side, two women -- one a self-described feminist, the other in the employ of a right-wing, anti-feminist outfit -- both reached similar conclusions: a lot of women are dumb.

Coming from the anti-feminist Charlotte Allen of the Independent Women's Forum, the argument was predictable. Women swoon, have more automobile accidents, can't do math and vote for Barack Obama.

But Linda Hirshman should know better. Or perhaps better said, she wants you to know that she does know better -- than you or me, dear reader, or any woman who might dare to vote for Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton.

Educated white women, claims Hirshman, are sinking Hillary's campaign by voting in increasing numbers for Barack -- and that's because they don't care about working-class women. For Hirshman, who graduated from Cornell, it's all about class, and class is defined by whether or not you have a college degree. Whether you're a social worker or an MBA, you're upper-class in her book. (And you would think, by reading Hirshman, that Clinton's social safety-net programs are markedly more enlightened than Obama's. In that, you would be wrong. There are differences, but they're not gulfs.)

For Hirshman, her definition of class is the only marker that counts among white, female voters. She equates the movement of white, college-educated female voters to Obama's side as a drift defined by social class. She doesn't talk about age groups, even though younger women are more likely, one would think, to be college-educated than older women, who form a natural constituency for Clinton.

Hirshman is particularly peeved by a group of feminists who published a petition in support of Obama on the eve of the Super Tuesday primary contests, and seems to blame them for a more general drift of educated women toward Obama. (I'm sure these women could only wish for such power.) Singled out for special ire is The Nation's Katha Pollitt, with whom your blogstress often concurs.

Aside from Pollitt and Clinton, only two other women are mentioned by name: Maria Shriver and Michelle Obama. The first is reduced to a description of her hair, and the other to a description of her shoes (as Jimmy Choos).

Wait -- there's more:

[Clinton campaign pollster] Mark Penn has been criticized for everything from short-sightedness about the primary schedule to overspending on sandwich platters. But those failures pale beside the biggest one of all: not recognizing the fickleness of the female voter.

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