Monday, September 29, 2008

Reusable bags aren't really all that "green"

I'm really not surprised to hear that those hipster-trendy reusable shopping bags are not actually that "green". The WSJ article here explains more about why.
"If you don't reuse them, you're actually worse off by taking one of them," says Bob Lilienfeld, author of the Use Less Stuff Report, an online newsletter about waste prevention. And because many of the bags are made from heavier material, they're also likely to sit longer in landfills than their thinner, disposable cousins, according to Ned Thomas, who heads the department of material science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What about you, readers? Do you use those reusable bags or do you reuse your current bags? My thing is, I reuse all of my plastic grocery bags again in my house for trash bags and for scooping out cat litter. I reuse the paper bags for recycling because they won't let you put recyclables out in plastic bags and won't give large apt buildings reusable plastic bins (nor will a huge bin fit in my tiny Fan kitchen). Most of the cloth or remade totes are not large enough to hold what a normal bag would anyway, and I'd need several of them for a large grocery trip.

More than 6000

I snicker at this blog I found, that illustrates for us things that have more people than Sarah Palin's town.

My favorite so far is this (emphasis mine):

On July 25th of this year, more people than the population of the town of Wasilla, AK showed up to see Miley Cyrus sing in concert on Good Morning America in New York City. Approximately 7,000 people attended the festivities, proving that 15 year old star of “Hannah Montana” fame has a larger draw than Ms. Palin’s home town.

And we can't forget of course, our very own mob stampede right here in Henrico, VA

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Richmond Mayoral Forum

I know I still have no idea who I want to vote for. I'll definitely be here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's not feminism

Thank you Jezebel, again, for articulating to the masses one of my most fervent arguments about selling your body/feminism/capitalism.

Jezebel writer Jessica, wrote to clarify her thoughts about a previous post regarding a woman auctioning off her virginity on Ebay, that I blogged about here. Jessica disagreed with many of the commenters on that article who seemed offended that Jezebel seemed to be attacking the women's free expression of her sex. Again, most people seem to be missing the point, as Jessica illustrates below (emphasis mine):
It was about pointing out the absurdity of the situation: a woman is hijacking the language of feminism to justify selling her body. I'm not saying it should be illegal, nor am I saying that she should be burned at the stake or something. My point is more that by buying into a system that values women exclusively for their sexual attractiveness does women as a whole no favors. Even if a woman makes boatloads of money exploiting that system, that doesn't make it an intrinsically feminist act, nor is it subverting that system. It's just making money.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does

This Onion article , excerpted below, pokes fun at the idea that suddenly, everything is "empowering" to women. Shoes, granola, tshirts, gaining weight and "woo-ing" are all considered. I think "selling your body for sex" and "pretending that Sarah Palin is a feminist" should also be a part of this article. Also, since when do the ends always justify the means?

Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does

Barbara Klein, professor of women's studies at Oberlin College weighs in:

"Unlike traditional, phallocentric energy bars, whose chocolate, soy protein, nuts, and granola ignored the special health and nutritional needs of women, their new, female-oriented counterparts like Luna are ideally balanced with a more suitable amount of chocolate, soy protein, nuts, and granola,"Klein said.

Whereas early feminists campaigned tirelessly for improved health care and safe, legal access to abortion, often against a backdrop of public indifference or hostility, today's feminist asserts control over her biological destiny by wearing a baby-doll T-shirt with the word "Hoochie" spelled in glitter.

"Not every woman can become a physicist or lobby to stop a foundry from dumping dangerous metals into the creek her children swim in," Klein said. "Although these actions are incredible, they marginalize the majority of women who are unable to, or just don't particularly care to, achieve such things. Fortunately for the less impressive among us, a new strain of feminism has emerged..."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Latent Sexism

I love that the Jezebel writers all think so similarly to me.

Text from Jezebel article by writer Megan(emphasis mine):
The New York Times has an article today about how the Obama camp is going to "dispatch" Hillary Clinton and other female surrogates to counter the McCain-Palin efforts to reach out to women. It's your sort of run-of-the-mill story about campaign tactics until someone far more awake than me — specifically, Melissa McEwan of Shakesville — points out the subtle sexism of how the Times describes the Obama-Hillary relationship.

The Times says:
Senator Barack Obama will increasingly lean on prominent Democratic women to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, dispatching Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Florida on Monday and bolstering his plan to deploy female surrogates to battleground states, Obama advisers said Thursday.

As Melissa points out, it's pretty hard to imagine anyone "dispatching" Hillary Clinton anywhere, let alone the imagery of Obama "deploying" legions of female foot soldiers out to do battle. She suggests the following phrasing:

Prominent Democratic women will be providing Senator Barack Obama with key support next week, as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Florida and other notable female players will make appearances in battleground states to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, Obama advisors said Thursday.

