delphipsmith: (ba headdesk)
Because news. Mostly this, but also everything that the Orange Hobgoblin says or does, because it highlights how incredibly incompetent and stupid he is. (Just look at all the tags I've applied to this post -- I couldn't stop, they are my frenzy made visible.)

So instead, I give you the peaceful February view out our back windows yesterday:

(click to embiggen)
delphipsmith: (Cicero books)
Since I've been Old Unreliable lately as far as appearing online (because real life = new house + dog with pewmonia + hosting Thanksgiving + work craziness + friend worries), I'm taking the easy way out and posting reviews of three books I recently read. If anyone else has read these, I'd love to hear what you think. I also recently read JK Rowling's Cuckoo's Calling which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I haven't written a review of it yet. Maybe tomorrow?

The Night SisterThe Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon: This book gave me horrific nightmares twice (twice!) the first night I started reading it. That hasn't happened in ages. The ending was surprisingly melancholy, and though not quite what I expected (I really thought spoiler )) it was apt, and rather touching. The narrative conveniently skips over the question of why in god's name Rose's mother didn't follow up on Rose's stories about Sylvie, given that spoiler ). The answer, of course, is because plot. Nevertheless, this was a fast diverting read, and good enough that I'll try another by her.

DisclaimerDisclaimer by Renée Knight: Intense, gripping, bewildering, startling; this book is like playing with one of those wooden puzzle cubes where it seems like a solid block until you get all the pieces in play in just the right way, and then the whole things falls apart and you see how it all fits together. As with any good suspense novel, the author hides some things from the reader, but she does it so cleverly that you don't notice; she quietly omits a few crucial points or phrases (in one case simply using a pronoun rather than a name), and the reader effortlessly makes certain assumptions without even noticing it and goes merrily on down the completely wrong path. Really beautifully crafted, with unexpected pokes and jabs around every corner that slowly grow into an almighty sucker punch that leaves your mouth hanging open.

Gothic TalesGothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell: Typical gothic tales, with a lot of family mystery/drama. Some interesting plots, but many of the stories felt too drawn out -- "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." Wordy isn't bad if the words enhance the story and/or the atmosphere, but overall these stories just felt labored. "Lois the Witch" was genuinely painful to read, since you know pretty much from the third paragraph where it's headed yet it takes something like fifty pages to get there.
delphipsmith: (PIcard face-palm)
The definition of "tone deaf" now features a picture of this dude. I boggle, really I do.
delphipsmith: (tonypm)
...you're right.

This very cool infographic shows pay for men and women by state. Nice going, Louisiana and Wyoming.

Also, Happy World Octopus Day!!
delphipsmith: (face sodding your shut)
Gabriel Sherman's bio of FOX News head Roger Ailes is scheduled to be published on my birthday. I may sue for emotional distress.

On the plus side, it's apparently fairly negative...
delphipsmith: (seriously pissed)
Once again a Republican puts his foot in his mouth (or his head up his ass) when talking about women's health issues. In this case, it's Todd Akin making a colossally insensitive and biologically ignorant statement about rape and pregnancy. He is apparently fine with abortion being illegal even in cases of rape because...wait for it..."If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Er, huh? Like what? A quick Tweet from the brain, "yo @fallopian_toobz pls ignore any-all sperm for next 48 hrs as they were unauthorized thx #legitimaterape" ??

This man is beyond belief. Apparently in Akin's world, if you get pregnant as a result of rape it's because at some level you consented to it. The Nation has an excellent follow-up piece on why it's dangerous to laugh at this sort of thing: "In the multi-dimensional chess that shapes public opinion, the game is less about individual elections and more about a sustained effort to mainstream radical ideas. In the case of denying women control over their lives, there's evidence that the bad guys may be winning the long-game..." The article is worth a read.

Some of the tweets on the topic are pretty clever; my favorite is from @Michelle9647: "The female body also has ways of shutting down your whole election." Heee.

