Category Archives: Things That Make Me Go Argh

To paraphrase Kanye West, South Dakota doesn’t care about female people.

But fortunately Canada does.

Today is International Women’s Day.

Anyone questioning why we still need a special day to highlight women’s rights need look no further than South Dakota.

Honestly, WTF?

Why men think they should have any say in whether a woman has an abortion is beyond me. If a woman chooses to involve the potential father in the decision, fine. But random politicians need to butt out. It’s so not their business.

For such obvious reasons, most discussion of abortion is focused on threats to Roe v. Wade by right-wing Americans. But I think people sometimes forget that Canadian women didn’t have unfettered access to abortion until 1988. Yes, you read right. 1988.

The decriminalization of abortion in Canada was a consequence of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms coming into effect. Section 7 of the Charter reads:

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

In R. v. Morgentaler, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized abortion by striking down s.251 of the Criminal Code:

Section 251 clearly interferes with a woman’s physical and bodily integrity. Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus an infringement of security of the person. A second breach of the right to security of the person occurs independently as a result of the delay in obtaining therapeutic abortions caused by the mandatory procedures of s. 251 which results in a higher probability of complications and greater risk. The harm to the psychological integrity of women seeking abortions was also clearly established.

Shortly thereafter, in Tremblay v. Daigle (a case where a woman’s ex-boyfriend was trying to prevent her from obtaining an abortion), the SCC ruled that:

A foetus is not included within the term “human being” in the Quebec Charter and, therefore, does not enjoy the right to life conferred by s. 1. … In Anglo-Canadian law, a foetus must be born alive to enjoy rights. In light of the treatment of foetal rights in civil law and, in addition, the consistency to be found in the common law jurisdictions, it would be wrong to interpret the vague provisions of the Quebec Charter as conferring legal personhood upon the foetus.

and:

[T]here is nothing in the Quebec legislation or case law, to support the argument that the father’s interest in a foetus he helped create gives him the right to veto a woman’s decisions in respect of the foetus she is carrying. The lack of legal basis is fatal to this argument.

So, to sum up:

  1. A fetus is not a person.
  2. Men have no say in whether a woman has an abortion or not.
  3. Restrictions on obtaining an abortion are a violation of woman’s right to security of the person.


Happy International Women’s Day!

I know (most) politicians are asshats, but this takes the cake.

I guess I have to post about the asshat who is David Emerson.

Okay, so here’s the scoop: two weeks ago we had a federal election. Emerson ran for the Liberals and won his seat. The Conservatives, however, won the election (albeit a minority government).

So apparently Asshat Emerson gets a call from Asshat Harper, our new PM, the gist being that he’ll get a cabinet post if he defects. Asshat Emerson thinks “What a great idea! More $$$$$ for me!” and does it. (Oh, come on, of course that’s what he was thinking. Well, mayhap power/prestige came into it a little.)

The former Liberal industry minister said … he’s been unjustly accused of rank opportunism for switching sides just days after an election campaign where he led the Liberal charge against the Tories in British Columbia.

(Unjustly accused. *boggle* I’ve never seen a more obvious case of rank opportunism.)

So on Monday, when the new cabinet is announced this all comes out and people–especially those who voted for him, worked on his campaign, etc.–are outraged. Well, duh. Except Asshat Emerson is all “Why are people mad? I didn’t expect this.”

Emerson said he was unprepared for the reaction in his home town to what seemed to him a logical move aimed at helping his province.

Dude, I’ll explain it to you. For TWO MONTHS you campaigned as a member of the Liberal party. TWO WEEKS AGO you won your seat based on the fact that you were a LIBERAL. You would not have won if you were not running as a Liberal. Yes, it’s true that certain people have a personal popularity that transcends partisanship. I don’t think you are one of them.

To say something like this shows that you don’t understand our political system at all. In Canada we get ONE VOTE. When we vote for our local representative, we are endorsing the party they represent and by extension the leader of that party, who will become the Prime Minister should the party win. Thus, the PARTY you represent is integral to voters’ decisions whether to vote for you.

