Category Archives: Sexism

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Last week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops took a step toward publicly humiliating President Biden by denying him Holy Communion. This action is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and stupid, which means it’s completely on brand for the USCCB.

It’s no secret that the deeply misogynistic Roman Catholic Church is opposed to abortion. I was raised Catholic and had the full anti-abortion indoctrination of grotesque photos of purportedly aborted fetuses (who knows if any of that stuff was real or fake—propagandists use whatever they have available to push their message).

After I was free of parochial education, I started thinking for myself. As an adult, I saw the issue of abortion—and pregnancy—differently than I did as a teenager. I thought about what decision I would make if I found myself pregnant. And I had empathy for women who had to make that decision.

(I know that the anti-choice people love to yell “ADOPTION!!” when discussing abortion, but the reality is that many women just cannot afford to carry a child to term. In addition to the medical appointments, being pregnant still can get a woman fired, or cost her a promotion. If there are complications, it may require her taking unpaid leave.)

I don’t know what Joe Biden thinks deep in his heart about abortion. But I do know that as a politician he is supposed to represent the people who elected him. The Pew Forum says that 55% of people in Delaware support abortion being legal in all or most cases. And Pew also says that 59% of Americans support abortion being legal in all or most cases. And given the makeup of the electorate who elected him, there is a clear mandate for him to support women’s reproductive rights. That’s his job.

It’s ironic that the big fear about JFK’s Catholicism was that he’d be controlled by Rome. And now we have a bunch of Catholic bishops trying to act as if they were Rome to control Biden. This crazy plan might have worked, except that the Vatican has already weighed in on this issue and told the USCCB to back off.

In the end, the USCCB won’t explicitly say that pro-choice politicians must be denied Holy Communion. That’s not how Pharisees work. They’re cowards who hide behind a wall of words which they then twist to suit their purposes.

Naturally the chance to flaunt misogyny under the guise of morality attracts a lot of fellow travelers, and conservative Catholics are out there making the most of it. And they’re being cowards about any challenges to their obvious hypocrisy:

Karen Tumulty is right—there is a monomaniacal focus on abortion, but no public shaming for Catholic politicians who gleefully support the death penalty, and the Vatican has been very clear about the stance of the RCC on that issue. (Also on display in that exchange—the typical shift to the demand of a public debate when a conservative “thinker” has been shown to be intellectually naked. Pharisees gonna Pharisee.)

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The Friday Fishwrap

Herb Caen Column Heading

Once upon a time there was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (that was a newspaper) named Herb Caen. His column ran in the paper six days a week, but his Friday column was called the Friday Fishwrap. A convenient reminder that that morning’s paper would be used in the evening to wrap up and dispose of the remains of the no meat on Fridays throw aways. Thus he filled the column with throw away items, thoughts, flotsam and jetsam.

In his honor I’m going to try that today.

The Democrats missed an opportunity last week with the 1/6 investigation vote in the Senate. They should have let the Repugnicants filibuster, really filibuster, the Jimmy Stewart in MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON type filibuster, where all work in government comes to a stop. The public would have gotten a look at what the filibuster really is. Then the Dems could have gone on a media blitz tearing up the Repugnicants for bringing the federal government to that halt. It could have built a groundswell of support into a tsunami of criticism, the kind of criticism that would prevent the Repugs from trying to filibuster the For The People Act or the Infrastructure Plan.

On HBO Max right now is a film of the play OSLO. It’s about the back channel negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO. The key takeaway from the film is that the Norwegians who acted as facilitators between the two parties insisted that each day when the meeting ended all the participants would then sit down and have dinner and drinks together and talk only of their families and friends. In other words humanizing each side to the other. If the Israelis and the Palestinians can do that, surely those of us on the left can have a meal with those on the right.

The San Jose rail system is still down, a week after the proverbial disgruntled worker killed nine. The reason? He had planted bombs at his house and bomb making materials were found in his locker at the yard. The VTA is taking no chances and methodically going through everything looking for explosive material. Maybe if they had combed his employment record as keenly as this, nine of his fellow workers would be alive today. Just saying.

The Army won’t investigate Herr Obermeister Flynn’s comments on the appropriateness of a “Myanmar style coup” here in the country all members of the armed forces swear an allegiance to protect. They say it’s because they never investigate retired officers. OK then, call him back to duty and court martial his ass for insubordination, treason, and any other crime you can think of that he’s committed.

There’s an old saying in politics: If you’ve got the votes, call the roll. Gavin Newsom has the votes to overcome this insipid recall vote so it looks like we will have the election in early September. Once that is finished, can we please talk about making it more difficult to qualify a recall vote? Ten percent of the electorate should not have the power to force a wasteful and unnecessary recall election.

More after the break

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The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Tuesday night a man whose name I will not use murdered 8 people; 6 of them were Asian Americans. Seven of the dead were women. Earlier that evening Donald Trump, while on live television, used a slur to refer to COVID-19. What did the media fixate on? That he had told everyone to get vaccinated. Somehow the year long rise in violence against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, that began because the same racist former president consistently used racist language to describe a virus, wasn’t worthy of conversation.

Wednesday morning the Cherokee County, GA’s Captain Jay Baker told us that these murders did not constitute a racially-motivated hate crime. You see, the murderer was upset about sin and his “sex addiction”. And also? He’d had a bad day. And then we we found out that this same sheriff trafficked in anti-Asian memes. At that point I just couldn’t anymore with the hot takes that it wasn’t a hate crime, but someone mad at sex workers, with the undercurrent that while this was—you know—bad, it was pretty understandable. UGH UGH UGH.