By the way, Romney's VP Paul Ryan also opposes abortion in cases of rape and supported a personhood bill that would make fertilized eggs human beings. And let's not forget the major GOP backer who suggested the best birth control method was for a woman to hold an aspirin between her knees.

Consider this when you vote in November, ladies.
delphipsmith: (Hepburn)
A woman hasn’t run a presidential debate in twenty years.

This boggles my mind. With all the women in business, journalism, politics, etc., NOT ONE has been named to moderate a presidential debate??? Other adjectives I can think of besides "surprising" include annoying, vexing, inappropriate, strange, or even (if I were of the paranoid persuasion) Highly Suspicious.

Well, three teenage girls from New Jersey apparently agree. Rather than spending their summer listening to Justin Bieber or hanging out at the pool, they amassed an astonishing 170,000 signatures on a petition to have one of the upcoming 2012 debates moderated by a woman. They then took their packet of signatures to the office of the Commission on Presidential Debates (the Commission will be selecting the moderators in the next couple of weeks)...

...and they were turned away, and told that they would not be permitted to leave the packages of signatures in case they contained dangerous substances.

WTF? Epic governmental fail.

Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis were interviewed about their experience on NPR today, where they spoke like mature, thoughtful, engaged young citizens about their disappointment with the way they were treated. (I applaud their self-control; I believe I might have thrown something large and heavy...)

Rather than give up, however, (quoting from themarysue.com): "[w]orking with Change.org, the girls have put together two petitions asking for female moderators–one targeted at the commission, and one targeting the Obama and Romney campaigns, who can also have a sizable influence over who is chosen to moderate the political showdowns. The former has 116,000 signatures, the latter 53,000."

These girls rock. If you agree, you can sign their petition and add your support. You go, girls!!!
delphipsmith: (seriously pissed)
Yet another legislative body embarks on a shameful and incomprehensible endeavor to seize control of every uterus in their state, and not even let women talk about it. Seriously, what IS it with you people?? And I ask this in all sincerity, because it really does baffle me. (For "baffle" read "annoy the f**k out of".)

Wil Wheaton has issued some satirical and amusing tweets on the topic, however. Best ones:

Wil Wheaton ‏@wilw: My goodness, @MIHouseGOP! I encountered a woman who was not in the kitchen. I was so horrified, I dropped my monocle, for Pete's sake!

Wil Wheaton ‏@wilw: A woman I know was all, "I have an opinion about my reproductive health." How do I get her to cut that out? Help me, @MIHouseGOP! #vagina

All things considered, today seems a good day to share this:

delphipsmith: (bazinga)
I love this: one of Fox's pretty blonde commentators finally can't take it any more and fights back. Go Kirsten!! Full disclosure: Sean Hannity is on the board (yes, really) of Rev. Peterson's BOND organization. Ladies, if ever there was a time to be a feminazi, as unappealing as that term is, that time is now:

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The Rev. Peterson has more lovely goodies here. He has a nationally syndicated talk show (why? why???) and has been "cited by Republican groups as an example of a black Republican message." Fox News, fair and balanced. Uh-huh. Pull this one and it plays jingle bells...
delphipsmith: (much rejoicing)
Am enormously pleased that Doonesbury is tackling Virginia's ultrasound law. As usual, some papers have gotten queasy and are shifting it to the editorial page or even not running it at all (COWARDS!!). If your paper's running it, you can thank them here; if not, you can shame them here. And of course you can read the strips here.

More good news: the New York Times reports (surprise, surprise) that centrist women are fleeing the GOP. Full article is here but in short:

In Iowa, one of the crucial battlegrounds in the coming presidential election, and in other states, dozens of interviews in recent weeks have found that moderate Republican and independent women — one of the most important electoral swing groups — are disenchanted by the Republican focus on social issues like contraception and abortion in an election that, until recently, had been mostly dominated by the economy.

And in what appears to be an abrupt shift, some Republican-leaning women...said they might switch sides and vote for Mr. Obama — if they turn out to vote at all.

