Masculinity and Violence: School Shootings and Mass Shootings

In June of 2012, a man opened fire inside a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. He killed 12 people and injured 58 more. Only days ago, a man in Oregon opened fire in a mall and then killed himself. On Friday, December 14 it happened again, only this time it was at an elementary school where 27 people were killed, most of them children, in Newtown, Connecticut. Mass shootings like these make us wonder how people can simply take the lives of so many others. We think about motives, the shooters complete disrespect for human life, and most often we cannot think of how to describe such atrocities without using words such as monstrous, horrendous and sick and we wish something like this would never happen again. Mass shootings and school shootings are rare, but leave us mortified every time. Many of us also remember other school shootings, some of the more high profile ones being the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, and the Columbine High shootings in 1999. There is an overall pattern in terms of both school shootings and mass shootings; the perpetrator is almost always male, and is often emasculated in one way or another.  [Read more...]

When Will We See a Female U.S. President?

Even though the 2012 presidential election was only last month, speculations concerning the next election in 2016 are brewing. According to an interesting article from ABC News, a majority of voters (57 percent) have stated that they would back Hillary Clinton in the next election. As noted, the article does mention that Clinton’s popularity and approval would depend to a great deal on the candidate running against her, but in terms of voting patterns, we notice that there’s quite the divide based on gender, age, and ethnicity when it comes to supporting Clinton.

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AZ Legislature Takes Anti-Choice to a New Level

In case the rest of the world has any doubt that Arizona is full of gun-slinging, ignorant assholes, one look at the state legislature’s agenda should clear up any confusion.  Several anti-choice bills have been introduced at the legislature in the past few weeks, and they make the already draconion abortion restrictions in our state look like a cake walk compared to what is potentially coming down the pike.  Let me summarize the worst offenders in the bunch.

HB2416
HB2416 would introduce several new restrictions on abortion access, including:

  • Expands the definition of abortion clinic from those that perform surgical abortion to also include those that dispense medications which induce abortion without surgery.
  • Requires Arizona courts to appoint guardians ad litem for minors who are asking courts to waive the state parental consent requirement.
  • The bill expands required components of informed consent to include mandatory ultrasound and “auscultation” (using a stethoscope to listen to fetal organs, including the heart).
    - Both components must be provided at least one hour before medication is administered or the surgical procedure is provided.
    - Must offer the patient to view the ultrasound and to hear the heartbeat, etc.
    - Must offer to provide a detailed explanation of what the ultrasound depicts.
    - Must offer the patient a print version of the ultrasound.
    - Patient must certify in writing that the ultrasound and auscultation were offered, and whether she accepted or declined the offer.
  • Bans use of “telemedicine.”

There are so many problems with this bill it’s hard to know where to start the tirade. For starters, how many pills are considered a form of surgery? Can you imagine if a doctor had to have admitting rights at a hospital if they wanted to prescribe Viagra? The men of this state would be rioting in the streets! What if they needed to have admitting rights to prescribe allergy medicine, or insulin? I think you get my drift. Taking a pill is not the same as having surgery. It’s a total no brainer. [Read more...]

Make Over the American Marriage

The big news from the release of The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2010 was that marriage is becoming a less important fact of American life. Worse, for the pro-marriage crowd that includes the groups behind the study, The Center for Marriage and Families and The National Marriage Project, it’s no longer just the left-leaning, latte-sipping cultural elite who are losing faith.

Class is no longer a reliable predictor of marital attitudes. Less educated Americans are now abandoning the institution of marriage at the same rate as their more educated brethren.

Conservatives, both fiscal and social, predictably see this as a sign of the apocalypse. If the good old Middle Class can’t embrace an institution as unapologetically bourgeois as marriage, what will become of the children? That is, after all, the biggest and best argument supporters of marriage have: American children do best growing up with two married parents living in the same household.

Fair enough. I’m not math-minded enough to argue with their statistics (though others are). The study has a much bigger problem: the decline in religious observance—also much lamented by the right—has left the National Marriage Project leaning harder on marriage’s secular and civic virtues. But they haven’t realized those virtues demand a different gospel. [Read more...]

Ho, ho . . . Hell no!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA62dL_xLng[/youtube]

Teaching kids to believe in Santa means teaching them to trust strangers who break into your home, and it reinforces class differences by telling kids that Santa rewards the “good kids” with presents.  If your kids don’t get anything in their stockings because you’re broke, guess Santa’s telling your kids they’re not good enough.  I say “hell no” to that!

Kagan Kerfuffle Exposes the Subtle Class Bias of Military Recruiting

John McCain’s editorial on the Kagan nomination got me thinking.  At issue, her move as dean of Harvard Law School denying military recruiters access to the campus Career Services Office.  McCain cites one beleaguered recruiter complaining that without this access, they were “relegated to wandering the halls in hopes that someone will stop and talk to us.”

Funny, recruiters have no problem meeting recruiting targets by wandering the halls (or streets, parks, gas stations, malls, and Wal-Marts) in low-income communities cruising for teenagers to sign on the dotted line.  Of course, there is less competition in this arena than in the post-grad job market of a Harvard law student, whose student body emerges equipped with a world-class education, awesome earning potential, and is still majority white, almost 70%.  McCain bristles at the thought of “white-shoe law firms” recruiting students, but not “one of its great institutions, the U.S. military.”

The damage done to military recruiting efforts by Kagan’s decision is a chimera, but the opportunity to resurrect a tired (and frankly a little pathetic) narrative of God & Country was too hard for Senate conservatives to resist.  When the best and the brightest (read: richest and whitest) don’t roll out the red carpet for military recruiters, it is an insult to the pedigree of military-political careerism and chickenhawks everywhere.  And John McCain won’t stand for it.