Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's that Word Again? Part Whatever

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's that Male Privilege checklist. It's sort of upsetting, though it won't upset fellas in the same way it upsets women. (Fellas frequently deny they have the privilege.) Here's the bits that most get to me:

32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she’ll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.

40. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

41. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).

Twisty has more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why Obama?

Here's The Tax Policy Center * has to say about Obama's tax policy as compared to McCain's.

Key bits:

Senator McCain would permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, increase deductions for taxpayers supporting dependents, reduce the corporate income tax rate, and allow immediate deductions for investments in certain capital equipment. Senator Obama would permanently extend certain provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts primarily affecting taxpayers with incomes under $250,000 but repeal the cuts in the top two marginal income tax rates ahead of their scheduled expiration in 2010; increase the maximum rate on capital gains; raise the top tax rate on qualified dividends from its current level (but keep it below pre-2001 levels); and enact new and expanded targeted tax breaks for workers, retirees, homeowners, savers, students, and new farmers.


The two candidates’ tax plans would have sharply different distributional effects. Senator McCain’s tax cuts would primarily benefit those with very high incomes, almost all of whom would receive large tax cuts that would, on average, raise their after-tax incomes by more than twice the average for all households. Many fewer households at the bottom of the income distribution would get tax cuts and those tax cuts would be small as a share of after-tax income. In marked contrast, Senator Obama offers much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers and would increase taxes on high-income taxpayers.

(Via Ezra)

*an organization of "nationally recognized experts in tax, budget, and social policy who have served at the highest levels of government"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Motor City Is Burning

Over on Edge of the West, my favorite history blog, and it ought to be yours too, dave has a great post up about Detroit in 1967:

Two days after the 12th Street neighborhood erupted in violence on July 23, Johnson sent 400 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne as well as 8000 additional Guardsmen to suppress the violence. Coleman Young, a Michigan state senator who would later serve as mayor of Detroit, characterized what followed as a “police riot.” Nearly half of the dead were shot by police, soldiers and guardsmen; most of these were shot in the back, and nearly all were unarmed.

The post is an example of why I love Edge so much: it traces, concisely, clearly, the American history, especially with regard to labor and racism, showing how our ineffective public policy fails in regard to those things, and what happens next -- what is doomed to happen next. The unrest of the 60's gets blamed on those hippies and on Dr. Spock. This post makes it clear what's really to blame.

From the comments:

Recently my husband and I found ourselves in conversation with a white man who still expressed pleasure in remembering riding around in police cars with his policeman brother and his brother’s partner during this era of police violence. He loved that his brother and his brother’s partner would stop blacks for nothing and then demand to see their driver’s licenses, tear them up, then return later and arrest them for not having proper ID.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who now?

So mr. delagar and I were getting dressed for school this morning and I was more than a bit sleepy because we had stayed up way too late watching Alien on some channel we get get, I forget which, and we were talking about the reasons we did like the movie and the reasons we did not, and mr. delagar was defending the bit where the android disobeys Sigourney Weaver and lets the alien into the ship, even though she's the commander of the ship at that point, saying it wasn't because he was a tool of the patriarchy, it was because he was a tool of the corporate world, and I was claiming that's the same thing, dude, and after a moment in which neither of us said anything, just put on our socks, mr. delagar sighed.

"What?" I said.

"Nothing," he said. "It's just, it's like McCain doesn't exist anymore, you know?"

"Who?" I said, befuddled. Then I realized who he meant and started laughing.

"Right. Exactly."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Overheard Everywhere

They'll Make you Think, and Care

(little boy and mother pass bake sale)

Little boy: I wanna cookie! I wanna cookie! Can we please get a cookie?
Mother: You don't want those cookies.
Little boy: What's wrong with them?
Mother: Those are Democrat cookies.

(Overheard at the Bake Sale for Obama Campaign, Chicago, Illinois)

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's that Word Again?

Over at the Atlantic, in a charming bit of drivel called, "I Choose My Choice," Sandra Tsing Loh has some interesting ideas about why women hold jobs -- well, you know, they would be interesting if we hadn't heard them a billion times before.

(1) Because feminists brainwash them into it (women are too dumb to know what they want from life so, even though really women would rather stay home with their kids and shop and cook for their dear husbands like women naturally want to do, eee-eeevil feminists trick women into getting and keeping horrid, horrid jobs, by making them think jobs are the new cool thing for cool women to do. And women aren't cool feminists if they don't get a job. And you know how every woman wants to be a cool feminist these days, so of course they listen! Big lying feminists! They're such liars!

(2) Because they're too stupid to count. See, the math! The math! If you just do the math! It's so much cheaper for a woman to stay home -- really! -- with the kids and bake her own bread and be her own childcare and make her own blue jeans and hang her own laundry on her own line and spin her own wool and can her own blueberry jam, and only have one car, which the husband drives to his $200,000/year job in the city, like Rob Petrie did, and she won't need her silly little job teaching pre-school, will she? Not when most of what she makes will get eaten up by taxes and childcare costs and the car payments for the second car and the microwave dinners you'll have to buy and her workclothing and you can see, can't you? It doesn't make sense for women to have jobs!