Music to my ears :)
delphipsmith: (at Tara in this fateful hour)
So, National Women's Day. Following close upon months of battles over birth control, access to abortion and family planning, Virginia's sonogram law (which very nearly became medical rape but as signed is both ultimately pointless and laughably hypocritical), and Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Flukes a slut and a prostitute and demanding sex tapes of her. The New York Times ran a front-page story today on women in Texas losing health care options. The article makes no mention of National Women's Day but still, I hope they chose it on purpose to make a point.

On balance, I find that National Women's Day has depressed more than empowered me. I feel as though a horde of filthy rodents are nibbling away with their diseased grimy teeth at my right to self-determination. These rights that sensible and intelligent men and women of the past 200 years fought for and won -- I thought everyone today recognized them as simple justice and common sense. I didn't realize we were taking them for granted, I thought we'd just grown beyond that particular brand of idiocy.

Well, let's all remember this when we go to vote. Butt the fuck out, conservatives. Go focus on business and leave morality to the individual.

Shout-outs to: Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Victoria Woodhull, and all fellow travelers. Your torches still burn.
delphipsmith: (ba headdesk)
In the last couple of days, old Ricky-boy has surpassed my wildest expectation of idiocy.

First he said that Kennedy's famous speech on the firm separation of church and state "made me want to vomit." Uh-huh. So apparently the Constitution makes him nauseous. Lovely.

A bit later he said, "President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college, what a snob. There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor. And trying to indoctrinate them."

Right, Rick. God forbid we engender the ambition to go to college and become, you know, all smart and stuff. (Especially women -- it's so hard to keep 'em barefoot and pregnant when they get theirselves an eddication. Why, next thing you know they'll be all radicalized, wantin' equal pay and access to family planning *gasp*)

He went on to say (which I happen to agree with) that people should have more access to non-four-year options, like vocational/technical skills. However, I expect he missed the part where Obama said that exact same thing, back in February 2009: "And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship."

Gawd, this man is moron. Mitt and his "couple of Cadillacs" isn't much better. But the plus side, it's looking more and more likely that Obama will win in 2012 :)
delphipsmith: (seriously pissed)
So I suppose most of you in the US, and possibly some of you across the pond, have heard by now about the appalling Congressional hearing on contraception -- oh sorry, on freedom of religion -- and how the panel was packed with men. One young woman who wanted to testify was told she didn't have the right credentials (National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill [go Terry!] responded by saying, 'She didn’t have the right credentials? I’m thinking to myself, "Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy..."')

This whole cluster-f**k makes me so angry I can hardly talk about it without shouting. Put this on top of GOP front-runner -- Merlin save us -- Rick Santorum's medieval views on women (don't read what one of his biggest donors said unless you've got a firm grip on your temper) and you get a situation that makes me, for one, completely disgusted and more than a little uneasy.

I know, I know: if Santorum gets the nomination, Obama is probably a shoo-in in November. Still, it's hard to tamp down my sense of nausea at the fact that in the 21st century we still have regressive cavemen who hew to the "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" view. I really, really thought we were beyond that. *sigh*
delphipsmith: (face sodding your shut)
For the moment, at least. The Donald is running him a close second, but this complete and utter geyser of stupidity will really take some beating.

Rick Santorum, speaking in New Hampshire, blames "the abortion culture" in American for -- guess what? The failure of Social Security!! Yes, apparently the problem is that American women aren't breeding like rabbits and producing new little taxpayers at a high enough rate for Mr. Santorum. He goes on to say, apparently with a straight face, "We have seven children so we're doing our part to fund the Social Security system." Srsly?? The reason for having children is to create new little cogs in the great consumer machine, whose sole purpose in life is to work and pay taxes and have seven children in their turn to do the same?? Just breed, work and die?? Appalling. I really really hope his wife and children kick him somewhere painful for this colossally ignorant statement.

