Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Window Licker

A couple of days ago Himbly posted a list of the top ten music videos of all time. Since then, I can't seem to get my suggested video of my head so I'd like to share. Chris Cunningham's Window Licker (Aphex Twin) rips viciously into the beauty standards of our modern music video industry. It's a long video (10:35) which opens to hook the targeted audience, but have patience; at about 4:15 things take a turn and the ideals of sexy are popped along with the classic explosion of a champaign bottle.

Celebrating Samhain


Carpe_Bean's magnificant pumpkin witch carving!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Chopping Women's Programs and Corporate Taxes

Last week Antigone Magazine had a post about Canada's Tom Flanagan, Steve Harper's closest advisor, via Rabble, about the Conservative Government's agenda for funding to women's programs. Flanagan said:

Flanagan calls funding cuts to Status of Women Canada and the elimination of the
Court challenges Program a “nice step,” asserting without equivocation that
Conservatives will "defund” all equality-seeking groups – with feminists at the
top of the list. He goes further, clarifying that Conservatives also plan to
choke-off these groups’ supposedly privileged access to government by, for
example, denying “meetings with ministers.” But for strategic reasons, Flanagan
notes, this will all happen incrementally. To avoid the perception of
mean-spirited retribution, he says, “incrementalism is the way to go.”

I guess the same strategy is used in reverse when it comes to corporate taxes. Yesterday the Conservative Government unveiled its plan to increase personal tax rate on the lowest income bracket to 15.5%. This comes after it was (applause) decreased by a percentage point from 16% in 2005. The lowest income families in Canada will pay more and the rich will pay less. GST will be lowered t 5% (bad idea). Corporate taxes are being cut by $14.1 billion creating a "a very attractive tax environment to retain and attract business investment" [source]. Business business business. Yesterday's announcement will certainly offset the pathetic oil royalty increase that that sector is whining about. Once again, our government favours the rich and powerful and takes a shit on the working class, infrastrucutre, health care, and public social services.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nothing Rymes with Vulva!

This morning I’d like to direct you to today’s Broadsheet article by Catherine Price, “I've always preferred "hoo-ha.” So we’re talkin’ ‘bout Vaginas this morning and after reading the article I keep thinking, it’s Vulva (The external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vestibule of the vagina) [Source]! And speaking of etymology, check out this definition of vulva from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1548, from L. vulva, earlier volva "womb, female sexual organ," lit. "wrapper,"
from volvere "to turn, twist, roll, revolve," also "turn over in the mind," from
PIE base *wel- "to turn, revolve" (cf. Skt. valate "turns round," ulvam "womb,
vulva;" Lith. valtis "twine, net," apvalus "round;" O.C.S. valiti "roll,
welter," vluna "wave;" Gk. eluo "wind, wrap," helix "spiral object," eilein "to
turn, squeeze;" Goth. walwjan "to roll;" O.E. wealwian "roll," weoloc "whelk,
spiral-shelled mollusk;" O.H.G. walzan "to roll, waltz;" O.Ir. fulumain
"rolling;" Welsh olwyn "wheel").

I especially think “to turn, revolve . . . squeeze” adequately describes the fabulous nature of women’s sex. Vajayjay sounds as childish and as silly as Ensler’s reference to “Kootchie Snorcher” in The Vagina Monologues. It invokes fear and shame of real words used to label our anatomy. Oprah and Jimmy Kimmel and others who have jumped on the bandwagon of this little pet name are doing nothing to instill confidence in women in the way we talk about our bodies. I keep thinking, "Grow up!", we're not changing out of our bathing suits in the girls' changroom with our moms at the pool anymore. If we're mature enough to say things like, Pap Smear," bold enough to start a revolution of the word, "Cunt," then we need to form either the word Vagina in our mouths or, more correctly in most instances, Vulva, and start a new revolution of bravery in the simple naming of our body parts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

She Guevara


An image I created last summer/today and will be putting on some tee-shirts and hoodies soon enough!

Come the Revolution!!

Hateful Racism in the Calgary Sun

December 2007 Update: A Human Rights Complaint has been filed against the Western Standard's Racist Blog.

Update:

On Wednesday, October 24 the Calgary Sun removed Levant's racist column from its website. I have re-posted it here if you'd like to take a read. Oh yeah, and it has been determined after a raging message left by my partner and subsequent conversations with a representative of the Calgary Sun (who defensively added, "but I'm not a left lib") that Mr. Levant will not be writing for the Sun again. I'm sceptical, but lets hope we don't read Levant's poor writing and racist "reporting" again. If the Sun should have anything to do with that "man" they should report on the appalling hate-speech bigotry that's rampant over at the Western Standard blog.

