Archive for April, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary

It’s a common topic of discussion that the longer the Democratic primary goes on, the worse it is for the Democrats. A race which started out civil and polite has gotten progressively nastier, as Obama and Clinton battle for the nomination. Obama is losing some of his cache as a candidate outside and above Washington politics, and is coming off as a snob. Even worse, Clinton is showing her colors as a compulsive liar – I still haven’t forgiven her for her stream of bullshit regarding her landing “under fire.” People can “misspeak” but only once. Then you say, “Oh crap, I didn’t mean that. I meant this!” Clinton told the same story over and over until she was caught. Then she “misspoke.” Balderdash. Her husband was a great president, but his habit of spinning lies put serious tarnish on his legacy, and the last thing Mrs. Clinton needs is to remind America that “Clinton” goes hand in hand with “Liar.”

I may have just outed myself as an Obama supporter. “Sure, Obama’s a snob, but HILLARY…”

I hope against hope that Obama pulls enough delegates today to put the kibosh on Clinton. I hope Clinton can put aside her ambition and realize that this fighting is only hurting the party’s chances in November. I really hope that we can bring an end to all of this sniping and focus on what really matters: the war, women’s rights, the environment, and the MOTHERFUCKING ECONOMY!

Ok. I’m gonna go watch the news.


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Musing on Fatties

Through the excellent blog at Feministing.com I’ve encountered what Ann at Feministing refers to as “an ignorant hate-filled screed” in which Ruth Fowler over at the UK Guardian goes off on fat people. This seems specifically targeted at a size 16 (UK) girl of seventeen who has placed in the Miss England competition.

I’m an ignorant American, so forgive me while I do some quick calculations…

According to the clothier Boden, women’s UK sizes are about one step up from women’s US sizes. So Chloe Marshall, the size 16 Miss England Finalist, would actually be a size 14 here in the US. Ms. Fowler also estimates Ms. Marshall’s weight at 14 stone. Since a stone is equal to 14 pounds, this would put Ms. Marshall at around 196lbs. Given her height of 5′ 10″, and the pictures at The Daily Mail I’d estimate that as a little on the high side, and reckon she’s about 185 or so.

I got a little sick of all those estimations and looked up the girl’s stats. According to The Daily Mail, “The Guildford-born plus-size model weighs 12st 8lb, is 5ft 10in tall and has a 38DD bust.”

12st8lbs is… 176. So Fowler and I are both wrong here. Now, let’s plug those numbers into a BMI calculator and…


Based on the height and weight entered, the BMI is 25.3, placing the BMI-for-age at the 84th percentile for girls aged 17 years 2 months. This teen has a healthy weight.

What do you know? Chloe Marshall is on the high end of normal. She’s not even considered “at risk of obesity” according to this BMI calculator.

Now let’s look at some quotes from this “hate-filled screed.”

The scene was reminiscent of those saccharine Dove adverts featuring stretch-marked women grinning broadly in granny knickers, their breasts dangling sadly like cows teats, alongside the legend “Campaign for Real Beauty”. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing remotely beautiful about eyeing up a bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen, nor do I find the suggestion that obesity and ill-health, the “real” championed by Dove, is anything that should be lauded.

How does anybody increase their body mass to 16 stone “by acccident”? These kinds of weight entail industrious and committed eating. It’s eating as a career. It involves the consumption, python-like, of about six whole rotisserie chickens a day washed down with 16 pints of double cream, half a cow and probably the entire produce of Ireland’s potato farms, deep-fried and with a coating of beer batter.

To have pushed one’s body to the extremes of existence by diligently ignoring the little switch in the mind which triggers the “full” button after a hefty meal, and to have done this so impressively as to have assumed the epic proportions of a killer whale, is a feat one surely must applaud. I cannot help but argue with any fatty’s poignant claim that he or she “lacks the willpower”. Beth and Chloe, my darlings. You have honed to perfection a new form of athleticism – Olympic Eating.

Wow. I’d like to point out here that while Ms. Fowler states that the whole of Britain (and America) are chock full of fatties, her examples are women. Her entire screed (and oh yes it is hateful) is directed at women and girls. Women bear the brunt of the hate directed at the overweight, not just from men’s standards for attractiveness, but from other women as well. Ms. Fowler comes across as a bully in this article, condemning Chloe Marshall’s moderate fatness and crowing her own moral and nutritional superiority. She’s a playground Queen Bee Bitch with a newspaper column.

Yes, we have an obesity epidemic in both the UK and the US. Yes, collectively we need to eat healthier, eat less, and exercise more. But, every body is different. There are men and women out there who can eat a pound of battered, deep-fried butter a day and not gain weight. There are also people out there who can eat what the average-weight American eats and pack on the poundage. For those people, it is harder. Evolution has stepped in and made their metabolisms incredibly efficient, and unfortunately for them, thin is the hip thing these days.

If famine ever comes back into style, we’ll all wish we had the metabolisms of sumo wrestlers, and those metabolic hummingbird people will be fucked.

