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Sexism in the MSM

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of one for rants. And I’m pretty sure I won’t do this one justice. But here comes one.

This morning, I’m reacting to two events in the MSM that reek of sexism. As we continue to work on a more equal playing field, these kinds of things are a blow and perpetuate the way that women and their capacities are undervalued and caricatured.

The first comes from US News and World Report in the form of a poll…who would run the best day care center.


Black History Month at the White House – With Kids!

Please excuse me while I get a little sentimental and mushy today. I know there are important stories to talk about – there are every day. But I just read about one that moved me on several levels.

As you know, February is Black History Month. We’ll leave the discussion about why we need a special month to learn about Black History (could it be that otherwise we don’t hear about it?) for another day. Because yesterday Michelle Obama found a wonderful way to celebrate it at the White House.

Now what?


Almost a month ago, the world heaved a huge sigh of relief when we joined the Obamas and the Bidens in saying goodbye to the presidency of George Bush. But we hardly had time to catch our breath because the work that followed that moment is so overwhelming. For progressives, there is not only the task of cleaning up the countless messes left by the Bush administration. Even if all of that is accomplished, we only go back to fighting the old battles that progressives have always waged against the MIC, US hegemony, the shortcomings of capitalism, and all the “isms” that plague our politics and culture (just to name a few).

The interesting thing is, blogging was born during the Bush administration and therefore has no history with what it means to take on these issues now that the solidifying force of opposition to the worst president in our history is over. Is it any wonder that there is conflict over how to move forward now?  

On being authoritative

Last Sunday, I wrote an essay on power, talking about moving our culture from one where power is based on dominance to one of partnership. I’d like to dig a little deeper on that topic this week. In my professional life I’ve been exposed to some knowledge  that has helped me understand the dilemmas we face in understanding what partnership looks like.

Stopping another war

Why is it that so often when we want to tackle a problem in this country, we think we need to declare war on it? Haven’t we learned over the years that wars tend to make things worse instead of better? If we ever needed proof of that, all we have to do is take a look at this crazy war on drugs our country has been fighting for years.

I’ve firmly believed for a long time that we need to stop this particular war. In my professional life, I see the pipeline to prison that it provides for too many of our young people – especially those of color. But this week, I’ve been devastated to see what its done real close to home. A couple of people I care alot about got caught up in this war because they grow and sell a little marijuana. Their home was invaded by cops last week and they were hauled off to jail in handcuffs. They lost everything they own, including possessions, bank accounts (even the one they’d set up to cover expenses for their father in a nursing home), and all forms of ID due to these crazy laws we call asset forfeiture. I’ve been devastated with and for them.

On Power

Underneath all the complex and seemingly random currents and crosscurrents, is the struggle between two very different ways of relating, of viewing our world and living in it. It is the struggle between two underlying possibilities for relations: the partnership model and the domination model.

Riane Eisler

I have written often about Riane Eisler, the author of The Chalice and the Blade. That’s because I think her concept of partnership vs. dominance is critical to understanding both the challenges we’re facing as a culture as well as the possibilities for change.

Last week I wrote about Saul Alinsky, who based his model of community organizing on understanding and working with the dynamics of power. He knew that the only kind of power folks in the forgotten areas of Chicago had was the power of large groups of people working together in partnership – especially when they came up against the monied interests.

All of that merged with what I’ve learned from Eisler when I read a diary this week at dkos by NCrissieB titled Obama Powerless? Not exactly… NCrissieB spent some time talking about power theory from a relational perspective and included this chart.

It is the soul that must be preserved

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m finding myself exhausted. Its only been about 2 1/2 weeks with this new administration, but I feel like my pace of trying to keep up with things has been pretty frenetic. I’m trying very hard to read, listen and collect my thoughts about what I think is happening. And between a hyped-up media and a progressive blogoshpere that is analyzing every move anyone in DC makes, its an awful lot to absorb.

That’s why this morning, I felt a need to go back and read An Open Letter to Barack Obama that was written by Alice Walker the day after the election. I remember that it moved me greatly and I thought it was wonderful advice that she gave. Its just that now, maybe I need it too.

Limbaugh Reads Alinsky

I normally ignore Rush Limbaugh’s rants as the garbage that they are. But here is something he said last Monday in response to Obama calling him out that I found intriguing.

