Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

I have written before about my contempt for Mike Huckabee, or at least for some his political positions, but I have to give the man some credit... because he called out Sarah Palin. For being an idiot, basically.

Maybe he didn't use the word idiot... but it was implied.

A few days ago Sarah Palin referenced Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign on her show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" by saying, "Where are the s'mores ingredients? This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."

Anyone who can read and has done even the slightest bit of research about the "Let's Move" campaign knows it's not about taking desserts away from kids, but rather it promotes eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising in order to address the very real and very prevalent problem of childhood obesity. Promoting healthy eating and exercising is pretty much the most boring and uncontroversial thing least to sane people.

Anyways, props to Mike Huckabee for calling out Palin on her ridiculous implication that the First Lady is saying "the government should decide what your kids eat."

"Michelle Obama's not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government's desires on people," Huckabee said. "She's stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity problem in this country."

If you want to know more about the Let's Move campaign, Michelle Obama wrote a good article (pretty short, easy read) in Newsweek this year explaining why she started the campaign and what it's all about.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I was in favor of the tax compromise that Congress is working on until I read this.

If you are single and make less than $20,000.00 you will pay MORE in taxes under the proposed bill next year than you paid last year. Also, if you are married and jointly make less than $40,000.00 you will pay MORE.

Median income in the US is $50,000.00 so a lot of people (the working poor) are really going to be screwed by this.

I'm definitely not in the "only rich people should pay taxes" camp, but it just doesn't seem right that the only group of people taxes are going UP for is people barely making a living wage.

By the way, under the current proposal, I would benefit from the changes (which is why I was originally in favor of it)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pissed Off

I'm kinda pissed off about the new TSA security procedures. It's true that scanners detect things metal detectors can't but they can't detect everything. According to the Wall Street Journal, they can't detect items stored inside the body so cavity searches probably will be next..

I'm not super cool with naked images being taken either. Sure, they're viewed in separate room and TSA says images can't be stored. What they mean is they're not SUPPOSED to be stored. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner So it is possible, and all it takes is one dumb agent who decides to save, store and distribute images of "hot chicks" or god forbid kids.

Speaking of kids, I think the argument can be made taking naked pictures regardless of whether the face is blurred amounts to child pornography.

The new "enhanced" patdown is even worse in my opinion. I couldn't find any official TSA guidelines to the enhanced patdown procedures but according to Time Magazine and the LA Times, agents can now use their fingers and palms to feel breasts, genitals and buttocks.

In the past, TSA screening officers used the back of their hands to brush past sensitive body parts, including the breasts, genitals and buttocks. Under the new technique begun a week ago, screening officers at airports across the country can use their fingers and palms to probe and feel around such areas for weapons and contraband hidden under clothing.

Due to complaints about children being groped by strangers (imagine that!) children 12 and under are now exempt from this, but 13-17 year olds are not. I don't have kids, but I can tell you right now there's no way in hell I'd let my teenage daughter or son for that matter be touched like that. I'm actually pretty nervous about flying for Christmas now because I'M not comfortable being touched like that. It's not just that I'm "uncomfortable" with it, I generally just don't feel like that's ok or acceptable. I don't feel like it's ok for ANYONE to touch me in those areas except for my husband or my doctor, and in the privacy of my own home or my doctor's office.

Speaking of my doctor's office... on to rant #2...

Why the hell can I not obtain birth control pills unless I have a pap smear?! Testing for cervical cancer is completely unrelated as to whether or not someone is a good candidate for birth control. Also the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has made formal recommendations that a pap smear is recommended every 2 to 3 years if you've had 3 normal ones in a row. I explained to my doctor that I've had SIX normal ones in a row and that I've read the recommendations, but nope, she wouldn't refill my prescription without it.

It's like their holding the pills hostage, and you know what... it's pretty damn patronizing if you ask me. This article in RH Reality makes some really good points about why this is ridiculous and why birth control should be made available over the counter for women 18 and up. Some highlights (all direct quotes):

Hormonal contraception meets the Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) standards for non-prescription status; consumers can easily identify contraindications, directions for use are uncomplicated, the benefits outweigh risks, and health providers are not necessarily required.

Though we often hear of a possible association between BCPs and strokes or heart attacks, those risks are much lower than the risk of suffering liver damage from over-the-counter acetaminophen. Aspirin and ibuprofen have even more safety risks, such as ulcers, bleeding, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.[3] Hormonal contraception has been proven safe—pregnancy is seven times more dangerous than pills, smoking is 50 times more dangerous than pills, driving is 12 times more dangerous than pills[4]—according to numerous respected medical organizations, including the World Health Organization, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Association.

Daniel Grossman, Senior Associate Assistant Clinical Professor of Ibis Reproductive Health, cites a 2004 US national survey of women that reported 41 percent of women not using contraception said they would begin using the pill, patch, or vaginal ring if it were available without a prescription in a pharmacy. Another similar study found that travel away from home and running out of pill packs were common reasons women missed pills—a frequent cause of contraceptive failure.

Given the state of our current economy, many women are already struggling financially and medical procedures compound expenses. For others, time is an issue. Some women find themselves in need of a prescription refill and unable to visit a clinic or get an appointment with a doctor in time. For some women, the intrusiveness of the exams and test is enough to prevent them from seeking them

According to this logic, no one should be allowed any medications unless they have all recommended physical exams. Over 55 and haven’t had a colonoscopy? Sorry, no flu shot for you...How many men actually go for their annual prostrate exam? Let’s allow women, like all mentally competent adults, to make their own decisions regarding their bodies.

UGH!! Good thing I'm going on vacation soon... I need to de-stress :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Theory, Yes; Practice, No

To me, this 7 page NYT article on evangelical women can be summarized like so: Conservative evangelical women often believe in submitting to male authority and leadership in theory, but not in practice.

I don't mean to sound smug or sarcastic; that's honestly what I got out of it.

I find it interesting that the woman they profile (Priscilla Shirer) and her family practice the very feminist idea of sharing child rearing responsibilities and career responsibilities somewhat equally and in a non traditional way. She is a speaker/author, and her husband works by maintaining her schedule, taking calls etc. He often acts as primary caregiver when she's traveling.

Yet, Shirer is insistent that she's "not a feminist" or even a "career woman" but makes her living (presumably a pretty lucrative one) by advocating for the idea of biblical (male) headship. The article states:

Shirer and many conservative Christians believe that the Bible defines gender as a divinely ordained set of desires and duties inherent in each man and woman since the Garden of Eden.

I'm not clear, and neither is the article (IMO) as to what these "divinely ordained" set of desires and duties that are supposedly inherent in men and women actually ARE.

I also find it rather disappointing that she's quoted as describing feminist activists as people who tell women to “do your own thing, make your own decisions and never let a man slow you down" when in reality feminism and feminist activism is not about elevating women to a higher status than men or disregarding men or meaningful relationships with men, but rather making sure that women have an equal voice and equal opportunities in all areas of life. Like in ministry, for example. In fact, I'd argue that it's feminism and the progress that feminism has made over the last several decades that allows not only Priscilla Shirer to step outside the boundaries of what women were "supposed" to do, but also allows her husband to step outside of the traditional male roles and expectations.

It's kind of humorous to me that she is quoted as saying she defers to her husband when it comes to the BIG DECISIONS (emphasis mine)and then the example she gives is that her husband chose the name of their kid. I'm not saying a baby's name isn't important... but I'm pretty sure where the family lives and works, and how the family unit operates as a whole is more important, and in their case that's obviously guided by Priscilla's career as a speaker and author.

I honestly find the whole idea of "Biblical womanhood" kind of fascinating because it always seems to change or have caveats depending on who you ask. And it's not that I like to see infighting between churches or denominations, but it's so interesting to me that people whose mission it is to impact the Kingdom for Christ would spend a significant amount of time debating the role of women in leadership. I've read essays and excerpts from both sides of the egalitarian and complementarian views. More and more schools are allowing women into their pastoral programs, but there are still some holdouts. And of course the holdouts claim they are being true to the Bible, but then the other school ardently defend that THEY are being true to the Bible also.

When I was younger, I was taught to seek out answers by respected authorities when I had questions regarding theology. And I've tried to do that, not just recently but for quite some time now. I've come to realize though that I'm not really going to get answers, but rather more questions every time I try to seek out answers. And I honestly just don't know if any one person, or school, or church, or denomination, or even religion in general can claim to have THE TRUTH.

I didn't really mean to get off on that tangent; I had originally thought about just posting the link and maybe a sentence or two about it, but I think it's good to think these thing through and actually post something of substance (maybe...hopefully?) once in awhile.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Greg: Is my bag still in your car?
Me: All the stuff from Ren Fest is in my trunk.
Greg: I had to use your toothbrush today
Me: ugh, gross. Wait, we've been home for 3 days. What did you do on Monday
Greg: Used your toothbrush
Me: And Sunday...
Greg: And Sunday.
Me: Gross!
Greg: What's the difference? You kiss me with your tongue.
Me: It's just different!
Greg: I also used your deodorant.
Me: What?! Are you out of deodorant?
Greg: No, it was in the bag.