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Last week, a representative for the Illinois state legislature publicly and viciously berated an atheist who was testifying in a hearing over a government grant to a church.

A transcript and the audio recording can be found here at Eric Zorn’s Chicago Tribune Blog. I highly recommend both reading and listening to it. Rep. Davis’ tirade starts of as a stern admonition, sounding more like a frustrated school teacher or parent. She speaks slowly and clearly, with the measured cadence of a woman used to being listened to and respected. However, as she goes on, her pitch rises, her anger surfaces, and by the end she is lambasting Rob Sherman for his beliefs, and ordering him out of his chair. According to Rep. Davis, an atheist has “no right to be here.”

Rep. Davis, a Democrat, has served the people of Illinois for 20 years. Though I am unfamiliar with her record, I’m sure she’s done great works over the course of her career. I have no doubt that she is considered by many to be a good person, and that should I meet her, I would feel the same way.

This is the paradox of bigotry. Barack Obama recently related the story of his white grandmother’s inherent racism. I’ve encountered the same in members of my own family. Perfectly lovely people, people that I love and esteem, are capable of mis-characterizing a vast swath of people based entirely on the color of their skin, their origins of birth, or their religion.

Rep. Davis’ bigotry came out in full force when she was confronted with her personal devil: The Atheist. Rep. Davis is a member of the NAACP, and is certainly old enough to remember the civil rights movement of the 1960s, yet she angrily denounced an atheist, accusing him of trying to “destroy what this state is built upon” and verbally negating his first amendment rights. How can she fail to see the parallels? Substitute the word “Jew,” or “Homosexual,” or “Christian” and you have an example of hate speech that likely would have made Davis cringe. But for someone who has classified the atheist as “other” this kind of castigation is morally correct, even necessary.

Thursday night, Rep. Davis called Rob Sherman to apologize. Last week the blogosphere erupted. Then on Tuesday Keith Olbermann featured Davis on his “Worst Person in the World” segment. Wednesday and Thursday the mainstream newspapers picked up the story, finally, and ran with it (although local ABC coverage of the event before the blog kerfluffle completely ignored it). After all of that, Davis called Sherman to apologize.

According to Sherman and State Rep. Jack Franks….Davis claims her outburst was triggered by learning shortly beforehand…that there’d been another Chicago Public School student killed.

Sherman says Davis told him she “took out her frustrations and emotions on me and that she shouldn’t have done that.” Sherman says Davis’ explanation was “reasonable” and that he forgives her.

Davis didn’t apologize for what she said about atheists, or for her bigotry.  She apologizes for her outburst and for taking out her frustration on Sherman. Sherman graciously accepted her apology, and it was well made. However, Davis owes more than just an apology to Sherman. She blasted him for his atheism, which by extension includes everyone who shares his beliefs. If she truly was angry about the shooting, and didn’t intend to malign atheists, if she believes that atheists have as much right to speak up as theists, then she needs to issue a public retraction of her statements, and apologize for her bigotry.

If she stands by her statements, as Sally Kern did, then she’s nothing but a bigot, and needs to be unseated by another worthy Chicago resident.

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Oh John McCain…

Clearly John McCain is just the guy to lead this country. Turns out back in 1992 he responded to a playful jibe about his bald spot with, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” The playful jibe was from his wife.

Let me restate that. Within full view of campaign staff and reporters this man called his wife a cunt. Really! He has so little respect for the primary woman in his life that he would publicly call her a C-U-N-T. How does he treat her privately?

Not to mention the implications of a man with a temper like this running the country. The Raw Story puts it succinctly:

McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

Perhaps we’re being harsh here. Perhaps in the past 16 years Mr. McCain has mellowed a bit. Maybe he has gained control over himself, and saved the potty mouth for private time.

Or maybe not. According to ABC News:

“F— you,” he shouted at Texas Sen. John Cornyn last year.

“Only an a—— would put together a budget like this,” he told the former Budget Committee chairman, Sen. Pete Domenici, in 1999.

“I’m calling you a f—— jerk!” he once retorted to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

With Cornyn, he smoothed things over quickly. The two argued during a meeting on immigration legislation; Cornyn complained that McCain seemed to parachute in during the final stages of negotiations. “F— you. I know more about this than anyone else in the room,” McCain reportedly shouted.

Cornyn chuckled at the memory of what he called McCain’s “aggressive expressions of differences.” The Texan has endorsed McCain.

“He almost immediately apologized to me,” Cornyn said last week. “I accepted his apology, and as far as I’m concerned, we’ve moved on down the road.”

Oh he apologized afterwards… that makes it OK then. I mean a man with a history of these kinds of outburst is perfectly qualified to, say, negotiate the thorny political landscape of the Middle East, or negotiate trade agreements with prickly and overbearing China, or navigate the partisan minefield of our own political system and effect change at home.

Yeah  John-fucking-McCain for President.

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