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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
June 30, 2012

Fear and Loathing 40 Years Later


I doubt any book means more to a single professional sect than Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 means to American political journalists. It’s been read and reread by practically every living reporter in this country, and just as you’re likely to find a dog-eared paperback copy of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop somewhere in every foreign correspondent’s backpack, you can still spot the familiar red (it was red back then) cover of Fear and Loathing ’72 poking out of the duffel bags of the reporters sent to follow the likes of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Barack Obama on the journalistic Siberia known as the Campaign Trail.

Decades after it was written, in fact, Fear and Loathing ’72 is still considered a kind of bible of political reporting. It’s given birth to a whole generation of clichés and literary memes, with many campaign reporters (including, unfortunately, me) finding themselves consciously or unconsciously making villainous Nixons, or Quislingian Muskies, or Christlike McGoverns out of each new quadrennial batch of presidential pretenders.

Even the process itself has evolved to keep pace with the narrative expectations for the campaign story we all have now because of Hunter and Fear and Loathing. The scenes in this book where Hunter shoots zingers at beered-up McGovern staffers at places like “a party on the roof of the Doral” might have just been stylized asides in the book, but on the real Campaign Trail they’ve become formalized parts of the messaging process, where both reporters and candidates constantly use these Thompsonian backdrops as vehicles to move their respective products.

...Some of this seems trite and clichéd now, but at the time, telling the world about all of these behind-the-scenes rituals was groundbreaking stuff. That this is a great piece of documentary journalism about how American politics works is beyond question—for as long as people are interested in the topic, this will be one of the first places people look to find out what our electoral process looks like and smells like and sounds like, off-camera. Thompson caught countless nuances of that particular race that probably eluded the rest of the established reporters. It shines through in the book that he was not merely interested in the 1972 campaign but obsessed by it, and he followed the minutiae of it with an addict’s tenacity.

from the new introduction to this groundbreaking book...
June 22, 2012

Polis Reams Leonhart

Leonhart is such a corrupt shit she can't even answer simple questions. what a worthless ass.

June 21, 2012

Texas, Iowa and North Carolina Democratic Parties: Decriminalize Marijuana

Texas: Democratic Party Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization

The Texas Democrats now join the growing list of state political parties throwing their support behind marijuana law reform. Earlier this year, the Colorado Democratic Party added marijuana legalization as a plank to their party’s platform and announced support for their state’s legalization ballot initiative, Amendment 64. 56% of Denver Country Republican Assembly also voted in favor of supporting this initiative. The state democratic party in Washington endorsed their legalization initiative, I-502, in late 2011


Iowa: Democrats Add Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp to Party Platform

At their state convention on June 16th, the Iowa Democrats adopted their 2012 platform. Two of the policies endorsed within were medical cannabis use and the industrial cultivation of hemp. You can view the full 2012 Iowa Democratic Party platform (at the link below)

Also worth noting, on June 2nd, the Washington State Democratic Party built upon their earlier endorsement of their state’s legalization initiative, I-502, by adding support for full marijuana legalization and medical cannabis as planks in their party platform. You can view the 2012 Washington State Democratic Party Platform (via the link below.) Recent data from Public Policy Polling has shown the majority Washington State voters support I-502.


North Carolina: Democratic Party Passes Resolutions in Support of Medical Marijuana and Industrial Hemp

Hot on the heels of the Texas Democratic Party’s endorsement of marijuana decriminalization, the North Carolina Democratic Party endorsed two resolutions in support of marijuana law reform of their own. On Saturday, June 16th, the party held their state convention in Raleigh, NC. During this meeting they passed two reform minded resolutions, one calling for the legalization of medical marijuana and one for the industrial cultivation of hemp. The official text of the resolutions are as follows:

June 17, 2012

Yes. And women do this to one another as well

I personally think that the differences of opinion are good, that doesn't mean that a side wins out because more men support women who support fashion, high heels and personal appearance as a source of power.

This statement entirely misses the point - it's not about fashion, high heels and personal appearance as power. Surely you don't think this issue comes down to something so trivial?

The issue, as I mentioned (and never mentioned the above) is about censorship, for the most part. It's also about who gets to define female sexuality and (censorship again) how it is expressed.

A lot of people really do take the issue of censorship seriously as the sort of thing that is not encouraged in and of itself because women's voices and experiences were censored for so long - and also because of the reality of "unintended consequences" of being pro-censorship for one part of speech, thinking that only one part will be impacted by this.

That's rarely the case.

Women long participated in condemning other women for behaving outside the sexual norm of marriage and family. Were this women "feminist" for telling women they could not express their sexuality outside of a patriarchal institution? Such censorship served those women who were aligned with patriarchal institutions - not the general liberation of consciousness of females.

James Joyce's Ulysses contained one of the most "radical" feminine voices in literature of its time (the 1920s.) Molly Bloom was the creation of a male writer - but he "knew" Molly as a human. - Molly Bloom was a woman who spoke openly about sex in a positive way - she had lovers other than her husband - she was sometimes crude - and she was not a villain - this was a rare sort of female character. She was not punished for her sexuality. She empowered women - even though the character was written by a man (based upon his wife.)