And then Wednesday evening we learned more about 4 of the victims. It took us so long to find out about them because it required people who spoke Korean. These 4 women were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. The narrative completely changed. The murderer wasn’t a young Christian struggling with sin and lashing out at the women he felt had led him astray. He was just a racist loser who lashed out at people he hated. He had a social media presence that was anti-Asian. He literally said on Tuesday night, as he was killing people, that he wanted to kill Asian Americans.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about this tragedy:  a loser murders 7 young women because he has sexual hang-ups and had been indoctrinated into a pseudo-religious ideology that holds that sexually active women need to be strictly controlled. But the first 4 women we learn about are…like me. They are middle-aged to elderly. They most likely weren’t sex workers. This wasn’t about sin or sex addiction. This was about straight up racism and misogyny.

It’s the same behavior that happens on Native American reservations, where angry white men go to rape Native American women because they know they won’t be held accountable for their terrible deeds. This murderer was taken into custody alive and unharmed. The sheriff, himself a despicable racist, as we found out today, offered up excuses for the person he identified with. As it turns out, so did a lot of America.

Also on Wednesday the House of Representatives reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, and even after these terrible murders 172 House Republicans voted against it. Now we wait to see if it can pass the Senate. It is beyond infuriating that the passage of this bill in doubt, but abusers protect their fellow abusers, and they see no reason to break that cycle.

Andrew Cuomo: Public Sector Trump

A blanketed Andrew Cuomo and his dog, Captain.  

There’s a whole lotta stupid happening on political Twitter about Andrew Cuomo’s possible fate. There are those who think the “campaign” against him is a Republican conspiracy to install a Governor who will pardon Trump, which ignores the fact that the Lt. Gov is a Democrat, Kathy Hocul. Besides, there’s no conspiracy against Cuomo: his wounds are self-inflicted.

The other foolishness involves those who think the three-term Governor of New York can be pressured into resigning. I’m not an expert on New York politics but you don’t have to be to know that Cuomo is never resigning. He’s survived previous bouts with unpopularity and one of his goals is to win a fourth term, which his father was unable to do.

There are three paths to his exit: impeachment and removal; not running for re-election or defeat at the ballot box preferably in a primary. He’ll never take the easy way out and resign even if it’s in his state’s best interests. Cuomo is about Cuomo.

The voters don’t seem to be as pissed-off at Cuomo as the political class. His numbers are down but not entirely out. His reputation with voters is as a competent asshole. They didn’t vote him in because they loved him. They know he’s a self-centered creep. In some ways, he’s a stereotypical New Yorker: an asshole and damn proud of it.

There’s been much ridicule of this comment by Cuomo:

“Part of this is that I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I’m proud of it.”

On the surface the comment is preposterous because Andrew Cuomo is a politician to his fingertips. But I’m not one for groupthink. Being a member of a club involves having friends, not just allies. Cuomo is a veteran pol but he’s friendless, which is both a strength and weakness. He’s always governed by fear and assholery, which means that nobody is sticking up for him right now. The upside is that he’s used to having no friends so what others say about him is less important than his enormous ego.

One of the many ironies of 2020 was Andrew Cuomo being held up as the anti-Trump. Like the former president* he was an asshole, but a competent one unlike the Kaiser of Chaos. That aura of competence has been exploded by a nursing home scandal and his mishandling of the sexual harassment mishigas.

Instead Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump are almost the same guy: angry, sexist, horny, and self-absorbed. Cuomo is, of course, much smarter than the Impeached Insult Comedian, but they’re both brash assholes from Queens who are fond of “locker room talk.”

Andrew Cuomo is the public sector Trump. Their main differences are that Mario Cuomo was much smoother than Fred Trump, and that Andrew has a dog. His name is Captain. In the picture I used as the featured image, he even seems to like the Governor. Woof.

As Tricky Dick would surely say at this point, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am in no way defending Cuomo’s loutish lechery. There’s a strong case for his ouster but he’s not going to make it easy for his critics by resigning. He’s going to hunker down and try to weather the storm. It’s not in the best interests of the people of the Empire State but it’s what self-absorbed creeps like Andrew Cuomo do.

I have some unsolicited advice for Cuomo’s Democratic enemies. They should coalesce around a primary challenger and start raising money pronto. He’s survived past primary challenges, but his number could be up in 2022.

There have been some great pieces written about Andrew’s tyrannical reign as Governor. I’d like to commend three to your attention:

Rebecca Traister at New York Magazine, Inside Andrew Cuomo’s Toxic Workplace.

Jessica Bakeman at New York Magazine’s The Cut, Cuomo Never Let Me Forget I Was A Woman.

Michael Shnayerson at Vanity Fair’s The Hive,  Andrew Cuomo’s Biographer On The Governor’s Brutish History.

In the last piece, Shnayerson describes how Cuomo dangled an interview at him, then reneged on his promise:

By the time I was about to hand in my manuscript, the governor had a book of his own in the works. It was titled All Things Possible. And his intention was to beat me to market. But I was ahead. Back came word that if I would let his book appear first, he would grant me all the interview time I wanted. So I agreed. But the governor pulled a fast one. I never did get that interview; his book came out in October 2014, a full five months ahead of mine. And there was, after all, no longer anything he needed from me. It was a quintessential Cuomo move: underhanded, stealthy, self-serving, and hard-ass.

Remove the word stealthy and who does that sound like? Donald Trump, that’s who. Believe me.

That’s why I call Andrew Cuomo the Public Sector Trump.