Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gillibrand, Yet Again

I know that criticizing Gillibrand is not a popular PUMA or feminist position. I am taking a different path than my feminist political sisters, but I am not sold on Kristen Gillibrand as yet. However, I am a NY'er and I'll have to vote for her or against her. I hope she convinces me to vote for her. In the meantime, there's this:

The Best Candidate Or The Cleanest Record?
As I have said before, I am willing to give Gillibrand a shot. There are a few issues she will have to work out (i.e. gun control versus gun rights and immigration) but I think she will clarify her positions on those issues.

That said, the lengthy questionnaire makes me wonder if we were looking for the best candidate or the most well-behaved candidate. The questionnaire contains inquiries into the candidate's past, including questions about any crimes they may have committed and if they had paid their taxes on time. This questionnaire seemed to be a method for the Governor's office to eliminate candidates if they had the slightest flaw.

The questionnaire lacks anything of substance. There are zero questions about issues. There are zero questions about Gillibrand's plans for New York and a few things she would like to see happen in New York State.
Here

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Mama's Biscotti - Click to enlarge

I'm hunkering down, trying to stay one step above the low rung on the ladder and baking some comfort biscotti. For those folks who are as economically challenged as I, Price Chopper has Anise at $5.15, whereas my local co-op has it for $1.95. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hillary Supporters Stay Connected

Ann Lewis and Sarah Nolan, both long-time Clinton aides, have launched NoLimits.org, an organization intended to keep her supporters connected to one another and working on the policy issues that matter to them. Lewis says, "We want a way to stay in touch. We want to stay in touch with what's going on."

The new organization is building off the remnants of Clinton's presidential campaign, utilizing her email and donor lists to pull together like-minded individuals who want to stay involved in domestic policy issues Clinton once championed. Clinton herself, however, is not involved, as federal law prohibits her from engaging in much non-State-related political behavior (like fundraising and running a political action committee).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Change Congress - Pledge Not to Donate


Change Congress is Calling a Donor Strike - Here
Special interests pump millions of dollars into elections, giving them more influence over our political system than the rest of us. Can you be part of the solution?

Pledge NOT to donate to any federal candidate unless they support legislation making congressional elections citizen-funded, not special-interest funded.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interview with Madeleine Albright


Madeleine Albright On Obama's Foreign Policy Outlook, His Inaugural Message To Muslims And Clinton's Global Image

I have to confess - If I would allowed to have dinner and conversation with anyone in the world, Albright makes my Top Ten. Maybe it's those great pins she always wears... It's all here

NJ: How do you think the selection of Clinton as secretary of State influences the global perception of the U.S.?

Albright: First of all, I think she herself is a known quantity abroad. When I was secretary and she was first lady, it was very evident that she had quite a large and resounding international role. She was identified with human rights and women's rights and generally showing a very positive side of America. I think she is so well-known abroad, and having somebody that is that well-known is very important. The other part is something that I think is essential, and that is that it is showing what democratic elections are like in the U.S. -- you argue and you run against each other, but you are capable of developing a partnership.
Carolyn Maloney: Restore Reproductive Rights Agenda at Women's eNews. Due to their copyright policy, you must click to read.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gillibrand

John Mercurio of The Hill says it's Gillibrand. That's a huge disappointment for women, Gov. Paterson. And as a true upstater, those of us that live West of Albany don't consider her an upstate choice at all. Once again, experience has been left at the wayside. Although she wasn't my choice, I wish Gillibrand well and hope she turns out to be a strong advocate of women and women's rights.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nannies and Taxes

Funny. Problems with a housekeeper and income taxes derailed Caroline's quest for Hillary's senate seat.

However, it's not much of an issue for Tim Geithner. Double standard anyone? Not that I believed Caroline was qualified to be Senator. But I sure don't believe a tax evader should be Secretary of the Treasury.

We've learned that Race trumps Misogyny. Now, we've learned that Experience trumps Honesty. Wonder what other lessons we will learn from Obama, et al?

And, according to Robert Harding, Gov. Paterson will announce Hillary's replacement tomorrow at noon, although he picked the person last weekend. I don't think it will be Andrew Cuomo, as it is expected he will run against Paterson in the Democratic primary for Gov. Should be interesting. I am pulling for Maloney. I did campaign for Gillibrand in her first campaign, but she leans too far to the right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New York Abortion Bill

Scare tactics seek to undermine proposed state law
Corinne A. Carey Full Story Here

Most New Yorkers don’t realize that our state’s laws do not affirmatively protect this fundamental right; we rely on Roe for that protection. In fact, New York law still treats abortion as a crime and does not safeguard women who need abortions to protect their health in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Recent Supreme Court decisions weakened Roe’s protections of reproductive freedom. Although we now have a pro-choice president, the balance of the Supreme Court is unlikely to change soon. And states around the country have passed laws directly challenging Roe. If even one of these laws is brought to court, we are all at risk.