The book's publication in the U.S. was a first amendment case. Ulysses is considered by many to be the greatest work of modern literature - yet it could not be published in the U.S. for nearly a decade because it included a masturbation subplot, and Molly's soliloquy (which is, also, considered a great affirmation of life and womanhood.) It also contained criticisms of Catholicism - but the issue that led to its banning was obscenity.

Although the anti-porn issue is too often framed in opposition to "sex positive" (another term coined by a feminist) - the "sex positive" term also encompasses another line of thought. I don't know if you've ever read Shulamith Firestone, but her cultural critique of society came to the conclusion that women's biological existence - their capacity to get pregnant and the resultant child rearing - was the "problem" and the "solution" was to relegate these functions to the lab and the state.

Many women rejected this as a rejection of women - rather than the structures of society - why should women have to give up their biological processes in order to overcome bias in society?

Patriarchy is a cultural invention, not a biological one, according to most people - and, just as with racism, many people may share a cultural paradigm because institutions have created it - but that doesn't mean it is impossible to overcome this ideology. We see this in fits and starts - forward movement and backlash - and we see that racism, sexism and homophobia often come wrapped up in the same patriarchal worldview - which is, fwiw, generally religious in its origin.

Religion, too, is cultural - it's not necessary to believe in one sort of concept of god - but monotheisms, for instance, are powerful around the world - yet even they can be altered to involve more inclusiveness and acceptance of science and a quiet admittance (among some) that their beliefs are wholly grounded in sexism. But some people - some women, do reject religion because so much of it is cultural backwash anti-feminism disguised as god - that doesn't mean they think it's good to censor religion - but does mean they think it's good to fight against those religions that consistently work to oppress women - which is every single monotheism.

So, who gets to decide who is feminist? If you are married and have children - can you be a feminist? Most people think this is possible - yet study after study shows that marriage causes females and males to resort of traditional gender roles more than any other factor. This relationship, rather than porn, is FAR, FAR more likely to be the cause of female economic inequality.

Linda Hirschman argues, in Get To Work, that upper and middle class women who have the option to stay home with their children hurt themselves and feminism to take this privilege. Is the problem that someone stays at home, or that child rearing is not acknowledged as a job - or that work itself is structured to favor traditional male gender roles as "provider" at the expense of male parental involvement and female participation in the workforce within a field for which she has been trained?

Hirschman is pragmatic - she says that individuals cannot alter the economic environment that is, itself, patriarchal - but individuals can make choices that, collectively, demand change or, at the least, do not economically hurt the women who make them. But that still leaves out poor women. Interestingly, longitudinal studies do indicate that lower-class marriages are more egalitarian - even if the rhetoric isn't there to support this view - because economics force men and women to share workloads. So, is money itself, or the pursuit of it, patriarchal in nature - is success and power, as a women, a means of sustaining the system that oppresses women? Or do women have to work individually and collectively - is power something that has to be acknowledged - and power differentials something that women who have it have to acknowledge and collectively work to share power with those with less in order to alter the system from within? If we acknowledge how change happens - it happens when power is shared - across gender or race or orientation - and those within those groups add their voices to shaping institutions, it seems to me. But that still leaves hard questions.

Can you be a feminist if you believe in and participate in a monotheistic religion? Most people think this is possible - yet religion, rather than porn, informs childhood perceptions of females as "lesser" or "morally corrupt," far, far more than porn - most children aren't exposed to porn, but exposure to such toxic views of females within religion is inescapable in American culture. Monotheisms, however, murdered the female sacred. Which is more harmful to a culture - a belief in god that excludes women or the existence of porn? I know which one I think has broader cultural influence - and I think it's possible to argue that such religion promotes the pornification of women by teaching children that women are the "weaker sex" and that childbirth involves pain as a punishment. So, where should women's efforts be focused? On porn or on religion?

fwiw - back to Firestone... she and another woman, Ellen Willis, founded a feminist group in the late 1960s. Firestone split and formed New York Radical Feminists. Willis was one of the first, or really, the first women to write rock criticism in major mainstream and underground venues (which was anthologized last year) - she broke that barrier - she also spoke out strongly against the "anti-porn" feminist faction and coined the term "sex-positive feminism" and wrote about this issue. So, in those two women you have a microcosm of the terms "radical feminist, anti-porn feminist and sex-positive feminist." The origin of these terms begins in 1969, among "second wave feminists."

On Our Backs was a lesbian feminist porn magazine founded in the early 1980s in response to the anti-porn movement. I don't think those women were touting the male gaze as a path to power. They WERE saying... we, as lesbians, can define our sexuality, including a "gaze" that looks to one another, not just one way.

To claim that sex positive means high heels is just too reductive.

I'm not here to say this OP is anything other than bullshit. But I am also not going to buy into the view that one version of feminism defines all feminists.
June 17, 2012

The issue of "waves" was started by younger feminists

in the late 1980s and early 1990s - and one primary voice was Rebecca Walker, the daughter of Alice Walker. Rebecca's godmother is Gloria Steinem. Rebecca Walker was a contributing editor to Ms Magazine.