80% of the people in your riding voted either Liberal or NDP. The Conservatives were a distant third with 18% of the vote. Do you not understand what this means? PEOPLE IN YOUR RIDING DO NOT ENDORSE THE CONSERVATIVE AGENDA.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so gobsmacked by a politician’s actions. How anyone could think this was okay is beyond me. This is not a case of a person sitting for a while (years perhaps) and then coming into conflict with their party’s agenda and either becoming an independent or switching to another party on a matter of principle. Oh no. In fact, Asshat Emerson says he would still be a Liberal had they won. WTF?!

I’ve never been a fan of recall, but damn, I hope they recall your ass.

(And let’s not forget the fact that Asshat Harper made this offer in the first place makes him a first class idiot. Don’t forget that come next election.)

How To Piss Me Off

Last night I was reading the newspaper and I ran across a small article about the PM-designate’s spouse.

The title says it all:

It’s ‘Mrs. Harper,’ for wife of incoming prime minister Stephen Harper

Harper’s 41-year-old spouse has been known as Laureen Teskey –

But the self-described small-town girl from Turner Valley, Alta., has let it be quietly known that she now goes only by the name of Laureen Harper.

Look, you can call yourself Bozo the Clown for all I care. But as long it’s still considered politically necessary for a woman to take her husband’s last name, to be a Mrs., not a Ms., then women will NOT have achieved equality. PERIOD.

The fact that I’d noticed his wife had her own name was the ONE thing Harper had going for him. Now he has NOTHING. NOTHING.

It pissed me off when Hillary did it. It pisses me off when the media calls Tony Blair’s wife Mrs. Blair when her real name is Cherie Booth. But this pisses me off even more, maybe because Laureen & Stephen are closer to my age–and I guess I just expect younger people to be more enlightened on these matters.

I remain impressed with Maureen McTeer (and by extension, Joe Clark), who didn’t stand for this bullshit, even 30 years ago when it was a much bigger deal.

It shouldn’t be a deal at all anymore. That it obviously is, is sad, sad, sad.

*

On a related note, there’s been much media speculation about who will make up the new cabinet. I noticed that ALL the names being bandied about were men. ALL.

Then I saw a snip of a Harper press conference in which he was saying how he had to increase the number of women in the Conservative party. Ha. Well, subjugating your wife isn’t going to do it.

Curious, I looked for some stats.

The number of women elected for each party, and the proportion of women in the party’s elected caucus, are as follows:

* Bloc – 17 (33.3% of caucus)
* Conservative – 14 (11.3% of caucus)
* Liberal – 21 (20.3% of caucus)
* NDP – 12 (41.4% of caucus)

The Liberal party isn’t doing great there, but the Conservatives? 11%? Can’t say I’m surprised, though. With all the anti-women crap they support (I know, they’ve tried to tone it down, but it’s there, simmering under the surface.), what woman in her right mind would join such a party? And as for the men, they probably secretly wish that it was 0% because y’all know where they think women are supposed to be.

The Bad, The Good, & The Fugly

The Bad: PM Stephen Harper. Bleh. 😦

The Good: It’s a minority government.

The Fugly: Belinda Stronach. Gah. *grind teeth* Think of a cross between Paris Hilton & Dubya. I can’t even begin to think what the person who puts an X beside her name on a ballot is thinking. “Wow, she’s really qualified for this job and I know she’s got my best interests in mind!” Riiight.

I do, however, remain more appalled by the fact that she won numerous awards for holding some executive position in her daddy’s company. This chick dropped out of university in her first year. So, you know, she was really qualified to run a mega-corporation. Sure. That’s uber-believable. Here’s some coffee. Smell it.

Solstice Prezzie

Judge Rejects Teaching Intelligent Design

In the [US]’s first case to test the legal merits of intelligent design, the judge, John E. Jones III, issued a broad, stinging rebuke to its advocates and provided strong support for scientists who have fought to bar intelligent design from the science curriculum.

Judge Jones, a Republican appointed by President Bush, concluded that intelligent design was not science, and that in order to claim that it is, its proponents admit they must change the very definition of science to include supernatural explanations.

Is it just me or is this ruling especially sweet because Judge Jones is a Bush-appointed Republican?! FOCLMAO. Intelligent Design. Bah. I tell ya, if the school board had come to me when I was teaching biology, and said I had to teach ID (read: creationism) in my classes, I’d’ve laughed in their faces. Probably I’d’ve thought it was a joke. No biology teacher worth his/her salt is going to teach religion as science.

