Guido Westerwelle – soon to be the first openly gay Foreign Minister of Germany

1 10 2009

GuidoWesterwelle

Guido Westerwelle is going to be the first openly gay Foreign Minister of Germany, a position that is basically equivalent to the Secretary of State in the United States.  He heads the minority Free Democrats Party and has a reputation for being an exhibitionist, but what seems to get him the most attention is the fact that he is gay. Why do people care more about a his sexual orientation instead of his politics or policies that he’s committed to?

Some are worried that the prominence of Westerwelle and his partner, Michael Mronz, and the publicity they garner will “undermine the security and support of Germany within the international community”.  Pessimists and pundits claim that leaders of nations with anti-gay laws like Iran will have less than great relations with Germany now with the appointment of Westerwelle.

Why the negativity though?  This is definitely a step forward.  Westerwelle can lead by example.  He has already used his publicity and high profile to encourage LGBTQ youth.  He told a popular magazine geared towards gay people:

I can only tell all young gays and lesbians to not be disheartened, if not everything goes their way. This society is changing for the good in the direction of tolerance and respect … though slower than I would wish.

Well, Congrats Westerwelle and Hurray Germany!





Weekly Feminist Reader

27 09 2009

Cara covers the story of a Trans Woman Murdered in Hollywood

Partisan Politican Contributions by US Companies

A Take on The Good Wife: The Wrong Side of the Mommy Track

Health Care Reform — at the Price of Women’s Health?

Nike Makes Black Athlete Look Like…an Animal? An Alien? What?

Cross-generational discussions can be difficult – but we need to have them

Trans-misogyny? There’s an app for that

A topic that’s worth revisiting over and over again: How to be an ally

The Reverse of Discrimination is “Not Discrimination”

Minor Offenses: The Tragedy of Youth in Adult Prisons

What’s wrong with [not just young people] everybody now

Malkin’s venom knows no bounds: Obama “doesn’t like this country very much”, is the “Groveler in Chief”





Anti-feminist fun

26 09 2009

The Family Research Council (whose motto is Defending Faith, Family and Freedom – that’s enough to make me never want to be associated with them) held a conference last weekend called the 2009 Value Voters Summit that featured Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly (Hmph,what a lovely bunch) as speakers. So at this ultra conservative gathering, one of the talks was called “The New Masculinity”:

Feminism has wreaked havoc on marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new “masculinism” right. Such a “masculinism” will have its dovetailing counterpart in a new “feminism” for they mutually define each other and, in nature, are meant to be complementary.

Here we go with the classic villification of feminism again… Evil feminism, responsible for destroying men, women, children, families and marriage. So to remedy that, we need a “new masculinism”? The rhetoric used to discuss this “new masculinism” is blatantly homophobic. Here’s a taste. Michael Schwartz, Chief of Staff to Sen. Tom Coburn said:

…Pornography is a blight. It is a disaster. It is, it is one of those silent diseases in our society that we haven’t been able to overcome very well. Now, I may be getting politically incorrect here. But one — It’s been a few years, not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age. But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it. And that’s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that its genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is inflicted on people. [Bold emphasis mine]

Homosexuality is inflicted on people?!?!?!?! I don’t understand his twisted logic. And then he continues:

I had a very good friend who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time and then he had a religious conversion in the eighties. And he bought a old motel and turned it into a hospice for some of his former associates who were dying of AIDS. He helped, he helped almost 300 men die. This man was a real hero. But he knew that he wasn’t as healed as he thought he was. He was able to resist temptation. He was able to resist sin. But he wasn’t healed enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage. And he was a brilliant man in the sense that he knew himself. And he knew his limits. And he and I had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered. And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people. [Bold emphasis, again mine]

Say what?!?!?! Homosexuality is not a sin. Nor is it a malady. And besides, HOW the hell can looking at pornography “turn” someone gay?!?! This stupidity is way beyond me, and it scares me to think that a roomful of similar close minded conservatives all huddled together to promote a “new masculinism” through homophobia?!

Some of the other panels were:

DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD – PALLADIAN ROOM
Mark Bucher, Bucher & Palmer, LLP; Lila Rose, President, LiveAction

As many state and local governments are tightening their budgets to weather this fiscal storm, communities are taking a second look at the funding of the controversial abortion corporation Planned Parenthood. Since 1987, Planned Parenthood has taken in $3.2 billion in taxpayer funds. Planned Parenthood has used its money to support candidates who will continue this money stream and to lobby against initiatives such as parental notification laws in cases of minors seeking an abortion. Learn from people, like you, who have successfully stopped Planned Parenthood funding in their communities.

Ugh. Anti-choicers, go away!!

TRUE TOLERANCE: COUNTERING THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS – CONGRESSIONAL B
Candi Cushman–Education Analyst, Focus on the Family Action

True tolerance my ass.