I was too disgusted to blog this yesterday and was fuming for hours about a column in yesterday's Calgary Sun. Having thought about it and slept on it, I’m still disgusted and I make no apologies for my rage. Last week a 9 year old girl, Mary Frances Kathelynn Occena, was killed in a tragic accident on Crowchild Trail after the school bus she was riding in sideswiped a gravel truck parked on the side of the morning-rush-hour 80 km/hr roadway and then plowed into a light pole, the side of the bus remaining on the gravel truck and as anyone can imagine, a horrific scene.

Ezra Levant, in his column yesterday, blames Islam.

His disgusting racist rhetoric is insulting to Mary’s family, the other children involved in the accident, and certainly a slap in the face to the bus driver. Levant claims that the driver’s headscarf caused the accident and refers to multiculturalism in this case as being dangerous, “an unacceptable risk -- and something that should be banned by common sense.” So not only should Muslim women not be allowed to vote, but they shouldn’t be allowed to drive, either? It’s infuriating that he victimizes himself in his own article when he says that today, to state that head scarves should be prohibited is “Islamophobic.” I would say it’s racist bigotry.

Levant, co-founder of right wing publication "Western Standard", is the individual who, here in this city, reprinted the images of Mohammed that sparked controversy last year in Denmark that upset our Muslim community. He claimed then that the media is afraid of Islamism and this is [poorly at best] repeated in his column yesterday:

I think it's obvious why these questions were not asked: because it is
politically incorrect to question a religious veil -- or even anything that
looks like one -- for fear of being regarded as politically incorrect.

It is politically incorrect. . . for fear of being regarded as politically incorrect. Huh? What the fuck kind of writing is this and why would the Calgary Sun publish not only terrible writing with poor sentence structure, but words written with the clear motive to inspire hate.

Let the editor know what you think about this article:
callet@calgarysun.com
Fax 403-250- 4180

October is ALSO Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Lucinda Marshall looks at the current avoidance of the other ribbon/colour of October: Domestic Violence Awareness. We are in a sea of pink in support and awareness of Breast Cancer raising money money money but awareness, support and dialogue about domestic violence is ironically being ignored. What's worse, says, Marshall, is that many of the pink cover stories are giving incorrect information:

Of nine publications that I recently found on a grocery store magazine
rack, all of which advertised breast cancer articles on the covers of their
October issues, only two also contained coverage of Domestic Violence Awareness
Month (and mentioned that on their covers).* And, what's worse, of the coverage
dedicated to breast cancer, much of it was offensive, superficial, misleading,
or flat-out wrong.

AlterNet hosts the full article.

Thanks to F-email Fightback for the link.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

National Pink Hijab Day!

This Friday, October 26th, is National Pink Hejab day!

Get your pink ready, hibab or ribbon or scarf!

Bizarre Theories to Medical Breakthroughs

Well, maybe. You decide! The Independent has some interesting myths/research outlines in this article today including:

"Fat People are More Jolly"
"Love Could be Cured"
"Dogs give Women Breast Cancer"
"Sunny Days Make Men Violent"

Monday, October 22, 2007

LOLFetus


This is hilarious! Blogger a k8, a cat, a mission. made this delightful LOLCats spoof, in vitro.

Thanks for the laugh!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Boycott Gap


The photo here is just one of many of Bansky's brilliant art. I recently discovered this graffiti artist's work and have placed him on one my "one of my heroes" list. This is an appropriate acompanying feature today as I just read this report from nosweat.org about popular clothing giant, Gap's sweatshop in Bangalore, India. For one, I don't shop at Gap as I am not a big khaki fan and I hate their advertising but this is a fundamental reason to encourage a boycott of the retailer. Gap's overseas sweat shops are hurting women.

A couple highlights from the article:

-Local unions told the Guardian that Ms Padmavathi, a 39-year-old factory worker, collapsed near the factory gate at midday on September 18, two-and-a-half hours after she had asked to be allowed leave to go to hospital. They claim she started vomiting at 9.30am and had asked her manager for leave. But, they say, she was not granted immediate leave and was instead verbally abused. When she was eventually granted leave and left the factory, she collapsed near the gate. Passers-by carried her back to the factory, where she was taken to a clinic and then to Victoria hospital, where she died at around 1pm.
-Ratnamma, 27, spoke of her anger at losing her baby, a boy, in March, when she was forced to give birth alone in the street at the factory gate after being refused immediate leave when she went into labour.
India isn't the only country with Gap factory human rights violations. At the end of day, lets do our research about where our clothes are coming from and what they really cost, and just say "YUK!" to retailers like Gap.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Government Responsible

I just read this harrowing report of what is happening in Ethiopia by the military on behalf of its government, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. I thought that farmers being taken advantage of and the low income of coffee farmers was skin-chilling. This is nauseating. Handpicked by Tony Blair, Bloomfied explains he was "to lead the "African renaissance". He was seen as a leader committed to development and democracy."

