In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

South Dakotans Reject Abortion Ban

Voters defeated South Dakota’s abortion ban. Woot!

At the moment, I’m having a hard time finding good reporting on the issue. (Even has failed me, sniff!) So if you see some great analysis, do share. I haven’t even been able to find out what the margin was, but we’ll endeavor to keep you informed.

UPDATE: The margin, according to CNN, is 44% in favor, 56% opposed. Much closer than I would have liked, but South Dakota is a red state and overturning an act of the legislature is not inconsequential.

Hacking Democracy

Just a little bit more about elections. You can check out HBO’s special Hacking Democracy in its entirety on Google Video. (The total run time is about an hour and twenty minutes, just so you know.)

The documentary covers a lot of the known problems with electronic voting and focuses on how much of what’s going on is hidden from public view. You can read HBO’s synopsis here.

Also, check out Salon’s coverage and a good round-up of links from Bruce Schneier.

My own extremely brief two cents: How long do we think Diebold would stay in business if their ATMs had the same kinds of gaping security flaws that their voting machines do?

Election Thoughts

Tomorrow’s the big day. Hopefully all of you are going to get out and vote. If you’re in New York, I hope you’ll vote on the Working Families Party line — they support the most progressive candidates, and are certainly more in line with my values than the Democratic party is. And you won’t be hurting mainstream Democratic politicians by voting for Working Families — Eliot Spitzer and most other Dems are listed on the ballot as Democrats and as Working Families. It doesn’t matter if you vote for them on the Democrat line or the Working Families line; they’ll get your vote either way. The difference? The Working Families Party is unified behind issues like universal healthcare, bringing the troops home, affordable housing, alternative energy, equal rights, a reform of the Rockefeller drug laws, marriage equality, immigrant rights, and more. Voting these values sends a strong message to Democratic politicians that there’s a thriving, progressive contingent within the party, and that we must be represented if they want to secure our support. Politicians pay attention to where their votes are coming from. If you’re a New York voter, make sure that your vote represents your values. Eliot Spitzer and Gloria Steinem have more about Working Families.

But we aren’t all in New York, and it’s not the New York race that’s going to make or break a Democratic majority in the house or the senate. The Congressional elections are the big deal on Tuesday, but we can’t forget important state measures, like the South Dakota abortion ban and the parental notification laws on Oregon and California. And this isn’t exactly a monumental year for women’s rights — while voters are considering banning abortion and limiting abortion rights in several states, only 15 percent of the more than 1200 candidates in this election cycle are women. (Interesting sidenote: Only 70 percent have email. Who are the 360 candidates who have yet to discover the internets?)

I hope you’ve all taken the time to evaluate the candidates in your state and your district. But since I know we’re all busy people, and not all of us have the time to look up every single fact about the people running for office and the big issues up for a vote, state-by-state thoughts are below the fold (Senate only, sorry — I don’t have time to look into every district in question. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, though).

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Help! Help! Voter Suppression!*

*A Get Fuzzy quote, used only half in jest

UPDATED: So I voted this morning with my passport and a bank statement. No one batted an eye. So much for my confrontation with poll workers.

So I have been poking around online, reading about candidates and ballot measures for tomorrow’s elections. (I’m voting in Ohio.) There’s lots of stupidity in terms of ballot measures, particularly issues 4 and 5, which are smoking initiatives. (The measure called “Smoke Less Ohio” would actually repeal existing smoking bans. Go figure.)

The real problem I’m having here, though, is with the new identification requirements, and it’s pissing me off. I have three different sources of information, all of which conflict with what counts as suitable identification. I’ve moved since the last election, but only around the corner from my old place, which is still on file with the board of elections. (I’m still in exactly the same district for everything and it’s still the same polling place.) I am now feeling stupid for not having updated my registration, because I cannot for the life of me figure out whether I can still vote on a regular ballot or whether I have to cast a provisional ballot or what.

This is the relevant statute…

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I met Harold at the Playboy Party!

Holy mother of god. There are so many things wrong with this ad, I have no idea where to begin.Witness this Tennessee campaign ad. It’s an RNC spot against Rep. Harold Ford.

Included, we have a play on fears about interracial sex, the claim that Ford supports terrorism, that he’s in the pocket of pornographers, and hooks up with women at Playboy parties.

The dialogue of the ad after the jump.

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The Real Reason Illinois Senator Barack Obama is Considering a Bid for the Presidency….

Ever since his stirring 2004 Democratic National Convention address, folks have been suggesting that he would make a damn fine President. And ever since the 2004 Democratic presidential loss, this call for an Obama run has been getting louder, especially in Illinois. Practically every Illinois politico has been nudging him to go for broke and run for President in 2008—even his opponent in the primary for his Senate run, Dan Hynes (the Illinois Comptroller). But around Lubiddu’s house, there’s a different theory….

