CONSUMER BEWARE

Real Time with Bill Maher, 2/14/14

Stop the Comcast-TimeWarner merger. Sign the petition: 

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-comcasttimewarner-cable-merger-and-require-more-competition-cable-industry/ym52vbd4

Need More Convincing?

Paul Krugman asks, in his New York Times article yesterday, “So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?”

He goes on to make the following points:

On the first question, broadband Internet and cable TV are already highly concentrated industries, with a handful of corporations accounting for most of the customers. Once upon a time antitrust authorities, looking at this situation, would probably have been trying to cut Comcast down to size. Letting it expand would have been unthinkable.

In fact, a number of experts — like Susan Crawford of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, whose recent book “Captive Audience” bears directly on this case — have argued that the power of giant telecommunication companies has stifled innovation, putting the United States increasingly behind other advanced countries.

And there are good reasons to believe that this isn’t a story about just telecommunications, that monopoly power has become a significant drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.

There used to be a bipartisan consensus in favor of tough antitrust enforcement. During the Reagan years, however, antitrust policy went into eclipse, and ever since measures of monopoly power, like the extent to which sales in any given industry are concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, have been rising fast.

Moreover, there’s good reason to believe that monopoly is itself a barrier to innovation. Ms. Crawford argues persuasively that the unchecked power of telecom giants has removed incentives for progress: why upgrade your network or provide better services when your customers have nowhere to go?

And the same phenomenon may be playing an important role in holding back the economy as a whole. One puzzle about recent U.S. experience has been the disconnect between profits and investment. Profits are at a record high as a share of G.D.P., yet corporations aren’t reinvesting their returns in their businesses. Instead, they’re buying back shares, or accumulating huge piles of cash.

In addition to the overarching macroeconomic implications of this merger, there are also, at the most basic individual level, the adverse aspects for us consumers, such as data caps, courtesy of Comcast.

If you like cable, this should matter to you.

If you are a consumer, this should matter to you.

And guess what… We’re all consumers. None of us are exempt.

Let’s not forget to utilize our majority voice via our consumer power. After all, we are the 99 percent, right?

Stop corporate monopolies—which are bad for the economy & bad for us consumers.

Sign the petition

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-comcasttimewarner-cable-merger-and-require-more-competition-cable-industry/ym52vbd4

 

 

 

 

 

PSA: feminism and wussy men are a threat to national security

I don’t know if you all knew this, but…

“American men are on the decline.”

Or so says Australian Author, Nick Adams, in the below Fox & Friends interview with infamous Anti-Womanist Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and other Faux News Douche [insert name here].

 

First off, I love that the “wussification” of American men (and I can’t even tell you how much that made-up word drives me up the wall, Charlotte Perkins Gilman style) is especially seen as a threat “given the leading role” of our country. Ah, American Exceptionalism at it’s finest! Guess what… I love this country. I am very happy to be living in the United States. But, it’s not the greatest country in the world. That doesn’t mean that I hate America. It just means that I’m very critical and very aware. (Thanks, UC Berkeley!) After all, part of my thesis involved looking at our infant and maternal mortality rates against other countries whose primary labor attendants were midwives and indeed, ours is abysmal. There are plenty of other elements factoring into the cold hard fact that we are not the greatest country in the world, and while the above hyperlink is a clip from a TV show (well, it’s not really TV, it’s HBO) that does not render the information contained within it invalid.

I also love that Mr. Adams postulates that feminism sees men as preventing us [women] from achieving our goals. Funny… I’m married to a man, yet… hmm… he actually helps me achieve my goals… OH MY GOD THIS ENTIRE TIME I’VE NEVER EVEN BEEN A REAL FEMINIST.

Ok, so clearly Mr. Adams is not really familiar with what feminism actually is, what it sets out to do, or why most of us feminists view it as a necessity. Suffice it to say that Mr. Adams clearly sees feminism in “Backlash” black and white. Not to mention right in front of his face, during that very interview, was an actual woman who strives to prevent other women’s [feminist] goals….sooo…that’s funny.

And, I’m sorry, we’ve “whitewashed” genders? When did that happen? Does he even know what gender is? And that it is not the same thing as one’s biological sex? (Which is also not binary, by the way—there are both more genders and sexes than just male/female, masculine/feminine) I can only laugh at the lack of knowledge behind such a statement.

