Friday :: Sep 8, 2006

The Return Of The Pedestal


by pessimist

Our society has long had an issue with independent women, preferring to 'protect' them from the world by putting them up on a pedestal to keep them trapped in one place. The idea - similar to that used by the Austrian who kidnapped a ten-year-old girl to raise her to be the woman he desired her to be, submissive and totally under his control - is to have a reliable 'helpmate' who won't know anything about the world at large and want to be a part of it, will support you unquestioningly in all your endeavors and won't turn on you, and to be a refuge from reality.

With that in mind, one has to wonder about Tom DeLay's motive in this:


Former majority leader now urging Republicans to vote for 'Dancing' contestant.
By Laylan Copelin, Jason Embry, AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
September 08, 2006

Tom DeLay once twisted arms for votes in Congress. Now the former U.S. House majority leader is rounding up votes for a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.

That's right. DeLay has e-mailed his supporters urging them to vote weekly for Sara Evans, a country singer who performed at the 2004 Republican National Convention, because she "represents good, American values."

Sara Evans could have two left feet and a leafy branch growing out of her one wooden leg, and DeLay would want viewers to vote for her because she is standing on his pedestal - she "represents the good, American values" of Tom DeLay.

Such condescension might well be behind this tale of female rebelliousness:


War turns southern women away from GOP
By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press Writer
Sep 7, 2006

President Bush's once-solid relationship with Southern women is on the rocks.

In recent years, Southern women have been some of Bush's biggest fans, defying the traditional gender gap in which women have preferred Democrats to Republicans. Bush secured a second term due in large part to support from 54 percent of Southern female voters while women nationally favored Democrat John Kerry, 51-48 percent.

"In 2004, you saw an utter collapse of the gender gap in the South," said Karen Kaufmann, a professor of government at the University of Maryland who has studied women's voting patterns. White Southern women liked Bush because "he spoke their religion and he spoke their values."

Now, anger over the Iraq war and frustration with the country's direction have taken a toll on the president's popularity and stirred dissatisfaction with the Republican-held Congress.

Republicans on the ballot this November have reason to worry. A recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that three out of five Southern women surveyed said they planned to vote for a Democrat in the midterm elections.

The movement of some Southern women away from the Republican Party tracks with national poll results showing that women have become more disillusioned with the war and were more likely than men to list the conflict as the important issue facing the country.

In a sign of how crucial races in the South will be to the GOP national strategy, Bush traveled to Georgia Thursday to help former Rep. Max Burns raise money in his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. John Barrow. The president also gave a speech in Atlanta.

And the reaction? One local woman, by Southern standards, was scathing:

"I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant," said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. "He's been an embarrassment."
In the heart of Dixie, comparisons to Grant,
a symbol of the Union, are the worst sort of insult,
especially from a Macon woman who voted for Bush in 2000
but turned away in 2004.
Voters like Knight could prove to be spoilers.
"I'm going to go for the moderate,
and these days that tends to be Democrats,"
Knight said.
"I never did understand why we went into Iraq and didn't instead clean up the mess in Afghanistan first," Knight said.

Teresa Cranford, 39, also of Macon, said her support for Bush was lukewarm in 2004, but she ultimately voted for him so he could finish the job in Iraq. As the death toll has risen, so has her discomfort. "I'm a mother and that makes me think differently about it," Cranford said. "I'm not a straight party-line Republican anymore."

Sandy Rubin, a high school teacher in Macon [who] voted for Bush ... said the GOP's focus on issues that appeal to social conservatives, such as gay marriage and abortion, have turned her off. "I care about job security and education. The things I hear the Republicans emphasizing in their campaigns are not things that affect me or my family," said the 39-year-old mother of two.

But as progressive women everywhere know far better than I, there are still those 'traditional' women who seem to like the pedestal, and do everything the way they are expected to in order to remain there:

"There are some people, and I'm one of them,
that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord,"

[substitute teacher Clydeen] Tomanio said.
"I don't care how he governs, I will support him.
I'm a Republican through and through."