You Will Never Replace Me; I Know Microsoft Excel

Is it sad that the highlight of my day so far has been that I figured out how to put a list of emails into Excel using Text to Columns and THEN transposed the row of emails into a column? That's some mad skills.

Also, I emailed my mom.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Greg: If it were up to me, this house would look way cooler.
Me: What would it look like?
Greg: Well first of all we would have a Foosball table and posters everywhere. And I'd get rid of the dining room table and put in a pool table. It would look like a trendy New York city apartment, instead of what it looks like now.
Me: What does it look like now?
Greg: It looks like a house where two people are married and maybe thinking about having kids. That's so boring. I want people to walk into my house and think 'that guy gets laid every night.'
Me: Do you want to get a Foosball table?
Greg: No, that's silly.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Morning

Greg: This is where I had my first kiss.
Me: Was she cute?
Greg: Why would I kiss an ugly chick?

Churchgoer: Is that where you guys are plugged in right now?
Greg: No, we're not really plugged in anywhere right now. We're going acoustic for awhile.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Who gets to be a feminist?"

"Who gets to be a feminist?"

Slate recently asked several feminist activists/writers to answer this question in 500 words or less. My writing skills and “feminist” background both in the academic and political sense are nowhere near on par with these ladies, but I thought I’d give it a go. For shits and giggles.

*When you try to answer the question “who gets to be a feminist?” that automatically implies that some people don’t get to be feminists. Frankly the idea of having a checklist or litmus test for who gets to be “in the club” really turns me off to the whole idea of labels like “feminist.” I feel this way about religion too. You could do this same exercise with a variety of religious scholars and influential leaders, asking the simple question “Who gets to be a Christian?” and you would get a similar variety of responses with conflicting answers in the same way that the answers to the question on feminism are conflicting.

Of course there’s the dictionary definition of feminism - the doctrine advocating social, political, economical and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Anyone who is not a sexist asshole is going to say they agree women should have rights equal to men. To most people today, women not being able to vote or own property seems like something from a crazy novel. You tell people that as recently as the 1970s women weren’t allowed to own their own credit cards or get birth control unless they were married and people will look at you like you just said the earth is flat.

But just because women have made great strides in the last 100 years doesn’t mean feminism is over or no longer necessary as many have declared. Sure, culturally, women have great influence and are all over the map. Forbes recently compiled a list of the Most Powerful Women that included Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce Knowles in the top ten. I’m a fan of all these ladies! Also of Oprah Winfrey (3) and Ellen Degeneres (10) But when you look at who is in power in business and politics, the numbers are skewed less in the ladies’ favor. It’s strange to see a female CEO of a major conglomerate (PepsiCo) like Indray Nooyi (#6 on the Forbes list).

And the pushback I get on this is always, “well women need to realize they can’t have it all.” And by have it all they mean have a career and a family. But yet no one seems to question a man’s desire or ability to “have it all.” One thing I couldn’t help noticing on Forbes list is that in addition to the ladies’ age, title, and source of income, their marital status and number of children is listed. (To be fair this was pointed out to me – h/t Broadsheet). I don’t recall many top ten lists of successful business men including marital status and number of children.

I’m not going to say who does or doesn’t get to be a feminist, but to me someone who is working towards the stated goals of feminism (see dictionary definition above) is someone who is an advocate for women and also for men to be able to “have it all.” Both men and women should be able to raise families and pursue any vocational aspirations they may have.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Yes, Then I'm No

Attention Internet! I have something very important to write about: Katy Perry's cleavage. Specifically, Katy Perry's cleavage on Sesame Street.

Katy Perry was scheduled to be on Sesame Street in a skit with Elmo doing a kid friendly version of her song "Hot N Cold." It has already been taped and the clip can be viewed online at YouTube, but Sesame Street has decided not to air it on the show due to complaints about the singer's outfit and cleavage.

A Sesame Street spokesperson issued a statement:

Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels, for the child and adult. We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show because we know that a child learns best when co-viewing with a parent or care-giver. We also value our viewer's opinions and particularly those of parents. In light of the feedback we've received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers.

I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I think this is being blown way out of proportion. Think about it, Miss Piggy shows cleavage! (granted, not a sesame street character). Ariel, anyone?? Seriously, is cleavage really that bad?

It's so hard for me to say because I do defend the idea that young girls are being sexualized way too young and the media is a big part of that. But, I don't think young women should be ashamed of their bodies either. I don't think a young woman should be told (directly or indirectly) that she's a bad person for showing cleavage, or shoulder for that matter! (ah, memories) You could have the same dress on one girl with a B cup and another girl with a D cup and the girl with a D cup is going to be showing more cleavage. Does this make the girl with the larger breasts "slutty" or a "bad influence?" I tend to think behavior is more indicative of whether or not a person is a good or bad influence than clothing choice.

I don't totally blame parents for getting worked up about it considering the numerous things they have to worry about when it comes to their children. But I would argue that in this particular video I don't think her body is being put on display in the same way that it might be in, say, one of her music videos. So much depends on context. I think the skit with Elmo is cute and Katy Perry the singer/celebrity is dressed like Katy Perry the singer/celebrity. That's who Sesame Street invited on their show and that's what they got. They clearly didn't have a problem with her outfit until parents started complaining. They obviously told her beforehand, "hey we need to change your lyrics so they're appropriate for the show." They didn't say a word about her outfit though, so I kind of think that's their fault. They should know their audience, and maybe should've seen the backlash coming.

It's when we put forth the idea that you have to be "sexy" to be valued, that it's cause for alarm. I think Sesame Street is safe on that front. But I also think healthy body image is important too. It's hard because there's no set "line" when it comes to what women should look like in order to avoid being labeled as "too sexy." But I'm glad there isn't. I'm sure it would be a lot easier if we could say "well if there was 2 more inches of fabric on the bust and 1 more inch longer on the hemline it would be acceptable. But as it stands, she's a total skank." I'm glad I don't live in a world where women are either "whores" or "prudes." Oh wait, sometimes I do live in that world... but the point is that it shouldn't be like that!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mike Huckabee is Right...

... it DOESN'T make sense for insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions - from a business standpoint. Mike Huckabee was quoted as saying the following at the Value Voters Summit:

“It sounds so good, and it’s such a warm message to say we’re not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition,” Huckabee explained at the Value Voters Summit today. “Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle [to] our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, “I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.” He’d say, “Tell me about your house.” “Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.” And he’ll say “I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.” Well, no preexisting conditions.”

I'm not against capitalism, I'm not a communist, I'm not a socialist (ok maybe a little bit of a socialist) but I don't believe healthcare for human beings should be a for profit business. That is why I believe in universal healthcare. Because human beings aren't houses or cars. That's just what I believe.

I got the Huckabee quote from an Alternet article and then read the same thing in Media Matters and a couple other liberal publications. I did a couple searches to see if I could find a more right leaning publication explaining why all the liberals are taking it out of context. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. And I'm not just going to take one quote from Media Matters and use it to say "this guy's a douchebag!" But, it's a whole paragraph, so not exactly a soundbite. And I really can't find anything from Fox or Wallstreet Journal on it. Closest thing might be Forbes blog, and it's not good for Huckabee.

It's unfortunate, because Mike Huckabee really does seem like a nice guy, smart too, and he doesn't SEEM like total crazy person. I even met him once and took a picture with him! So I do really find it disappointing that he's such a douchebag and is so callous as to not believe that someone born with an illness should be able to get medical treatment for it. Oh, and also he'd rather have kids in state run foster homes than be adopted by a gay family. Also, he supports banning birth control. Because if we make hormonal birth control illegal, it will totally reduce the number of abortions. I really just don't understand these types of positions. Maybe gay rights used to be considered a fringe issue but it's not anymore. And healthcare and birth control/reproductive rights are DEFINITELY not fringe issues considering they affect just about everyone! I really hope constituents start demanding common sense and decency from their representatives. I know I will be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I hate when life gets in the way...basically I feel stupid, like a failure, sad, disappointed, etc.

I finally started to put a picture together of what I wanted to do with my life and it's never going to happen.

I guess I'll have to resign myself to the fact that I will spend my life, or at least 1/3rd of my life, staring at Excel spreadsheets, answering phones and doing other random bitch work around an office type setting. And I probably shouldn't complain about it either because I'm sure half the country would gladly do what I'm doing for a halfway decent salary. Or, at least 9.6 percent of the country, right?

I feel like I was lied to. Not by any one person but by multiple people and society in general. Maybe not intentionally. But still, we tell kids to go for their dreams, to do what they're passionate about and everything will be all right. Well guess what, that's not true. I probably shouldn't have kids because I will probably crush their dreams because I'm a realist, or at least I am now.

