Fundraiser for the New York Abortion Access Fund

Wednesday, November 30th, 6-8pm at Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). Suggested donation is $20, but give what you can.

A blurb from the organization:

During this holiday season, please help women who need your financial support to make the decisions that are right for their lives. Without abortion funds, the right to abortion is meaningless for many women. Please support the New York Abortion Access Fund, an all-volunteer non-profit which provides financial assistance to low-income women who cannot afford to pay for an abortion.

This really is an important cause. Women come from all over the East coast to have abortions in New York City, usually because of the restrictive anti-choice laws in their own states (for more about some of the women this fund helps, see this article about the Haven Coalition. Or this one). The fund is always depleted, and there are always more women who need help. In volunteering with the Haven Coalition, I’ve met some these women — they show up in New York broke, scared, and having spent every penny they have on transportation, the procedure itself, and often childcare for their kids, who they have to leave at home. They don’t have a place to stay, and are prepared to sleep on a park bench or in the bus station while they undergo their procedures (the women who Haven helps are typically in New York for second-trimester abortions, which take 2-3 days). Haven finds them a bed to sleep in, and the New York Abortion Fund helps them pay for what can be a $2,000 ordeal.

The right to choose is meaningless if only middle and upper-income women, or women in the bluest states, have access to it.

If you don’t live in New York, or if you can’t make it to the event and want to help out anyway, you can make donations to the fund here. Please help out if you can.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 3 Comments

Repro Rights Round-Up

Lots going on this week. Check it out.

Offering Abortion, Rebirth
: A profile of one Arkansas abortion provider who started practicing soon after Roe.

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will bring the abortion issue back before the Supreme Court. The case challenges a yet-to-be-applied New Hampshire law that requires 48-hour parental notice for abortion, without a health exception — so if a minor woman has a medical emergency that will, for example, make her sterile or blind but won’t kill her, she cannot have an abortion if her parents haven’t been notified. The second question in the case is whether or not the court can even rule on it, since it hasn’t been applied and therefore hasn’t caused injury to any individual.

While that second question is trickier, the first issue seems pretty clear to me: The Supreme Court already ruled that restrictions on abortion must have a health exception. Let’s see how much the new justice(s) actually value precedent when these cases come up.

File under worst repro rights decision the Bush administration has made in at least the past month: Extended the Global Gag Rule to HIV/AIDS prevention programs. This is one of those things that I read and just feel my heart sink. For the unfamiliar, the Global Gag Rule is a policy instituted by Bush on his first day in office (after being first instituted by Reagon, kept in by Bush I, and removed by Clinton) which bars funding to any organization abroad that (1) mentions abortion as an option for women, (2) provides abortions with its own non-U.S. money, or (3) lobbies its own government for reproductive rights. U.S. money never pays for abortions abroad, and has been legally barred from doing so since 1973. So that’s not the issue. I’ve written about the Gag Rule before, so check out that post for statistics and information on just how harmful the rule is.

And now it’s been extended to any organzation that provides HIV/AIDS relief as well. What the Bush administration seems to be ignoring is the fact that in rural areas and developing nations, there isn’t a hospital, a family planning clinic, and an NGO offering HIV/AIDS information all operated by separate groups in separate buildings. There’s often a single clinic serving an entire population, offering medical treatment, HIV/AIDS information, family planning tools, and reproductive health services. Now that this rule is in place, that clinic either has to refuse to give women information about where they can obtain safe abortions or face having their HIV/AIDS-prevention funding pulled. If clinic workers lobby for reproductive rights in their own country, their AIDS funding is cut. If clinic workers warn women about the dangers of unsafe, self-procured abortions, their AIDS funding is cut.

And what do self-procured abortions look like in developing nations? According to Hilary Fyfe, whose abstinence-based HIV prevention group Family Life Movement in Zambia lost $30,000 in U.S. funding due to Bush’s policies, she sees women procuring abortions by “swallowing pounded glass, pushing sharp needles or other unsafe instruments through their uterus, pushing poisonous substances up their vaginas like cuttings from trees or roots, drinking bleach mixed with glass, or overdosing on malaria pills.” She sees it every day.