MARRIAGE: WHY IT’S WORTH DEFENDING AND HOW REDEFINING IT THREATENS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY – DIPLOMAT ROOM
Charles Donovan, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Thomas Messner, Visiting Fellow; The Heritage Foundation; Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President, Ruth Institute

Redefining marriage poses serious threats to the religious liberties of people who continue to believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. This understanding of marriage is an important religious belief for many Americans, but the freedom to express it will come under growing pressure as courts, public officials, and private institutions come to regard the traditional understanding of marriage as a form of irrational prejudice that should be purged from public life. This briefing will focus on policy and legal developments, as well as how to communicate the link between marriage and religious liberty.

Heterosexist much?

GLOBAL WARMING HYSTERIA: THE NEW FACE OF THE “PRO-DEATH” AGENDA – CABINET ROOM
Dr. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

  • Why did the President’s science advisor support coerced abortions to protect the planet?
  • Why are top abortion funders underwriting efforts to co-opt evangelicals on global warming?
  • If “people are the problem,” what’s the final solution?

Cap and trade is about more than saving the planet. It’s the biggest tax hike in American history. It threatens to concentrate massive amounts of power into the hands of central government and international bureaucrats. And its ascendancy marks the rise of a new, more subtle challenge to the culture of life.

Ultimately, climate change hysteria rests on an unbiblical view of God, mankind, and the environment. Come and hear how the Cornwall Alliance is pushing back–producing ground-breaking studies on Biblical environmentalism, educating pastors and churches across the country, and activating thousands of Christians to rally against the hype through the WeGetIt.org Campaign. Learn why policies to fight alleged man-made global warming will instead cause hundreds of millions of premature deaths throughout this century, and how human liberty, responsibility, and flourishing are the key to a healthier environment.

Oh my god. Seriously?!

Sometimes this is all so ridiculous and laughable that I can’t imagine anyone buying into it or believing it. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of people do believe this bullshit.





Join Mass. NOW in Counter-Protesting Citizens for Life March!

19 09 2009

Got this in an email from Boston Now.  I know I will be there.  Will you?

“It’s time to once again gather our pro-choice posters, t-shirts, and rally cries to show that they’re not the only voice and that women must have a CHOICE – and we need YOU there!

Every year, Massachusetts Citizens for Life holds an anti-choice march.

Every year, Boston NOW organizes a counter-protest to represent a pro-choice voice and message to the public.

Please join us in showing your pro-choice pride. It is very important that all pro-choice people and organizations are out voicing their opposition to this march – especially now – as it becomes clear that reproductive freedom is being used as a bargaining chip in the national health care debate. We encourage you to invite colleagues, friends, and members, and to place this event on your organization’s calendar!

Date: Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time: 1:30 pm

Where: Meet on the corner of Charles St. and Beacon St.

(in front of Starbucks, across from Boston Common)

walk to the meeting spot from public transportation the Red line (Park St./Charles/MGH), Green line (Park St.), or Orange line (Downtown Crossing)

Who: Boston NOW, pro-choice supporters, and YOU!

Please email Boston NOW at info@bostonnow.org to RSVP or for more information.”






Women and feminists “detrimental” to the family says VA Gov. Candidate Robert McDonnell

1 09 2009

Virginia Attorney General and Republican Candidate for Governor, Robert McDonnell, wrote a 93 page master’s thesis in 1989, “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade”, for the evangelical school he attended in Virginia Beach, Regent University. In that thesis, he states that women and feminists are “detrimental” to the family. He describes feminism as one of the “real enemies of the traditional family.” He declares a 1972 Supreme Court decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird, which legalized contraception use by unmarried couples, illogical. At the end of his thesis, he maps out a 15-point plan that the Republican Party should implement in order to protect American families.

McDonnell spent 14 years in the General Assembly before going on to be Attorney General and his political track record exhibits blatant opposition to women’s rights. During his 14 years in the General Assembly, he pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he wrote of in his thesis, including restrictions to abortion, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor “the family”. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women. Then in 2004, he voted against allowing student health centers on college campuses to dispense emergency contraception, and has supported a lot of anti-choice legislation throughout his tenure, including a ban on late-term abortions, mandating that minors receive parental consent prior to having an abortion and requiring women seeking abortions to observe a 24-hour waiting period.

Now as he runs for Governor of Virginia, he tries to distance himself from his thesis, which clearly exhibits a lot of misogynist sentiment. However, actions speak louder than words and his track record is telling enough. According to Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal:

It would be one thing if this thesis was a satire, but it was a policy directive to the Republican Party. McDonnell went on to enact major planks of the policy agenda developed and described in the thesis. It also revealed that he has a well-developed belief against separation of church and state. One of his defenses on his views regarding working women is that his wife and two daughters work. However, we have seen with other advocates of the religious right that personal lives often have no relationship to public policy positions. We must evaluate McDonnell’s views by his actions as a public official, which have furthered an anti-women’s rights record.