But hey, at least I tried right? Just like I tried grad school. For one whole semester. At least I finished one class though. I tried this for, oh, about 12 hours. I guess I should cut the vague crap... I've been volunteering at a women's center for the last year, just at their retail store. And then for reasons I won't go into, I got tired of doing that so I called up the volunteer coordinator and asked if there were other areas I could volunteer in. My options were either answer the hotline at the shelter or childcare at the shelter. Guess which one I chose... hotline, obviously. After doing that for a few hours once a week, I basically got offered a job there. I did have to interview for it, but it was pretty obvious I would get the job if I wanted it even before I walked into the interview.

Now, I should probably explain that this wasn't a full time position. It was a part time position and here's the kicker - they needed people for Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights. Obviously Thursday was out since I work on Friday and every other weekday. Friday was a maybe, but I didn't want to work 8 hours and then go work another 12 hours. Yes, I said 12 hours. The shift they were offering me was a 12 hour overnight shift.

When I heard this, I clearly should've said something along the lines of "well I'm flattered you thought of me, but working a 12 hour overnight shift in addition to my 40 hour workweek plus 10 hours of commuting to Houston probably isn't going to work out."

Did I say that? No. I said, "12 hour overnight shift? SURE!! I can do Saturday nights! Sounds Awesome." Or something along those lines... basically I told myself it would be no problem because I was so excited to maybe get some experience doing something actually meaningful. My thought process was something like "yeah, this will be great. I'll do it part time for a year, save up all that extra money. Then they'll probably offer me a full time position, and then I can do I job I love!!"

And after working one of these super awesome 12 hour overnight shifts my thought process shifted to "what the fuck was I thinking?!" and "why didn't someone (like my husband!) stop me!" Because he didn't want to crush my dreams, that's why. And, if he had tried that probably would've made me want to do it even more. That's just how I roll.

I am so stupid. First of all, I didn't stop to think how working 8pm Saturday - 8am Sunday would effect my WHOLE WEEKEND. Basically it was stay up super late Friday, sleep all day Saturday, go to work, sleep some on Sunday during the day, sleep Sunday night... and weekend's over. Second - not that money is the most important thing but money is kind of important to you know, pay bills. Definitely got a reality check when I found out full time people there make about $11.00/ hr. Can't pay my mortgage, car payment, and utilities on that! Which sucks because the people who do work there obviously work super hard. Just from what little I've observed it's nonstop and there's always some sort of crisis going on (you can imagine). Which brings me to my third point which is that even if scheduling and money were non factors, I don't even know if I can do this job!! I'd be responsible for up to 60 women and children and would have to handle any type of emergency, fight, conflict you name it. The people who work there are so underpaid it's not even funny.

Again, what was I thinking? So today I had to quit. After one shift. I feel like such a loser. I'm know it sounds like I'm feeling sorry for myself, and I am. But I'm really not trying to get pity, I swear (no one reads this anyway). I'm writing this because all these thoughts are jumbled up in my head and it's cathartic for me to put them down in a somewhat coherent fashion. But just in case someone is reading, I'm turning off comments. Again, I'm just basically writing this for me.

So that's my story of how I get super excited about things and don't think them through and have no idea what the fuck I want to do with my life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who is Ruining Christianity?

A. Gay People
B. Catholics
C. Teenagers
D. Hipsters
E. All of the Above

If you are a member of the media, the correct answer is E. All of the Above.

This is probably the fifth article I've read in the last 30 days discussing who can or, more accurately, who can NOT be a Christian, and it is getting old fast.

And btw the articles I'm talking about have been in both liberal and conservative publications. My annoyance towards exclusion/judging knows no party lines.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No, I Do Not Have Kids.

My friend at work who is the same age and gender as me were kind of joking yesterday about how when we get the inevitable "Do you have kids?" question from random people, we always respond with some sense of shame and regret. It's hard to get intonation across on a blog post, but it's something like, "oh... no... I don't." Maybe followed by a "not yet."

And we decided NO MORE. From now on, loud and proud "NO, I DON'T HAVE KIDS!" My friend is engaged so I warned her that these questions will increase ten fold when she gets married.

But I think I'm actually going to take this to heart, maybe not scream at people for asking... but I'm seriously going to try to respond with a polite but firm "No, I don't" with no sense of shame or regret. And if they ask, "Do you plan on having kids" and I feel that it's not this particular person's business (talking to you Level 3 account manager!) I will say "I'm not sure." Because that's the truth and even though business people are taught to make small talk some stuff is just not your fucking business.

As for the more complicated relationships of family and close friends I still feel the "I'm not sure" is an acceptable answer. And I might be willing to go a step further and explain my reasoning (but not DEFEND my reasoning; I'm not doing anything wrong!) But no more hanging my head and slouching in my seat when I hear, "But don't you want kids?" "Michael's baby is SOOOO CUTE." "You look good holding that baby." "Greg, you're pushing 30.. (they're too polite to say "Kim, you're pushing 30") I could go on. I know people have good intentions, but seriously don't people have their own shit to worry about?


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Change is Possible

We’ll have to get beyond the Mommy Wars and instead create rewarding career paths even for parents — fathers, too — who take months or years off. We’ll have to get more creative about part-time and flexible work, too.

I normally don't like the trend pieces of the New York times, but this one really hit home because it's something I've been thinking about a lot - the wage gap, having kids, returning to work, etc. Basically, women who work full time before having children make about as much as men working full time (all else being equal) but that gap drastically shifts after a woman has kids, even if she returns to work full time later. Often because she can't leave early, stay late, travel with last minute notice, etc. Over all, full-time female workers make a whopping 23 percent less on average than full-time male workers.

And often the argument is, well women want to stay home and don't want to work the late hours, which is sometimes true. But I don't think that's always the case. I think what women really want is to change the overall picture of what being a working mom (or dad) looks like. And like this article states, that includes both legal AND cultural changes. All the laws in the world won't make for a better work environment without cultural changes. And I think we're already starting to see the cultural changes with dads being more involved in parenting, and dads wanting flexible work schedules as well. Unfortunately I don't think we're to the point where men in general are likely to ask for paternity leave, flex time, etc. to take care of kids because it's still seen as "weak" and it's something that puts you at a significant disadvantage at work. I think as this continues to change, we'll look back and put this in the column of "feminism benefits men too."

What I find particularly interesting is the article quotes a university professor as saying, "American feminists made a conscious choice to emphasize equal rights and equal opportunities, but not to talk about policies that would address family responsibilities."

But when you look at who is actually advocating for policy changes, such as expanding family leave, creating flexible work schedules, providing health insurance for low income mothers and babies - it's American feminists. There's a huge presence online of women and mothers advocating for change - Moms Rising, RH Reality Check, plus pretty much all the major feminist blogs. And it's not just women with children either.

And you would think with all the ladies in politics that have been in the news lately (fourteen Republican women are running for U.S. Senate, and 94 are seeking House seats) this would be an enormous opportunity for change in regards to policies that affect women and mothers. But unfortunately, as Ann Friedman points out in the American Prospect, "the core narrative is fiscal, not cultural." These women strongly oppose government spending. "After watching enough of their ads and campaign speeches, you start to get the idea that, when they gaze into their children's eyes, all these mothers can think about is the deficit."

Where do these candidates stand on children's health insurance? On family-leave policies? On consumer product safety? On early childhood education? We can make some inferences based on their anti-government talking points, but their campaigns don't even touch on these issues. When they do weigh in, they offer opposition, not solutions. They're against "Obamacare." Against cap-and-trade. Against spending. The campaign website of Sharron Angle, the extreme right-wing challenger to Harry Reid in Nevada, was recently scrubbed of calls to completely abolish the Department of Education.

Yes, "mama grizzlies" (ugh I hate that term!!) are making noise. And yes, I'm glad we're seeing more women in politics. But as Ann points out "these women's very political careers are made possible by the flexible hours, health-care access, and other benefits that they do not want to extend to other mothers."

My mom was working a great paying job in downtown Chicago before she had kids. She decided to quit work because she didn't want her kids in day care. Once we were school age, she went back to work part time, closer to home and for much much less money. As we got older and were reasonably responsible enough to look after ourselves for a few hours after school, she went back to work full time. Again, for much much less money than when she was working in Chicago (with inflation taken into account). And I see myself kind of following that same path. Probably will have kids later in life if I have kids at all, probably won't want to put them in day care if we can help it. And I get a little sad because it's a full generation later and so much has changed but yet so little has changed at the same time.

I don't want to take time off and then go back to work five years later to make $10.00/ an hour part time and have my lifetime earnings drop that drastically because I had kids. And so that's why, even if I never have kids, I'll continue to voice my opinion and be an advocate for working mothers so that maybe I will see change in my lifetime. Maybe I'll see the new norm be that both parents work and share child rearing responsibilities somewhat equally. Honestly, I think that would make my mom proud.

And if you're skeptical that change is possible, I don't blame you but please think about this: For almost 200 years, the Supreme Court did not have a single woman on its bench. As of yesterday afternoon, it has three.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I just ran some numbers on our checking account to see how much we were paying in food per month. I was hoping our July total number would be less than June since we've been into cooking at home more the last month. Much to my surprise it was only about $45.00 less.