Gotta love this “culture of life” — its mighty warriors care all about “life” right up until the moment of birth. Then, go ahead and be killed by preventable and treatable disease, die or main yourself with a botched abortion, or literally rot with an obstetric fistula. It’s personal responsibility after all.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

School: Future Writing

I’m hoping to be able to sit down and hack out a few good posts on my student teaching experience in the next two weeks now that it is beginning to draw to a close. I have a few posts sitting in draft mode, and some that I have bouncing around my head, but I figured I would list some topics that I’m interested in covering to probe my audience.

Knowing vs. Having Fun
Student Ability (Observations and Accommodations)
Curriculum, Standards and Approaches
The Evolution of my Personal Pedagogy
Teen Sexuality and Deviance in the Classroom
Girl Pants, Carhart, and Student Identity
Reading and Writing vs. Studying Literature (big difference, if you ask me)
Teacher Morale, Student Morale

Let me know what you’re interested in reading in the comments. If you have any further questions or topics you’d like me to discuss, leave them below and I’ll attempt to address them as my time begins to free up.

Tagged | 20 Comments

Possibly the Most Disgusting Thing I’ve Ever Read

This came up in the comments section a few posts down, and I thought I’d put it up for everyone to see:

I have to confess that I don’t understand this ceaseless quest for victimhood. Being raped doesn’t confer some mystical moral superiority on a woman, it just makes her a victim. And unfortunately, in all too many cases, it just makes her a stupid one.

I’m just curious what basis the moral relativists have for condemning rape in the first place. If I deem the slaking of my desire for lust – or violence, if you prefer that theory of rape – to be an intrinsic good, who are you to condemn it? Certainly, one could argue that it is a violation of private property rights, but then, what of those moral relativists who reject the notion of private property. If all property is held in common, then how can a woman object if I decide to make use of that which belongs to me?

Continue reading

Posted in Sexual Assault | Tagged , , , | 155 Comments

“Conservative Values” at Princeton

By now, most people have read about Samuel Alito’s membership in the racist, sexist Concerned Alumni of Princeton group. While his membership is notable — what kind of decent person remains in such a heinous organization, even if they weren’t particularly active? — what I think is more interesting is the conservative reaction to his membership.

In an interview, [Laura] Ingraham said liberal groups were making too much of Judge Alito’s membership. “Stop the presses!” she said. “Sam Alito, a conservative, was once a member of a conservative Princeton alumni group.”

Mr. D’Souza said supporters of Concerned Alumni were motivated by a fear that “traditional values” at Princeton had come under attack, but their specific concerns varied from academic standards to the athletic program. Judge Alito’s support for the group “might tell you something,” he said, “but it is hard to know what.”

So what are the “conservative” and “traditional” values that Concerned Alumni sought to uphold?

The group had been founded in 1972, the year that Judge Alito graduated, by alumni upset that Princeton had recently begun admitting women. It published a magazine, Prospect, which persistently accused the administration of taking a permissive approach to student life, of promoting birth control and paying for abortions, and of diluting the explicitly Christian character of the school.

As Princeton admitted a growing number of minority students, Concerned Alumni charged repeatedly that the administration was lowering admission standards, undermining the university’s distinctive traditions and admitting too few children of alumni. “Currently alumni children comprise 14 percent of each entering class, compared with an 11 percent quota for blacks and Hispanics,” the group wrote in a 1985 fund-raising letter sent to all Princeton graduates.


A pamphlet for parents suggested that “racial tensions” and loose oversight of campus social life were contributing to a spike in campus crime. A brochure for Princeton alumni warned, “The unannounced goal of the administration, now achieved, of a student population of approximately 40 percent women and minorities will largely vitiate the alumni body of the future.”


When the administration proposed a new system of residential colleges with their own dining halls, Prospect denounced the idea as a potential threat to the system of eating clubs. The magazine charged that, like affirmative action, the plan was “intended to create racial harmony.”

Prospect portrayed the proposal as an effort to end the de facto segregation of the campus in which black students were concentrated in one dormitory and mostly did not belong to the clubs. “Doubtless, there will be many who regard this as mere stalling, and prejudice by another name,” an unsigned 1982 editorial argued in defense of the magazine’s position. “If realistic approaches to problems must be called dirty names because we do not like them, well, there is no remedy for it.”

