Archive for Women

Blazing Saddles in Alabama

Bart, the black sheriff in the bigoted town shows up to ask, “Hey, where are the white women at?” He spoke of the fictional Rock Ridge but that’s the question for elections, nationwide, including Alabama.

In nearly all times and locals, women make up the majority of voters (more of them and they vote at a higher rate than men). They determine the results.

For yesterday’s voting, many speculated whether Alabama women could vote for a credibly accused predator of young and underage girls Roy Moore. The answer seems to be, unfortunately, that many of the white women could and did. (Chart from WaPo article. Fair use claimed here.)

Granted, they voted at much higher rates for credibly accused predator of women  and girls Donald Trump. Yet it remains surprising and alarming that any women could vote for Moore, regardless of their point on the political spectrum.

There’s much bluster and portent among lefties about how this bodes well for ’18 and ’20 elections. A deeply red state chose its first Dem Senator in 27 years. Let’s reserve judgment. Let’s first consider that Moore is a morally bankrupt, totally dishonest and dishonorable pol who has been unable to obey the federal and state constitution and perform his duties in any position. How likely is it that red states will arrogantly run such terrible candidates for Dems to beat?

We’d like to think white women in the main would join progressives in this MeToo time. They have the power and could easily use it for good of the nation, their states and women in particular.

 

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Pile on the Shame

[Quick note of apology. I haven’t been commenting. The rest of the world has. So there.]

Al Franken…MeToo…sex monsters (almost entirely men in power). Just maybe a major flip has occurred. We’ll agree on that when self-identified conservatives/Republicans and then Europeans get with the program.

Meanwhile, I’ll note that I was one of the many who feared bandwagon joiners would muddle the vast good with false accusations. Instead, I find the bad so far comes in the form of schadenfreude. For some abused or harassed women, Dems and lefties taking the blame for their crassness and crimes, and then the GOP supporting the likes of the despicable Donald Trump and Roy Moore types is not enough. They want to inflict maximum damage and disgrace.

How much is too much?

I found myself in dolor about of my recurring raps about convicted criminals. I’ve long held and written about serving your time and clearing the blackboard. Those who want to perpetually punish convicts by not letting the vote and keeping them from getting jobs are just awful people who seem to lack an understanding of humanitarian and religious values.

Regardless, this came to mind again when one of Sen. Al Franken’s maybe victims, Stephanie Kemplin, made the talk-show circuit saying his apology and pending loss of Senate seat (and likely permanently ruined career, political and otherwise) were nowhere near enough to satisfy her.

She holds convincingly that she remembers his cupping one of her breasts (through multiple layers) at a photo-op. She is particularly irritated that he claims not to recall that and thus has not abjectly apologized.

In the unlikely case that Franken is not guilty of this exact charge. we cam pretty much be sure he has been a real ass around women and mildly sexually transgressed repeatedly. So we can then turn to ask whether is loss of face, loss of positions, and much dimmed future is adequate punishment. At least one accuser holds that it is not.

Walks of shame

I am bad on TV and watch little. However, I did not pass on any Game of Thrones episodes. The current news and opinion brings me back to Queen Cersei Lannister’s parade of shame, during which she walked naked through the capital as citizens chanted, “Shame!” and “Guilty!” while pelting her with spit, feces and garbage.

Clearly in her case and time and place, too much was not enough.

That I dread for the MeToo movement. We have plenty to atone for as a society and male gender. Not knowing when to modulate or stop won’t advance the movement.

I thought back to decades ago and one of the sermons I preached at the Arlington Street Church. It was on resilience. I spoke of the different reactions we have to the sundry misfortunes that are thrust or fall upon us. How in my volunteering at veterans hospitals in high school I’d met WWI vets still shell shocked (now PTST) and others missing limbs still incapacitated from wars long years later. Other vets made it their duties and hallmarks to forge on to careers, marriages, parenting and more in the same circumstances.