Finally, I find it humorous that he declares, with the utmost authority and confidence, that “feminism has delivered angry women and feminine men.” I beg to differ. Feminism has made me (and my predecessors, I’d argue) quite happy. It’s really more the whole sexism bit that has delivered the “angry women,” I’d say. And as for the “feminine men,” is he talking about gay men? (Not that all gay men are feminine, of course) Because whether he is, or is not, his stance that “Weeps and wussies deliver mediocrity” is intrinsically bound up with homophobic rhetoric and ideals. After all, the very notion (or existence, really—it’s not exactly a notion, anymore is it?) of homosexuality has very much undermined the concept of traditional masculinity. Either way, this guy’s notion of masculinity is what I really find most threatening…

Says Katie McDonough, in her Salon.com article:

After listening to Adams bemoan how men once known for “wrestling alligators” have been reduced to “wrestling lattes” instead, Hasselbeck asks — in her most serious journalist voice — if feminists and wussified American men are a threat to national security.

“Do you see this affecting national security? How a nation operates in terms of being a strong presence globally?” she inquired.

“Absolutely, without a doubt,” Adams replied. “I think it has wide-ranging implications. Weeps and wussies deliver mediocrity. And men win. And what America’s always been about is winning. So I think it’s pivotal to the health of the country.”

********

Tom Hanks once said:

“I’m glad I didn’t have to fight in any war. I’m glad I didn’t have to pick up a gun. I’m glad I didn’t get killed or kill somebody. I hope my kids enjoy the same lack of manhood.”

I can’t tell you how much I have loved this quote over the years. And the so-called “manhood” that he is referring to is the very same masculinity to which Mr. Adams is referring. It is a masculinity that engenders violence. It is a masculinity that infers dominance. It is a masculinity that engenders rape, bullying, war, and oppression.

And masculinity isn’t just for men. Anybody—regardless of sex or gender—can exert masculinity. Though it is obviously an image of which is overwhelmingly expected of, and pushed upon, almost all young boys and men (if not all). In my opinion, that’s the real societal threat.

What’s Your favorite Woody Allen Movie? [link]

What’s Your favorite Woody Allen Movie? [link]

An EXTREMELY Powerful Open Letter from Dylan Farrow

A must-read for all members of society.

*Trigger Warning*

 

“I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing to attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.”

Everyday Sexism

I NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE

The amazing folks over at Everyday Feminism have a running theme of posting photos comprised of people holding up signs that say “I need feminism because…,” with each person’s sign citing just one reason (albeit I’m sure there are more) they need feminism. Today I would like to share with all of you just a little sneak peek into that which fuels my feminist fire.

A.K.A.: #EverydaySexism

Below is just a sampling of that which I see on the daily— images, articles, tweets, etc.—which only further serve to ignite the STRIDENT FEMINIST within me.

Exhibit A: The Underrepresentation of Women Within Our Government

wherearethewomen

via @NancyPelosi

Currently, “99 women serve in the U.S. Congress. Twenty women serve in the Senate and 79 women serve in the House. The number of women in statewide elective executive posts is 75, while the proportion of women in state legislatures is 24.3 percent.” (See more stats taken from the Women In Elective Office 2014 Fact Sheet)

Exhibit B: Blatant Sexist Bullshit such as, “Girls With Short Hair Are Damaged” by King of the Morons 

(ok, I made up that moniker)

shorthair01

“Girls With Short Hair Are Damaged” By Tuthmosis

Which is brought to us by a website called returnofkings.com, whose “About” section I have copied and pasted* below:

About

Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.

ROK aims to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men. Sadly, yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny. The site intends to be a safe space on the web for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed. Click here to send an email to the team.

Women and homosexuals are prohibited from commenting here. They will be immediately banned.

ROK Community Beliefs:

1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally. Sex roles evolved in all mammals. Humans are not exempt.

2. Women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not. This fact is due to the biological differences between men and women.

3. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.

4. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a net benefit to the family unit.

5. Testosterone is the biological cause for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.

6. A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty. A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character.

7. Elimination of traditional gender roles and the promotion of unlimited mating choice in women unleashes their promiscuity and other negative behaviors that block family formation.

8. Socialism, feminism, and cultural Marxism cause societies to decline because they destroy the family unit, decrease the fertility rate, and require large entitlements that impoverish the state.

ROK is published by Roosh V.

Exhibit C: tea party propaganda

(And, no, I will not capitalize the “t” or “p” in tea party)

LIBERALS

I actually got to see this little gem due to a  FAMILY MEMBER posting it on Facebook. OH, GOODY.