Glad to see that at least some conservatives will look at racism, sexism and bigotry and call them out for what they are: “traditional conservative values.”

Posted in Education, Race & Ethnicity | Tagged , , | 60 Comments

Well I Won’t Be Sleeping Tonight

Bedbugs taking over New York City? WHAT?!

Bedbugs are back and spreading through New York City like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat.

Infestations have been reported sporadically across the United States over the past few years. But in New York, bedbugs have gained a foothold all across the city.

“It’s becoming an epidemic,” said Jeffrey Eisenberg, the owner of Pest Away Exterminating, an Upper West Side business that receives about 125 bedbug calls a week, compared with just a handful five years ago. “People are being tortured, and so am I. I spend half my day talking to hysterical people about bedbugs.”

Last year the city logged 377 bedbug violations, up from just 2 in 2002 and 16 in 2003. Since July, there have been 449. “Its definitely a fast-emerging problem,” said Carol Abrams, spokeswoman for the city housing agency.


“People come in here and cry on my shoulder,” said Andy Linares, the owner of Bug Off Pest Control, in a Washington Heights storefront. “They feel ashamed, even traumatized, to have these invisible vampires living in their home. Rats, even V.D., is more socially acceptable than bedbugs.”

Ok. That’s funny.

In interviews with more than a dozen bedbug sufferers, only a handful would speak on the record, saying they feared the condemning glares of neighbors or the shunning of co-workers. A bedbug infestation, many say, puts an added strain on relationships, all but ruling out staying the night.

Like many “bedbug victims,” as some call themselves, Josie Torielli has become consumed with the biology of bedbugs since she discovered them in her home last year. She blamed mosquitoes for the ruddy blotches on her body until she turned on the lights one night and found a few of the fiends crawling across her sheets.

She thought she had them conquered, but last week, after nine months of peace, Ms. Torielli discovered the telltale red spots on her sheets, the result of blood-engorged bugs crushed during the night.

“I’ve become obsessed,” said Ms. Torielli, 33, a social work student who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, in Manhattan. “I switched to white sheets so I can see them better, and I’ve set up a bedbug jail in a Tupperware container that I put on the windowsill to torture them with daylight. It’s all-out war.”

Say a little prayer for me, folks.

Posted in Domesticity, Vanity | 16 Comments


I’m feeling better. Sort of. If I’m active enough to require walking and/or standing for a length of time, I get tired and have to lay down, but the fever is gone and the pain is gone. Mostly. When I went out looking for a winter coat for Ethan this Wednesday, merely walking through the mall put me down for the night. I suppose my body is telling me to slow down and take it easy, but I want to move! This is my vacation!

A friend is coming into town tonight and is forcing me to endure the most physical activity that I’ve had since Wednesday, so we’ll see how I do. She is rather high energy, so I might have to sit back and observe.

Thank you to everyone who sent advice and well wishes. Today’s Feel Better Regimen includes decaf green tea, Japanese food, and the company of friends.

Posted in Health, Vanity | 5 Comments

Porn Hound, Meet Feminist Website

Robin Herman of Girl in the Locker Room was presented with this hilarious tanka by her 16-year-old son on her birthday:

Looking for porno
He types, “girl in locker room”
And finds my mom’s blog.
Nope, no naked pictures here…
Au contraire: feminism.

Feminist bloggers are evil like you wouldn’t believe, thwarting masturbatory fantasies all over the world. All hail Dworkin!

Posted in Entertainment, Feminism | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Tor-Knit-O plus Politicians

If you haven’t caught it in the news lately, Indiana has been having some severe, unseasonal tornadoes. When one tore through Southern Indiana earlier this month, razing several tiny towns in the south, tons of small businesses pulled together charity functions to help rebuild their downtown areas and raise money for local residents.

One example that I love is the Tor-Knit-O charity put together by The Village Knitter, located in the historic town of Newburgh, Indiana on the banks of the Ohio River, a few miles east of Evansville, Indiana. The coolest part is that two Indiana politicians, Senator Vaneta Becker and Representive Suzanne Crouch, showed up to try their hand at knitting.