It's interesting because we spent $88.00 LESS on fast food/eating at restaurants. However, our grocery bill seems to have INCREASED by by $43.00. It's hard to get an exact number though because I'm just going by whatever posted between 6/1-6/30 and 7/1-7/31. So I could've purchased groceries on May 27th but the transaction posted on June 1.

Also, a lot of times when I go to HEB (it's like the Jewel of Texas)I will purchase things not in the food category like household items. Toilet paper, paper towels, cat food, deodorant, etc. It's hard to figure out how much to deduct for that stuff because I don't have receipts.

Our June eating out bill (eating out including all meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus drinks like Starbucks or Jamba Juice. We don't go that much but $7.00 a pop for both me and Greg adds up) was $278.28 and July was $189.88.

Groceries for June - $487.66. Groceries for July - $531.02. Again I think it's actually less because of how the transactions post plus the random household items we buy at the grocery store.

Maybe I'm defending these numbers because they seem high. They are definitely higher than I thought. You would think two people could eat for less than $700.00 a month! Hopefully actual numbers are more like around $600.00 but clearly there is room for improvement. I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who is spending more on food than I think I am though.

Hopefully the cooking at home more will continue. I'm finding that as we're starting to repeat recipes it's getting cheaper because now we have the random spices/ingredients required. We've been buying a lot of spices lately for our recipes we've found online, and have built up a nice little collection. But we are open to new recipes for sure! Any good recipes on the easy to medium difficulty level? Leave em' in the comments! And happy eating! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Greg is Not All Right

UPDATE: Greg made me buy a posterboard so that he could graphically illustrate in his words "the historical shittiness of your movie choices."

I think this graph is a little unfair, if not amusing. I tend to like indie movies that aren't necessarily happy movies (Greg calls them depressing, which sometimes they are). I normally like the movies Greg picks except for the "titties and explosions" type movies. i.e. Angelina Jolie movies where she shoots guns for most of the movie with interludes of her naked. I guess there is a history of Greg not liking my movie choices but I don't think they're that bad!!

So tonight was movie night and I realized that the last 4 movies we've seen have been Greg's choice. The original plan for tonight was to see Dinner for Schmucks, but upon further reflection I realized that looks kinda dumb and I didn't really want to see that.

And actually, I really have been wanting to see The Kids Are All Right. It's an indie movie, about two lesbians and their teenage children who seek out their sperm donor dad and form a relationship with him. As you can imagine, this took some convincing on my part to get Greg to agree to this. I may have guilted him into it. Here is our conversation upon entering the theater.

Greg: I predict either empty or all old people and lesbians.

:::we walk in it's about 20% full and mostly old people:::

Greg: Told You!
Kim: There's some young people.
Greg: Where?
Kim: Those two blond girls
Kim: shhh.... you don't know!

:::5 minutes later::::

Kim: who are you texting
Greg: no one
Kim: let me see... "I'm about to see the shittiest movie ever. Don't get married." Real nice, Greg.
Greg: I should be playing Starcraft.

Verdict: I liked it but it wasn't the best movie ever. It was no Little Miss Sunshine. There was some unexpected nudity both male and female which added to Greg's torture. Greg hated it, of course. But, he's a trooper :)

Friday, July 23, 2010


In an effort to pay down debt, I have deleted a folder in my favorites called "Renaissance Dresses" in which I have bookmarked custom dresses for the Renaissance Festival that run about $200.00.

I don't need a $200.00 costume to have fun at Ren Fest. I just need beer. :)

Also, I should probably not plan trips for Austin or New York... even though I really want to go to Austin to watch roller derby and Greg and I are dying to go to New York. And Vegas...

And, I should not be jealous of other people's phones...

Ugh, I know we're not poor but sometimes it feels like it!! :( Anyways, trying to do the debt snowball that Dave Ramsey advocates. Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sarah Palin Makes Bill O'Reilly look Sane

h/t Jezebel

Damn you, Bill O'Reilly for making me like you by making Sarah Palin look insane! Not that she needs much help.

"I'm getting very, very afraid of Mama Grizzlies."


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in a real life Dilbert cartoon...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

30 minute procedure - 8 claims

For anyone who's pissed about the new health insurance laws, I'd like to talk briefly about my experience filing a claim(s) for what basically amounted to a 30 minute surgical procedure (for Greg).

For this one procedure, including the doctor's office visits beforehand, blood work, etc. there are currently 8 claims on my insurance file. EIGHT. This was a relatively minor procedure, not to minimize any stress that either of us felt going in (especially Greg) but if you have to have surgery this is the kind you want to have - outpatient; checked in at 7, checked out by 11.

So I'm wondering how much time and money was spent simply on the administration of these claims. There was the first doctor's office visit copay, then he got referred to the surgeon, so there was that copay. There was a claim for them to do the blood work pre-surgery, a claim to analyze the blood work, a claim for the actual surgeon's fee, the anesthesiology, the pathology claim for them to look at the lipoma (what Greg had removed, a benign tumor but he needed it removed because it was pressing up against nerves and causing him pain), and then the claim for the surgery center which apparently pays for nurses, equipment and facilities (this was the most expensive claim).

It's like you need a freakin PhD to figure this stuff out. And as frustrated as I am that we have a $3,000.00 deductible (that's what happens when you work for a company that has 18 people) I just calculated that if we didn't have health insurance this 30 minute procedure would've cost us over $13,000.00 which would've literally wiped out our savings. I mean, heaven forbid one of us needed to be in the hospital for something serious or for more than 3 hours and we didn't have insurance, we'd not only lose savings but be put into bankruptcy immediately.

I don't know what's going to happen in 2014. Maybe there will be riots, maybe the whole Health Insurance Reform Act will get reversed if Obama doesn't get a second term, but I seriously hope that doesn't happen. I don't think that protecting people from bankruptcy over something that's for the most part beyond their control (their health) is such a bad thing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Ask and ye shall receive. An article from RH Reality Check detailing just how difficult it is for women to get family leave to have a baby.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that businesses with fifty or more employees provide up to 12 weeks of "job protected, unpaid leave" to employees who have worked for at least twelve months minimum for said employer.

For businesses with less than 50 employees, there are no federal mandates of any kind. As the article states, in this case, "Employees do not need to be given leave to care for a sick child, after the birth of a child, to care for a sick or dying parent; they don't even need to be given a minimum number of paid sick days."

I know there are some women who are able to work right up until their water breaks, and we all hear the stories of women giving birth and then getting on their laptops an hour later while still lying in the hospital bed. But just because *some* women are able to do this, doesn't mean this is ideal or even possible for the majority of women. In fact, I'm willing to go so far as to say that if you DO think all women should and are able to work right up until their water breaks and should be able to get back to work no sweat... then you are being classist.

Women who are able to do this (and hey, good for them) are usually high level female managers,executives, or politicians.

Do you think most women who work retail or in the service industry can work on their feet for 40 hours a week, drive to work and back every day during the last few weeks of pregnancy? Oh, and how much time are employers willing to give off for all the prenatal appointments required?

I've never been pregnant but here is what I know: being pregnant is extremely hard on your body. Your body changes in every single way possible - it's a whole lot more than "aw, my stomach is getting bigger!" and these changes are not comfortable in any way whatsoever and would probably make working on your feet for long periods of time very very miserable or next to impossible.

This is all BEFORE the baby is born. Women need time to establish a breast feeding relationship with their baby. And from what I hear, babies need to nurse what, every three hours?? (If anyone who has been pregnant before is reading this & I'm saying anything wrong, please feel free to correct me). Yet having to go back to work 2 days after giving birth would make this kind of hard. No, not everyone chooses breast feeding but a multitude of studies have shown that in most cases this is best for both baby and mom (unless the mom can't breastfeed for some reason). Yes, I know you can pump too. But women who are "on the clock" often face hostile employers who don't allow breaks for this. Plus I heard it hurts like hell to pump especially if you have small breasts (YIKES!).

Also, as I've said before in another post, most day cares don't accept infants until they are six weeks old, so where is that six weeks of time off going to come from if you haven't worked full time at a company with 50 or more employees for at least 12 months?

I have also heard that some recovery time is often needed when women pass a 5-10 pound human through the birth canal (Shocking!) And if a woman has had a C section - which is almost 1 in 3 women here in the US - I've heard it can take up to 6 weeks for the body to heal and recover. All the more reason why maternity leave is desperately needed.

According to the Washington Post, "One hundred and seventy-seven nations -- including Djibouti, Haiti and Afghanistan -- have laws on the books requiring that all women, and in some cases men, receive both income and job-protected time off after the birth of a child." Women who get paid leave here in the US are rare. Women who get unpaid leave are lucky. But with this economy, who can even afford to take 12 weeks unpaid leave??

I don't think you have to identify as feminist to think that something is wrong when many, many other industrialized nations give women (and men!) paid family leave and women here are lucky to get unpaid leave, if they get leave at all. Especially when 80% of American women give birth by the time they're 40.