The crackdown on the Ogaden National Liberation Front has spilled blood over the bodies of the innocent. Claiming that a village may be harbouring any ONLF is enough:

About 100 Ethiopians are now arriving [Bosasso, Somalia] every day. Their stories reveal the brutality of Ethiopia's hidden war, a brutal counter-insurgency that some aid officials believe has parallels with Darfur. Some estimates put the number of people displaced by the violence at 200,000 already.

According to accounts from refugees, Ethiopian troops are burning villages, raping women and killing civilians as part of a systematic campaign to drive them from their homes. They reported dozens of villages destroyed and accused the Ethiopian government of forcibly starving its own people by preventing food convoys reaching villages and destroying crops and livestock.

Development and Democracy? To the contrary. ALthough there are some with a twisted sense of what freedom and gratitude are:
The US provides some $283m (£140m) in military and humanitarian aid to Ethiopia and has trained its military – one of the largest and strongest in Africa.

Dr. Watson's DNA


Check out this post over at Himbly's blog about DNA identifier Dr. Watson and his recent views on 'black people' and abortion. He's not such a neat guy after all.

The Boogyman "Down There"

A news release today suggests that HPV Testing is twice as effective as Pap Smears in screening for the Human Papilloma virus. I didn’t know this, but the article claims that the Pap Smear’s accurary is only 55.4%. Compare that with an accuracy of 94.6% of that of the HPV Test, and combine the two screening methods and we’re looking at 100% coverage. This is good news when considering the unknown risks and lab-rat making mass trial of the HPV Vaccine on young girls across the country. The Gardasil debate rages, and I continue to pay close attention to people like Shelley Page and Abby Lippman, critics of the vaccination rush. It is important to listen to the voices of dissent, the women who are not lobbyists, the questions being asked of motive. Check out this article from this summer’s National Review of Medicine and ask yourself the question, “Who will really benefit from the vaccine?” In the United States, the FDA has granted approval for the expanded use of the HPV Test. In Canada it costs approximately $100 for the test. Instead of spending $300 Million on Gardasil’s vaccine that prevents a cancer-causing virus that, as Lippman asserts, “only kills about 400 people a year in Canada, and most of them are dying because of lack of treatment”, that money would be better spent on a simple, 94.6% accurate test that screens for HPV. The test does not inject anything into our girls’ bodies, it is an examination under a microscope, it, “examines the genetic makeup of 13 high-risk strains of HPV to determine whether their presence is likely to lead to cancer.” Now that is something to celebrate. I wouldn’t bow down to Gardasil and rejoice in its vaccine just yet, I’m going to sit tight and watch how this plays out. Consider the alternatives and consider the motives of Gardasil and put our girls’ best interests first, not a corporation’s; making millions of dollars off girls and women with scare tactics.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sittin' in a Tree...


It’s easy to criticize Barbie and her unrealistic body type. We all love to point fingers at her enormous breasts, tiny waist and feet and ankles that would not, if she were a human, support her body. Pharyngula today notes a new doll toy that has hit the market, and this one is just as unrealistic as Barbie. Talking Jesus, Messenger of Faith, is one in a series of “Messenger of Faith” dolls from One2Believe. At 12” tall, they’re a little taller than Barbie and a whole lot taller than Skipper. And they’re Caucasian. Should I really be surprised that Jesus looks German? Aside from all that, I love what PZ Meyers notes:

It might be a useful toy for breaking indoctrination, though, when the kiddies discover that Jesus has "Made in China" imprinted on the sole of his foot, and that they can play games that have him shacking up with Barbie. And Ken.

I used to be worried that mom or dad might catch me slipping Barbie & Ken in the sack while I wiggled on a pillow… but imagine the guilt these kids will be soaking in when Mary & Jesus get it on… and I’m not talkin’ Magdelene, here. And just why isn’t SHE a messenger of faith? Wasn’t she Jesus’ favourite? Oh yeah! Things get complicated with that Mary, she was a HOE!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pleading for Proceding with Bleeding

I've had Katie Thorpe on my mind lately. I've been thinking about the importance of wombs and ovaries and sexuality and hormones and the ebb and flow of women's cycles. I've been thinking about menstruation and my experience with it and the experiences of other women I know and the wide variety of reactions, being negative and being positive. Some women are lucky enough to have minimal cramps, headaches and other discomforts that go with periods. Some women have horrendous discomfort. Some manage the pain with ibuprofin and acetamenaphin, some manage it with fertility drugs. Some women want a regular cycle so they go on birth control pills. Some want to avoid pregnancy so they go on birth control pills. Women experience their periods and then react to them.

