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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,216

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And her right to have a happy, joyous sex life that involves an actual male partner?

Birth Control Isn’t Really About “Women’s Health.” It’s About…

Pamela Haag on February 17, 2012, 12:11 PM


This is a polemic: Access to birth control isn’t really about my “health.” It’s not principally about the management of ovarian cysts or the regulation of periods.

Birth control isn’t about my health unless by health you mean, my capacity to get it on, to have a happy, joyous sex life that involves an actual male partner. The point of birth control is to have sex that’s recreational and non-procreative. It’s to permit women to exercise their desires without the sword of Damocles of unwanted pregnancy hanging gloomily over their heads.

This proposition is radical only by default, because mainstream liberal voices in Congress, especially, have euphemized women’s desires out of the current birth control and abortion disputes.

I understand why they’ve done this, in terms of narrow political expediency. We’ve been on the defensive about reproductive rights and women's sexual liberty for decades. We’ve used a euphemism of “choice” for years



Two Steps Back, One Step Forward
February 19, 2012 by Rosemary Rhodes Royston

I just read an excellent essay by Pamela Haag, “Birth Control Isn’t Really About Women’s Health. It’s About….,”
http://bigthink.com/ideas/42514, where she makes a very valid point—that one of the main reasons for birth control is simply not being articulated in our public discourse – that birth control is a means to recreational, non-procreative sex. Furthermore, I’ve noticed two greatly differing portrayals of female sexuality (one in lit, another in a TV sitcom), that left me pondering. In short, we seem to be taking two steps back and one forward when it comes to female sexuality and choice.

In her essay, Haag points out that the entire birth control argument totally sidesteps one of the key issues: birth control (i.e., the pill) is mainly used to prevent pregnancy during recreational sex. Whether sex is between married folks or a single woman who is taking precautions against an unwanted pregnancy, a woman’s use of birth control is not just to have a regular menstrual cycle or to reduce ovarian cysts (arguments comfortably cited in the press under “women’s health”). What we are uncomfortable stating is that a woman also uses birth control because she wants to have sex and enjoy it without becoming pregnant. As Haag states, birth control also benefits the man with whom she is engaging in this healthy and fulfilling act. Haag persuades quite well that our society and its views on women’s sexual freedom have taken a turn back – away from the second wave of feminism that Erica Jong exemplified in Fear of Flying.

I am a big fan of the writings of Jeffrey Eugenides and Jonathan Franzen. Most recently I read Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot, and Franzen’s Freedom. I found the novels extremely well-written (even though Eugenides tends to over-write and obsess at times), and relevant in regard to contemporary life (marriage, environment, etc.). However, each novel had a sex scene between a male and female protagonist that gave me pause. It was as if the same man were writing the same scene in two different novels – a scene about a woman and how she truly enjoys sex. The sexual encounter (without going into detail) went something like this: force and violence to the woman that led to her to total submission and her final realization that she needed a quasi-rape to transcend all of her personal inhibitions. While I am taking these out of context to a certain degree, my feelings on these scenes remain the same: misogynistic. Misleading. Projection of the male fantasy of dominion over the woman. I’m no prude. Consensual sex between two adults is fine by me. But to portray that the only way a woman can come into her own sexual awakening is through force is not where I stand. These sex scenes only support a rather archaic view of sexual domination of the man to aid a woman in her own awakening. No thanks.

But compare these scenes, along with the side-stepping political discourse, to something as odd as a sitcom: Big Bang Theory. Here we have Penny, the non-academic “girl next door” who has complete freedom in her sexual choices. While the butt of a few jokes by platonic and bodily-fluid-scared Sheldon, she is open with her choices and still desired by 3 of the 4 protagonists in the show, along with a good number stock characters. No one looks down on her for her sexual freedom. Second example is an episode where a visiting female physicist not only beds Leonard, but manages to sleep with the entire gang, acting out all kinds of fantasies in the process. The tenor of the show is not that this woman is a slut, but that she is acting on her own choices. That’s what freedom to choose is about: choose with whom to share one’s body and in what ways. And to do so responsibly – the pill, condoms, or a combination of such (and/or other) methods.


300,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto, Willie Nelson calls for"Occupy the Food System" action


300,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto in Federal Court
By Jane Ayers, Nation of Change

15 February 12

Thanks to RSN for reprinting my article from Nation of Change... and thanks to the 13,000+ Likes so far... Just want to make one correction: The title that RSN used was not what I originally wrote so I wanted to point that out because Willie Nelson is not one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, he just called for the national Occupy the Food System. Read the article and find the group's name on the lawsuit, go to their website, and find the list of plaintiffs. Once again, thanks to RSN for reprinting this article, and also it was nice to see Willie's picture, as the editorial focused on his work for farmers too.