I'm excited for female politicians being able to influence policy regarding this, no matter what side of the aisle they're on. However, it's my hope that the conservative women who have been in the news lately support the policies that help women.

"Lawyer, blogger and suburban city council member in Northeast Ohio, Jill Zimon, calls this case "critical" and " a "real test" for conservative, female political candidates around the country"

"It's exactly these kinds of cases that right-of-center female political candidates must address and come down on the side of the pregnant worker if they want to be seen as women who support women. If [Meg] Whitman, [Nikki] Haley et al cannot express outrage at such decisions, then they absolutely do not deserve the support of women who are genuinely interested in having more women in political office."

If you read this blog, then you probably have figured out by now that I don't agree with fighting for legislation that would make abortion illegal and force women to give childbirth against their will. I'm not tagging this post as abortion though because that's not what this post is about. However, I do want to add that if you ARE fighting for that legislation, I would hope that you are also a strong supporter of policies like expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act that help women to have children AND be able to care for them and financially support them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Internet,

I would like to read LESS articles on feminism as it relates to the following: Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, "hook-up culture", Miley Cyrus.

I would like to read MORE articles on feminism as it relates to the following: work-life balance (and the legislation needed to improve it), international women's rights, reproductive rights (there's a fair amount of coverage on this one, but I'd like to see less pro-abortion/anti-abortion viewpoints, and more on birth control education and accessibility - and more language about how birth control is an essential component of health care as opposed to a separate aside or merely a convenience).

Please make that happen.



Monday, June 7, 2010


Greg: Are you watching the God channel? (TBN)
Me: Nooo...
Greg: Are you watching Fireproof?
Me: Nooo...

I was totally watching Fireproof. Here's the thing about Fireproof - a bunch of our relatives tried to get us to watch it when it first came out. We took one look at the previews, saw Kirk Cameron was in it, and immediately decided we were way too cool for that. I mean, we do have movie standards to uphold.

Backing up for a second, Fireproof is a movie that was produced by a church in Georgia that is about marriage, but also presents a gospel message. Also, it stars Kirk Cameroon, better known as Mike Seaver from Growing Pains. It was released briefly in theaters (didn't do very well) but also had success in church screenings. It's probably well known in most Christian circles.

Last night, I watched it. I maybe missed the first 5 minutes but I saw the rest of it all the way through. Here's my synopsis: (SPOILER ALERT!)

30 something couple with great careers (fire dept. captain & PR manager at a hospital) and big house in McSuburb, Somewhere are Having Problems. They aren't in love any more and want to get divorced. There's a big fight scene where you think Kirk Cameron is going to slap his wife, but he really just yells stuff about respect. (It's a Christian movie so there's no swearing) Wife wants out, husband wants out. KC talks to his parents, mostly his Dad who challenges him with The Love Dare. The Love Dare is basically be nice to your wife, and don't be an Asshole for 40 days. There's different little gestures you're supposed to do each day. Also, each day has a Bible verse.

KC tries the Love Dare, and the first 20 days are TERRIBLE. Wife rejects all gestures and also flirts with McSteamy at her hospital (Christian movie, so no kissing or consummating - just flirting). KC is about to give up, and says to his dad "why should I love someone who rejects me." This conversation is taking place in front of a giant 50 foot cross. :::Camera cues to giant 50 foot cross:::

KC: This isn't about religion; that's not what I'm doing!
KC's Dad: Isn't it?

And then it happens. All of a sudden KC realized why his marriage is so crappy. He doesn't have JESUS. KC accepts Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and now his heart is REALLY in the love dare (first 20 days he was just going through the motions).

There are some firefighting scenes: KC is a hero. His second in command is a Christian too. KC and his lieutenant bond when KC says "I'M IN." There are some comedy scene with newbie firefighters, and we're back to the wife.

Wife find the Love Dare book and is still skeptical, but slowly comes around. We're not entirely sure she's going to come around until the big moment when she realizes that KC spent his boat fund (24K!!) on needed wheel chairs and health equipment for her ailing mom. KC's wife (I think her name was Katherine) - ok, Katherine has the revelation that she wants to save the marriage too, and also wants "what he has" (HINT - Rhymes with Jeebus). What I found most amusing was after her Epiphany she doesn't run over to the firestation to reclaim her love. No, she starts putting on lipstick and styling her hair and puts on a fire engine red dress (get it?!) to prepare for the big speech in which she decides she wants to save the marriage too. Also, "SHE'S IN."

Confession - despite the cheesiness and despite my sarcasm... I kinda liked Fireproof. Also, I cried at the end. Like, a lot. Even while wondering why wife felt the need to get dolled up before telling her husband she doesn't want a divorce.

Here's the thing. I like the concept of the Love Dare. I'm all for the idea of being the change you want to see in your spouse. Like, if you don't want him to be a selfish jerk, then you should probably refrain from being a selfish jerk also. And you should love even when it's hard. All good things. What I didn't like though is that the movie seemed to be giving the idea that their marriage was bad because they didn't have Jesus, and then they found Jesus, and everything was ALL BETTER. I just don't think that the common denominator between all good marriages is Jesus, or that the common denominator between bad marriages is NOT having Jesus. Also, Christians have divorce rates just as high as non believers. Plus, there are people of other faiths or people of no particular faith who have great marriages.

I know it's kind of dumb to say "well I liked the message on marriage but I could've done without the Jesus stuff" because that was clearly the point of the movie. It was meant to evangelize, and that's fine.

Greg did not watch the movie with me; I'm pretty sure he was preoccupied with Starcraft. He did kind of chuckle when I told him I watched it. The next day I did something nice for him (made him a sandwich, even though I was pissed he slept in till 3:30pm due to staying up till 6am playing Starcraft). He said thanks, and I said "no problem babe. After all, it is what Kirk Cameron would do."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wage Gap in the Woodlands

Found some interesting stats on employment in The Woodlands, TX...

Median salary for all males working full-time $80,905
Median salary for all females working full-time $42,116

AWESOME. (Also, where are these $80,000 jobs and why the hell does Greg not have one??)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kim's Fantasy Land in which Beer Commercials are Actually Marketed to Women

Women account for 25 percent of the beer market, and probably more than that for lighter beers and ales. Women between the ages of 21 and 30 are drinking more beer than women in any other age group. So wouldn’t it make sense for advertisers to cater to this market?

When I think of Dos XX, I of course think of “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” He is suave, cool, and sophisticated. He can do or be anything. Police often question him, just because they find him interesting. His personality is so magnetic, he is unable to carry credit cards. You get the idea.

Dos XX in particular is a perfect beer to bring in a larger female market. Its lager brand is very popular and is in some ways a more “female” beer because it’s lighter and often “fruited” (you order one at a bar and it almost always comes with a lime). Yet it’s not some lame 27 calorie light beer that tastes like water. It actually tastes good, and I know of a few women my age who like it. But I also know lots of guys who like it too, which puts it in a perfect marketing position to gain more females in the market share without losing the males. A lot of times if a beer gets a reputation as a “chick” beer, guys will stay away. It’s why you don’t see too many guys drinking Michelob Ultra or Smirnoff.

I had a conversation with my coworkers about creating a “Most Interesting Woman in the World.” I was kind of joking, but I think maybe it could work. That being said, it would need to be done very carefully. This potential character should in no way replace The Most Interesting Man in the World but rather complement him. (I’m not a fan of this line of thinking in real life, i.e. women are meant to complement men, but this is purely from a marketing perspective)

I think the Most Interesting Woman in the World would need to be slightly older than the 21-30 age group, but not too old. Ideally, she’d be around 40 but look 32. (Again, looking at this from a marketing perspective, not saying this is what the “ideal” woman is in real life). She would be hot, yes. But she would also be sophisticated. Definitely not slutty. She would probably wear a short classic black cocktail dress, showing some cleavage but not too much. She would probably be a brunette with long hair (sorry but blond tends to equal dumb in ordinary beer commercials, and Dos XX is no ordinary beer).

If I was doing the commercial to introduce The Most Interesting Woman in the World, I’d probably start with the Most Interesting Man in the World, so you think it’s a normal Dos XX commercial. Maybe one of his lines would include how he gets all the ladies, and he would be in a bar surrounded by blonds in revealing outfits (none of them would be wearing black). But then she would walk in. And her line would have to be really good. Can’t be something super girly or overly feminine. We don’t want to hear “she gets weekly mani pedis daily.” No. The narration would be something like “when she gets pulled over, police officers write themselves a ticket.”

She would lock eyes with The Most Interesting Man. He would be slightly annoyed, but very intrigued. She would keep her eyes on him and simply say, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos XX.” This would prompt a devilish grin from the Most Interesting Man stepping away from the posse of dumb girls and taking a step forward towards the Most Interesting Woman while the other girls look on in disgust. END SCENE.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miss USA

I watched the Miss USA pageant last night....(chalk it up to taking a break from feminism?) The winner ended up being from Michigan. Rima Fakih is a Lebanese immigrant and is only the second Arab American to ever win the Miss USA pageant.