Kate Ansell also has cerebral palsy. She writes an excellent article for The Independent today reflecting on her own experience with menstruation. Ms. Ansell is different from Katie Thorpe in that Ansell's disabilities aren't as profoundly debilitating as Katie Thorpe's. Nonetheless, Ansell's article explores the experience of a disabled woman with menstruation from lack of access in a public washroom to the supposedly simple task of opening a pad/tampon package to pushing the foot pedal on the waste can.

My first reaction to reading that Katie's mother is planning a hysterechtomy for her daughter before the onset of menstruation was disappointment and discomfort with such an enormous decision being made on Katie's behalf. Katie is unable to communicate her own thoughts and Ms. Thorpe believes that sparing her daughter menstruation will make Katie's life more pleasant. That said, I can understand why Katie's mom would consider this an option as the caregiver for a severely disabled person, she wants to make Katie's life as comfortable as possible. But as Ansell aserts:

[Katie's] menstrual cycle has become headline news. That such personal matters are being discussed on GMTV is ironic given that one of her mother's reasons for requesting the procedure is that she will be unable to be "discreet" or "private" about it if she does menstruate.
...
So Alison Thorpe might be right. Periods could be a trial for her daughter. But it's possible that they won't. I don't believe she is wrong to suggest a hysterectomy, but I'm perplexed as to why it's being considered before Katie's periods have started, before anyone knows how they affect her, before other, less invasive methods of management have been tried.


It's a poignant, complicated issue. It's not just Katie Thorpe's menstruation that is making headlines but underlying that is her experiences with her own sexuality. I do believe Alison Thorpe has her daughter's best interests at heart and contrary to criticism, I acknowledge that it is her decision. A tough one, and I hope that with the media frenzy, whatever decision she makes and whenever she follows through with which decision she makes, she and her daughter have no regrets.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh! He was just PRETENDING!

From the Toronto Star:

VATICAN CITY–A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man says he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

In an interview published yesterday, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico told the daily La Repubblica that he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst.

He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.''

Read more...

Reminds me a little of when Ted Haggard said he bought Crystal Meth... but then "threw it away."

Hypocritical bigots.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Graffiti Fun



This "Fatty" character(s) makes an appearance all over Melbourne, Australia.

CODEPINK Denied Access to Canada


From CODEPINK this week:

Canada used to be a haven for peace activists during the Vietnam era, a place where Americans could go to escape the madness of war. No longer.

On October 4, 2007, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel/ diplomat Ann Wright were denied entry to Canada because they have engaged in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against the war in Iraq. The Canadian border officials said the women's names appeared on the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, and anyone convicted of a criminal offense, including a minor misdemeanor for peace and social justice, was "inadmissible." This, to us, is unacceptable. We can't sit back and watch our civil liberties erode, one by one. We can't sit back and let peace activists be treated like dangerous criminals.

We have crafted a petition urging the FBI to stop including minor non-violent offenses on a database meant for serious crimes, and the Canadian government to reverse its policy and extend a warm welcome to U.S. peacemakers and other social activists who use the time-honored tradition of engaging in civil disobedience as a way to change unjust policies.

Please join Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and 100 US and Canadian leaders by signing our petition here and sending the link to your friends and family. We will deliver all of your signatures directly to the Canadian Parliament; where Medea and Ann have been invited to speak--if they can get into the country!

To find out more about the situation, as well as the press it has received, please click here.

Thank you for helping us open these gates.

With dedication to peace without borders,
Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sarah

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Within These Walls

Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star gets it right in her column today about the legal rights of fetuses, reacting to the recent murder of Aysun Sesen, 7 months pregnant who's fetus could not be saved after several knife wounds to the abdomen. Ms. Zerbisias acknowledges that the recent law signed by Mr. Bush in 2004, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, excludes "the prosecution of any provider of consensual abortion, those attempting to treat a pregnant woman, and the woman herself." The debate did drag on for months and indeed, regardless of the exclusion, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is a paving of the way to make abortion in the USA illegal with the simple strike-through tool of an amendment. Dialogue in Canada about the rights of fetuses is opened in cases like Sesen's, and I appreciate that Zerbisias doubts that giving a fetus legal status won't make a difference in the appalling death rate of pregnant women. I appreciate her criticism of pregnant women being objectified as vessels, frightened with media scares like toxoplasmosis.

