clevermynnie: (mask)
Sure, Obama Could Win, But Only With Votes That Don't Really Count: "So, to recap: If President Obama wins among Hispanic voters, African American voters, educated urban whites, and single women (who are obviously a mutually exclusive group from the previous categories, ahem)—and, although not mentioned here, the President will win among LGBTQI voters, Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, and Native American voters—that is not a broad mandate. Because a voting base that is authentically diverse, i.e. broad, is just so much garbage without the credibility conferred by the more heavily weighted votes of straight, white, cis, married, rural, working class men."

Overtly misogynistic Republicans get asses handed to them in election: "We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of some of the most gobmackingly uninformed bullshit the GOP has spouted regarding women, rape and pregnancy in recent months. Now for a little post-election follow-up."

Dad of the Year Changes Pronouns in The Wind Waker for his Daughter: "Mike Hoye has been playing through The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with his daughter Maya and got tired of making the pronoun translations on the fly while reading the game’s text aloud to her. This was the motivation for creating a mod for the game that will automatically change all the pronouns to female... This is a pretty complicated mod to get set up and working, so I’m not recommending you all go out and try playing his version of the game unless you have a lot of time on your hands. But I still wanted to give kudos to a dad who recognizes that little girls want to be heroic and that it’s not aspirational to play male characters all the time."

Boys Do Cry: "I asked Iain if that was an important image to him—to see his male president cry openly. He said that it was, that it was a totally different model than "the strong silent type, the taciturn leader" to which he'd been exhorted to conform, even though it denies to men access to the entire spectrum of human emotion. A whole new model for men. A model in which strength is modeled by showing emotion, and by allowing your nation to see you show emotion. That seems like a pretty big deal."


Nov. 6th, 2012 11:35 am
clevermynnie: (mask)
I have election nerves! It is very weird watching this go down without being in the US, having heard about much of the craziness second-hand and having mailed in my absentee ballot a month ago. I'm glad it'll be over soon but I actually feel less burnout than I did in 2008 when it seemed like I spent a lot of the campaign arguing with people and feeling strongly about things.

The best summary of why I voted the way I did that I've seen was the New Yorker's endorsement of Obama, which is lucid and thorough. It seems very likely that he'll win a second term but I'm still nervous, and wondering if I'll be able to sleep before the election is called one way or another. I'm hoping that on Wednesday I will be proud of the US, and won't have to explain over and over why so many Americans vote against their own interest.
clevermynnie: (mask)
All of these posts are about violent rhetoric in the Giffords shooting, because I found a lot of the discussion of the issue on feminist blogs and linked from feminist blogs to be thought-provoking and important.

Roundup: The Giffords shooting and violent political rhetoric: "Many conservatives have been quick to dismiss suggestions that the hostile, inflammatory rhetoric of the right played any role in the shooting. (Jack Shafer will literally punch you in the face if you suggest he could tone it down a bit. Nice, dude.) Even bringing it up provokes outrage that liberals would “politicize” the tragedy in such a way. But I’m thinking that as long as it’s fair game to blame pot for the shooting (um, seriously?), a little reflection on the political climate isn’t out of line."

Climate of Hate: "The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary. "

Let's Get This Straight: "Only progressives "infect" the culture, but conservative hate speech exists in a void. That's what we're meant to believe, anyway. But we know it is not true. This culture, this habit, of eliminationist rhetoric is not happening in a vacuum. It's happening in a culture of widely-available guns (thanks to conservative policies), of underfunded and unavailable medical care, especially mental health care (thanks to conservative policies), of a widespread belief that government is the enemy of the people (thanks to conservative rhetoric), and of millions of increasingly desperate people (thanks to an economy totally fucked by conservative governance)."

Our permanent culture of political violence: "There are two reasons for our toleration of political violence, despite all our sincere words of grief and castigation. For one thing, America has a long history of political violence -- a dark river of brutality, even savagery, that runs through our entire national experience. For another thing, we don’t like facing up to that fact as a people or as a nation. Americans prefer instead to see each outburst of violence -- whether in physical attacks on political figures or in blasts of gunfire in our schools and shopping malls -- as aberrations, isolated incidents committed by deranged individuals who cause mayhem and slaughter like human whirlwinds. When the wind has subsided, and the casualties have been counted, we proceed as we have done before, dismissing the event as an exception, waiting for the next act of lunacy to occur, at which time we will express our shock and dismay all over again."