I am sick of the religious right using rhetoric of “the American family” to promote and further homophobia and misogyny. It is frightening and disturbing having people like McDonnell as public officials.





August 28th: a landmark day in Civil Rights history in America

29 08 2009

Yesterday, August 28th, was an important and historic day in Civil Rights history in the America.  It is a day that links three prominent men whose lives were and are significant contributions to fight for racial equality and justice in this country.  The three men we are talking about are Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama.

On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, only 14 at the time, was kidnapped and then brutally murdered in Money, Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman passing by.  Till lived in Chicago’s South Side and took a trip down to Mississippi with his great uncle and cousin to visit relatives in August 1955.  On August 24th, Till and his cousin stopped at Bryant’s Grocery store to buy candy and while in the store, Till allegedly either said “bye, baby” or whistled at Carole Bryant, the white store clerk.

Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, forcibly kidnapped Till, brutally beat him, gouged out one of his eyes, and then shot through the head.  His mutilated body was found in the Tallahatchie River, with a 70 pound cotton gin tied around his torso with barbed wire.  Though Bryant and Milam admitted that they were guilty, an entirely white jury acquitted them of murder on September 23, 1955.

Till’s mother, Mamie Carthan Till, chose to have an open casket funeral so that everyone could witness the racist violence that resulted in her son’s brutal murder.  Till’s murder mobilized civil rights activist in protest of the atrocious killing and the racially biased US justice system that let his murderers free.

Eight years later, August 28, 1966, was the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where over 200,000 people attended to pressure then-President Kennedy to take civil rights seriously and to advance civil rights legislation in Congress.  That day, renowned civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.  King said:

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

His words resonated powerfully then as they still do now.  His speech was a resounding cry that echoed the sentiment of many like-minded civil rights activists and supporters at the time who demanded racial equality.  However, his vision of a cohesive, united nation in which there is equality and justice for all, regardless of race, ethnicity or color, has yet to be realized.

Read the rest of this entry »





Senator Ted Kennedy dies at age 77

26 08 2009

This morning we were devastated by the news that Senator Ted Kennedy, the “Liberal Lion of the Senate”, died of brain cancer late last night at age 77. Kennedy accomplished a lot during his lifetime and was an advocate for women’s rights and access to reproductive health. Mass NOW released this statement on Kennedy’s death:

Senator Kennedy’s work in the Senate was unparalleled in both its scope and impact. He dedicated his life to bringing justice to the most disenfranchised members of our society, and was unwavering in his belief of equality for all people. The Senator led countless initiatives that positively changed the lives of women and girls in Massachusetts and across the country. Mass. NOW is forever indebted to Senator Kennedy for being an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, a staunch proponent of Title IX, and a leader in the recent passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Without Kennedy’s work on the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, women and girls would not enjoy the rights that we do today. Mass. NOW is devastated by the loss of such a powerful champion for women’s and civil rights, and his expertise, enthusiasm, and influence will be sorely missed.

However while it is important to remember and commemorate all of the positive contributions that Kennedy made, it is also important to not elevate him on a pedestal and forget to be critical of his accomplishments and his legacy. Here’s some reading that casts a more critical eye on Kennedy:

From Shakesville: Teddy:

Senator Edward Kennedy was a tough guy. He was smart, tenacious, opinionated, strong in body, mind, and spirit. And I think because he was such a tough guy, he won’t mind if I don’t share my real and uncensored thoughts on the occasion of his passing.

Teddy, as he was known, was privileged, in every sense of the word. And he made liberal use of his privilege, in ways I admired and ways I did not. The terrible bargain we all seem to have made with Teddy is that we overlooked the occasions when he invoked his privilege as a powerful and well-connected man from a prominent family, because of the career he made using that same privilege to try to make the world a better place for the people dealt a different lot.

From Recursiveparadox: Bros Before Hos: A Post Ted Kennedy Story:

Ever heard the name Mary Jo Kopechne? No? What about the second run of the GLBT ENDA? No for that too?

Well then boys and girls and all those who break out of the binary, I’ve got some stories to tell you. Let’s start with Mary Jo Kopechne. She was a teacher and speechwriter/secretary for several politicians, including Robert Kennedy. She was also part of the fondly remembered Boiler Room Girls, a tough set of ladies who played a vital (even central) role in gaining campaign intel, crunching numbers and advising for Robert’s campaign.

She was a politically saavy, smart, demure woman. Someone you could really admire. She was also tough. Even with how much it hurt her when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, she still jumped back into politics. (further reading on her)

From Daisy’s Dead Air: More on Ted Kennedy:

I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS.

If I see one more liberal and/or feminist (!) blog talking about the late Senator Edward Kennedy as some kinda righteous man, I’m gonna spew.

Here at DEAD AIR, we calls em like we sees em, and rich drunks who let women die agonizingly-slow deaths rather than tarnish their reputations or make daddy mad, are not mourned, regardless of their politics. REGARDLESS.








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