Not even 24 hours after being crowned, controversy is stirring. There are the usual suspects (naughty pictures, risque behavior a la a stripping contest for a radio show)and some not so usual controversy such as having ties to terrorist organizations

But that's not really what I want to talk about. I'm more interested in two other things.

1. Why do we still have beauty pageants in the first place? It's freakin' 2010!
2. Why are these women allowed to give dumb or incomplete answers to the "interview portion" in these pageants?

There were 3 portions of the competition in this show - swimwear, evening gown, and "interview" (which should really just be called "question"). Two out of the three of these involve nothing more than walking down the stage in something pretty and/or revealing.

As I was watching the swimsuit competition, I realized that right after the girl would walk down and do her stances or whatever, an average score would pop on the screen. So I would watch this girl walk down in a bikini, do a little twirl, smile at the judges, and then...8.65, and again, 9.12, and again, 8.46. And I thought, what exactly is being judged here?

Luckily I had expert crypt keeper and crypt keeper jr.* to explain it to me. They were judging "confidence" and "poise." OH. OF COURSE. No doubt these girls were confident and no doubt they had poise. But there are plenty of women out there willing to confidently strut their stuff and can do so with "poise" (not me, I'd probably make a retarded face and fall on my ass). But you know, no one is inviting the 5'4" 135 pound woman (perfectly healthy by BMI standards) to compete in this thing. There's obviously something else at play here. Just admit you're judging them based on their looks. The judges aren't even real judges. I'm not saying you need a PhD. to judge beauty pageants, but lets see... Oscar from the Office, Paula Dean, Johnny Weir the figure skater... these are just random celebrities judging the perceived hotness of the girls. If we're being honest, that's what it is.

I guess in the evening gown portion you can give some originality points because the girls choose their own gowns and then you hear a brief clip of them describing how their particular gown makes them feel like a mermaid and/or princess. It's kinda boring, actually.

And then there is the question portion. We all know what happened last year in the question and answer portion (see Carrie Prejean). This year we were treated to answers that were just as dumb. I actually thought Michigan had the dumbest answer to the easiest question. She was asked "Do you think health insurance should cover birth control and why" She answered, "I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance." At one point in her answer she said "birth control is expensive" and then at another point she said "you can get them for free in your OBGYN office." She was just all over the place.

Miss Oklahoma, the runner up didn't do much better in my opinion though all the right wing news sites are saying she's this year's Carrie Prejean who got robbed because of her conservative opinion. She was asked about the Arizona immigration law and said "I'm a firm believer in states rights (ok, fine) so I think it's perfectly fine for Arizona to do this. I'm against illegal immigration but I'm also against racial profiling so I can see both sides of this issue." WHO ISN'T? You could do that with any question. "well I can see both sides" Yes, intelligent people look at both sides of an issue, but at some point you have to take a stand. And supposedly Miss USA is about taking a stand for something, right? Maybe her answer wasn't terrible, and if I'm being honest her answer was better than the girl from Michigan (maybe Michigan had bigger boobs, I can't remember) BUT STILL. A twelve year old could've given that answer.

So it's 2010 and we still have beauty pageants where women are paraded around in swimsuits. Oh also lingerie photos were taken of each contestant before the show, which were described by everyone involved in the competition as "classy" and "beautiful" And then said pictures were posted all over the internet. I THOUGHT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ENCOURAGING YOUNG GIRLS TO NOT POST HALF NAKED PICTURES OF THEMSELVES ALL OVER THE F***ING INTERNET. I guess I was wrong. I guess that's a super awesome message for young women today.

I don't have a problem with swimsuits or lingerie, or even with acknowledging conventional beauty (though I think unconventional beauty should also be acknowledged) but I have a problem with this whole facade of competitions like these being about self esteem, and confidence, and poise, and intelligence when it's clearly not. And yes, I know... I watched it. And I probably shouldn't have because shows like this wouldn't exist if people didn't watch (ratings have been slipping, probably why they did the lingerie shoot beforehand) but what can I say, I'm a pop culture enthusiast and it was good blog fodder. :)

*That would be Joan and Melissa Rivers for you non pop culture enthusiasts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Switching Gears

I think I need a break from feminism. I just saw on ad on my Facebook that said "IT Project Man" and thought, "geez that's kinda sexist. Like only men can do IT Projects... oh wait, that's short for IT Project Management..." Yeah.

So maybe it's time to switch gears and do some reading on some non controversial subjects, like religion :)

I've been meaning to read Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity so I can become even more of a heathen in the eyes of my in-laws. Also I want to try out my Kindle that I got for free (woot).

It's time like these where I sometimes wish I was a "normal" girl and liked Nicholas Sparks books and Twilight...but that would be boring :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ah, Technology...

...we can get information with the click of a button! We can take pictures with our phones! We can eliminate commercials with our DVRs! And now... we can hook up our vibrators to our iPods. Yep!

LOL - For the record, I did not do a Google search for "vibrating panties - iPod" The article, Fox on Sex: The Allure of Vibrating Panties was on the FRONT PAGE of Google NEWS. From FOX NEWS. I mean, I've made fun of Fox News in my day... but wow. Maybe it wouldn't surprise me if I was reading this in Cosmo or something, but society is in a pretty sad state if this is considered news.

Well, I guess being able to hook a vibrator up to an iPod IS pretty impressive. I had to read the line twice, to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong. But there it was in black and white:

First I tried the pulse mode, which responds to whatever ambient noise it “hears.” Let’s just say you can have some very interesting experiences in a loud club or a busy city street! I also hooked the thing up to my iPod

Man, I gotta get me one of those! An iPod, I mean! I'm way behind the times.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bitches Aint Shit!

UPDATE: Anyone from "Manhood Academy" who wishes to comment on this post should be aware that I have decided to institute a 3 "cunts" and your comment gets deleted policy. (not kidding, I actually got a comment that said that three times. It's called a thesaurus, people! Seriously, at least be creative in your insults.)

I've been wanting to write a post on the fluidity of gender, specifically on how gender roles in society have changed and are continuing to change. Some consider modern gender roles or lack thereof to be detrimental to society and to cause "confusion" and "emasculation" of males. And so my post was going to be on how men and women have had to adjust to changing gender roles over the last few decades, how women are often as confused as men as to what it means to "be a woman" or to "be a man."

But instead the majority of this post will probably be dedicated to discussing Manhood Academy and their "Principles 101: Feminism, Manhood, and You" "book." This website and this book are 100% serious and their mission is for colleges to teach "Male Studies" in the same way that some offer "Women's Studies." There's been a lot of intelligent response from the feminist community as to why this is a dumb idea (it already exists, it's proponents are often misogynist, males studies proponents generally reject women's studies as a concept, so how can they create the same concept for men, etc..)

And to that I would add, I seriously don't remember learning about very many specific women in history classes, and when I did it was an anomaly. Like after 27 male figures, Hey! Betsy Ross sewed the American flag! Abigail Adams was a LADY! Married to John Adams! And same with literature, after 12 or so male poets: Oh yes, Emily Dickinson! She wrote poems too! Kinda crazy, she was after all a WOMAN at the time! I mean, I'm not trying to say that we should change "History" to "Herstory" or anything like that, but you know, there's a reason why Women's Studies and "African American Studies" were created. It should be obvious, but I'll go ahead and state it: Women and minorities (one could conceivably be both btw!!) are under represented in traditional academia.

Now that the semi intelligent part of the post is over, let's get to the fun stuff, shall we? There is SO MUCH to cover! Class, please turn your books to chapter 1 in Principles 101: Feminism, Manhood, and You. First, we shall identify "the problem" FEMINISM. Feminism has given women the crazy idea that they should have rights and autonomy. This is dangerous for women because:

Women lack foresight for the same reason children lack it;they focus on themselves to a dysfunctional degree. Without male guidance, women neglect to consider the viewpoint of others.

As a result, women, in relation to men, lack the capacity to bear heavy responsibilities. Yet, because of Feminism’s reckless encouragement, they happily volunteer to “steer” the lives of others, oblivious to the dangerous situations they create; our Feminist society lowers academic, professional and civil service standards to accommodate women’s irresponsible desire to accept duties they were never designed to fulfill. Consequently,our schools, our economy and our lives must all sit in the passenger seat, waiting for the inevitable crash.

Last I heard the "crash" has already happened, largely in part to a mostly male run Wall Street and banking system... but that's neither here nor there. We know what women AREN'T supposed to be doing (going to college or having jobs, CLEARLY) so what ARE we supposed to be doing?

#1 Submitting to our husband's authority (women who don't have husbands aren't real women)
#2 Not being bitches.

Well, how do I not be a bitch?! GLAD YOU ASKED. If you exhibit any of the following characteristics, you may in fact, be a bitch (and we all know bitches ain't shit!)

