Target Women: Obama Arms

Here is another brilliant Target Women segment. This one deals with the scandal and controversy ignited by Michelle Obama’s bare arms…because apparently the media has nothing better to report on?


May 11, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism, politics | , | Leave a comment

Condoleezza Rice on waterboarding

A student at Stanford University filmed this exchange between Condoleezza Rice and two students who questioned her at a reception last week. When asked if waterboarding is torture, Condoleezza replied, “The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s — and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.”

Here is the video:

Maureen Dowd wrote about the incident in her New York Times column:

“By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

She also stressed that, “Unless you were there in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans.”

Reyna Garcia, a Stanford sophomore who videotaped the exchange, said of Condi’s aria, “I wasn’t completely satisfied with her answers, to be honest,” adding that “President Obama went ahead and called it torture and she did everything she could not to do that.”

As Mr. Obama said in his news conference, it is in moments of crisis that a country must cleave to its principles. Asserting that “waterboarding violates our ideals,” he said he had been struck by an article describing how Churchill would not torture prisoners even when “London was being bombed to smithereens.”

“And the reason was that Churchill understood, you start taking shortcuts and over time, that corrodes what’s best in a people,” he said. “It corrodes the character of a country.”

May 5, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , | Leave a comment

Miss California and Perez Hilton

I think this might be the best response I’ve heard to the incident between Miss California and Perez Hilton. I thought the Miss USA contestant was just being inarticulate, but the time traveler theory makes perfect sense!

You can watch Jay Smooth’s other videos at

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Feminism, Homophobia, politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

White House Council on Women and Girls

On International Women’s Day, President Obama announced the creation of the White House Council on Women and Girls. So far it sounds very promising. Here is a video of the announcement:

Via Feministing.

March 13, 2009 Posted by | Feminism, politics | | Leave a comment

Time to End the Global Gag Rule

On his first day in office in 2001, George W. Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. This policy denies U.S. family planning assistance to foreign organizations that use funding from any source to perform abortions, lobby for abortion rights, or provide counseling about abortion. Sign the petition asking Barack Obama to overturn this policy.

The video and petition are from EngenderHealth.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, politics | | Leave a comment

Yes, We Did

I just came across this video posted by Jay Smooth about Obama getting elected. He eloquently expresses both the symbolic nature of this achievement and the importance of making sure we continue working to bring about change. Also, the cat in the video is really adorable.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Yes, We Did", posted with vodpod

December 10, 2008 Posted by | politics | | Leave a comment

Ani DiFranco: “November 4, 2008”

Here is a video of Ani DiFranco’s new song, November 4, 2008, performed live at Babeville on 11/29/08:

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Music, politics | | Leave a comment

Jon Favreau and the Facebook Incident

The Washington Post)

Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's chief speechwriter, and a friend pose with a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton. (Source: The Washington Post)

For about two hours on Thursday afternoon, the picture on the right was posted on Facebook. It could be a scene from a frat party, except look more closely and you’ll notice that the man on the right is wearing a shirt that reads “Obama Staff.” On the left is 27-year-old Jon Favreau, Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter. The two are shown posing with a lifesize cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton. Favreau is shown cupping his hand over Clinton’s breast while the unidentified person on the right is pulling back her hair, placing a beer in her face and giving her a kiss.

Since the photo first surfaced, I’ve seen reactions ranging from outrage and calls for Favreau to be fired to apathy and “boys will be boys” type justifications (see blog posts about this issue here, here, here and here). According to The Washington Post, Favreau “reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology.”

The Washington Post reported that “Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines cast the photos as evidence of increased bonhomie between the formerly rival camps.” Reines stated that “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application.” Campbell Brown criticized Clinton for not taking the incident seriously after having denounced sexism throughout her campaign. As a blogger pointed out on Shakesville, it’s possible Clinton responded this way to avoid being labeled a “humorless feminist,” or maybe she really doesn’t see it as a big deal. Either way, I think the blame should be placed on the men in the photo, not Clinton.