Paranoia as Prelude: Conspiracism and the Cost of Political Rage: "Whether or not Loughner was influenced directly by any of these words, these verbal daggers aimed at civil discourse, is quite beside the point. For these words, these daggers, are the very ether of the political culture in which he has come of age. They comprise the fabric of the larger ideological tapestry to which he has been exposed. And they are, like any toxin, bio-accumulative in the cells of the human animal, even more so for those whose chemical balance is already dicey at best. Especially when such persons have the misfortune of living in a society that has so completely stigmatized mental illness as to guarantee that most who suffer will receive no treatment."

real people

Feb. 5th, 2009 12:50 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I was not so happy with all the rhetoric in the recent election about what constitutes a "real American", and a lot of my qualms with societal gender roles is their enforcement of what constitute "real women" and "real men". So I found this open letter to be a perfect summary of my feelings on the topic.


Nov. 4th, 2008 11:22 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
This is very, very exciting. And I really can't believe I got to see this, in my lifetime. I hope he takes the mandate and doesn't screw it up.


Oct. 27th, 2008 12:52 pm
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
Someone sent me a piece that has a nice summary of the presidential candidates' stands on most domestic issues, here. Because we're voting on issues, not personal narratives or minor scandals or partisan mudslinging... right?

Oh honestly. Just give me my ballot already so we can do this thing.


Aug. 27th, 2008 12:02 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
This is a very well-written, concise framing of my feelings on abortion. Not even getting into the sexism or economic privilege aspects of the argument.
clevermynnie: (Default)
Hole in the wall computer.

The Women's War.

The first one gives me hope, the second one less so.

on equality

Feb. 7th, 2007 03:23 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
This quote, from the NYTimes editorial by Gloria Steinem, really hit me.

"This disease of doubt plays a big role: 81 percent of black voters tell pollsters that a white man will get the Democratic nomination, while only 58 percent of white voters do. Such doubt also helps to explain why women are more likely than men to support Hillary Clinton, but also more likely to say she can’t win."

whole editorial )

on 9/11

Sep. 11th, 2006 05:37 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
My thinking on this has, like most people's, evolved a lot over the last few years. It's fluttered through all sorts of feelings and emotions, through examinations of freedom of religion and whether profiling is helpful or not, through examinations of freedom of speech, through the questions of when, if ever, the ends justify the means. I feel clear on two points.

The first is an echo of things I've said before, that terrorism is a hateful thing, based on a system of values that deserves nothing but contempt. It's true, in some cases, that people turned to terrorism such as the Palestinians are often coming from extremely desperate circumstances, and have had everything taken from them. Or alternately, the Israelis (who I feel are equally guilty of mass civilian slaughter), who are trying to defend what they feel is their home in a sea of hostility and danger. We must have empathy for that, and lapses born of desperation should be expected. But they are not justified. But when we see hurtful systems of values being adopted elsewhere and being used to hurt us, I think it's essential to first examine our own behavior to look for our own ethical lapses. Where have we committed the same mistakes? Where have we invented our own? We must be sure we are acting faithfully on our own principles beforing accusing anyone else. And I think it's critical in fighting terrorists that we stand by our moral code. Abandoning free speech, abandoning right to trial, abandoning any of our own rights or the rights of others, which we assert are universal, kills the thing we seek to defend. I still believe something I said a time ago that when a person acts towards destruction of life, that person's life is forfeit. But that does not mean we should take it, and break our own code.

The second point concerns the loss, the hurt, the tremendous waste. There's a feature in the New York Times right now that talks about families who lost someone; apparently they did a profile 1 year after and have now done a second for many families. You can read a few, and they're interesting, but what's amazing and terrible is to see how many profiles they've done, and realize how small a fraction that is of all the people who were hurt by what happened. Have you seen Munich"? It's well-executed and very disturbing, and I highly recommend it. And after you see it, most probably you'll be moved to feel the way I do, that all this fighting is mostly a terrible waste. I think one always has to realize that whenever a person takes an action, they have from their point of view all the reason in the world to take that action, and from their perspective they are being reasonable, just, and caring. And it's terrible to think, isn't it, about some of the worldviews necessary for the actions we've seen in recent years, both from the Muslim extremists and from our own government. It's foolish to say we shouldn't defend ourselves, but equally foolish to do so in a way that wastes life and hurts our own cause.