This is a political play and a lot of people I think are misunderstanding this.  ‘He’s frightened of Limbaugh.’  I don’t think he’s afraid of anybody.  He’s the president of the United States.  This is a political play to marginalize me so that Republicans are afraid to associate with my ideas or any of us.  He wants conservatism, mainstream conservatism to be thought of the way you and I think of communism.  He wants it thought of as the most foreign, the most offensive, the most extreme manner of belief possible…  This is a Saul Alinsky radical rule number 13:  Pick the target, me, isolate it, polarize it...  That’s what’s happening here. This is a purposeful effort to get rid of conservatism as a mainstream way of thinking forever in this country, make no mistake about it.

So Rush is paying attention to the community organizing tactics espoused by Saul Alinsky…interesting. It piqued my curiosity enough that I decided to look into the “Radical Rules” to see what I could learn as well as to consider whether or not Obama is using them as a playbook.

A little George Carlin in honor of “Super Sunday”

I used to be a HUGE sports fan, but then I grew up and put away childish things (LOL). So I suppose I’m one of the 2 or 3 in this country who won’t be watching the Superbowl today.

As a substitute, here’s a little George Carlin explaining the difference between football and baseball. I know it doesn’t compensate since Carlin is less than 5 minutes and Superbowl coverage is scheduled for over 8 hours (including time for all those great commercials). But its all I’ve got. Maybe you guys can help me by adding to it.

Can Republican Senators Stop the Stimulus?

Apparently, Republican Senators still haven’t gotten the message about how little power they have. According to Think Progress, there is some talk about trying to filibuster the stimulus bill next week.

Now, that might sound threatening to some. But a simple look at the math will tell you just what an uphill battle it would be. Nate Silver recently published a filibuster watch in which he looked at how many times Republican Senators have voted with the Obama administration already. Certainly this is a bit lop-sided since 2 of the 7 votes were for confirmations of Cabinet posts. But one of them was for Tim Geithner, the most contested to date.

The results are that all but 2 Republicans (DeMint and Vitter) have voted with the Obama Administration at least once and the fewest on any matter has been 5 on the Ledbetter Fair Play Act. If you remove the confirmation votes from the mix, a total of 28 Republican Senators have voted with the administration at least once.

Obama’s Strategy

Over the last few days, I’ve been watching an interesting discussion going on between several progressive bloggers who are trying to understand and/or criticize Obama’s attempts to talk/work with Republicans on the stimulus bill. There are nuanced opinions to be sure, but overall, the positions break down into two camps.

The first is the one we hear most about on the progressive blogs…that Obama is wasting his time in these efforts of bi-partisanship and weakening legislation in the meantime. One of the people criticizing Obama most severely is David Sirota at Open Left.

Obama has to choose between his campaign spending promises and his odes to bipartisanship – and unfortunately, it looks like he’s trying not to make a choice at all. He’s proposing a plan that tries to split the difference between GOP-backed tax cuts that Democrats acknowledge are ineffective, and progressive spending proposals. Policy-wise, the net effect is a weaker stimulus package than the moment requires. Politically, the effect is to help resuscitate a Republican Party and conservative movement that should be left to wither away. Indeed, the only way the GOP can claw itself back to political relevance is to garner attention from Obama and the Democrats – and sadly, it seems Obama seems intent on helping the GOP get back in the game.

Same Old Story

The Field Negro is a lawyer who lives in Philadelphia. He regularly reports on what he calls “Killadelphia,” his name for tracking the murder rate in his city (13 so far in the 26 days this year). And this weekend, he told the story of Dwayne Ramsey.

Earlier Tuesday, Dwayne had gone for his annual medical check-up, his mother said yesterday. He’d just gotten paid from his job at the McDonald’s in Plymouth Meeting.

The family returned home to watch the presidential inauguration and remained in high spirits the rest of the night, she said.

Later on, she grew hungry and Dwayne offered to treat.

He left and almost immediately Ramsey said she felt something was wrong.

‘I heard the shots and I got a sinking feeling,’ she said, her voice quivering.

She flung the blanket that was draped over her onto the floor, threw on a pair of pants, and, forgoing a coat, ran out.

On the corner, police and a crowd of curious neighbors had already congregated by the time she arrived. Ramsey tried to reach her son, who lay riddled with bullets on a small grassy area, but was held back by cops.


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