The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would modernize New York’s laws and protect our rights. It regulates family planning as a public health issue rather than a crime, and ensures that if continuing a pregnancy jeopardizes a woman’s health, she has safe, legal options.

This month, flyers replete with misinformation and scare tactics were distributed to parishes throughout the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Though they’re entitled to their opinion, abortion opponents should not distort the facts to promote their agenda. It’s time to correct the record.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tag, You're It!

I've been tagged by my next door neighbor, Heidi Li. We've been neighbors since the old Taylor Marsh days, when we all knew Hillary was hands down the best choice for President. We still believe it.

So, I must now come up with 6 personal scraps of information that no one else knows about me and tag six more bloggers. I welcome the diversion in these days of All Obama, All the Time television. Thanks, neighbor!

1. I am the oldest of 4 sisters and have suffered unbearably for being the first born. I've had to blaze the trail for my younger sisters so they would be allowed go to pajama parties at Jack the Ripper's house, ride the school bus to "away" basketball games without being kidnapped and camp outdoors in tents without wild animals attacking them. My parents literally held me in a vice (well, maybe not literally) and wouldn't allow me to have any fun. As time went on, they eased up on my sisters, who quickly learned that being the rebel of the family only gets you grounded and overachieving in school doesn't mean they will cut you any slack. My sisters have grown up to be happy women, seemingly without a care in the world (sometimes I wonder if they actually vote), while I continue to gnash my teeth, vehemently stand up for what I believe is right and agonize over the plight of the downtrodden. While I won't compromise my principles for anyone or anything, my sisters are enjoying lattes, mall shopping and watching reality shows. I love them dearly and sometimes wish I could be a little more like them.

2. I prefer to shop at the Salvation Army or local Thrift Stores. I love antiques and buy and sell them to feed my addiction for the old, well worn, beautiful patina and the unique provenance each piece brings. I love all things old, including the new found silver streaks in my dark hair, (which I refuse to color), vintage clothing, Bakelite bangles and just about anything with a history.

3. I have two daughters who are as different as night and day and I love them both to pieces. My oldest is a talented musician, works in the Manhattan garment district, has an off the chart IQ, and knows how to enjoy life. She is beautiful, gracious, charming and loves to travel. My youngest lives in the country, surrounded by horses, dogs, cats, gardens and 3 children (who, of course, are the grandest grandchildren anyone could have). She is most comfortable in blue jeans and boots, has a hot temper, an old soul and don't ever, ever cross her.

4. I love creating things. I am a china painter, wood whittler, oil painter, pencil sketcher, love to hand sew pillows out of vintage fabric and am now dabbling in mosaics and re-teaching myself to knit. I have been a bartender, a waitress, was once Clerk/Treasurer of our Village, worked for an amazing ob/gyn surgeon, and presently work in a law firm. I've run for elected office twice, have been appointed to numerous boards and I'm now enjoying a slacker's life.

5. I have a summer place in the Southern Adirondacks that is truly a haven. The sounds of loons, the smell of the pines, a beautiful lake with a sandy beach, a swinging hammock, old canoe, woodpeckers, a flower garden, a pebbled path to my back yard - it is my sanctuary and I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy it every summer.

6. Just when I thought life in the USA couldn't get any worse, it did. This campaign season has been awful. I remember the last eight years and the countdown to Bush finally leaving office. I'm saddened to say that I don't feel one ounce better about Obama. I feel like a woman without a country. I've changed my political affiliation to independent and am watching all of my old democratic friends reveling in their belief that Obama will wave a wand and make everything right. I don't know whether to envy them or pity them, but I feel left out and hopping mad. Not only did the best candidate we will have in our lifetime get cheated out of the election, but I've come to realize that women's rights have suffered a horrible setback. Misogyny is alive and flourishing in America and, quite frankly, I don't think a hell of a lot of people give a damn.

I tag the following six blogs:
Song!; Green Consciousness; Soopermouse; Delilah Boyd; Anna Belle at Peacocks and Lilies; and Another Kind of Feminist You're it!

A Roundup of Caroline News

Obama Wants Caroline Kennedy and we all know that what Obama wants, Obama gets.

Paterson Certain to Pick Caroline and lose my support for his re-election.

Fred Dicker Says the Fix is in

And Andy Cuomo's Sister is Trying to Buy the Seat for her Brother.

What ever happened to earning one's way? Carolyn Maloney is hands down the candidate that has the most experience in getting things done, including moving legislation. Come On Gov. Quit playing politician and make a decision based upon experience.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Erica Jong Thinks We Have Our Heads Up Our Asses

Paterson's Choice: The Feminist Versus the Woman -

With a decision from the governor just days away, the list of prominent feminist types who have declared support for Caroline Kennedy to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat is a short one. Among the best-known are New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, 79-year-old Representative Louise Slaughter and former Kennedy White House correspondent Helen Thomas.

