Charging Rape Victims for Evidence Collection: addition

(This is Jender’s story, but I’m putting in an addition while much of England sleeps.  It’s important to get this one right.   JJ)

Where? Wasilla, Alaska. The only place in Alaska that did this. And it did it under Palin. And the only way they could get it to change was to pass a statewide bill banning it. Really. Now tell me again how Palin’s some kind of feminist victory.

Addition:  Apparently Palin’s denied this story (possibly the basis for the first comment below), but further investigation does not support her denial.  See Huffington Post here.

Whoopi Goldberg Nails It

The women of The View just gave McCain an awesomely hard time, asking things everyone should be asking and really working to make him answer (though not always succeeding). My favourite bit, though, was Whoopi Goldberg demonstrating the power of a good reductio ad absurdum. Discussing Roe V Wade, McCain said (after Whoopi pressed him for clarification) he would appoint justices who interpret the constitution as the founders intended it. Without missing a beat, she asked if that meant a return to slavery. Go Whoopi! I want her moderating the debates. I’m serious.

“Certain Death”

As you may know, the National Weather Service has said that certain death  awaits those who try to ride out Ike in one to two story houses in Galveston.  The  storm surge is expected to be 20 feet and there’s talk of an additional 5 feet.  There are also many colonies of wild animals, but the pelicans flew north yesterday.

About 70% of Galveston has evacuated, which leaves way too many people there.   It is getting harder and harder to get out as the  waters rise.  I’ll be watching  it on TV for as long as I can, but it is very sad.  We spend most weekends there, and it is very hard to see a place we know so well be largely destroyed.

Houston itself is about 50 miles inland from Galveston.  Many of those 50 miles are dead flat, so the  storm surge threatens the east of the city.  But most Houstonians will experience only rain, winds and, if they occur, tornadoes.  The rain will cause a lot of flooding, but nothing like the storm surge, which may well put Galveston completely under water.

This is out in many venues:

As a gigantic Hurricane Ike steamed through the Gulf of Mexico toward the Texas coast, officials in America’s fourth-largest city made a bold decision: Instead of fleeing, residents here would stare down the storm.

Homeowners should board up windows, clear the decks of furniture and stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food. But whatever they do, officials warned, residents should not flock to the roadways en masse, creating the same kind of gridlock that cost lives – and a little political capital – when Hurricane Rita threatened Houston in 2005.

“It will be, in candor, something that people will be scared of,” Houston Mayor Bill White warned. “A number of people in this community have not experienced the magnitude of these winds.”

Some very kind people offered to shelter us at LSU, but traveling is difficult now and we are not in the storm surge.  They’ve switched to offering to come and help do repairs when it is over.  No one around us is leaving, so this is not a idiosyncratic decision.  At least a million people have to leave their homes, and it could get quite awful if we 4 million who are relatively safer try to get on the roads.

You can keep up with developments from 3-4 (for as long as they last) Houston stations here.

Many, many thanks for all the good wishes, on this blog and elsewhere.

Treating Palin Like a Man

In just one day, two people have sent me to very different articles suggesting that we should treat Palin like a man, and offering very different interpretations of this.

First, Joel Stein.

But I think whatever wave of feminism we’re on in 2008 demands that I objectify Palin. Just as Obama Girl, JFK’s teenage admirers and anyone who’s been within 100 yards of Mitt Romney can swoon without implying those guys’ ineffectualness, I think women are now taken seriously enough that I should be able to admit to noticing a female political leader’s hotness without being accused of sexism.

Next, Katha Pollitt.

The more time we spend on dippy ruminations–how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?–the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:
§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists’ babies?
§ You say you don’t believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you’ve spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?
§ If you didn’t try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?
§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?
§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

Thanks to Sally and Jender-Parents for the links.