To take Ms. Zerbisias's position just a little further, I ask the question, "Who benefits from giving the unborn legal status?" A murdered woman? A dead fetus? Not so. Groups that would like to see abortion criminalized in Canada? Ah... yes. You see, writing a law - words on paper - protect and prevent nothing. Women are being murdered. It's illegal, but it's happening. Pregannt women are being murdered. In Canada a woman is raped every 17 minutes. The violence is a problem that is not solved by simply making a law. But the dialogue that surrounds these laws can be significantly positive or become problematic like giving a fetus legal rights. My sympathies to the family and friends of Aysun Sesen, who no longer will hear their sister/daughter/niece/auntie laughing. May we remember Aysun Sesen as a woman with a life, a face, and may we raises our voices against violence against us. The violence of poverty, of inequality, of our sexuality and the violence against our wombs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Prolife Highway Parade

A couple of years ago driving South on Highway 2 I noticed a glaring lie of a highway billboard advertisement linking abortions to breast cancer. There is no such link. It is a lie by Prolife Canada desperately trying to appeal to gullible, stupid people. That was two years ago. This weekend driving North on highway 2 past Red Deer, there was a group of about ten people on a side road of the highway holding white signs with black letters, "Abortion Hurts Women." Giving them the bird and gettin' my rage on, these people's "campaign" was a distracting and cowardly action. First, drivers on that highway need to be focussed. There are too many idiotic drivers in rumbling fancy big trucks either drunk or carrying some death wish travelling at uncontrollable speeds tailgating, swerving, and being assholes. Second, no one has the ability to pull over, back up and challenge the notion that "abortion hurts women." The cowards. What a misleading, hypocritical notion! Pro-life groups do not and never have had a women's best interest at heart. Their manipulative claim this weekend is a spit in the face to women who have made the choice to abort for the benefit of those women's life long health and well-being.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blaming the Victim


"These victims are not in anyway part of any type of situation that would lead them to being assaulted."

This is what Supt. Ron Taverner said about the girls who were sexually assaulted last week at a Toronto middle school. Eight boys, ages 12 & 13, assaulted four girls at Smithfield Middle School on September 25. What “type of situation” does Taverner have in mind that would “lead” four girls at this school to being sexually assaulted? Why should this disgusting blaming the victim rhetoric be tolerated? Tell Ron that no matter what, no matter the situation, girls do not deserve, are not leading themselves, to be sexually assaulted.

Superintendent Ron Taverner
Toronto Police Service
Phone 416-808-2314 - Email ron.taverner@torontopolice.on.ca

Supermodels --> Minimodels

Shameless Magazine this morning points readers in the direction of a very thought-provoking article from Emily Nussbaum's piece in The Guardian’s The Observer. She explores the difficult question of why today’s fashion runway models have been getting thinner and thinner. The answer is hard to swallow: it’s a problem of socioeconomic background and status. Read on…

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Fact

Onslaught



Dove's new film "Onslaught" has one powerful message: The Beauty Industry is harmful to girls. Parents need to intervene and educate their daughters about the toxic messages the images put forth; poisons that infect the mind like a drug. Kudos to Dove for opening dialogue about the beauty industry yet again.

I would like to see a an additional, complimentary film created replacing the little girl's face with a little boy's face. I believe it would be just as powerful and send an appropriate message that the beauty industry affects developing boys' minds in a very real and dangerous manner.

We need to talk to our girls and we need to talk to our boys about why the onslaught of images of women by the beauty industry are harmful to women.

Etobicoke Murder

Aysun Sesen, 25 years old and pregnant, was murdered after several stab wounds to her abdomen.
May her soul rest easy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sweet Secrets


Feeling a little nostalgic today for toys of the eighties, I did a quick google search on Galoob’s Sweet Secret toys. I had one of the little girl doll charms and the pink pony charms (Starburst)and wanted to catch a glimpse of them. I found an amazing commercial from 1984 on youtube advertising these charms. And I also found this disappointing commercial. I can’t find anything online for the new Sweet Secret toys, but the dolls have disturbingly large heads and emaciated little bodies. These new dolls do not appear to transform at all except popping out of a little box like a whore out of a cake at stag party.

One to Watch



Canadian Producers Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl and Director Brian De Palma are making sure the story of the real-life rape, murder, and burning of 14 year old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, by American soldiers is being told. Redacted is a fake documentary about this true story. Joan Dupont tell us more.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Chauvinist Image of the Day