In the meantime, the women’s rights establishment is placing its hopes elsewhere. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and the National Women's Political Caucus have all endorsed Representative Carolyn Maloney.

Here’s what author Erica Jong, one of the relatively few Kennedy-supporting feminists, has to say about that: “I think that the old-time feminists have their heads up their asses. And you can quote me. Basically, I think that Carolyn Maloney is a wonderful woman, and a wonderful politician and political leader. But electability matters and it is not the elite who elect.”

We are a house divided. Read the rest
here

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama, Our First Woman President

Frank Rudy Cooper has a fascinating paper on Barack Obama entitled Our First Unisex President?: Black Masculinity and Obama's Feminine Side wherein he explores his theory of whether Obama is our First Woman President or a model for The Good Black Man.
Abstract:
People often talk about the significance of Barack Obama's status as our first black President. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, however, a newspaper columnist declared, "If Bill Clinton was once considered America's first black president, Obama may one day be viewed as our first woman president." That statement epitomized a large media discourse on Obama's femininity. In this essay, I thus ask how Obama will influence people's understandings of the implications of both race and gender.

To do so, I explicate and apply insights from the fields of identity performance theory, critical race theory, and masculinities studies. With respect to race, the essay confirms my prior theory of "bipolar black masculinity." That is, the media tends to represent black men as either the completely threatening and race-affirming Bad Black Man or the completely comforting and assimilationist Good Black Man. For Obama, this meant he had to avoid the stereotype of the angry black man. Meanwhile, though, the association of the Presidency with the hegemonic form of masculinity presented difficulties for Obama. He was regularly called upon to be more aggressive in responding to attacks and more masculine in general. As a result, Obama could not be too masculine because that would have triggered the Bad Black Man stereotype but he could not be too feminine because that would have looked unpresidential.

Obama solved that dilemma by adopting a "unisex" style. He was a candidate who was designed to be suitable to either gender. I believe Obama's unisex performance on the world's biggest stage suggests that we are all more free to perform our race and our gender as we see fit than we had previously believed.

The entire paper can be downloaded from here as a PDF document. I would be especially interested in my feminist friends take on the paper. Please feel free to post comments if you have an opportunity to read the entire paper.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Double Standard - Madoff Style

Sorkin and Daniel Horwitz, who represent Madoff, have argued that jailing him would be unfair and wrong

On the other hand, retired construction workers who received pension payments may have to pay them back.

One of the big problems facing many investors—union pensioners in particular—is the issue of "clawbacks." Under recent court precedent, the trustee in charge of unraveling the mess, and recouping as much money as possible, can force investors who took money from Madoff through redemptions or other payments to return that cash.

A recent case labeled the receipt of such money a "fraudulent conveyance" of funds, meaning the redeemer received money that was produced as part of a fraud since this money was derived from the Ponzi scheme not a legitimate investment.

Union pension funds are at particular risk from clawbacks because they receive regular payments when members retire.

Morin told CNBC he has hired attorneys to determine if individual members who have received retirement money from Madoff have to repay the funds. The trustee in the Madoff case, Lee Pickard, has indicated that he is likely to seek the return of money from redeemers.
So, let me get this straight. Bernard Madoff stole the money of hardworking construction workers, many of whom are retired, with worn out bodies from working so hard that they can't even walk - knees gone and backs wrecked from working to attain the American Dream.Men and women who played by the rules and busted themselves to get the pension that would keep them going in their golden years.

Now, not only may they lose those pensions, but they will be asked to pay back any pension payments they have received through the years? This is a double kick in the teeth. Your pension is gone and anything you have received from said pension will have to be reimbursed. Like we've all been hoarding the money under the bed instead of paying bills, buying groceries, paying for medical insurance and generally try to keep our heads above water. UnFuckingBelievable.

On the other hand, Madoff remains in his ritzy Manhattan apartment, sending out for gourmet food, and is not required to do one damn thing, except to refrain from liquidating his assets.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Man Accused of Felony Seated in NY Senate and Bernard Madoff Remains Free on Bail


From New York NOW:
The New York chapter for the National Organization for Women is ripping Senate Democrats for seating Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens as he faces felony assault charges for allegedly slashing his girlfriend in the face.

“By all accounts, Hiram Monserrate, also accused of cutting his girlfriend with a broken glass, does not deserve a seat in the NYS Senate,” the group said in a statement.

“Further, Monserrate’s appointment as the Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee is a slap in the face for every woman in New York State. Does the NYS leadership really believe that rewarding Monserrate will win them points in the minds of voters?”

Monserrate, as the New York Times put it, showed up to Albany on Wednesday “cool and collected,” and told reporters, “I’m here, and I’ll be here for the long haul.”