You know what really gets me are these so-called “scientists” who are pushing ID. I figure they have to be getting something out of the deal, some sort of kickback, because honestly, if they have degrees from reputable universities (and maybe they don’t, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) they have to know what they’re espousing is BS. How they can blither away on CNN with straight faces is beyond me.

On a related note, on Sunday an older guy on a bike stopped and asked where I got my Darwin fish (it’s on the back of my car). Go evolution!

Wacky Xians Strike Again

Tempest brews over quotes on Starbucks cups

The group believes corporations have a responsibility to reflect the diversity of their customers by taking a balanced approach � or staying out of divisive social issues altogether.

Actually, corporations only have a responsibility to their shareholders.

Starbucks spokeswoman Lara Wyss said decisions about sponsoring gay-pride events and other causes are made at the store or regional level, not the corporate level.

Largest corporate contingent–by far–at the Pride Parade this year? That’s right. Starbucks.

The parade was very corporate this year, really indicative of the pressure now on corporations to demonstrate how inclusive & openminded they are if they want to keep their customers. What a change from even a few years ago.

Religion is the root of all evil.

GOD AND COUNTRY

There’s a wealth of snark here, from students who think “their beloved” GWB doesn’t lie to the biology professor who teaches that “the earth was created in a week” — but I’m going to focus on the subjugation of women.

Keep in mind, these quotes refer to university students:

Brobst was wearing a cherry-red suit, Ross a peacock-blue one, with stockings and pumps�the uniform of Washington wives in waiting.

Power suits? Stockings? Pumps? Hello? Makes me want to say go west, young women, to the land of Birkenstocks, fleece, and year-round shorts.

Referring to du M�e, he said, �Maybe one day he�ll be the one standing before the Supreme Court, arguing to overturn Roe v. Wade.�

Oy. You know it’s one thing when a 60+ person holds certain, ah, “values” I disagree with. I think, okay, well, maybe their small-mindedness was due to the times they grew up, etc. I think they’re wrong, but I can see where/how their opinions developed. OTOH, I always find myself startled when I realize the person going all ballistic over “One Dad, Two Dads” is closer to my age than my parents’. I think, WTF? It’s like we grew up on different planets. That there are twenty-somethings who also hold such views is both perplexing and disturbing.

Ross would look for a job, but only to pay back loans. Eventually, [Ross & du Mee] want to adjust to living on one salary so that she can homeschool their kids.

In theory, homeschooling may have its merits. In reality, homeschoolers = crazy people. The fact that the students in this article were homeschooled in part explains how they can hold views the views they do. Public school is terribly flawed. However, it has the advantage of exposing you to people who are not the same as you and who don’t share your parents’ views/values. IMO, this compensates for a lot.

Ben Adams … sent out a nine-page e-mail to the entire student body before the spring formal reminding the girls to dress modestly. �Lust is sin,� it said. �It is sin for you to tempt us. It is . . . unloving. Unsisterly. Un-Christlike.�

Asshat. Blame the girl. It’s all the girl’s fault. Women are evil. etc. etc. etc. Hate that. This is why I couldn’t get past page 1 of the Bible (I did try to read it once, for its literary merits). Step up, Asshat! Take responsibility for your own actions. Also, the shame/guilt element here is disturbing. No one should feel that bad about sex–which, after all, is a natural biological function, while “sex only w/i marriage” is a mere social convention.

Girls talk about not �stumbling� a guy, the equivalent of tempting him, and resident advisers keep a close eye on them to make sure they don�t wear shirts that show any bra. If they do, they�ll get a friendly e-mail��I think I saw you in dress code violation,� followed by a smiley emoticon.

Phony niceness. Yeah, that’s a good value to encourage. I guess this is “hate the sin, love the sinner” again. Hate that message too. Anyhow, what I notice is that these “values” encourage people to be shallow, to focus on the external. It’s all about appearances, looking “good” to others. Bleh.

Matthew du M�e, who was an R.A., told me that if he saw a boy and girl sitting too close for too long he would pull the boy aside and tell him to stop, because �the guy is supposed to be the leader in the relationship.�

I’ve heard this one before. Newsflash: 21st Century. Speaking of which…

Even the most ambitious [girls], those who wake up at 3 a.m. to study, told me without reservation that as soon as they had children they would quit their jobs to raise them.