Take care, Jane Ayers

NOTE: Although it is clear that Mr. Nelson serves as an inspiration to Occupy the Food System groups, we have defaulted to the author's original title to avoid any confusion about his active participation in the lawsuit. - JPS/RSN

Little did Willie Nelson know when he recorded "Crazy" years ago just how crazy it would become for our cherished family farmers in America. Nelson, President of Farm Aid, has recently called for the national Occupy movement to declare an "Occupy the Food System" action.

Nelson states, "Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil…"

Hundreds of citizens, (even including NYC chefs in their white chef hats) joined Occupy the Food System groups, ie Food Democracy Now, gathered outside the Federal Courts in Manhattan on January 31st, to support organic family farmers in their landmark lawsuit against Big Agribusiness giant Monsanto. (Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association v. Monsanto) Oral arguments were heard that day concerning the lawsuit by 83 plaintiffs representing over 300,000 organic farmers, organic seed growers, and organic seed businesses.

The lawsuit addresses the bizarre and shocking issue of Monsanto harassing and threatening organic farmers with lawsuits of "patent infringement" if any organic farmer ends up with any trace amount of GM seeds on their organic farmland.


The Boy Mayor’s Last Stand (Kucinich)

The Boy Mayor’s Last Stand
Kucinich Tries to Win Over New Set of Voters in Race Against Kaptur


CLEVELAND — In his political lifespan, Rep. Dennis Kucinich traveled the globe to meet world leaders, crisscrossed the country to run for president and even flirted with running for re-election in Washington state.

But a much less glamorous locale will determine the Ohio Democrat’s fate next month: Toledo.

As the snow whips past his hybrid SUV on the two-hour drive from his home in Cleveland to Toledo on Saturday morning, it’s hard to imagine why anyone wants this job. But two Members — Kucinich and fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur — want to represent the redrawn 9th district, which stretches 120 miles along Lake Erie’s shoreline.

The new district’s numbers aren’t in Kucinich’s favor, but that’s never stopped the two-time failed presidential candidate from running before. Yet even the west Cleveland Congressman admits he’s not sure who will win the March 6 primary.


Best Supporting Role: 8 Celebs Who Promote Science


Best Supporting Role: 8 Celebs Who Promote Science
By Stephanie Pappas | LiveScience.com

Celebrities are often better known for trashing science or spreading scientific misinformation than they are for using their public platforms to promote responsible research. It's become so bad that London-based scientific literacy organization Sense About Science compiles an annual list of celebrity science offenders.

In 2011, the group chided television pundit Bill O'Reilly for postulating that the tides are inexplicable; reality TV star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi for speculating that whale sperm makes oceans salty; and television talent judge Simon Cowell for promoting intravenous vitamin treatments.

But with the Academy Awards coming up and celebrities basking in the glow of nominations, we thought we'd add commendations of our own. Here's a list of celebrities who have supported scientific endeavors, spoken out against pseudoscience, or who have surprising nerd chops.


Occupy Wall Street Demands: The 99 Percent Declaration Calls for July 4 General Assembly in Philadel


Occupy Wall Street Demands: The 99 Percent Declaration Calls for July 4 General Assembly in Philadelphia
-By Dale W. Eisinger

February 14, 2012 3:13 PM EST

One frequent, even overplayed, criticism of the Occupy movement was its lack of coherence in formulating demands. Today--three days after the Huffington Post's elaborate and unfounded claim of the movement's epitaph--the 99 Percent Declaration puts an end to those assertions.

A Web site made public Tuesday morning by means of Reddit announced the planning of a democratically elected and nationally representative committee to assemble in Philadelphia during the week of July 4, 2012, to officially draft and present a petition for redress of grievances to the US government, as is protected under First Amendment rights.

Each of the 435 congressional districts is to elect two representatives. The rules of delegation are listed, in part, as such:

"The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have attained the age of 18 years. No candidate for Delegate to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY will be permitted to run on a party line or use any party label while running for or serving as a Delegate. No candidate or Delegate may take private money from any source except for reasonable gifts to fund his or her trip to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Philadelphia. No politician holding elected or appointed office at the time of the Delegate election, including members of Congress, are eligible to run for or sit as a Delegate to the National General Assembly."