For one, I couldn’t help but see this and think, “You are not making your party look any better with this crap, buddy. This is fallacious in so many ways. Why not attack actual policies that are currently in place, in a logical, rational way? That would make you and your party look so much better than spouting nonsense BS like this.” Then it also occurred to me how very insulting this actually is to any Jewish Liberals out there. THINK, Teabaggers, THINK! Way to offend the Jewish crowd by comparing Liberals to Nazis. I’m sure they and any Holocaust survivors really appreciate your poor analogy.

In any case, after much debate with said family member and their tea party friend, I finally ended my side of the debate with the following statements:

My objections to the above graphic are based on (but not limited to) the following logical fallacies:

  1. It analogizes current-day America to post WWI Germany, which is a highly inaccurate analogy due to the different economic, social, and political conditions of each country within their respective contexts.
  2. It equates Liberals with the Nazi party. Just one flaw in such an analogy between the two is the fact Liberals are for increased rights for the LGBTQ and Disabled communities, whereas the Nazis wanted such people rounded up and killed. Liberals are largely for a more egalitarian society with increased infrastructure and social programs whereas the Nazi Party was a dictatorship.
  3. It implicates a cause-effect relationship between stronger gun regulation and a fascist government takeover. England, even at the time that it was one of the Allies during WWII, had stronger gun regulation. yet it did not “follow Hitler’s lead,” nor does not today.

Exhibit D: Online Harassment

tumblr feminist art project

Lindsay Bottos’ “feminist art project”

The words on the above picture state:

I bet you’ve slept with half of baltimore. Your just an ugly slut with cheap ugly makeup and a shitty art school haircut. I hope you get an std and die, the world would be better without your ugly fucking face.

It is just one of many photos in a series Ms. Bottos has put together as a righteous fuck-you to all whom have thrown such insults at her on tumblr for no particular reason whatsoever. According to buzzfeed, “Since starting the Tumblr in 2010, she has received hundreds of cruel anonymous messages. Last week, she decided to turn the words of hate into a feminist art project; she screencapped some of the messages and posted them over pictures of herself.”

Online bullying, threats, and stalking are without a doubt a seriously gendered, feminist issue. After all, the majority of all such harassment—and I mean a LARGE majority of it—is aimed at women.

Just listen to what writer/journalist/heroine-of-mine, Amanda Hess, has to say on the subject:

“According to a 2005 report by the Pew Research Center, which has been tracking the online lives of Americans for more than a decade, women and men have been logging on in equal numbers since 2000, but the vilest communications are still disproportionately lobbed at women. We are more likely to report being stalked and harassed on the Internet—of the 3,787 people who reported harassing incidents from 2000 to 2012 to the volunteer organizationWorking to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 percent were female.”

“The Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman draws a distinction between “tourists” and “vagabonds” in the modern economy. Privileged tourists move about the world “on purpose,” to seek “new experience” as “the joys of the familiar wear off.” Disempowered vagabonds relocate because they have to, pushed and pulled through mean streets where they could never hope to settle down. On the Internet, men are tourists and women are vagabonds.” (Excerpts taken from Amanda Hess’ Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet)

This is our world, folks. This is why I NEED feminism. In fact we all do.

Even John Legend says so.

john legend

“All men should be feminists.”

*Editor’s note: I have de-linked the two hyperlinks originally contained within this text, so as to not contribute any more traffic to their site. (and if you’re a woman you’re “not allowed” to comment on any of their articles anyway)

DRUNK IN LOVE AND MARRIAGE

 

Anybody have any feminist-related thoughts or comments on Beyonce and Jay Z’s performance at the Grammys last night?

I, for one, loved that it oozed both sex AND partnership. What a concept! As it started, I was thinking, “DAMN. Get it, girl! GET IT,” and by the end I almost shed a tear because it was so sweet.

We should all be so lucky to have a partner with whom we can grow, share in our version of success (whatever it may be), and of course, be madly, butt-crazy, passionately in love with. I feel incredibly lucky to feel that I have that too.