See, ’round about a coupla weeks ago, there was a rally in Illinois that Barack Obama attended. And Lubu’s mother, being a political animal, hungry for all forms of political activism after years of keeping quiet under the Hatch Act (she didn’t want to take any chances with her job, to the point of not even engaging in activity that was permitted. Put it this way, back in the day, my father was the only precinct committeeman with no yard signs!), well—she attended. Her purpose? To elbow her way to the front, so she could, “…shake the hand of a future President!”

He smiled, and said, “What’s your name?” So she told him. She also told him that she had cancer, but hoped to live long enough to see him get elected to the Presidency. And he told her he’d think about it.

My mother likes to think that’s what tipped the scales. Meanwhile, what do the rest of you think? Jill posed the question not long ago about sHillary (yes, I said that out loud); now let’s hear from the feministas on Obama—-should he run? What are his chances? What would you expect from him as President? Would he have your vote?

If he runs, he has my vote already. Along with the votes of literally every Democrat I know. But this is Illinois, so maybe my straw poll is a bit biased. I’d really like to hear what folks here have to say.

Breaking up is hard to do

Hi everyone! Greetings from one of your guest bloggers. I’m really excited to be contributing at Feministe, although I do wish it was under slightly more cheerful circumstances. The short synopsis view of me: my background is primarily in bioethics (my name can be found on the President’s Council on Bioethics’s website if you look hard enough), and I’m currently a third year law student, which might help explain why my first guest post here is about divorce.

I’ve been following two very different stories in the news about marital discord: country singer Sara Evans’s recently filed divorce* and the race for Congress in the 10th district in Pennsylvania, where incumbent Don Sherwood (R-PA) has been dealing with the fallout from news of an affair with a twenty-nine-year-old staffer and the allegations that he choked her. Sherwood’s opponent has been harping on the affair in debates and campaign ads. Normally, celebrity divorces and allegations of sexual misconduct by politicians are not exactly news. But I’m writing about these two instances because there’s something kind of strange about each. First is Evans’s husband’s allegations that the singer’s “interest in her “marital roles and responsibilities” declined and she “neglected” their three children after she began appearing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”” Second is the letter Sherwood’s wife sent out to Republican voters talking about the affair.

Hillary’s Woman Problem

Like many feminists, I’m conflicted about the whole Hillary-for-President thing. I think a lot of us had pinned our hopes on her, and we feel like she failed us. Her support of the Iraq war is one of the biggest issues for me; her support of welfare reform was a sad reminder that for all her talk about women’s rights, she’s willing to sell certain groups of women down the river for political gain; and her recent attempts to be a moderate just make her look spineless. But I’m still clinging to the hope that if she was elected, she’d be good. She’d not only be a female president, but a feminist president. And at the end of the day, she’s a politician — her primary interest is getting re-elected, so she’s never going to be my ideal representative. But compared to a lot of other politicians — and a lot of other Democrats — she’s pretty good. And if she runs for president, she’ll have a lot of people who will be very willing to work very hard for her.

But I still think she has to earn our votes. And I remain very undecided. This week, two other feminists have taken on the Hillary question, and come to opposite conclusions. See Siren Magazine’s Allison Hantschel, who writes that she won’t vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman, and Salon’s Rebecca Traister, who argues that Hillary is us. Thoughts?

I am a bitter single woman.

Yup. And you can bet that I’m pissed off about the War in Iraq.

Single women in this country are so, so bitter … about Iraq.

Based on surveys and focus groups done by Women’s Voices Women Vote and its action fund, unmarried women are dissatisfied about the direction of the country, said the Democratic pollster, Stan Greenberg. “It gets more angry the younger you get,” said Mr. Greenberg, who conducted the research on behalf of W.V.W.V.

Mr. Greenberg wants to pick up these single women. All of them. And make them vote. Because while married women with children (the proverbial “security moms”) are some of the most reliably conservative voters out there, “women on their own” are some of the most Democratic (62 percent identified themselves as such), but they’re anything but reliable when it comes to showing up at the polls.

Well, if you want to get us to turn out, you’re going to have to make it worth our time. That is, pay attention to our interests. Protect our rights. Make sure that we have access to healthcare when we’re sick, and that we can find a job if we’re unemployed. Make sure that we can get our birth control when we need it. Make sure that we aren’t seeing our friends, sisters, brothers, and partners get shipped off to a quagmire in the Middle East.

And for the love of God, quit talking down to us:

But if “being on your own matters,” as Mr. Greenberg said, and discontentment is especially intense among younger women, will they turn right as they grow up? Mr. Greenberg speculated that as women get married later in life, they’ll retain more of their sassy single attitude, but it remains unclear.

W.V.W.V. also tested approaches to engage these women more, and found that empowering messages about enacting change worked best, while messages that were less effective were along the lines of: You wouldn’t let a man pick your shoes. Why would you let him pick your leaders? Vote.

It’s not a “sassy single attitude.” It’s a brain.

As for why messages about our shoes aren’t exactly effective, well, it’s not rocket science.

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