It's to the point where I can barely listen to world news any more. I'm not sure what's to be done, other than vote and keep pushing the world with my own small strength in the direction I want it to go.
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
One of the problems that my project, SNAP, is having is NASA. NASA is of course supposed to be funding space-based science, but as has been in the news a lot lately, NASA has little money and what money it does have is supposed to be going towards wildly expensive and politically impressive projects like getting us to Mars. This would be okay if the funding matched the promises that our fearless leader is making, but it doesn't, and it means NASA pulling funding from other projects and pushing launch dates back. When I started working on SNAP two years ago, the projected launch date was 2008. Now it's 2016, despite the fact that dark energy research has a lot of support in Washington and that SNAP is the biggest and best-conceived platform to do this research.

So this quote from the House science report was interesting:

"Over the past few years, the Committee has consistently supported the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM), a space probe to help answer the fundamental physics question of our time what is the "dark energy" that consitutes the majority of our universe. Answering this question is among the top priorities of the physics community and of the Office of Science, and the Committee strongly believes that this initiative should move forward. DOE has done its part, developing the SuperNova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) as the DOE mission concept for JDEM. Unfortunately, NASA has failed to budget and program for launch services for JDEM. Unfortunately, in spite of best intentions, the multi-agency aspect of this initiative poses insurmountable problems that imperil its future.

Therefore, the Committee directs the Department to begin planning for a single-agency dark energy mission with a launch in fiscal year 2013. The Committee directs DOE to explore other launch options, including cooperative international approaches and the procurement of private launch services, to get the SNAP platform into space. DOE is to report back to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, not later than March 2, 2007, on the cost and feasibility of a single-agency mission, including the use of alternative launch options. The Committee will consider providing further guidance on this issue in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bill and report."

I think it's very telling that DOE is giving up on NASA for science missions.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
One thing that you have to be careful of in politics is that often, a pending law or referendum makes what appears on the surface to be a very logical argument. And it's only when you peer underneath that you see the people backing this movement don't believe their argument at all, but have a larger goal in mind which they're using the referendum or whatever for. An easy example of this is many of the restrictions that people attempt to place on abortion, including not unreasonable ones such as parental notification or spousal notification. These can seem reasonable, in some light, until you see that the people who are backing them push for restrictions on abortion by any means necessary.

There's this long magazine article in the New York Times right now about abortion in El Salvador. It's very difficult to read if you have any sense of empathy. But I think it illustrates so well how abortion restrictions hurt women, especially poor women, and how even though it would be ideal if no one ever got an abortion, when women really need them it's so important to have access to something clean and legal. Two quotes that left me shocked, and just horrified:

'According to Sara Valdés, the director of the Hospital de Maternidad, women coming to her hospital with ectopic pregnancies cannot be operated on until fetal death or a rupture of the fallopian tube. "That is our policy," Valdés told me. She was plainly in torment about the subject. "That is the law," she said. "The D.A.'s office told us that this was the law." Valdés estimated that her hospital treated more than a hundred ectopic pregnancies each year. She described the hospital's practice. "Once we determine that they have an ectopic pregnancy, we make sure they stay in the hospital," she said. The women are sent to the dispensary, where they receive a daily ultrasound to check the fetus. "If it's dead, we can operate," she said. "Before that, we can't." If there is a persistent fetal heartbeat, then they have to wait for the fallopian tube to rupture. If they are able to persuade the patient to stay, though, doctors can operate the minute any signs of early rupturing are detected. Even a few drops of blood seeping from a fallopian tube will "irritate the abdominal wall and cause pain," Valdés explained. By operating at the earliest signs of a potential rupture, she said, her doctors are able to minimize the risk to the woman.

One doctor, who asked to remain anonymous because of the risk of prosecution, explained that there are creative solutions to the problem of ectopic pregnancies: "Sometimes when an ectopic pregnancy comes in, the attendant will say, 'Send this patient to the best ultrasound doctor.' And I'll say, 'No, send her to the least-experienced ultrasound doctor.' He'll say, 'I can't find a heartbeat here.' Then we can operate."'