Elisa believes the Bible dictates that �there are different roles for men and women�; … But the expectation of most of the guys she knows at Patrick Henry�that wives should just �fade out,� that she should instantly take on the identity of a wife and mother �and consider it a blessing��is not something that she�s comfortable with.

This is simply sad. Honestly, people still believe this shit in 2005? Really? I mean, really, truly, deep inside, without the slightest bit of hypocrisy, they believe this? Doubtful. More likely the guys selfishly want it (who wouldn’t want their very own personal assistant who works for free?) and the girls delude themselves into accepting it in their eagerness to please everyone around them who is expecting them to be perfect. Ugh.

*

Soldiers of Christ II

In the parking lot outside the center, I come across a pickup truck with large hand-painted panels bearing anti-gay slogans and a round red circle with a line through the center superimposed on the faces of two men kissing. STOP THE INSANITY, it says across the top. I pick up one of the pamphlets in a metal box on the side of the truck: �Protect Your Family & Friends from the Dangers of . . . Homosexuality: The Truth!�

The truth. Riiiight.

Wright promises the audience that as the new president of NRB he will fight to block the passage of hate-crime legislation, something many Christian broadcasters fear might be used to halt their attacks on gays and lesbians.

�If we had to give equal time to every opposing viewpoint, there would be no time to proclaim the truth that we have been commanded to proclaim,� he says. �We will fight the Fairness Doctrine, tooth and nail. It could be the end of Christian broadcasting as we know it if we do not.�

Oh, darn. The end of hate-filled broadcasting. I weep.

I can�t help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the �Christian fascists.�

…fascism, Adams warned, would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

…too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. …

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right�s persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute�s library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first �deviants� singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

In all seriousness, though, this is scary shit. I strongly believe that organized religion just gives people an excuse to hate. Organized religion imposes a set of manmade “values” on its followers, which they must follow blindly or else they aren’t a good whatever and risk punishment (in some cases, the heaping on of guilt, in others, the heaping on of stones). It doesn’t encourage people to think for themselves; in fact, it does the opposite. It encourages people to be submissive, to let those who “know better” take charge and tell them what to do. People are exploited and hurt in order to feed the ambitions of the religion’s hierarchy. It’s all about power & money for the people at the top.

You’re with us or you’re against us.

A few weeks ago, I hit on what bugs me about the usual liberal vs. conservative arguments as we have them today. I will use abortion as an example.

With the abortion issue, you are either “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. Pro-lifers see the issue as black/white. All abortions are bad. Period. No one should ever, ever, ever have an abortion. No discussion, no exceptions. They paint pro-choicers as their polar opposite when the two “sides” are not opposites at all. The opposite of the pro-life stance would be: All abortions are good. Every woman who ever gets pregnant should have an abortion. Clearly, that’s not what pro-choicers believe. Yet, that is what “pro-life” implies. It also implies that pro-lifers believe in the sanctity of all life, however, I’ve noticed that the most fanatical anti-abortionists also tend to be pro-death penalty. How do they reconcile that?

Anyhow, pro-choice is not the opposite of pro-life. It encompasses the pro-life view. It allows for it. A person who is pro-choice could be personally for, against, or undecided about abortion, but irrespective of her personal views, she respects the rights of others to make their own decisions about the matter. A person who is pro-choice doesn’t think, “abortion! yay!” She understands that a pregnancy is more often than not a gray issue. A baby could be much-wanted but endanger the health of the mother, or have a severe genetic defect. A pregnancy could be the result of rape. A family could already have more children than they can support. A pro-choicer understands that there may be situations when abortion is the best—not the easiest—choice for all concerned.

This is where the true meat of the argument lies: In what situations do you think it would be appropriate to have an abortion? When would it not be okay? If everyone could accede that people have the right to hold their own opinions on the matter, then we could have a true, rich, nuanced debate on the moral, medical, philosophical, etc. implications. Instead we just have two factions yelling at each other.

So that’s what bugs me. It seems no matter what the issue, you’re “conservative” if you have your opinion and you’re sticking to it and goddamn it so should everyone else, and you’re “liberal” if you allow for the fact that everyone has opinion and that there is a whole spectrum of ways to look at an issue not just two (see: “you’re either with us or against us”). It’s just impossible to have a real debate on anything if that’s what the two “sides” are.