(3) Because really, most jobs are boring! Women shouldn't work because work is hard! People should only work if work is fun! Shopping for groceries makes women happy! And so does playing with a toddler! And cleaning toilets. Not like working for an ad agency. Or being a lawyer. Bo-r-ing! Women don't want boring big people jobs! We want to stay home and fix noodle dinners and play games with our kiddies!

(4) Men are nice. They aren't either oppressing anyone. What patriarchy? Most women love their husbands and I never saw anyone complain about her husband, so shut up!

Okay. Now, let me be clear: nothing wrong with anyone wanting to or choosing to stay home with the kids. mr. delagar stayed home with our kid until she was three; The Other Liberal Professor's mr. stays home with their two. If you can work it out, I think it's nifty.

That's not the issue. The issue is Loh's giant blind spots: first, her belief that women are the only ones who can stay home with kids; second, not everyone has kids, in case she hasn't noticed; nor is everyone married, so what about that? (Some people are even teh gay). Third, her idiot convinction that women work from desire, and not need. I mean, what in shit? What planet is this woman living on?

Yes, I love my job. It's a great job, I get up and (most mornings) want to go and do it.

On the other hand, I do it because I need the money. Pretty much every woman I know who works works for the money. Maybe we like the work too -- one hopes so -- but we do the job to get the check.

Also, her snottiness about the tax code

Currently, the top marginal income-tax rate in Sweden is nearly 60 percent (down from its peak in 1979 of 87 percent). Government spending amounts to more than half of Sweden’s GDP. (And it doesn’t all go to children, given Sweden’s low fertility rate.) On the upside, government spending creates jobs: from 1970 to 1990, a whopping 75 percent of Swedish jobs created were in the public sector … providing social welfare services …

sits very badly on my ears, since the groups that would be taxed, I am fairly sure, is her group, the richest 5%, and the group that would benefit, I am also sure, is my students, the poorest half of the country: we could use some free frakking daycare down in these parts. Does she have any idea what percent of my students' income goes to pay for childcare and medical insurance?

But of course none of this is the point: the point is this is yet another essay, which the MSM never tires of, meant to tell men that men are right in what they believe: women don't belong in the workforce: women are happier if they're not in the workforce: it's not economic to have women in the workforce. And, of course, they get a woman to say it, because then it's not misogynistic claptrap.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

He-Men Women-Haters

So over in China, as you know, they've been sex-selecting for boy-babies for the past generation (mainly by either aborting the girl-babies or by abandoning the girls or by giving them to Americans to raise): now what?

Now they've got a generation rising with a sex-ratio all whacked, is what.

After almost 30 years of the policy, China now has the largest gender imbalance in the world, with 37 million more men than women and almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide.

Which policy is beginning to have its effect on the society, as anyone might have guessed:

In the 2020s, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher Zheng Zhenzhen, estimates in a People's Daily interview that 10 percent of Chinese men will be unable to find wives, which could have a huge impact on Chinese society. Historian David Courtwright suggests in Violent Land that sexually segregated societies in the United States--frontier towns flush with unmarried men, immigrant ghettos in early twentieth-century cities, mining camps--are behind our propensity toward violence.

The response of some folk (here and in China) is to do away with the One-Child policy, except, of course, things aren't that simple: as most of us know, once you educate women (and women in cities in China have been given educations, though not so much in the rural areas) they stop having so many babies.

...As Chinese couples make more money, fertility is naturally declining-- meaning that today's bachelors will form an even larger proportion of China's future population than officials expect. Wang Feng, a sociologist at the University of California-Irvine who's part of a group of scholars advocating phasing out the one-child policy, says the outlook is grim: "Each successive birth cohort is going to be smaller. When younger cohorts get smaller, you have fewer females. It's a double whammy."

See, here's the thing: forced birth control, forced abortions, or its obverse -- restricting access to birth control or abortion -- neither of those are good. Both are going to lead to bad outcomes, because both are going to lead to desperate people doing desperate things. Recognize that a woman owns her body, educate her so that she is wise enough to make good choices, and keep out of her way -- oh, and here's a notion: arrange the world so that she can make good choices. What about that plan? Then you won't have this world:

Two years ago in Nanjing, Jiangsu's capital, businessman Wu Gang opened the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in a cheap hotel near the bank of the Yangtze River. The bar featured staples of Chinese entertainment like big-screen karaoke and plates of sunflower seeds but also a central catwalk where, for 100 yuan ($15) per minute, customers paid to assault the waiters, single young migrants from poorer cities to the north. If a customer preferred, his victim would dress in drag.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Okay, only XKCD fans will like this one, but it cracks me and the kid up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is Funny!

You'll remember that when I took the test to discover what sort of a 30's wife I was, I failed horrifically (I scored a 21, making me a Terrible Failure): well! Acting on a tip from my cool nephew, I gender bent and took the test as a fella, and it turns out I am a Terrific Success as a 30's Husband! I score 106! I'm freaking Top Notch!