After the sermon, a couple of women and one man who never really recovered from sex crimes said how much they were insulted and how they felt disrespected. Many others told similar tales of their own survivals that those of relatives and friends. One elderly woman I had been in a UU sexuality course with pulled me aside with the definitive comment. I knew she had been raped and had to heal from the traumas; she said it was important to discuss how we deal with such; she said it was important to tell the personal story, but “don’t make a career out of it.”

Amen.

 

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Incivility, gender, race and hate

I threw on my cloak of optimism, supposing that Hillary will become POTUS and that this will be a springboard for a nation more at ease with a woman at top.

I spent many years in Virginia and still identify with the best of us there. Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia (XVIII: Manners), “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just…”

As this motley, churlish election cycle completes in less than a week, let’s discourse on big themes, such as:

  • Following the no-colored-Presidents-for-me tone, how deeply are we experiencing, the no-dames-for-President tone?
  • Are 40% to 50% of us truly OK with a puerile, impulsive ignoramus as out leader?
  • Are the judgmental Europeans right about us as bigots and socially retrograde?
  • Can this election catapult us to a new America of tolerance and egalitarianism?

We’ve had 8 years plus the campaign of “Oh, no, it’s not that Obama is Black. It’s that he’s foreign; Muslim, a pinko. :Assuming POTUS Clinton the Greater, do we then get, “Oh, no, it’s not that Hillary’s a women. It’s that she’s a crook, a criminal, a pinko.”?

I can’t believe 6% or more of the electorate is undecided, or so they claim. Then I”m an incredulous sort. Playing cards so close to your vest makes them tattoos. Bad form.

Let’s kick around the final days of a much too long, far too nasty season.

icon for podpress  Incivility may end [17:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Drumpf Schtup Fantasies

GOP Prez nominee Donald Trump keeps his puerile treatment of sex in the fore (insert foreplay joke here) of the campaign. Let’s ask:

  • Will this lead voters to see him as manly or immature?
  • Will trying to blame Hillary Clinton for her husband’s infidelites of several decades ago backfire on an admitted serial adulterer who can’t maintain a stable marriage?
  • Will insinutations b y him and his surrogates that Hillary may have mad an affair hurt him much more than her?
  • Will his incessant allusions to how much he wants to hve sex with daughter Ivanka (see here and here and here and here and here) make him just too creepy for whom to vote?
  • What, say proven incest with one of his daughters, would prove too much for GOP voters who self-identify as moral?
  • Does bragging about sex organ size add to the dialog?
  • Will he be harmed by previous protracted verbal abuse of beauty queen Alicia Machado and subsequent falsely defaming her for a nonexistent sex tape?

Admittedly, I may be an outier. I’m a long-term adultry-free married, one who raised three sons and zero daughters. To me, infidelity is just wrong. Also kissing grown daughters “as often as I can,” as he is wont to say on the mouth is simply creepy or worse. I know people in open marriages and men who who snog regularly with their teen and older daughters. To me that is plainly sexual; to them, including the daughters, they say it is just natural affection.

Let’s talk. Click below for my take on his puerile sexualization of the campaigns.

icon for podpress  Drumpf Schtup Fantasies [17:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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No VP Warren Podcast

We’re not through with Elizabeth Warren yet in Massachusetts. You can’t have her as 2016 Vice President. She’s my U.S. Senator and is better than just fine.Elizabeth Warren

I get into why she’s effective beyond merely doing the job for us and discuss pros and cons of Hillary Clinton bringing her on the ticket. Unlike my usual cited sources, this is personal and my perceptions.

She has been doing a great job with her small stable of political and positions she rides in D.C. She largely is the conscience who shames the lackluster, plodding Senators with her dynamism and accomplishments. She was on the ground running even before she got to the Senate. She could do a great job for the next President as the leading Senator and not the disappearing lackey.

icon for podpress  No VP Warren: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Jessica Berson on Exotic Dancing Podcast

jessicaYou likely don’t know much about exotic dancing or dance studies. Reading guest Jessica Berson’s <>The Naked Result: How Exotic Dance Became Big Business will fix that.