That's the difficulty with sexism most of the time — it's rarely the super-obvious kind. It always creeps in, leaving a few strands behind in a conversation or an article and slips away again, leaving you feeling slightly heavier without really knowing what's wrong. It's just so ingrained in our culture and in our way of looking at the world that it's hard to even tease out, let alone notice with any alacrity.

Using Celebrity

Do you ever notice how the least memorable cast members of The Real World, with the least-developed story lines, end up being the ones who tour the country giving talks about subjects we're not exactly sure why they're qualified to speak on?

For instance, Jose, from the Key West cast. Remember him? Yeah, me neither. He's coming to a local community college to speak about bipartisanship and the upcoming election. Now while I think its fantastic that community college students have the opportunity to hear and discuss this historic presidential race, why would the not-really-famous-and-who-is-he-again? Real Worlder Jose be the best person to be speaking about this?

I get that to attract a youthful audience, organizers want to present someone who comes from youth culture. But The Real World? Do today's college kids even watch that? If they brought in someone actually famous from that series, a loyal watcher from my generation would be more likely to jump at the chance to see them than today's Millennials.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On McCain's speech

I thought John McCain gave a fantastic speech last night. He has an extremely compelling and sympathetic personal story. He was tortured as a prisoner of war, and returned not bitter and even more willing to serve his country. These are part of what make him who he is, and he should be commended for those things. The video preceding his speech was very moving, as were his stories about his POW time. But having a great story, a sad story, does not a presidential candidate make.

I think John McCain made a lot of really good points last night, and was inspiring with all his talk of serving a cause greater than one's self, helping others, looking for alternative forms of energy, making real change, etc. I even think he really believes those things himself. He is a smart, experienced politician. I think we can all agree on that. The problem I have is that the majority of his Republican party do not also share the same thoughts that he expressed last night. Serve a cause greater than one self? That's a Democratic tenet!

The problem I have is that his followers, his voters, and those in Congress DO NOT adhere to the ideals he expressed last night. If they did, they'd be Democrats! Republicans are the ones not allowing gays and women equal rights, not helping out their fellow citizens in time of need. The ones who are not thinking about the global economy, that Americans are not the only country on the planet. The ones who act first and think about our international impact later.

I laud McCain for his speech, his ideas. He seems like he really does want to make a difference. I think he already has. His party does not follow all those beliefs though, and that's a problem. Call him a maverick--the term is getting a bit overused, but it's probably true. He does have crossover views--which I think is important. The right wing is just not going to do all those things, as they've shown throughout history that they do not.

I also have a problem with the utter lack of diversity in the audience at the RNC. I think the visual picture screams loud and clear who the party is really representing. A conservative friend of mine agreed and even joked "I know! It's like a Klan meeting." While I appreciate that he also sees the disparity, I'm not sure that joking about Klan meetings is really the way to show your understanding. I think it is just a shame that so many of those who identify as working class seem to think that this is the party for them.

It does seem as though McCain is getting painted as the guy with the good story. The hero. Full of character. These are good things, but I want policy, plans, details, issues. If voters only vote for who has the stronger character, what does that get us?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First they came...

I was reminded of the importance of this poem today and for every day we don't speak up for the wrongs done against others. For every day we take our own privilege for granted--whether that be the privilege of being white, educated, upper class, male, or American.

The version inscribed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. reads:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

(poem source)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Definition of hypocrites

What the hell is Joe Lieberman doing speaking at the Republican National Convention? Yes, he's an Independent, but he was the VP pick in the 2000 Democratic presidential ticket, ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, and he caucuses with Democrats. Someone explain this to me.

Also, I'm sure you've heard by now the talk about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin's pregnant, teenage daughter. The Republicans are all upset that the "liberal" media is unfairly calling attention to it, attacking her, etc, etc. The line below from this Reuters article pointed out exactly for me why Repubs are so good at being hypocrites:
McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace criticized "hateful" slurs and innuendoes in the liberal blogosphere. "I think the private life of a 17-year-old child ... is something that was being used as a political weapon by liberal bloggers and advocates of Democratic and liberal causes," she said on Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show.

Now you KNOW that if this had been Joe Biden's 17-year-old pregnant daughter, the right wingers would be all, TEH SIN, where are the PARENTS? HOW irresponsible! OMG, she is having TEH SEX. And would be calling him a bad parent for allowing his child to have sex. I cannot get over the fact that the Repubs are suddenly okay with a 17-year-old having the right to have sex in her private life and using the right to PRIVACY (reproductive rights argument, anyone?) as reason that the liberals are attacking unecessarily and should leave her and Palin alone.