Just to say - the mra may have picked up on it, I don't know - but the initial discussions came from feminists, not men. Men did not frame the issue - women did. Men did not object to certain aspects of second wave feminism that are contained within the critiques by third wave feminists - those came from women.

In Rebecca Walker's case - a lot of her thinking about this issue was very personal - but that wasn't always the case with women at the time when some sought to move feminism in other directions. Rebecca Walker does not hate feminists and is not an enabler of those who hate feminists. Neither are others who define themselves as third wave feminists or who agree with their positions on issues. To claim this is the case is simply wrong, a-historical and propaganda.

Third wave feminism does not hold the same view of pornography as second-wave thought - and women who were initially part of second wave feminism are included in this group that does not view all pornography as violence - though some definitely is. One of my professors was a second wave feminist who stridently objected to the MacKinnon/Dworkin led anti-porn feminist movement. She gave public talks about the topic and provided critiques of the anti-porn movement from the position of free speech. At the same time, she didn't want the issue to become something that would pit feminist against feminist - but the objections were there among prominent feminist scholars in the late 1980s and 1990s. The ACLU also spoke against the WAP objectives.

The objections were there in the early 1980s - a famous conference at Barnard excluded the anti-porn group - who, in turn, picketed the conference. So, again, anyone who tries to make a claim about women who do not support the anti-porn movement and claim they are not feminists is ignorant about the history of feminism in many ways.

No doubt right wingers pick up on topics that create discussion and sometimes division - but that does not mean those people framed the issue or began it.

Unless Ms Magazine is really supportive of the MRA and has been super sneaky all this time - but I doubt that.

This sort of reductionism - to pretend women were not the ones defining positions - is sexist itself - and it is factually incorrect.

June 14, 2012

New York State Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Law


Yesterday the New York State Assembly approved AB 7347, a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state for certified patients with serious illnesses. The bill passed the chamber by a vote of 90-50 and it will now head to the Senate.

Medical marijuana is expected to have a tougher time getting approval in the more conservative New York State Senate which is currently controlled by Republicans. While Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo has so far neither endorsed nor promised to veto the bill, his recent public statements about medical marijuana have been lukewarm at best.

Recent polling does show that the voters of New York overwhelmingly want the Senate to follow the Assembly’s lead on this issue, they want Cuomo to sign a medical marijuana bill if it gets to his desk. 61 percent of New York Voters support legalizing marijuana for medical use, just 33 percent oppose the reform.
June 14, 2012

Rhode Island Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation rolling back criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Chafee announced the signing Wednesday night after the General Assembly ended its formal session. Chafee, an independent, had been expected to sign the bill into law.

Adults caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would face a $150 civil fine. Minors would also have to complete a drug awareness program and community service.

The previous state law made possession of small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor. Violators had faced possible jail time and fines up to $500.

So, we now have 15 states that have decriminalized possession of limited amounts of marijuana and 17 states, plus DC, that have legalized medical marijuana (sometimes these states overlap, btw.)

Also - 7 States have pending mmj legislation as of June 2012.


Two states have legalization amendments on the ballot for 2012 - CO, WA.

People in Oregon are seeking signatures for 2 different ballot intiatives.


June 12, 2012

First (and only) woman to win Nobel Economics Prize Dies


Elinor Ostrom, the first and only woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize since it was first awarded 40 years ago, died Tuesday, said Indiana University. She was 78.

The university where Ostrom worked since 1965 and conducted groundbreaking research on the ways people organize themselves and manage resources said she died of pancreatic cancer at 6:40 a.m. (1140 GMT) at IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

In her research, Ostrom conducted numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes and groundwater basins, proving them better managed than what other theorists had suggested about common property.

In effect, she showed that ordinary people are capable of creating rules that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources, countering conventional wisdom that only private ownership or top-down regulation could prevent their destruction.

June 12, 2012

Poll: Colorado Wants Marijuana Legalized, Regulated Like Booze and Smokes


A just-released statewide poll by Rasmussen Reports provides strong evidence that Colorado may likely become the first state to re-legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana this November.

On June 6th, Rasmussen Polling conducted a survey of likely voters in Colorado and found majority support for marijuana legalization. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed supported legalizing marijuana if it were regulated like alcohol and cigarettes. Only 27 percent of respondents are opposed to legalization and 12 percent remain undecided.

This is great news for Amendment 64, a 2012 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol, which will appear on the Colorado ballot this November. Rasmussen’s recent survey shows support shifting upwards from previous polling. In December 2011, Public Policy Polling reported that 49 percent of Coloradan’s believed that marijuana use should be legal versus 40 percent who believed it should remain illegal.

Lately, the mainstream media has caught on to the important role that Amendment 64 will play in this fall’s presidential election. This poll is just further proof of that claim’s validity. During the same time period, Rasmussen polled Colorado voters on their presidential preference and respondents were split, 45 percent for Obama and 45 percent support for Romney. Amendment 64 promises to turn out greater numbers of independent minded and youth voters in November, if either candidate embraced rational marijuana policy reforms, this important battleground state could be theirs to win.


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