What makes it all the more funny/terrifying/ironic is that I just finished reading The World Inside, which takes Santorum's viewpoint to its logical, albeit extreme, conclusion. Makes me sick. The solution to the problem of too many people to support is not to create more people. Unless you're Rick Santorum, of course, in which case you buy into the idea that we can consume our way out of any problem.

David Brooks had a terrific column on this very issue last month. He points out that most of what we're consuming today costs little or nothing to consume and creates very few jobs (FaceBook only employs about 2000 people). We are increasingly chasing gadgets to boost our quality of life without adding any value or creating any wealth.

Wealth has to come from somewhere. You have to create it by adding value to something, value that someone else wants and will pay for. Instead, we're only adding value to our own stuff -- our FaceBook pages, our Flickr accounts, and yes, our LiveJournals -- which our friends and family may enjoy but no one will buy.

What this means is that we have to find a new approach to -- or new definition of -- a healthy economy. Double-digit growth and constant consumption won't cut it any more, it isn't the kind of consumption that provides millions of jobs and creates wealth that flows around to others.

And maybe -- just maybe -- we'll get to the point where both parents don't have to work, where we can have a bit less emphasis on acquisition and a bit more emphasis on enjoyment. That wouldn't be a bad trade-off as long as we adjust the birth rate down (are you listening, Rick?) and learn to measure our success in quality, not quantity,
delphipsmith: (despicable)
I can't decide:

Sheen, Beck, or Qaddafi?

FWIW I didn't get a single one right LOL!
delphipsmith: (LaceMe)
Hahahahaaa!! Take THAT, Victorian male-dominated power structure!

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delphipsmith: (South Park kids)
Reread Bridget Jones' Diary and it was as hysterical as I remembered it. Can't decide if I like the book or the movie better. I like the book in that it's a modern Pride and Prejudice; that aspect got lost in the movie since they dropped the whole subplot about the "greasy beperfumed" Julio being a swindler whom Mark has to thwart. I realized there are a couple of quite funny book/movie/real life overlaps -- e.g. Bridget talks about how silly it is to be named Darcy and stand about at a party looking superior, then later mentions watching the BBC miniseries of P&P which starred Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, and of course Colin plays Mark Darcy in the movie; also Bridget's new boss proposes doing a story on Hugh Grant getting caught with a hooker, and Hugh plays Daniel Cleaver in the movie. Too bad the sequel wasn't better.
delphipsmith: (kaboom)
Reread Alas Babylon yesterday. About halfway through I realized how naive it is, so checked the copyright date: my copy was published in the late 1970s but the book originally came out in 1959.

This explains a lot.

The attitude towards women ("She'll give you the same loyalty she gave me, if you let her. She's all woman, and it's what she's made for." -- eep!!), the assumption that a massive nuclear war is survivable, the otherwise-inexplicable failure of the main characters to stock up on guns in their rush for supplies, the relatively solid survival of law and order, the black/white relationships, etc. It's kind of endearing, in a way, all that optimism that even if the worst happens we'll not only survive but beat those pesky Commies to boot.
delphipsmith: (George)
I would not marry James Mason, I don't care how much money he has. And I would have belted Charlotte Rampling right in the chops if she'd been MY roommate (probably sustaining severe injuries from her spectacular knife-edged cheekbones in the process). Bits of this movie (which let me take a moment to emphasize is the 1966 flick with Lynne Redgrave and miniskirts, not the 2001 movie about the Maori transsexual) were screamingly funny -- for example: "I'll tell you what this pregnancy's taught me, it's taught me to look like the back end of a bus!" But Georgy's so inconsistent! Spineless one moment, spitting like a cat the next. Desperately sorry for her that she caves at the end, I do not foresee Happy Ever After. Clearly she wants to be a mother, but Jos is a complete lackwit (Georgy, why?) and Mason's just an old goat (Georgy, WHY WHY WHY?!?). She'd have been much better off on her own. Something like 40% of births last year were to single mothers, quite a few of them by choice, not by accident; I know this was forty years ago but it's still hard to believe that a city girl of the madcap 1960s would think she was nothing without a man.

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