The photo could be easily dismissed as silly, immature behavior at a party, but I think more should be expected from someone with a high profile position in the Obama administration. It shows a lack of judgment on Favreau’s part, and I don’t think it’s overreacting or being a “humorless feminist” to call him out on it. Of course there are other pressing issues to be concerned about, but excusing actions like this sends the message that it’s ok to disrespect women. Just because sexist behavior is often normalized in our culture doesn’t mean it should be viewed as acceptable.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | politics, Sexism | | Leave a comment


Below are some videos and links to check out before the presidential election.

A reminder from hip-hop video blogger Jay Smooth (a.k.a. Ill Doctrine) to resist becoming complacent.

This inspiring video was created by the Obama campaign and includes excerpts of Obama’s closing argument speech. Via Feministe.

The New Yorker published a very informative, comprehensive endorsement of Obama that you can read here. The authors eloquently summed up why Obama is the most qualified candidate to lead our country:

At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe.

Whoever you are voting for, be sure to make an informed decision and encourage your friends not to stay at home.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | politics | , | Leave a comment

Obama and McCain: The Final Debate

Tonight’s debate between Obama and McCain was very heated. No fist fights, but McCain was aggressive and kept pressing Obama. Obama remained calm and logical, and I think did a better job overall. Joe the Plumber seemed to be the focus of much of the debate. Some thoughts I jotted down while watching:

I really like the split screen. Great reaction shots.

Obama is wearing a red tie and McCain is wearing a blue tie. Is that intentional?

McCain keeps claiming that Obama will raise taxes. Obama sets the record straight and responds that “even Fox News disputes” McCain’s claim, “which doesn’t happen very often when it comes to accusations toward me.”

McCain gets aggressive when Obama talks about George W. Bush. He exclaims, “I am not President Bush.” I’m sure we’ll be seeing this clip replayed later.

In response to a question about negative campaigning, McCain says that Obama declined his request to do town hall meetings, as if that justifies McCain’s attack ads. Both candidates claim the other is running too many negative ads.

Obama says we need to have “tough, vigorous debates” and not “characterize each other as bad people.” McCain responds by bringing up Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers and ACORN. Obama explains why McCain’s allegations are ridiculous.

McCain calls Palin “a role model for women” and “a reformer.” I’m not impressed.

McCain says that Joe Biden is wrong on many foreign policy issues. Obama looks amused. Does McCain really think Palin is more qualified than Biden?

McCain repeats that Obama wants to spend more. Obama looks amused.

Obama gives a thoughtful response to a question about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. He states that we can’t “drill our way out of the problem.” McCain criticizes Obama for saying he will only “look at” offshore drilling. Drill, baby, drill.

McCain brings up Joe the Plumber yet again. I wonder what Joe is thinking right now.

Obama talks to Joe the Plumber. McCain looks shocked and then amused as Obama talks about health insurance. Obama attacks McCain’s plan. McCain is annoyed and talks to Joe again.

On Roe v. Wade, Obama talks about right to privacy and says that women are in the best position to make a decision.

McCain refers to a “pro-abortion” movement. He continues to say “pro-abortion.”

Obama refutes McCain’s claim that he voted “to withhold life-saving treatment from an infant.” Obama voted against the bill because the law was already in effect. This has already been covered before. Why is McCain still bringing this up?

Obama and McCain both think that having more charter schools will help create competition, but they disagree on vouchers. McCain talks directly to Obama about vouchers in a patronizing tone. Obama says data doesn’t show that vouchers help solve the education problem. McCain laughs.

McCain brings up town hall meetings and autism, which “Sarah Palin knows better than most.” McCain says “reform” a lot.

I like the moderator’s final words: “Go vote now. It’ll make you feel big and strong.”

Update: Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, has been contacted by The Associated Press about his reaction to the debate. He said, “It’s pretty surreal, man, my name being mentioned in a presidential campaign.”