It shows.

Such mistaken 'loyalty' to foolish and dangerous men only leads to a bad end. One can lose one's formative years becoming a captive programmed sex toy for the wannabee 'master' who kidnapped you - or one can lose the right to practice one's religion:


Saudis consider banning women from Mecca
By DONNA ABU-NASR, Associated Press Writer
Sep 7, 2006

Officials are considering an unprecedented proposal to ban women from performing the five Muslim prayers in the immediate vicinity of Islam's most sacred shrine in Mecca. Some say women are already being kept away. The chief of the King Fahd Institute for Hajj Research, which came up with the plan, told The Associated Press Thursday that the new restrictions are already in place.

The issue has raised a storm of protest across the kingdom, with some women saying they fear the move is meant to restrict women's roles in Saudi society even further. Women in Saudi Arabia lead strict lives. They are banned from driving and need permission from a male guardian to go to school, get a job, travel or stay at a hotel.

"Women are not all young beauties that rush to the mosque
with an aim of seducing men,"
wrote one woman,
Aziza al-Manie, in the country's Okaz daily.
Al-Manie said there are no laws that allow men the exclusive possession of the area and warned that if the government adopts the plan, it will live up to "the assumption that Saudi Arabia is an extremist country that deprives women of their given rights."
Such discrepancies are not unusual in Saudi Arabia
and could signal an attempt
to introduce the controversial arrangements slowly.

As if no one will notice? That only works in America!

But I digress.

Many Saudis say the proposal, released two weeks ago in the form of a study, violates the spirit of Islam. "The prophet, who is the first leader of Muslims, didn't do it," said Mohsen al-Awajy, an Islamist lawyer and cleric. "Those who are proposing the change after him have to come up with legal justification for it."

The official justification has to do with public safety, but that explanation isn't flying in Muslim skies:

[H]istorian Hatoon al-Fassi wondered why the study did not restrict men. Plus, she said, such a decision should be made by all the Muslim world, not simply by Saudi authorities. "I'm sure the proposal won't be implemented because this is a matter that's of concern to all the Islamic world and not only Saudi Arabia," said al-Fassi.

The plan has started causing ripples outside the kingdom. The Washington-based Muslimah Writers Alliance, an organization of Muslim women writers, is sponsoring an online petition drive against the study.

"At no other time in history, either before or after the time of the Prophet Muhammad, have women been relegated to lesser advantageous positions within the (mosque)," Aishah Schwartz, the group's director, said in a statement. "The proposed plan is no more acceptable today than it would have been when the teachings of Islam began to be delivered over 1400 years ago," she added.

These two examples of women rising up against their self-appointed 'protectors' is matched by the realization of one man, who in the past aided these erring knights errant with his vote, that his support was wrong - and that it is time to atone publicly:


AN APOLOGY FROM A BUSH VOTER
By Doug McIntyre
Host, McIntyre in the Morning
Talk Radio 790 KABC [Los Angeles]

I believe that George W. Bush has taken us down a terrible road. So, accept my apology for allowing partisanship to blind me to an obvious truth; our President is incapable of the tasks he is charged with. You were right, I was wrong.

There’s nothing harder in public life than admitting you’re wrong. I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. We have to live with the consequences of the votes we cast and the leaders we chose now.

I believe George W. Bush is the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. I also believe a case can be made that he’s the worst President, period.

Presidential failures. James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, Warren Harding-— the competition is fierce for the worst of the worst. I almost feel sorry for him. He is clearly in over his head. Yet, he doesn’t generate the sympathy Warren Harding earned. Harding, a spectacular mediocrity, had the self-knowledge to tell any and all he shouldn’t be President. George W. Bush continues to act the part, but at this point whose [sic] buying the act?

Still, the damage this President has done is enormous. It will take decades to undo, and that’s assuming we do everything right from now on. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed Presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments.