'When the woman is first detained, the form of custody can vary. Wandee Mira, an obstetrician at a hospital in San Salvador, told me that she had seen "a young girl handcuffed to her hospital bed with a police officer standing outside the door."'

Here is the full text of the article... I think everyone should read nation )
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I sort of try to keep my political and religious views out of here, mainly because you all have such disparate views, and since I wouldn't address a varied crowd with my leanings, why would I risk alienating people on here? I go to a good deal of trouble to maintain good relationships with people I respect.

That said, let me clear my throat )

I try to be diplomatic about most differences of opinion, especially because you can learn a lot by understanding what leads someone else to believe a certain thing. But some things, I have a hard time respecting.
clevermynnie: (Default)
Ben was up for the weekend. He brought up my really cool birthday present, which is this beautiful enamelled wood cribbage board with pegs that he made himself. We used it a few times, and also watched a fair amount of Farscape, which is very tasty to my sci-fi starved brain. We went over to Hollis' and had a pre-Thanksgiving, mainly because at real Thanksgiving, it's unlikely we'll have a turkey (Ben's parents and little sister are nearly vegetarian and kosher, so we can only have fish there). We had turkey, cranberry-grapefruit sauce, Ben's southwest stuffing, potatoes au gratin, and a pecan pie from Fatapple's. And an extremely unpopular salad.

I finished my application for the NSF GRFP, which I will certainly not get, but it was a much easier application this time. I hope I find my grad school apps easier as well, and I reeeeally hope that I find the physics GRE to be less evil and more self-evident.

The rioting in France is really scary to me. it's exactly the sort of mob mentality and violence that I don't understand and that I fear in others. I probably don't know enough about French politics and society to be able to say whether it's justified or not... I do recognize that at times such things are necessary.
clevermynnie: (Default)
I went to the Jelly Belly factory with Juhi last weekend, which was really fun, and we bought a rather large amount of defect beans, i.e. too big or too small but otherwise tasty and incredibly cheap. We've since invested in a coin-op dispenser, and have big business plans. The tour was a lot of fun too. There was also a barbeque hosted by Alex at work this week, which was really fun, and Raleigh's with the BFC. I wish I didn't feel like I was taking this time away from proving myself academically, though.

I'm finding myself more and more interested in good storytelling. It was something I loved in Grave of the Fireflies, how well the characters were established and how many little actions, mannerisms or words really established them as real people, in real events, but still sparkling with imagination and the extraordinary. I read the new Harry Potter book (yes, I'm one of THOSE), and that's what I'm really liking about the more recent books. I think the first couple were okay, fluffy and fun, and she's basically just improved as she's written more. There are so many little details she weaves in, that the books really breathe with life and uniqueness. There's the story as well; I think that Rowling thinks up really interesting subplots, although her overall plot, while a winner, is a pretty standard fantasy series plot. But she does so well with it, and of course there's the added bonus that she's getting lots of young kids to read a lot. I really feel that's important.

Oh yeah, and Sec'y Bodman visited yesterday. Basically, we had to clean up our lab and rearrange stuff so that they could use it to present stuff to him about our project, while the people who actually work in said lab hide in their offices. This is somewhat silly. He gave an all-hands meeting that consisted of: sucking up to the scientists at LBL, lying to them (mostly about how awesome they were; there's no need to lie for this, so it was a stupid thing to do), lecturing them on safety, and then answering their good questions with party-line bullshit. Hm. I guess I'll be fully disillusioned about politicians when I am no longer disappointed by that.

I'm struggling with a lot of other issues now, but I want to think them out more before I talk about them. I wish it were easier.
clevermynnie: (Default)
So, on Monday, everyone cleaned up the CCD lab, because on Thursday of next week, the Secretary of Energy will visit my lab! As a result, when I was setting up my equipment Wednesday, I noticed that the blue metal box that holds all the microstepping drivers than run my motors was missing. I ask what happened to it, only to find out that it was put in a cardboard box into a cabinet, because it's "too ugly to be out when the Energy Secretary comes".

Various further suggestions included putting lots of blinking LEDs on the box, extra circuits to look cooler, and one of those electric arc things on the top of it. Ben imagined the following conversation:

"But this electrical device here.... whatever is it for?"
"For? My dear Energy Secretary, this device is for Science!"


clevermynnie: (Default)

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