Also, an update on my And So This Is Christmas post regarding the Madoff scheme and how it's affecting our lives. We've made the NY Post - A number of upstate roofers, carpenters and plumbers unions reportedly may have lost $150 million in pension funds to Madoff.

The Carpenter and the Steamfitter Unions are keeping their members updated as news comes in. We aren't getting any information from the Roofer's Union, but rumor is that 91% of the pension was invested with Madoff and the retirees can expect to receive their pension payments for approximately 5 more months, after which, the Pension Fund will be broke and the payments will stop. Then what? I wish I knew.

The fact that this guy is not in jail is unfathomable. I'd also like to know why anyone would put 91% of a fund in one investment vehicle. That's just nuts - especially when it's not your money. Lots of questions, but no answers and although the newspaper has printed a story about a meeting to be held on January 17, 2009, we've not received any notification from the Union to date.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Case for Term Limits


One of my favorite writers, Andrew C. White, has a very interesting post up at The Albany Project detailing the pervasive corruption of former NY Senate Majority Speaker Joe Bruno.

On Bruno's Daughter:
Associates of Susan Bruno say privately that during the past five years, she seldom appeared at the office - perhaps once a month, according to one person - and that she was allowed the unusual arrangement of working from her home.

Her long absences from foundation offices at the corner of State Street and Broadway led staffers to use her private office for meetings, according to those who have worked with her.
On Bruno's Brother:
State commissioners and their deputies usually work in Albany or New York City. But the deputy commissioner at the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services - who happens to be the brother of Joseph L. Bruno, the powerful Republican majority leader of the State Senate - got a new office this year in Saratoga Springs, closer to his home than Albany, at a cost to the state of $54,400 a year.

Turns out it was a very nicely furnished office as well. As I recall they go on to report it was very tastefully decorated with expensive chandeliers at tax payers expense as well.
What really irks me is the fact that through forty plus years of Bruno's service (if one can call it that), there must have been many, many politicians and others, including his allies and enemies, who knew exactly what was going on, but the mafia-like code of silence prevailed. That is unacceptable. We've become a nation of looking out for what is best for "me" instead of calling out crimes and corruption. Just like the Madoff Ponzi scheme. I find it hard to believe that no one knew what was going on, especially given Madoff's cozy relationship with the SEC.

New Yorkers are struggling economically. Now we learn that once again, we have been sucked dry by the very people who have been elected on a promise to promote what is best for the citizens of New York. I am beginning to feel that the moral bankruptcy of this country is our greatest flaw. If our elected officials are unable to speak out about corruption, cronyism, pay for play and other gluttonous behavior of politicians who fritter away taxpayers money, then we can at least help to alleviate their damage by limiting them to two terms.

I believe that term limits would benefit Federal Government, as well. If so, we wouldn't have a Kennedy demanding a senate seat for his inexperienced niece, or Senator Byrd trying to make a point about heaven knows what. Our government has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Think About It


We have to start somewhere. This post is in support of Louisa Rodas, daughter of Betty Jean Kling. Please read her post.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It Isn't Racism If You're a Muslim

We learned a lot in 2008. We learned that Racism trumps Sexism. We learned that a seemingly innocuous comment by a female candidate for President of the United States (or a comment from her husband), could and would be blown up by media and airheads as they twisted the words to fit the needs of the Other candidate for President.

We've now learned that Muslims have been relegated to the same low rung of the ladder as females. This headline is too little, too late. AirTran apologizes for removing Muslim passengers. It reinforces my perception that we didn't learn anything about equality during the 2008 election process. What we did learn is that an unqualified candidate with a glib, manipulating campaign manager who saw something missing in the hearts of Americans after 8 years of Bush, war and a failing economy knew he could build a fake media hype for The One We Have Been Waiting For and, in so doing, he has set back the fight for equality years and years. You see, it is not okay to ever criticize a black person, even if you don't agree with them. It is, however, okay to kick a family off of an airplane due to their religious persuasion. Can you imagine what would happen if this family of nine on their way to a vacation in Florida had been black? In your wildest dreams can you picture them being kicked off of the plane while discussing the seating arrangements and thereafter held for several hours for questioning? No. And they shouldn't be. No one should.

Equality is not just for black people. And, it's not just for men. It's for each and every person on this planet. The Obama campaign and the main stream media accomplished nothing when it comes to eradicating racism and bigotry. In fact, they did the opposite. They twisted the entire concept and made anyone who wasn't thrilled about Obama into a racist. You were a racist if you didn't support him. I wonder how Obama feels about the Muslim family that was kicked off of the plane. I haven't heard him speak out about this egregious act, nor have I heard anyone from MSN condemn it.

Until equality comes to all of the people we will continue on this road to hell. And the next person that says Obama's election is a dream come true for equality will be subjected to an unholy rant from yours truly.