It was also interesting to wake up to an article this morning about how Beyonce and Jay Z “Make The Case for Marriage That Conservatives Can’t“…

 

drunk in love

 

Lyrics via metrolyrics.com:

[Intro: Beyoncé]
I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking
I get filthy when that liquor get into me
I’ve been thinking, I’ve been thinking
Why can’t I keep my fingers off you, baby?
I want you, na na
Why can’t I keep my fingers off you, baby?
I want you, na na

[Verse 1: Beyoncé]
Cigars on ice, cigars on ice
Feeling like an animal with these cameras all in my grill
Flashing lights, flashing lights
You got me faded, faded, faded
Baby, I want you, na na
Can’t keep your eyes off my fatty
Daddy, I want you, na na
Drunk in love, I want you

[Bridge: Beyoncé]
We woke up in the kitchen saying
“How the hell did this shit happen?”, oh baby
Drunk in love, we be all night
Last thing I remember is our
Beautiful bodies grinding off in that club
Drunk in love

[Hook: Beyoncé]
We be all night, in love, in love
We be all night, in love, in love

[Verse 2: Beyoncé]
We be all night, and everything alright
No complaints for my body, so fluorescent under these lights Boy, I’m drinking, walking in my l’assemblage
I’m rubbing on it, rub-rubbing
If you scared, call that reverend
Boy, I’m drinking, Imma bring it right
Oñly bring you a gangster wife
Louis sheets , he sweat it out like washed rags, he wet it up
Boy, I’m drinking, I’m singing on the mic ’til my voice hoarse
Then I fill the tub up halfway then ride it with my surfboard
Surfboard, surfboard
Graining on that wood, graining, graining on that wood
I’m swerving on that, swerving, swerving on that big body Been
Serving all this, swerve, surfing all of this good good

[Bridge]
We woke up in the kitchen saying
“How the hell did this shit happen?”, oh baby
Drunk in love, we be all night
Last thing I remember is our
Beautiful bodies grinding off in that club
Drunk in love

[Hook]
We be all night, in love, in love
We be all night, in love, in love

[Verse 3: Jay Z]
Hold up
I do say it’s the shit if I do say so myself
If I do say so myself, if I do say so myself
Hold up, stumble all in the house tryna backup all of that mouth
That you had all in the car, talking ’bout you the baddest bitch thus far
Talking ’bout you be repping that 3rd, wanna see all that shit that I heard
Know I sling Clint Eastwood, hope you can handle this curve, uh
Foreplay in a foyer, fucked up my Warhol
Slid the panties right to the side
Ain’t got the time to take drawers off
On sight
Catch a charge I might, beat the box up like Mike
In ’97 I bite, I’m Ike Turner, turn up
Baby know I don’t play, now eat the cake, Anna Mae
Said, “Eat the cake, Anna Mae!”
I’m nice, for y’all to reach these heights you gon’ need G3
4, 5, 6 flights, sleep tight
We sex again in the morning, your breasteses is my breakfast
We going in, we be all night

[Hook: Beyoncé]
We be all night, in love, in love
We be all night, in love, in love

[Verse 4: Beyoncé]
Never tired, never tired
I been sippin’, that’s the only thing
That’s keeping me on fire, me on fire
Didn’t mean to spill that liquor all on my attire
I’ve been drinking, watermelon
(I want your body right here, daddy, I want you, right now)
Can’t keep your eyes off my fatty
Daddy, I want you

[Hook: Beyoncé]
We be all night, in love, in love
We be all night, in love, in love

Read more: Beyonce – Drunk In Love Lyrics | MetroLyrics

#FreeOurMidwives

midwife listening to belly

The following excerpts are taken from the CFAM website, a site dedicated to California Families for Access to Midwives:

 

“Yelena Kolodji and Kavita Noble are CA Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who are being prosecuted. Their only alleged offense: failing to obtain physician supervision.

It is virtually impossible for midwives to obtain physician supervision for out-of-hospital births. California Families For Access to Midwives (CFAM) fought hard to remove this unnecessary requirement from law. Thanks to enormous consumer pressure, as of January 1, 2014, physician supervision will be a thing of the past for Licensed Midwives in California —  but not for CNMs.

While most CNMs practice in hospital settings where physician supervision is virtually automatic, the few CNMs who provide out-of-hospital maternity care are forced to practice illegally since physicians are unwilling and/or unable to supervise them.

Yelena and Kavita have been providing comprehensive care to pregnant mothers and newborns for more than a combined 40 years, and have caught a combined 2,000 babies in hospital, birth center, and home settings.”

———————–

“This case also raises the broader question: do mothers have a right to access the full range of maternity care services their providers are trained and skilled to deliver?

When two skilled, experienced, and appropriately licensed midwives are prosecuted for providing appropriate care that results in a healthy mother and healthy baby, it is a sign that something is wrong with the system.”