• Anger towards men
• Use of insulting language
• A stubborn will
• A tendency to make demands
• A narcissistic attitude
• An argumentative disposition

According to Manhood Academy, "Examining the relationship of these aspects reveals a common pattern of dysfunctional behavior typified by women deprived of male authority." (see #1 above!)

So, any "demands" (like, hey, you should treat me with respect and as an equal partner in this relationship!) - BITCH. Not gonna give in during an argument (like, no I will not buy a stick shift car because I don't know how to drive stick, and have no desire to learn because soon they will be antiquated) - BITCH (ok, that one might just be me, but feel free to insert your own personal argument here*!) Since I am also angry at these men for what they are saying (yet also amused!) that gives me extra Bitch points, but these men being angry at women they deem bitches is totally justified, of course.

*In all seriousness, there have been many "arguments" in which we have either compromised or did what Greg wanted to do. I am in no way advocating that women should always get their way or are always right in an argument. That being said, not backing down occasionally doesn't make you a bitch (IMO)

More fun: Manhood Academy says women shouldn't vote. Allowing women to vote is no different than allowing children to govern themselves. Feminism allows irresponsible changes to corrupt the governing structure

Just as men lack the capacity to bear children, women simply aren’t qualified to properly care for their own needs. Their design prohibits this, not an imagined glass ceiling or any other misogynistic ploy to exploit women as Feminism assumes.

OH. I guess we can add a #3 for what women ARE supposed to be doing (and add voting to the list of dont's!) - HAVING BABIES. Um..I just had a thought. Shocking I know - I am a WOMAN after all!! So... if I, a woman, am not qualified to take care of my own needs as a grown woman, how on earth would I then be qualified enough to be entrusted WITH AN INFANT and take care of his or her needs?? This perplexes my feeble lady brain.

Moving on..there are SPECIFIC personality characteristics that are inherent to women and men respectively. And any overlapping and reversing of these characteristics will cause the destruction of planet Earth.

Women: nurturing, supporting, comforting
Men: disciplining, planning, and leading

Through Feminism’s blind quest for “gender equality,” women have been deceived into hating their natural function and coveting male functions

Bah, Feminism!! You have made me hate all that is nurturing, supporting, and comforting!! Even though I nurtured, supported and comforted my husband all weekend after his surgery... it is all for naught! Because you, feminism, have made me hate men, and God, and puppies, and apple pie, and all that is good in this world!! (not kittens though. Feminists like cats, so kittens are ok)

There is a lot more, but I think that's enough sarcasm for one night. Even though there is so much more to go through. I have to say though, some of the illustrations on this "Principles 101" pdf are FUCKING HILARIOUS. I especially enjoyed the ones of pages 27: Trading Material Things for Ass = Good; Trading Material Things for Nothing = BAD and 65: Manginas and Bitches are bad.

I'm not gonna lie, that was fun. And if you read that whole, post, kudos to you! But can I be serious again? So, I honestly don't know how seriously people are taking this Manhood Academy site, but I do know that there are groups serious about Men's Rights and offering Male Studies, and while I don't necessarily agree with them, I'm open to intelligent debate on the subject. But when key members from who are advocating a Male Studies curriculum are actually soliciting advice from the people behind "Manhood Academy" I kind of lose hope for humanity. You can't read that shit that they write, and then truly believe that they or anyone who supports them should be responsible for creating academic programs that are supposed to make our society a better place to live in.

The world is changing, gender roles are changing. Some couples abide by traditional gender roles and that's ok. Some couples do in some circumstances but not all. Hell, I do the laundry, Greg mows the lawn. I was doing the laundry anyways before we moved into the house so "I'll do the laundry if you mow the lawn" seemed like a good deal to me! But also, I pay the bills and generally am the one who knows how much money we have at any given time (not a lot!) and Greg cooks a lot of the times. Because he is good at cooking and that's ok too. It's actually great, for me!

So, you're a guy and you're not sure how chivalry works in this "new and strange society." My personal take - chivalry is not necessary, manners are. That being said, I don't scowl if a guy opens a door for me. I don't scowl if he doesn't open it for me either. As long as you don't slam the door in my face, I am pretty much ok with however you feel like opening the door! And I will always say thank you! And if I don't, I apologize. Maybe I was in a hurry. For real though I always try to say thank you.

You're confused on what it means to "be a real man." You get mixed messages from society. You hear that a real man takes care of his family. But then you also hear that a real man doesn't give a shit on what his bitch has to say. You can't cry, or have feelings, and you especially can't talk about them. You were taught that men should pay for dates, but now women sometimes want to pay for dates. It is so confusing!!

You know what, get the fuck over it. Women get mixed messages every day and we are navigating change the same way that you are. But we're doing it backwards and in high heels!! No, but for REAL - women are the ones juggling the family and career, trying to always maintain the perfect balance between sexy and slutty, between confident and "bitchy", between professional but also feminine (funny how I never see any ads for men's business clothes: Professional, but also masculine. No, because it is already implied in the "professional." )

Seriously, get over it. Men are not being "emasculated" just because gender roles are now more fluid. I don't even know what people mean when they say "act like a man!" Really, which man? There are many of them to choose from. And they do not all act the same! Some of them are jerks, and some are really awesome. Same goes for women. Or, "oh, she is acting like a man." Because why? Because she is making money, or making decisions, or being aggressive/competitive? It's so silly to me. "He's such a woman." Again, why? It's almost always something negative (because despite the impact of feminism, femaleness is still associated with negativity) Whether it's being emotional, or caring or whatever.

Well I guess that's enough gender theory for now. It's past my bedtime!! I sincerely hope you enjoyed this discussion on how Bitches Ain't Shit. Just Kidding! We all know bitches are awesome. ;)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Conversing with Men about Feminism

This is pretty much how my conversations about feminism with Greg go! Haha, j/k he was the one who actually sent me the pic. I laughed.

And I'm glad my husband can have a sense of humor about the fact that his wife is a radical feminazi :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fake Boobs Need Not Apply

Today in And This Is Why We Still Need Feminism news, the New York Post is reporting on an interesting casting call from Disney. Disney, as in the Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, High School Musical Disney in which we only see clean cut teens who never smoke, cuss or Do It.

Disney is apparently looking for some lassies for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie. According to the post, the casting call reads:

beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft7in-5ft8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have a lean dancer body. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants.

Some publications are focusing on the breast issue and applauding them for only using women with real breasts. The UK Times Online reports that the reasoning behind it is implants "move less freely than the real thing during action sequences." To prove the authenticity, there will be a “show and tell” day with costume designers where potential actresses will be expected to run (topless??)

This is more than a little creepy to me. The irony is not lost on me that I am in the middle of reading The Beauty Myth where Naomi Wolf looks at the ways in which a beauty standard was socially constructed and how it has harmed women.

The fact that beauty in our culture is seen as size 4-6, age 18-25, with real, large breasts is saddening. The fact that this is coming from DISNEY who primarily advertises to children is even more heartbreaking.

Keira Knightly, who is almost more famous for her "small boobs" than for her acting ability (shame because I honestly think she's a good actress) has been in the last few Pirate movies and says filmmakers "literally painted in my cleavage."

It took about 45 minutes every day for makeup artists to add shade and volume, and it looked fantastic until it got too hot shooting.

She also wore bodices that made it literally hard to breathe.

She tried alternatives such as a bodice which shrunk her waist to 18 inches. It gave her a tremendous cleavage by squeezing her breasts 'up and out' but also left her with only enough oxygen to breathe for 10 minutes:'after that I started passing out.'”

There is something wrong with this picture, not just this casting call, but the overall picture of how women are judged and what determines beauty. If you go around asking people who are close to you, people you respect and generally have good values, you hear how important "inside" beauty is. We all know a pretty girl can be "ugly" if she's dumb and mean to people. But yet people still keep going to see Megan Fox's movies*. The message we're hearing doesn't match the message we're consuming. And I don't think I feel this way because I'm 26 (close to death in Hollywood years. Until you reach "Cougar" age that is) or that I have small breasts or don't otherwise fit the Hollywood beauty ideal.

Unfortunately, it's not just Hollywood. It's EVERYWHERE. And, based on this book I'm reading, there's actually politics behind the "beauty standard" or as Wolf refers to it, the "beauty myth." That probably sounds boring to most people, but to me it's fascinating, and I'm sure you can expect a lengthy blog post when I finish reading this book. I know you will all be waiting on the edge of your seats. :)

*I don't have anything against Megan Fox. I don't think she's mean or dumb, though I've read "reports" (gossip) of that nature. I just don't think she's a particularly good actress, and I used her as an example to illustrate the point that people will often go see movies if they have a "hot chick" regardless of the quality of the movie. And, you'd be hard pressed to find a movie that stars a woman who isn't considered beautiful by Hollywood standards unless you consider movies like Miss Congeniality, She's All That or Shallow Hal in which a beautiful woman plays an ugly woman who is really a beautiful woman, and just doesn't know it yet. And yes, I realize that the character in Shallow Hal is REALLY fat in the end, but the actress who plays her is REALLY not.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In the Life Of...