But in the months and years since shock and awe I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, double-talk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions, and flat out lies. I have watched as the President and his administration changed the goals, redefined the reasons for going into Iraq, and fumbled the good will of the world and the focus necessary to catch the real killers of September 11th.
I believed the President when he said we were going to hunt down Bin Laden and all those responsible for the 9-11 murders. I believed President Bush when he said we would go after the terrorists and the nations that harbored them. I supported the President when he sent our troops into Afghanistan, after all, that’s where the Taliban was, that’s where al-Qaida trained the killers, that’s where Bin Laden was.

And I cheered when we quickly toppled the Taliban government, but winced when we let Bin Laden escape from Tora-Bora. Then, the talk turned to Iraq and I winced again.

The President says we have to stay the course
but what if it’s the wrong course?
If you roll the dice on your gut and you’re right, history remembers you well.

But, when your gut led you from one business failure to another, when your gut told you to trade Sammy Sosa to the White Sox ["The biggest mistake he ever made!"], and you use the same gut to send our sons and daughters to fight and die in a distraction from the real war on terror, then history will and should be unapologetic in its condemnation.

It was the wrong course. All of it was wrong. We are not on the road to victory. We’re about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear armed Iran in our wake. Bali was bombed. Madrid was bombed. London was bombed. And Bin Laden is still making tapes.
The liberal media didn’t create this reality, bad policy did.
After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush I’ve reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both. I couldn’t and didn’t vote for him in 2004. And I’m glad I didn’t.

I am open to the possibility that I’m all wet about everything I’ve just said. But I’m putting it out there, because I have to call it as I see it, and this is how I see it today. I don’t say any of this lightly. I’ve thought about this for months and months.

But eventually, the weight of evidence takes on a gravitational force of its own.
Katrina, Harriet Myers, The Dubai Port Deal, skyrocketing gas prices, shrinking wages for working people, staggering debt, astronomical foreign debt, outsourcing, open borders, contempt for the opinion of the American people, the war on science, media manipulation, faith based initives, a cavalier attitude toward fundamental freedoms-- this President has run the most arrogant and out-of-touch administration in my lifetime, perhaps, in any American’s lifetime.
It may be decades before we have the full picture
of how paranoid and contemptuous this administration has been.
This is painful to say, and I’m sure for many of you, painful to read.
But it’s impossible to heal the country until we’re willing to acknowledge the truth no matter how painful.

We have to wean ourselves off sugar coated partisan lies.
None of this, by the way, should be interpreted as an endorsement of the opposition party.

I don’t believe the Democrats
are offering an alternative. That means
we’re on our own to save this magnificent country.
The Democrats are equally bankrupt. This is the second crime of our age.

[I]ts times like these when America needs a vibrant opposition to check the power of a run-amuck majority party. It requires it. It doesn’t work without one. Like the high and low tides keep the oceans alive, a healthy, positive opposition offers a path back to the center where all healthy societies live.

Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything. In fairness, I don’t believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don’t know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. And that’s one of the many problems with the Democrats.

With a belated tip of the cap to Ralph Nader, the system is broken, so broken, it’s almost inevitable it pukes up the Al Gores and George W. Bushes. Greatness is always rare, but is basic competence and simple honesty too much to ask? Where are the Trumans and the Eisenhowers? Where are the men and women of vision and accomplishment?
Why do we have to settle for recycled hacks and malleable ciphers?
I believe, as I have said countless times, the two party system is on the brink of a second collapse. The two party system has always been clumsy and imperfect, but it has only collapsed once, in the 1850s, and the result was civil war. It’s currently running on spin, anger, revenge, and pots and pots and pots of money.

We’re being governed by paper-mache patriots; brightly painted red, white and blue, but hollow to the core. Both parties have mastered the cynical arts of media manipulation and fund raising. They’ve learned the lessons of Watergate and burn the tapes. They have learned to divide the nation for their own gain. They have demonstrated the willingness to exploit any tragedy for personal advantage.

The contempt they have for the American people is without parallel.
The United States of America is a gift to the world, but it has been badly abused and it’s rightful owners, We the People, had better step up to the plate and reclaim it before the damage becomes irreparable.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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