————————-

“Please get involved in our efforts to support midwives Yelena and Kavita during this trying time by:

******************

 

The legal issue at hand is one of non-compliance with CA state law mandating physician supervision for CNMs. But what is the purpose of such a law? It’s mere existence infers that midwives are inept, or at best, not fully competent, to attend childbirth as autonomous medical professionals—as if they need an authoritarian medical professional overseeing them. Yet midwives are extensively trained in childbirth and perinatal care. If anything it’s the OBGYNs who are not trained well enough in the ways of natural childbirth and effective labor coaching.

Rules like this are in place for bureaucratic reasons—in the legal and financial interests of physicians—not in the interests of mother and baby’s health. It’s about insurance, it’s about money, it’s about fear of lawsuits. It’s not about the best birth outcomes.

 

For more information, check out my Sources:

 

who decides how she gives birth

 

 

 

I’m Growing My Mustache!

mustache

Just call me Mz. Money Mustache

 

This article isn’t about what you probably think it’s about. It’s about me…growing my mustache. Well, my “money mustache,” that is. You know—becoming a mustachian!

Towards the latter half of 2012 my now-husband (but at the time, boyfriend) started reading the afore-linked blog and it turned out to be one of the driving forces behind us getting hitched. Actually, it initially resulted in a highly unanticipated and, in my opinion, unwelcome turn in my husband—a total 180, as a matter of fact—with respect to money, and therefore lifestyle. I was not okay with this sudden and complete turnaround in his life perspective. You see, he used to be one of those people that thought things like, “what’s the point in saving all of your money for retirement if by the time you’re able to enjoy your money, you’re too old to do all the things you would have wanted?,” and “I understand wanting to save, but if it’s going to come at the cost of enjoying the present and having fun while you’re young, then really what’s the point?” I liked this philosophy. I agreed with this philosophy. But as I said— total 180. And if I wasn’t willing to do a 180 in the same direction, well then… I would be heading in the opposite direction, now, wouldn’t I? This was either going to mean the end of us as we knew it, or the beginning of a life-long [financial] commitment…

Mr. Money Mustache is the mustachian— the originator of this newfound ideology that my husband found so appealing—he’s “the freaky financial magician who retired along with a lovely wife at age 30 in order to start a family, as well as start living a great life.” How did he do this? Well, I suppose it all starts with recognizing the “Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness” that is the average consumer’s lifestyle. (He really has a way with words doesn’t he?) But that, of course, merely scratches the surface of his ideology and money management stratagems. Honestly, I’m not going to go into detail about all the financial strategy required for this kind of early retirement, but if your interest is piqued, and you think you may want to pursue just such a goal—click on either of the hyperlinks above and read his blog. I highly recommend it. I, however, was not so easily convinced when my husband first brought this plan to me…

 

 

The Deal: There would be no spending beyond basic needs such as:

  • mortgage
  • car insurance
  • gas
  • phone bill
  • internet
  • cable (only because we were in a contract)
  • food (and even there, there would be serious budgeting)

When he said he would even be eating less meat, and trying to eat more vegetarian, I knew this shit was for real.

The Payoff: Retiring in 10 years, at the tender age of 40.*

*except—as he said—he would still work enough hours at his job for us to keep our insurance.

Well, it’s been a year now, and boy have we saved/invested/accrued A LOT. And I am finally—probably just now, to be honest—adjusting.

Surprisingly, I think the best part about this whole life plan/shift in lifestyle is just that: the shift in lifestyle. No more going out to eat means lots of delicious, carefully crafted home cooked meals. No more movie theatre dates means curling up on the couch with wine, cheese and crackers instead. We’ve traded in Starbucks drinks for homemade coffees (which we do quite expertly with our french press and milk-foaming gadget). And instead of spending money on sporting events or other costly outings, we go to the library, hiking with our dogs, have game nights, and I just so happen to have a membership to an awesome museum here in Oakland that I received as a gift, so that’s free too! Not to mention, of course, we both still have full time jobs and personal projects to keep us individually busy as well.

Growing my mustache is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only will it bring my partner and I closer to retirement at a young age while making life richer in the process, but ultimately, it rests on a lifestyle more in line with my feminist principles. Less spending equals less consumption, which equals less waste, which means simpler living, and more of what actually matters in life. La Pura Vida. And I am actually doing it.

Now I just need to learn how to ride a bicycle…