She came on to discuss her book, what goes on in private dances as well as on stage, and a lot more. Click below to hear the personal, the business, the history, and surprising (to me) analysis of the meanings of the dancing. We also spoke about how dancers and customers interact and what they get from each other.

She teaches dance studies at Yale and has at other august institutions. She is professorial type and dancer, one who got the most out of her year on stage and in front of single clients. Her book ended up at once academic and highly readable, concentrated on exotic dancing, but from its many angles. While it has personal vignettes, it is not yet another stripper memoir as Berson is quick to note.

icon for podpress  The Naked Result [31:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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The Naked Results right here

This coming Thursday, April Fool’s Day Eve Day, 3/31, the guest will be Jessica Berson, author of The Naked Result. That’s a definitive study of exotic dancing — the methods, the people, the business.

She teaches dance studies at Yale and has at Harvard, in the UK and elsewhere. She earned grad-school money as an exotic dancer. Then as an scholar, she studied the industry. She has both the personal and the professional view. Plus, from her book, I learned quite a bit about the methods and meanings of movement.

Her story is not a woe-was-I one. Be prepared to insights, history and the human sides of it all.

If you want to join us live, click here at 11AM EDT, Thursday, 3/31. Afterward the show will be available on demand there, back here at Left Ahead and on our iTunes channel.

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O’Connor Ives Podcast

Three-term Newburyport Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives joined us to talk about her run for the open MA Senate seat in 1st Essex. She acknowledged it’s a tough field. She wants to beat out two other Democrats in next week’s primary. There are also two unenrolled and two Republicans after the spot.

As her website details, she has staked out specific proposals across a spectrum of issues from the environment to economic redevelopment to public safety to women’s rights to campaign-finance reform. She bristled only once with us, at the mention that one of her opponents likes to portray himself as the progressive in the race. She pointed out that her positions gives her as much right.

Listen in as she speaks to her policies and planks. We covered a wide range of topics, as well as her collaborative style by which she expects to pass legislation. She also differentiated herself from her fellow Dems in the race. For example, she said they stress their executive experience, which she says is not all that useful for a job that would entail understanding policy, parsing proposed legislation and researching. As an environmental lawyer, she thinks she has a leg up here.

Listen in as she presents herself as “not a Pollyanna.” Yet she is relentlessly hopeful and has a clear sense of direction.

icon for podpress  Kathleen O'Connor Ives [31:14m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Dolan Update on 3rd Middlesex Race

In an exciting MA race for a rare vacant senate seat, candidate Mara Dolan joined us for a followup on this simmering campaign. Her original visit was here. Click below for today’s show.

Since the last time, the five Dems headed for a Sept. 6th primary battle have met in public as well as campaigned solo. Dolan tells us why she should be the choice from among a field that identifies as progressive. None of the Dems (or the two Republicans) have backed down or backed out. There are issues of contention and differences the candidates offer.

She discusses some of her positions, including attacking economic woes by using community colleges and trade schools to prepare MA residents for the 120,000 middle-skill jobs going unfilled right now. She talks about how Republicans have “wrongly claimed the mantle of being good for business” from Dems. She addressed the importance of aiming for gender parity in a senate with only 6 of 40 members who are women. She and Mike even swapped support for marriage equality vignettes.

Dolan comes on about 7 minutes in; we originally gave her the wrong call-in number. It’s worth advancing to where she starts.

icon for podpress  Mara Dolan Followup [30:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Sasquatch SCOTUS Podcast

Even without Thursday’s looming health-care reform ruling, the SCOTUS strutted its stuff this week. We dealt with forbidding life without parole for teens, Arizona’s immigrant laws, and dismissing Montana’s version of limiting Citizens-United style campaign spending.

All threads led to November. We discussed what it might mean for Republicans and Romney in particular trying to walk back anti-Latino/anti-immigrant screeds, whether Dems and Obama can rally those groups, women, young voters and more in the face of slow economic recovery and more. Listen i as we try to put current and pending Supreme Court rulings in a progressive context.

icon for podpress  Sasquatch SCOTUS [30:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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