October 15, 2008 Posted by | politics | , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin

Since John McCain announced his vice presidential pick on August 29, Sarah Palin has risen from relative obscurity and caused a media frenzy. Here are some blog posts and articles relating to Palin and feminism that I found interesting:

Shelly Mandell, President of NOW’s LA chapter, has endorsed Sarah Palin for Vice President. Feministe posted a video of the endorsement and made the following comment: “Having women in positions in power is crucial to empowering women more broadly; but when those women are anti-feminist, it’s not a feminist move to elect them.” Mandell states that Palin is an advocate for women’s rights, but she doesn’t give much evidence to support that claim. She mentions that Palin supports equal pay for women, but Palin told Katie Couric she is against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mostly, she just says that Palin will shake up Washington, which doesn’t seem likely considering her stances on feminist issues. Mandell’s statement was a personal endorsement, and NOW PAC officially endorses Obama/Biden.

An analysis of SNL’s VP debate skit. I found Aviva’s blog post via Feministe. I think the SNL skits parodying Palin have been hilarious, and I agree that it’s both funny and scary that some of the dialogue is taken verbatim from Palin’s interviews. Femiste remarked, “Next week, SNL is just going to overdub a laugh track on clips taken directly from the campaign trail.”

Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin. In this TIME article, Belinda Luscombe argues that some women loathe Palin for three reasons: she’s too pretty, too confident and could embarrass us. Luscombe bases her opinions on her experiences at an all-girls’ high school, and refers to women as “weapon-grade haters.” I really hope she’s not being serious.

Sarah Palin: Not a Feminist. Evil Slutopia details why Sarah Palin’s policies are anti-feminist.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, politics | | Leave a comment

Rachel Maddow gets her own show

MSNBC’S Keith Olbermann announced on Daily Kos yesterday that Rachel Maddow will be getting her own show. Shortly after, the news was announced in The New York Times and numerous blogs. We need more intelligent voices like Rachel’s on television, so this is great news. She will be continuing her radio show, and her television show will start on September 8 on MSNBC at 9 pm Eastern Time.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | politics | | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton and the gender issue

Now that Obama is predicted to win the nomination, writers such as Jodi Kantor, Peggy Orenstein and Kate Zernike are reflecting on the role that gender has played throughout Hillary Clinton’s campaign. While there are many reasons why Hillary Clinton is no longer the front runner, I think it is important to acknowledge that sexism has been present in this campaign. This video does a great job of showing some of the gender discrimination that Clinton has faced from the media.

In an interview with Lois Romano at the Washington Post, Clinton addressed this issue and stated that sexism is often tolerated by the media:

The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted, and…there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head,” she said. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists.”

The entire transcript of the interview is available here.

Sexism is often “shrugged off,” as Clinton says it has been during this campaign. However, I think it’s important to recognize that both candidates have faced unfair attacks. RJ Eskow at the Huffington Post argues that sexism and racism are interrelated issues that must be addressed and fought at the same time.

Jodi Kantor asks how the issue of sexism will affect the voting decisions of Clinton’s supporters:

If many of Mrs. Clinton’s legions of female supporters believe she was undone even in part by gender discrimination, how eagerly will they embrace Senator Barack Obama, the man who beat her?

RJ Eskow offers this response:

Here’s some food for thought: More than 100 American service women have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqi women – possibly hundreds of thousands – have also died. American women will lose control over their own reproductive rights under a McCain Supreme Court. How can any feminist remain neutral – or vote for McCain – in 2008?

While Obama may need to work on appealing to female voters and addressing the concerns of Clinton supporters, would anyone who cares about these issues really be ok with supporting McCain?


This video from The Women’s Media Center also illustrates the sexism demonstrated by the media during Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote an article debunking the myth that mobs of angry women Clinton supporters will be voting for McCain.

May 20, 2008 Posted by | politics, Sexism | , , | Leave a comment