Political Flavors

Archive for March, 2011

Fun Friday Podcast Review – Reality Cast

Posted in Editorials on March 4th, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter, you will see that one of the descriptive terms I use for myself is “podcast addict.” They are an integral part of my exercise routine, daily commute and errand running. In no particular order, I’d like to review some of my favorites. To see all of my podcast reviews, click here.

RH Reality Check is a comprehensive resource for information about the intersection of reproductive and sexual health issues and politics. Their podcast, “Reality Cast” is hosted by Amanda Marcotte and is always informative and entertaining. Usually the first segment covers the most important relevant news stories of the week, followed by an interview. The guests have included the authors of some really great books including No Excuses and Girl Drive. (And a bunch more that are on my reading list.)

The interviews are also often with women on the front lines of the fight for reproductive rights. This week the interview was with Dr. Anne Davis, an OBGYN who explained the research on women who halt second trimester abortions after they have begun because they changed their minds. Other topics have included the problems with the creation of a judicial bypass to allow pregnant minors to get access to abortion, a fascinating look into the life of Rosa Parks and the early history of the civil rights movement, and the pro-voice movement.

Marcotte ends each show with a Daily Show Moment of Zen type stinger she calls “The Wisdom of Wingnuts.” Sometimes you just have to laugh at how ridiculous anti-choicers can be.

I like Reality Cast because often the stories discussed are ones that the mainstream media has been ignoring. If you are a fan of Amanda Marcotte you will be pleased to see her unique and sharp analysis brought to this podcast. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in feminism or reproductive justice.

Poetry For Choice – 17th Century Edition

Posted in Poetry on March 3rd, 2011

Last month Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote this moving post about why he is pro-choice in the wake of the Republican party’s war on women. In the comments, SWNC posted an Anne Bradstreet poem. It is relevant to the fight to save reproductive rights in America today. Although New York City just passed a bill regulating Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Republicans nationally are closing in on not only abortion rights but access to contraception as well. We should remember how treacherous childbirth once was in the United States, and still is in other parts of the world.

Before the Birth of One of Her Children
All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death’s parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon’t may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot’s untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that’s due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harmes,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me,
These O protect from stepdame’s injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love’s sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.

How To Respond To Rush Limbaugh’s Racism?

Posted in Editorials on March 2nd, 2011

The New Black Woman wrote a post, asking, “Why are white feminists silent on Limbaugh’s attacks on FLOTUS?”

In case you haven’t heard, Rush Limbaugh called First Lady Michelle Obama fat.

I’m fairly new to blogging, and I didn’t write about it because while I think we do need to combat racist memes in the media, when I first heard about this I saw this more as juvenile name calling that blatant racism. After reading The New Black Woman’s post, I can acknowledge that this initial understanding was influenced heavily by White privilege – I assumed that any reasonable person would realize that Rush Limbaugh is a racist piece of garbage without the class that Michelle Obama has in her little finger. What I didn’t think about was how a Black person would see it differently. And I think that’s the heart of the reason that White feminists haven’t called him out for racism about this comment. It’s (wrongly) perceived more as spitballs than cannon fire.

I would agree that everything Rush Limbaugh says about the Obamas is tainted with racism, however subtle, and I have left it to organizations like Media Matters to shine the spotlight on his rancid pronouncements. They’ve called out these comments at least four times so far. Chris Matthews has also made an issue of this on Hardball.

I do not know what should be done about hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh. I dread the thought that ignoring him makes it look as if I agree with anything he has said. He has a huge amount of power and influence and I would be much harder to take down than say, Don Imus. I’m not sure how to go about any sort of activism in opposition to his vile rhetoric without rallying his supporters or wasting my efforts. Can his reputation be tarnished anymore that it is? He’s not exactly an uncontroversial figure.

These past few months, I’ve seen a lot of feminists using twitter as a way to spread awareness about issues. Sady Doyle started #mooreandme to bring attention to insensitive comments about rape victims by Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, and #DearJohn to call out the Republicans for trying to take away access to reproductive healthcare. Amanda Marcotte started #ThanksPPFA to praise Planned Parenthood for giving women that care. Maybe there should be hash tag to call out Rush Limbaugh? Or to respond to racist attacks on Michelle Obama? On the Obamas in general? Racism in the media at large?

