Archive for the 'politics' Category


Pink hats

Last week I made ten pink Pussyhats. (The tenth is not pictured because my kid claimed it as soon as it came off the needles.)


I am not usually a big fan of “craftivism” and see it mostly as an inefficient use of time and resources. Rather than spend time and money to knit a sweater to send to refugees halfway across the world, for example, I think it’s far more helpful to send money to charity and activist groups (such as Doctors without Borders) that are already on the ground in those areas and doing something there.

But the Pussyhat Project appealed to me because of its ability to send a clear statement about the importance of justice and equality for all. Because of an all-day (and unmovable) commitment on our calendar, my family wasn’t able to participate in the Women’s March on Washington last week. So I sent these hats with friends marched for themselves and on behalf of people (like me) who wanted to be there but can’t.

When people marched in Washington, DC, and other cities (and countries! and continents!) on January 21, the world took notice. (Even Trump, I’m sure—though he’s still trying to convince everyone that his inauguration crowds were way, way bigger.) Nearly every photo and video of that day’s events featured a sea of pink hats. It was amazing to see this sign of solidarity.

What next? I hope that the many lawmakers and media who have been tepid in their rejection of Trump’s message of misogyny, racism, and hatred will finally find the courage to call out his lies and bullying and  stand up for what’s right. And I hope that these pink hats (and all of the other resistance modes at play last weekend) inspire everyone to realize that the world is a better place when we work together to benefit us all.

And because I’m certain there will be plenty of future opportunities to demonstrate against the current administration and its policies, I plan to keep knitting pink hats.


On executions

“If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”

“If we as a society cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by a firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all.”

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (a Reagan appointee)

I’d prefer to see no executions at all, of course.

But I do wonder how much public support for capital punishment would erode if the executions were not longer as “clean” and “sanitized” as they are now. Or if members of the general public were forced to witness the executions. Or if members of the general public were forced to pull the triggers.



An observation

From time to time I contact my elected officials to let them know my opinion on certain issues. Usually this takes place via a website or e-mail, and often I am asked to select a category for my communication as well as provide additional information about myself.

One of my U.S. senators, Bob Casey, requests a salutation. The default selection in the drop-down menu is a blank.

The other of my U.S. senators, Pat Toomey, also requests a salutation. The default selection in the drop-down menu is “Mr.”

What do you make of that?


More politics

I think I’ve found a candidate worthy of my support in the 2012 presidential election: Scott Adams.

I don’t agree with everything he supports, but overall I think he’s a pretty reasonable person. Take a look at his post “Why You Should Vote for Me” and you’ll see what I mean.

For example:

Public Debate: I’ll host televised public debates on our domestic policy options, in an entertaining fashion. And I’ll interrupt and humiliate participants who ignore the known facts and the best science. I’ll make it my job to provide the public with useful information, in proper context, and free of politics. You won’t get that from the other candidates. In today’s world, voting and guessing is almost the same thing. The major political parties have a strong interest in keeping voters ignorant. I’ll change that.

Revenge on Congress: According to the polls, most of you think Congress needs a kick in the ass. Neither Romney nor Obama are likely to do much about Congress except gripe about it in a general way. And neither man will complain about his own party. After I finish a few of my public debates as President, I’ll go after individual members of Congress that are favoring politics over the facts. I’ll bring accountability to Congress if I can. At the very least, I’ll shine the light of shame on the worst cockroaches in both parties and make them scurry. You’ll enjoy watching it.

Can you see the appeal?



In case you haven’t heard, 2012 is a presidential election year in the USA. Various GOP candidates are jockeying for their party’s nomination; meanwhile, Obama doesn’t have to worry about primaries, since he’ll be running for his party’s nomination unopposed.

When Obama was elected, like most of this country I was filled with hope. Finally someone who would do the right thing! Justice! Fairness! All that other good stuff!

What we got was a lot of politics as usual. For a long time, I strongly supported Obama, truly believing he would improve our country. When people criticized him, I could point to stuff like this and say, “See? He is making a positive change!”

And then my faith in him started to disappear. Well, “disappear” might not be the best word—it’s still there, just smashed under a pile of broken promises and business as usual. Obama has shown his true colors: he’s no progressive but just another middle-of-the-road conservative. Aside from his party affiliation, he isn’t much different from most mainstream Republicans. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of his accomplishments.

So am I hugely disappointed in Obama? Yes. Will I vote for him in 2012? Sadly, I probably will (assuming someone better doesn’t come along). The progressive left that got him elected in 2008? He knows we have no choice but to support him in 2012. (I mean, really—where else are we going to go?) So he’s taking us for granted and doing what he can to appeal to those in the center and right.

Hey, anyone know if Ralph Nader has announced his candidacy again yet? :)



The best response yet

So the White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate in the hopes of finally shutting up the nutcase birthers. Has it worked? For the most part, the jury is still out on that.

But at least one person is already loudly proclaiming his dissatisfaction with the document (and no, it’s not Trump—though he is usually pretty loud):

I demand the White House release video of Obama being born on home plate during the 1961 World Series, with Roger Maris attending the delivery and being heard to remark “That’s a fine-looking future President you have there, Ann.”

I wonder how the White House will response to that one.

…it does.Remember my post the other day about Rush Limbaugh’s attempts to speak “Chinese”? Here’s the follow-up:

“California Lawmaker Receives Racist Death Threat Warning ‘Rush Limbaugh Will Kick Your Ch-nk Ass’”

Last week, California State Sen. Leland Yee (D) called on right-wing hate radio host Rush Limbaugh to apologize for mocking Chinese President Hu Jintao and the Chinese language by speaking gibberish “ching chong chang” Chinese on his radio program. Yee, who is Chinese-American and chairs the state Senate Select Committee on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, said Limbaugh owes the Chinese-American community an apology for his “pointless and ugly offense.” Naturally, Limbaugh did not apologize, and instead railed against Yee the following day on his radio, calling him out repeatedly by name.

Yee’s call for civility did not sit well with one Limbaugh fan, who responded by sending several racist death threats to Yee’s office this week.

What are the odds that Limbaugh won’t refudiate repudiate his fan’s actions? Pretty good, I think.



Honestly, I can’t imagine how anyone can say this is a bad thing. Seriously–what arguments can possibly be made against this ideal?

I’ve signed the charter. I hope you do, too.



Today is the 200th anniversary of the births of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. I didn’t know until recently that they were born on the exact same day. This connection makes sense, given their shared staunch opposition to slavery. Today is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP.

For much of my childhood in Illinois, Lincoln’s birthday—not Washington’s—was a no-school holiday. (“Land of Lincoln,” you know.) I was a little sorry to see it merged into President’s Day: Lincoln was pretty amazing and deserves his own day, I think. And it goes without saying (*cough* last eight years *cough*) that some presidents don’t merit much celebration.

So as you move through today, pause for a moment to reflect on the efforts of those who have worked to dispel prejudice based on so-called race*. We’ve got a long way to go—but we’ve come a long way already, and that gives me hope.

*As an anthropologist by training, I have to mention that race is a social construct, not a biological fact.

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