I've got a word for you and I reckon you can guess what it is.

(Update: I don't outscore mr. delagar though: he scored 109.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Logic Failure

I'm attempting to teach my 1213 students to recognize logical fallacies when they meet them in the wild. In case you ever attempt the same, here's fair warning: any example with gayness in it will cause their logical thinking circuits to short out.

Or at least that is the case here in Pork Smith.


I'm trying really hard to see how someone could see this as funny.

Gimme a clue, would you?

Saturday, July 12, 2008


If you haven't seen this yet, go see:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Um, What?

One of my students called me "hon" today.

He's an older guy (I've got half a class full of TAA students, as I've said) and I'm finding it hard to be really upset about it, and I'm certainly not going to give him a hard time over it, given that I don't actually think he meant any harm by it -- I was helping him sort his TAA paperwork out, and he just said, "Thanks, hon," on his way out, but, well.

Really. Is that something that would get said to a male professor? Ever?

Or anything equivalent?

"Thanks, sport?"

I'm thinking not.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Righteous American

Now here's my kinda guy!

Told he had to lower the flag to half-mast to honor Jesse Helms? He refused.

Do it, or get out, says his boss.

He got out.

"Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, defying a directive sent to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the flags at half-staff."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer II

Back from my tiny break & teaching the 2nd half of Summer Session -- two sections of Comp II, once again mainly filled with TAA students (Trade Adjustment Assistance, part of NAFTA, that, for our students, who have seen their factory jobs outsourced, is giving them tuition and unemployment bennies while they go to school): good students, mainly.

Meanwhile, I had a good Fourth. We spent it up in Fayetteville, where half my family had landed. My parents are spending hurricane season there and my youngest brother, along with his wife and their new baby, and my two nephews, were all visiting. We had ribs and pies and later mr. delagar and I drove home through the Boston Mountains in the earilest bit of night, while every town in every valley we passed shot off its fireworks show. It was perfectly lovely.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Yeah Right

Took the kid up into the Boston mountains yesterday, so she and mr. delagar could take pictures of rocks: it was the first sunny day we've had in a bit, and also I am in the tiny break between summer sessions, so everything was copacetic.

Not too many people in the park, ether, despite it being the week of the 4th. Maybe the fierce heat had something to do with that, or maybe it's the $4.00/gallon gasoline. Whichever -- it was a nice climb. We took Yellow Rock trail, not the other trail, with the caves and the waterfalls, which is more exciting, but in very bad repair these days. Both were built by the CCC, and both, despite the eforts of local volnteer groups, haven't survived the milleneum well.

My new glasses (first new ones I've been able to afford in three years) are spectacular (heh, little pun there), btw: I kept spotting lizards and cool mushrooms, and scuttling spiders to point out to mr. delagar and the kid.

The kid, who is taller by the minute these days since we took her off corn syrup and she started eating and thus growing, was running ahead and leaping from rock to rock. This made mr. delagar edgy, but I wouldn't let him tell her to stop. Eventually, inevitably, she fell and whacked her knee on a rock. Wails. Tears. I picked her up and blew on it.

"And what have lesson have you learned?" mr delagar asked.

Through her tears, she squinted at him: "Jump more carefully?"

(Here's the thing: she wasn't being naive: she was being a smart-ass, as she revealed to me ten minutes later, on the peak of Yellow Rock, taking my hand and giving me a sideways look. "Was that funny?" she asked me. "When I said, jump more carefully to Daddy?")

At the time, I tucked down my amusement, told her it wasn't broken, and agreed with her that was a fine lesson to learn. "Jump more carefully," I said. "You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die, and fall down a hundred times before you grow up."

"What?" she demanded. "What? That's not true. Is it? Is that true? Daddy, is that true? Is that true, Mama?"

"It's a rule," I told her solemnly, "it must be true."

"A peck of dirt? Fall down -- I've already fallen down a million times! On trampolines, and -- that's not true!"

"Trampolines don't count," I said, rolling my eyes. "Fall down so you hurt yourself. Obviously!"

She hesitated. Then she said, "A peck of dirt? You have to eat -- what do you mean?"

"You know when you pick up a piece of candy after the five second rule? What do you think is on it?" I shrugged.

We walked along the trail a moment. She was scowling. Then she ran ahead to demand of mr. delagar. "Have you fallen down a hundred times? Have you?"

"I fell down so many times," he said, and started relating some of them. This was not what she wanted to hear. She came running back to me.

"What if I don't fall down a hundred times? Do I not grow up? And Grandma! She's still falling down! Is she not grown up?"

"Excellent point," I agreed.

She walked along, frowning. "Eat a peck of a dirt before you -- what if I don't eat a peck? Will I not die?"

"I'm just telling you the--"

"If I stop eating candy off the floor," she said, "I can live forever?"

"Huh," I said.

She shot me a very stern look. "These are just folk sayings," she informed me. "They aren't true at all."

Then she ran ahead and began leaping from rock to rock again.