Why Ian Murphy Isn’t Lila Rose

Posted in Editorials on March 1st, 2011

Last week, Ian Murphy, a blogger at the Buffalo Beast, called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, posing as conservative millionaire, and Tea Party funder David Koch. Walker believed that he was Koch, and admitted, among other things his strategies for busting the public unions of Wisconsin, that he had considered hiring people to disrupt the peaceful protests with violence and that he saw defeating the unions as akin to defeating communism.

This Sunday, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, the pundits complained that many in the media praised Murphy as a hero and bemoaned the fact that he was not demonized as Lila Rose, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles were for trying to make people believe that Planned Parenthood and ACORN actively aided traffickers of underage girls.

KURTZ: Amy Holmes, MSNBC led with this hour after hour. The focus was on the embarrassment of Scott Walker. Nobody seemed to mention that this guy lied, that he committed a journalistic fraud, pretending to be someone else. Why?

HOLMES: Right. Well, I think because it fits their ideological framework. And I looked at this, and he was hailed as “Most Intriguing Person of the Day” by CNN. And you didn’t see the hand-wringing over journalistic ethics like you did, say, in the ACORN case, when those two young people used the same sorts of tactics of being an impostor and sort of — some people would say tricking people into participating in this. And there, there was a huge discussion about journalism and is this fair, is this right?

In this, it was, like, he’s a hero. He accomplished a feat, as you just heard.

KURTZ: I was also struck by CNN saying he was the “Most Intriguing Person.” If anybody who worked for CNN did what this guy did, they would have been fired.

Jim Warren, you want to get in on this?

WARREN: Yes. I mean, on one hand, I thought it was fascinating and revealing, what was going on in the governor’s mind in a certain sort of cynical pragmatism that was playing out on his side.

At the same time, I didn’t see this guy as performing any vaguely legitimate form of journalism. He was perpetuating an absolute hoax, starting with misidentifying himself. Although I think there are times when mainstream legitimate journalists can misidentify themselves. But, boy, it has to be for higher causes — maybe saving lives or actually revealing some huge systemic government fraud. In a case like this, just to embarrass, no.

KURTZ: And Steve —

PEARLSTEIN: He’s not a journalist. He’s a blogger. That doesn’t mean there’s not two overlaps between those two, but there is a difference between them, and you just identified one of them.

KURTZ: Well, look at the way it was picked up. We talked about MSNBC playing this. Fox News barely mentioned it, although Greta Van Susteren was interviewing Governor Walker, so she asked him about the call.

And as Amy points out though, when the ACORN sting happened — you remember James O’Keefe and the pimp and the prostitute — liberal commentators all attacked them, but Fox News played them up and that story up in a way that was much more favorable.

So how much of this is ideological.

HOLMES: Right. And the ACORN folks, they said that they were activists. They were very explicit about their point of view, where, in this case, oh, well, maybe he’s a blogger, maybe he’s a journalist. It doesn’t really matter and he doesn’t get any kind of criticism for his methods.

KURTZ: Are you giving — saying we should judge people like this by a different standard because they are not card-carrying newspaper journalists, they’re just bloggers, or they have online news sites?

PEARLSTEIN: Well, Howie, you sort of dismiss it with the question, well, they are not card-carrying. He’s not a journalist because he doesn’t behave like a journalist.

How do I know he doesn’t behave like a journalist? He does pranks like that. Journalists don’t do that. I’m not saying there’s not a legitimate function for it, but that’s not what journalists do.

Here’s the difference between Ian Murphy and Lila Rose.

Ian Murphy started with the premise that Scott Walker would talk to David Koch, but not to him. He knew the two had political ties, and wanted to find out more about their relationship and whether or not Walker was participating in illegal activity. All he really found was political dirt – but he never claimed otherwise. He presented the audio unedited to the world, and while his opinions are well known, he didn’t make any claims that the audio could not support.

Lila Rose started with the premise that Planned Parenthood aides and abets pimps who traffic underage girls. When she found no evidence of this, she insisted that it did. The films have been shown to be heavily edited, so it’s difficult to know what really went on.

Finally, there’s something satisfying about punching up. Ian Murphy was attacking a man who is trying to take the collective bargaining rights away from state employees like teachers, nurses, and prison guards. Lila Rose is attacking an organization that gives contraceptives and cancer screenings to poor people. If there’s a reason he seems more sympathetic to you, that’s probably it.