Keeping this short, this is part of what I love about living in “fly-over country” — our state and local representatives often show up to support the community without public shilldom.*

In other news, I have gotten plenty of knitting done while laid up on the couch during my Thanksgiving vacation. For one, I knit up this lovely handspun sock yarn from Mac at Pesky Apostrophe for my own fingerless gloves.

Fingerless Gloves

I tried them out yesterday and they are amazingly warm despite the openwork. In addition, I finished up the boyfriend’s fingerless gloves. Yes, the left one is shorter than the right one, but hey, I tried.

Fingerless Gloves

Next up: A hat and scarf from ye olde yarn stash to match Ethan’s new winter coat (paid for with your donations — thank you!), and finishing the stupid Noro sweater I’ve been trying to knit for the last year and a half.
*Yes, I just made up that word.

Posted in Domesticity, Politics | 3 Comments

Saturday Stupid Shit

Did partisan politics deny The Boss rightful recognition? Sure sounds like it when American Idol Carrie Underwood gets a Congressional resolution in her honor, and Bruce’s proposed resolution gets voted down.

Using your celebrity status to promote condom use to prevent the spread of HIV in Africa is a good thing, right? The Catholic Church doesn’t think so.

A schoolteacher is fired for being pregnant and unwed. Big surprise here: she worked at a Catholic school. And this is what I love about the “pro-life” view embodied by this school and the Catholic church: They’ll talk about how women who face unintended or unwanted pregnancies should be brave, good religious followers and carry the pregnancy to term, and then they punish them for choosing to do so.

“I don’t understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I’m pregnant and am choosing to have this baby,” said McCusker, who was fired last month. “I held the Catholic religion to a higher standard.”

But it’s all about morals:

The key issue in McCusker’s case, McCaffrey said, is that Catholic-school teachers don’t simply teach subjects like math and history. They are also expected to teach morals and must lead by example.

“It’s not like we’re saying that she is a sinner and can’t be a role model,” McCaffrey said. “But there’s a visible sign. She’s pregnant. To have children looking at that, and say it’s OK, is not the example the church wants to set.”

McCusker’s supporters, however, assert that the church is being hypocritical.

“Had she been a student in a Catholic institution, and a pregnant single woman, church authorities would have counseled her — indeed, may have even pressured her — to continue her pregnancy,” Eileen Moran, a member of Catholics for a Free Choice, said at the news conference. “Yet, as her employer, in spite of all the official pronouncements of being pro-child, pro-parent and pro-family, St. Rose fired her.”

Posted in Music, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Friday Random Ten, Late-Nite Edition

Spending the day with sis and moms and then going to dinner at a friend’s upstate distracted me from the FRT.

(sister and me).

So here it is, folks, just after midnight…

1. Portishead – Glory Box
2. Bob Dylan – Everything is Broken
3. Bill Evans Trio featuring Stan Getz – The Two Lonely People
4. Belle & Sebastian – I Could Be Dreaming
5. Dar Williams – The Christians and the Pagans
6. Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey
7. Dave Matthews and Santana – Love of My Life
8. Jay Z – Change Clothes
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Universally Speaking
10. Sigur Ros – The Nothing Song

Tagged | 6 Comments

Suitable for Patrick Bateman

Looks like turkey, probably tastes like chicken:

Learned from the Best

In the meantime, Pablo guards his sick master:

Guarding the Sick One

This is a bit disingenuous, to be honest. Pablo is actually quite upset with me because I, with the help of a gift from the awesome Norbizness, have taken away his favorite pasttime. He was actually waiting for me to wake up so that he wouldn’t be forced to drink from this new pet accessory that is fit for the yuppiest of yuppies:

The Yuppiest of Cat Accessories

This, folks, is the Drinkwell Pet Fountain. Yes, it does look like a little bidet. Here you see Pablo reluctantly drinking from the DPF after being placed there for the umpteenth time in the last week because he refuses to break the faucet habit. That Ryan sits around lauding the high quality of his cool, tasty glass of faucet water in front of poor Pablo probably doesn’t help things. Doug doesn’t give a shit — it’s his new favorite toy.

Bonus: it sounds like I have a fancy fountain in my living room, though every time I walk through the kitchen I suddenly have to pee.

Thank you, Norbizness, for the lovely thought.

Posted in Vanity | 10 Comments