Here's is what's going on in the life of Kim:

1. Just spent the last 15 minutes watching the greatest parody of Glenn Beck EVER. Courtesy of Jon Stewart.

2. Started writing for the Examiner. They basically have writers for every topic you could possibly think of, and they all are local to whatever area you are in. For example, if you are interested in Dallas Nudist Culture, there is an Examiner for you!

I will be writing about something less, um... weird. I am now officially the Houston Women's Issues Examiner! I know that is probably still weird to some people. What that means is that I will be writing about news stories, pop culture, etc. through a feminist lens and with a local (to Houston) spin. I think the local spin will be the hardest part for me.

For now you can check out my first article about the Texas School Board's proposed changes to the social studies curriculum. It is basically a condensed third person version of the rant that was my previous blog post. It's really hard to keep my opinions to approximately 400 words. But apparently the people on the Interweb have no patience!

So, you should go read it! Right Now! If you've already read it, you should click on it again. I get paid per page view. Like 1/2 cent per page view + $1.00 per article!! So 5,486,723 more page views and I will be quitting my day job, baby. (I'm not really doing this to make money).

I also just posted a second article, HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Removing school signs does not prevent sexual assault

3. Last weekend I watched the movie Whip It, and I am now on a mission to become a roller derby girl... uh, I mean GO SEE a roller derby event. Through my extensive Google research I found that Houston has a roller derby team! And they have their first "bout" TONIGHT. I have miraculously convinced my husband to go with me to this event this evening. This is most likely due to the fact that our late afternoon volleyball plans have been nixed because of the rainy weather today.

I am super excited to go though, and may write about it for my next Examiner article. Even though I wouldn't mind going by myself, I think it'd be more fun with Greg. Everything is more fun with Greg. Say it with me now... AWW!! Now I need to hope he doesn't change his mind. So I'll need to be super sweet the rest of the day and not wake him up until, like 5pm and refrain from constantly reminding him that our yard looks like a scene from the Jungle Book.

4. My cat is quite possibly on crack cocaine. She randomly jumps in the bathtub, chews on tape, and licks the kitchen faucet in a way that I can only describe as "inappropriate."

5. I'm almost finished reading Chelsea Handler's new book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and I'm slightly disappointed. Not as funny as Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. It feels somewhat forced, like "hey I'm gonna do this crazy shit, so I can write about it for my next book!" The only chapter I really laughed out loud in was "Dudley" in which she convinced her boyfriend that she was responsible for the death a dog named "Dudley" and then made him dress up and attend its fake funeral. It's funnier than it sounds, I promise.

6. I briefly got back into running while training for a 5K, but have since lapsed in going out for runs. I told myself I would go running MORE when daylight savings time kicked in. That has turned out to be a bunch of bullshit. I'm thinking of signing up for a half marathon this year which will force me to run more because I won't want to embarrass myself in an actual race. I've found out that if you run competitively in college, people expect you to be a good runner post college. I don't want to be that person wheezing on the side of the road, while onlookers say to themselves, "oh she used to be such a good runner; what happened?!" To which I would reply, "I got a JOB and a two hour commute, BITCH!!" :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Only in Texas

This week the Texas Board of Education voted to update the state's social studies curriculum "stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light."

Um, what? First of all, I'm pretty sure the superiority of capitalism is ALREADY stressed nationwide. I specifically remember in government class talking about both capitalism and communism (we probably talked about other systems too but those were the main ones) and the teacher even had two students debate both of those, but it was pretty obvious which one was "right." I'm not saying I disagree that capitalism is the best system in the world. I think for the most part it is (though it certainly has its pitfalls) but I disagree with altering history books to make it sound EVEN MORE superior. What's ironic is that they changed the word "capitalism" in all the books to "free-enterprise system" because “'Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,' said one conservative member." So, to recap, capitalism is the best, but we should change its name because we don't want kids to think there's anything wrong with it...

I think the second and third things that they are emphasizing are the most worrisome to me. Further down in the article it says the board members are calling into question things like "the separation of church and state." Their argument is that you don't find it in the Constitution. Nevermind the first amendment, and that Thomas Jefferson COINED THE TERM "separation between church and state." And nevermind that it is documented in the Library of Congress

The conservative school board here in Texas "cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century" Holy shit.

"Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons 'the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.' It was defeated on a party-line vote." Talk about one sided. This just proves that this School Board isn't interested in "balance" but in furthering their own political agenda.

Ok, so they are also want to focus on Republican political philosophies and show those in a more positive light. As interested as I am in politics, I really don't think it has a place in the high school classroom. I realize sometimes its hard to avoid in a class like History or Government, but I honestly don't remember that much politics being discussed. Except maybe my junior year during the Bush/Gore election, my teacher was definitely for Bush, but I don't remember him bringing that up during actual lessons.

So, let's talk specifics. They want to make sure students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

I mean, I guess these things should be included but it depends on at what expense, which the article doesn't say. I mean, really, Phyllis Schafly? The woman who made a career out telling other women they shouldn't have careers?

They will also change the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

I wonder if Jim Crow laws and all the "votes in Congress" prior to Civil Rights legislation will also be emphasized?

Students will also study the "unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. The Great Society legislation was under Lyndon B Johnson, and his goals were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. It was during this time that the Civil Rights legislation that forbade job discrimination and the segregation of public accommodations was passed... but I guess that wasn't a good thing, according to Texas school board Republicans at least. The Medicare and Medicaid programs were also created during this time, without which we would have millions more uninsured people than we do now.

The new social studies curriculum also stresses that "Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism." What, we weren't racist! Hello, we interned OTHER PEOPLE TOO!

I want to go back to the "unintended consequences" of affirmative action and Title IX legislation. To me this just screams of racism and sexism. I realize affirmative action has been controversial at times, but without it I really do think blacks and other minorities would've had a much harder time breaking down certain barriers in college admissions and the job market. Just because Civil Rights legislation was passed doesn't mean the white business owners were thrilled to start hiring minorities, and colleges certainly weren't thrilled at integrating at the time.

Speaking of minorites, Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

So, I took a grand total of one Master's level English class before dropping out, but I did actually finish this class, and one thing that stuck out to me was that within the last 20 years, the literature canon and list of authors who are taught has included many more women and minorities. Not just from present day, but from the past as well, from a time when it was thought that women and minorities didn't write great literature. They did, it just wasn't published. But it's being published and brought to light now, because people are more open to that now. This doesn't mean we should dismiss the classics that are traditionally penned by white men, but that the field has expanded. In the same way, I have to believe there are important people in history, including women and minorities who have been left out of the history books. It just seems odd to me that they have no problem with changing certain things and adding conservatives leaders to have a more prominent role in the curriculum but they are closed off to adding more Latino figures. The article doesn't mention any specific people that Ms. Berlanga wanted to add, but again, why the opposition?

The opposition they have to Title IX is just laughable. It's the law that says there needs to be equal funding and opportunities in athletics for women and girls in any school or college that receives federal funding. There has been nothing but positive effects after girls were given the opportunity to play sports in school. And boys participation in sports hasn't been hurt because of it. Today about 1 in 3 high school girls play sports, compared with about half of all boys.

Economists have done studies that show increasing girls’ sports participation had a direct effect on women’s education and employment and can also lowers the risk of obesity. Other studies (not mentioned in the above article) show that girls who participate in high school sports are less likely to use drugs, become pregnant, or commit suicide. How Title IX is anything but a positive life changing piece of legislation is beyond me. I mean, it's not like we're seeing cuts in Texas football programs or anything... so honestly with other things I'm willing to concede that there's more to the issue that meets the eye, but on this one, I think the opposition is just asinine.

Finally, they talk about Sociology. Well, to this school board the field of Sociology might as well be called Care of Magical Creatures.

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

“The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill said.

Look, I'm not against personal responsibility, but to say that societal structures, economic conditions, and the media don't have any influence is crazy. It seems like the goal is to create a victim blaming society particularly in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault. Actually, there is enough victim blaming as is it, so to not teach students about sociology is very worrisome to me.

Finally, in all these votes and meetings to make changes to the HISTORY curriculum, "there were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics." They "held themselves as experts"?! Wow, I don't even know what to say here.

It's very unfortunate because I do want to have kids one day. I probably won't be able to afford private school (and probably wouldn't want to send them there even if I could), and I am not qualified to home school. So I will be trusting the public education system. I want my kids to have a solid foundation of history and to have critical thinking skills. I don't want the so called political pendulum to swing one way or the other in their classrooms. I'm not making these points here to say "liberal influence good, conservative influence bad." I'm just saying we're walking thin ice when we start altering history and what we teach our kids. It seems like these particular school board members and other conservatives I've observed in TX want to move our government more towards a theocracy each day. I think religion can be a good thing, but there's a reason we don't have an "established religion" here, and yes it DOES say in the Constitution that we SHOULDN'T have one.