If aliens are evaluating whether to visit Earth and reveal their secrets of the universe, they had better not be looking at TMZ.com in their analysis, or they'd certainly reject the idea. Once again, two scandals about men who misappropriated technology and then lied about it have made headlines, and once again not much is happening because of it. If a politician or activist falls in the forest, will anyone notice? Here I've listed a few notable aspects of the "caught red-handed" denial game political operatives play. Gentlemen, consider yourselves prime candidates for the Douchebag Decree.
Vancouver artists Jen Crothers and Kona have created a delightfully nerdy project to raise awareness of queer language and its evolution, and to raise money for the local organization Out in Schools, which educates young people about homophobia and bullying. It's called the Queeriodic Table, and it's going places.
Last January a certain bill in the House of Representatives caught the attention of the media. At the very start of the 112th Congress, House Republicans made moves to "redefine rape" and shift how publicly funded insurance covers (or doesn't cover) abortions. Speaker of the House John Boehner, at the time, said that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act was a priority for the GOP. An outcry from pro-choice, women's health, and anti-poverty advocates rose up almost immediately, and the bill's sponsor, Christopher Smith of New Jersey (and my Representative when I was a teenager), backed down.
It has only been a few years since the "yes we can" wave made landfall in Washington, DC, ushering in Barack Obama and a broad sense of hope, after two long Bush administrations, during which progressives were increasingly alienated and frustrated. While President Obama was marketed, during the last campaign, as a liberal politician, his political stances on everything from same-sex marriage to economic policy and health care reform, were more centrist. So while hope and change led the day, for 2012 he will have to struggle against whatever cynicism has formed since 2008, and battle what many see as a disappointing track record in his first administration. So what are the messages we're likely to see from his campaign management this time around?
Right around the corner is the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 presidential election. Participating are seven people—not necessarily candidates, mind you—with aspirations for the White House, if not declared campaigns. It may be an event co-sponsored by CNN, and held in the state with the first stab at primary season, but many politics watchers question whether any of the people at the top of the GOP list now will be in the race at all come the party's convention next summer. One big factor: the ease with which the information superhighway throws potholes in their faces.
Maybe you've been seeing Sarah Palin in the news "news" recently? She's touring American landmarks with her family in a big ugly bus to "promote the Fundamental Restoration of America." Should you be scared that those words are capitalized? I am. One of Palin's recent stops was New York City, where in addition to dining with Donald Trump, she visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. What better place to appreciate the work and impact of immigrants in the United States! Oh wait, she decided this would be a good place to trash the DREAM Act.
It seems like only six months ago we were talking about the 2010 midterm elections. Oh, wait. I suppose the 2010 midterm elections were only a little more than six months ago. At any rate, the early campaigning for the 2012 gubernatorial election is underway. When I brought up the idea of guest blogging about this summer's candidates to Bitch's editors, Osama bin Laden was still at large, Donald Trump hadn't done himself in as a serious contender, and people were still talking about the possibility of nominating Tim Pawlenty. (Well, okay, a few people still insist Pawlenty can pull it off.) My point is, if the last two months are any indication, this campaign cycle will be hectic and as fast moving as Trump's bangs in a July thunderstorm.
As you've probably heard by now, the House voted last week to cut federal funding for Title X, which would in turn U.S. bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding. If you're reading Bitch, you probably agree with us that this is a bunch of completely outrageous bullshit. If you haven't already signed the online petition to let the House and Senate know that you stand with Planned Parenthood, do so right now. OK, did you do it? Great! Now let's do more!
Planned Parenthood is also organizing rallies at health centers around the country. A couple of us went to one here in Portland yesterday and it was awesome. Tons of energized people, and some really great rally signs and chants. Check the PP website to find out where they're happening in your area! And in the meantime, let's come up with some signs to make and take with us to these rallies, shall we?
Since the violence that took place in Arizona over the weekend goes beyond the term "douche-y", and since it would be much too obvious to award the Decree to Sarah Palin for her crosshairs graphic and "blood libel" comment (let's just call her an honorary Douchebag for life), I thought I'd do a roundup of some of the most interesting and the douchiest discussions of violence, rhetoric, and totally inappropriate anti-semitic references that have come up over the last few days.
I have a feeling that House Majority Leader-to-be John Boehner may prove himself the worthy recipient of many a Douchebag Decree in the months and years to come, but the distinctly layered douche-osity ofthisstory made it hard to resist awarding him the honors this week.