Latin Jazz Musicians Lead Protest Against Grammy’s for Cutting 31 Musical Categories from Awards


Latin Jazz Musicians Lead Protest Against Grammy’s for Cutting 31 Musical Categories from Awards Show

Dozens of musicians demonstrated outside the Grammy Awards on Sunday protesting the Recording Academy’s decision to eliminate dozens of ethnic music award categories, including Hawaiian, Haitian, Cajun, Latin jazz, contemporary blues and regional Mexican. Some protesters see racial bias in the revisions, others see them as harmful to low-budget indie labels. Last August, four Latin jazz artists filed a lawsuit with the New York Supreme Court claiming that the dropping of such categories had adversely affected their careers. They also said the academy was violating its "contractual obligations" to its 21,000 members. We speak to Oscar Hernández, founder of the Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org, which helped organize the protest and petition signed by more than 20,000. "[The Grammys have] given me the credibility that I need to go forward to do what I do, to do the music that I love, and gave me the stamp of credibility across many boundaries," Hernández said. "I’ve traveled all over the world playing my music. And it’s an important part of what we do, for sure." [includes rush transcript]

54 MORE Reasons to Hate The Grammy Awards


54 MORE Reasons to Hate The Grammy Awards
Posted by Easy Ed on February 10, 2012 at 7:30am

Here is the list of those artists who have never taken home one of their silly pieces of plastic:

1. The Doors

2. Queen

3. Jimi Hendrix

4. Led Zeppelin*

5. The Who

6. Tupac Shakur

7. Snoop Dogg

8. Bjork

9. Chuck Berry

10. The Grateful Dead

11. Diana Ross

12. Nas

13. The Beach Boys

14. Bob Marley

15. Janis Joplin

16. Buddy Holly

17. Notorious B.I.G.

18. (Eric B. &) Rakim

19. Rush

20. Run D.M.C.

21. Guns n' Roses

22. Boston

23. Sam Cooke

24. Talking Heads

25. The Ramones

26. The Everly Brothers

27. Patti Smith

28. Public Enemy

29. Sly & the Family Stone

30. The Sex Pistols

31. Parliament &/or Funkadelic

32. The O'Jays

33. Creedence Clearwater Revival

34. The Stooges

35. Motley Crue

36. Kiss

37. Deep Purple

38. Journey

39. Jackson Browne

40. The Pretenders

41.Toby Keith

42. New Order

43. Depeche Mode

44. Tiesto

45. The Kinks

46. Morrissey

47. The Smiths

48. ABBA

49. Dusty Springfield

50. Teddy Pendergrass

51. Oasis

52. Curtis Mayfield

53. The Byrds

54. ZZ Top

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Six Principles and Steps to Nonviolent Social Change


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Six Principles and Steps to Nonviolent Social Change

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was embraced by Americans during the late 1950s and early 1960s because he spoke about the importance of a loving, nonviolent society at a time when social and racial conflict was escalating out of control.

Today, as far as we have come, we still see signs of unhealthy conflict in our communities. Perhaps it is time to revisit and embrace the nonviolent principles in which King believed. These principles are based on his interpretation of Christian doctrine, as well as the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi.

Principle 1: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

Principle 2: Nonviolence means seeking friendship and understanding among those who are different from you.

Principle 3: Nonviolence defeats injustice, not people.

Principle 4: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform people and societies.

Principle 5: Nonviolence chooses loving solutions, not hateful ones.

Principle 6: Nonviolence means the entire universe embraces justice.

In addition to the six principles, Dr. King developed a six-step process to help people bring about social change in a nonviolent way.

Step 1: Gather Information

Learn all you can about the problems you see in your community through the media, social and civic organizations, and by talking to the people involved.

Step 2: Educate Others

Armed with your new knowledge, it is your duty to help those around you, such as your neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers, better understand the problems facing society. Build a team of people devoted to finding solutions. Be sure to include those who will be directly affected by your work.

Step 3: Remain Committed

Accept that you will face many obstacles and challenges as you and your team try to change society. Agree to encourage and inspire one another along the journey.

Step 4: Peacefully Negotiate

Talk with both sides. go to the people in your community who are in trouble and who are deeply hurt by society’s ills. Also go to those people who are contributing to the breakdown of a peaceful society. Use humor, intelligence and grace to lead to solutions that benefit the greater good.

Step 5: Take Action Peacefully

This step is often used when negotiation fails to produce results, or when people need to draw broader attention to a problem. it can include tactics such as peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing and petition campaign.

Step 6: Reconcile

Keep all actions and negotiations peaceful and constructive. Agree to disagree with some people and with some groups as you work to improve society. Show all involved the benefits of changing, not what they will give up by changing.

Over the years, the King Center has developed training materials to assist people in the application of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles of nonviolence. By adopting these principles, Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., manager for the King Estate, hopes people will be inspired to keep the dream alive: The dream that all people are created equal.

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements, (Alliance of Community Trainers)


Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements

This entry was posted by sa2011er on Tuesday, 8 November, 2011
From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?

‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions.

The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.

Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.

Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:

We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.

In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.

We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.

Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.

Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.

Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.

Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.

Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”

But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.

We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.

There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power.

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

Lisa Fithian
Lauren Ross (or Juniper)

Massive anti-ACTA rally in Paris today. Look at all those Guy Fawkes masks!


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