Archive for the ‘WWSD?’ Category

Reports from the online battlefield (aka WWSD, part three)

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Surely, my Shirley would get carpal tunnel from all the furious typing. I have the sorest right wrist in town right now. Here’s why.

1. The original version of a letter to the Minneapolis StarTribune:

I am writing to let you know of my strong opposition to the provision in HF 7/SF 159, the proposal to abolish local government mandates, that would repeal the Local Government Pay Equity Act (LGPEA). This common sense legislation, on the books since 1984, is still necessary to ensure that Minnesota women are paid fairly for their work.

I have heard that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce feels this law is “archaic,” but research by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center on Women & Public Policy, found that women in our state are still earning less than their male counterparts. Their 2010 report showed that white women earn only 76 cents for every dollar earned by a white male, while Native American, African American, and Hispanic American women earn far less–69, 61, and 51 cents for every dollar earned by a white Minnesota man.


Clearly, pay discrimination is not a thing of the past! The LGPEA needs to remain a part of Minnesota law to ensure that Minnesota women receive fair compensation.

Women are now the majority of the American workforce, due in part to the recession’s disproportionate toll on men. In simpler terms, women’s paychecks are crucial to families’ survival. Repealing this law takes money out of women’s wallets, which in turn hurts Minnesota families. I urge you to speak out against this legislation and to vote against any change to LGPEA.

The printed version elided non-white women’s salaries into the words “far less.” I am CERTAIN that the Strib did not MEAN to make me look like I don’t care about women who DON’T LOOK LIKE ME. Oh, no. What a racist assumption that would be. Geez.

2. Posted in response to the Minnesota Independent‘s article “Minnesota GOP introduces three more bills to ban state funding for abortion”:

Three more bills? I guess the jobs are for the clerks writing out all these separate pieces of paper. All joking aside, Doe v. Gomez is a legal decision based on the inherent unfairness of denying poor women access to a legal medical procedure that is available to women of means. The MCCL feels comfortable going after the “choices” of poor women, because they’re unlikely to come to the capitol to make a big stink about it. This is economic discrimination, with women’s lives on the line. I’m disgusted by it.

3. Another response to a MnIndy article (I get all of my news from the great Andy Birkey), “Kline, Bachmann sponsor bill that could allow hospitals to refuse emergency abortions”:

It is absolutely beyond my comprehension why our Congress would propose such a bill ANYTIME, not simply in a session that was supposed to be dedicated to solving economic problems. This “conscience clause” gives rights to a fetus (not a “baby”) that are denied to an adult woman. It’s an appalling bill.

4. Working on a piece for MPR News, so watch this space! After I get a wrist strap and some Advil.

HR 3 is still a terrible bill, and here’s why (aka What Would Shirley Do? part deux)

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

The word is that Kristen Schaal, better known in my house as a woman who has actually touched Jemaine Clement (soooo jealous), ripped into the dreadful No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act so soundly on The Daily Show that the “forcible rape” business was dropped. Do we cheer? Tell ourselves that a MoveOn petition worked? Let us return to the question I posed two days ago: what would Shirley Chisholm do?

From Unbought & Unbossed, her 1970 memoir:
No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women will have them; they always have and always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for rich women while the poor women go to quacks?
Shirley isn’t here to comment on Kermit Gosnell, the murderous quack who preyed upon impoverished Philadelphia women, many of them women of color. But in pre-Roe America, she knew all about dangerous, unlicensed abortionists, and about the kinds of clients you were likely to find there. It is ethically wrong to prevent poor women from accessing a legal medical procedure that is readily available to women of means. What Shirley would do is speak this truth to anyone and everyone who will hear it.

THAT’s what Shirley would do.

Hey Democrats! Stop confusing enemies with friends (aka What Would Shirley Do?)

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

If you know me, you know that I come from a long line of old-fashioned Minnesota liberals who put the “farmer” and “laborer” in the name of our state’s Democratic Party. My Grandma Rose revered FDR like a god. My own political shero, Shirley Chisholm, wasn’t treated wonderfully by the party back in the day, but she remained convinced that reform from within was the only way to go. In her spirit (call it What Would Shirley Do?), I felt moved to respond to a new campaign of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Since all of my readers are well-informed, I don’t need to tell you that the newly introduced bill HR 3 is a disaster for women’s rights, essentially codifying the Hyde Amendment into federal law while gently peeling away what qualifies as “rape” for woman needing a funding exemption. You know: HR 3 is bad, bad, bad. So when you receive a message like this one from the DCCC, asking for you to sign a petition called “Rape is Rape: Denounce Republicans’ Extremist Anti-Choice Legislation,” you think it’s something good to support. From the petition:

House Republicans are proposing to drastically narrow the definition of rape that qualifies for health care coverage. H.R. 3 would redefine rape in these cases to only include “forcible rape,” a definition that rules out a woman being drugged, children who are victims of statutory rape, and many date rape scenarios.

No matter what Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans want to call it, rape is rape — women should have the right to health care following a rape.

Fightin’ words, you think! It’s about time, especially since you haven’t quite trusted the Democratic Party since the debacle of Stupak-Pitts. You’re probably kinder to them than I am, as I don’t trust them at all since that mess. For good reason, as it turns out. Several Democrats are co-sponsors of HR 3, including Minnesota’s Collin Peterson. So why am I being asked to lash out at Republicans for this misogynist measure when there are DEMOCRATS sponsoring it? WHY?

I went to the DCCC’s Facebook page to pose the question. Politely, I thought.

Collin Peterson, a Democrat, is a co-sponsor of this bill. Get his name off this bill and I will give my name to your petition. Otherwise you are hypocrites.

Hey, the truth hurts. As I watched the flurry of messages on the page, I saw my comment get a thumbs-up. Nice. Others ignored my question, so I tried to post it again. This time I was blocked. For telling the truth? Did they think the photo of blonde kindergartener on my Facebook profile meant I was a Mama Grizzly plant? Seconds later, my comment was gone.

A few days ago, I friend whom I cherish asked me to please, please tell her if I had any difficulties or problems with our relationship. She trusted me, she said, and I told her that I felt the same way. For any relationship (even one with a political party) to thrive, there needs to be respect and honesty on both sides.

So now What Would Shirley Do? It’s hard to say, especially since she didn’t have Twitter at her disposal. I’ll mull it over while I retweet the hell out of @DCCC…..