Monday, October 24, 2005


So, Republicans are testing out how they're going to deal with charges coming down later this week in the Plame affair.

Talking Point #1? Well, the prosecutor is going to try to come up with something so it won't look like he wasted two years. Anything. Even something stupid that doesn't matter. Sound familiar? My senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison: She hopes "that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars." (emphasis mine)


Let's recap: Kenneth Starr, special prosecutor for Whitewater "couldn't indict on a crime" and thus a president was impeached on "some perjury technicality."

Who's a flip flopper?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I do it sometimes, too, but...

So, I'm taking a break from doing loads of reading and writing to be annoyed at something I've noticed recently, from both me, the news media, friends, and various pundits.

Why is it that when we're talking about Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, we feel sufficiently close to her to refer to her by her first name? Only her first name. right now has a headline: "Condoleeza's Alabama Homecoming." Would we do that for anyone else in the administration? Donald to go to visit troops in Iraq. Dick to take lollipops from young children.

It's because she's a woman. I hear the objections already. 1) We don't call Margaret Spellings "Margaret" (or other women in the admin.) or 2) Condoleeza just has such a unique name, of course we use it.

1) Well, that's true. I think because Rice is the only woman in a major policy making, highly public role, her gender is particularly salient.

2) Well, what about other women to whom this happens?

I've even seen this about Harriet Miers: "Harriet blah blah" not "Miers etc etc." Now, did we see stuff like this about John Roberts? Or judges (umm... well, potential judges) anyway? I've, personally, never seen "Antonin to go to gay rights parade" or "Clarence seen at porn store."

This happens to Hillary Clinton, too, who we are free to call "Hillary."

Why, though, is this the case? Is it because we just feel less respect towards women in these high-power positions? Research would seem to indicate that when women are in more leaderly (is that a word?) roles, they are evaluated less favorably than men in similar roles (Eagly and Karau, too lazy to look up date). Do we feel more "familiarity" with them because they're women? This is interesting.

Anyway, I know this post contains no insightful analysis or interesting perspective. But, do think about it! And I'm going to get back to work--currently in the process of reading Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking by Elizabeth Schneider. The part I'm reading now is fascinating: about the different legal strategies used by feminists to draw attention to and define battering/abuse/gender violence and the struggles over naming and the implications coming along with different names. She talks about the role of "rights talk" in shaping identity and public discourse and expectations. But, of course, talking in terms of legal reform and rights can't really get at fundamental issues of social structure and gender inequality. Asking for a right is asking to have access to the system as it is, not asking to fundamentally alter it. Legal activism isn't sufficient for those sorts of goals.

She talks about different conceptions of domestic abuse and about how recent/not so recent attempts to project a gender symmetry ("women do this just as much as men"), or to paint victims as somehow pathological, or to think of it as have solely to do with issues of power blinds us to the gendered dimensions of power.

Where I am right now, she's discussing tension within the battered women's movement and within feminism more general between victimization and agency, arguing that that's really a false dichotomy: focusing on victimization ignores agency, but we can't act as if women are free agents in a vacuum, outside of social constraints and power relations.

Wow, I've gone on far too long and probably not made a whole lot of sense. I tend to ramble when something is interesting. Maybe later I'll post a more logical and coherent summarization of Schneider's arguments.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Get stuff done or die. Those are kind of my options this weekend. Wish me well.

Yeah, sorry I suck at updating.

I am so unbelievably busy. This weekend, not only am I determined to be productive, but I have absolutely no choice but to be productive.

First, before I can do anything, I have to clean. I can't work in the mess that is my room/desk at the moment. That's what I ought to be doing right now. But, it's amazing 1) how clean my room gets when I need to get homework done, and 2) how good a blogger I become when I need to be cleaning.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment at 12:30 and then I get to go see LaBoheme (go Lauren!) at 8pm. During the interim, I will concentrate on doing GRE math reviewing. On Saturday morning, bright and early at 8am, I have a practice GRE to take! Then, on Saturday, the rest of the whole honking lot of stuff to do begins:

--read book on Affirmative Action & begin to think about paper
--start reading loads of stuff for paper on fatherhood and welfare reform (may want to change topic?)
--start writing/write essay on a book I've already finished (thankfully!) that will probably be due in two or so weeks
--write short paper about advertising back in the day (which requires reading quite a lot of stuff that I didn't read when I was supposed to earlier in the semester for various reasons)
--decide definitively what graduate programs I am applying to
--write up Statements for each program (I already have statements for UT-Austin, Northwestern, and Wisconsin. They may suck, but they're done, and that works for me at the moment)
--decide who to ask for letters of recommendation and begin to gather needed materials to give to recommenders (resume, transcript, SoPs, etc)
--begin to fill out applications and gather supplemental materials--writing sample?! ahh!
--read for various classes next week
--read fascinating new book by political scientists about the Christian Right and American politics
--read exciting book Ema got from the library in which Jane Eyre is set in space. I'm totally not kidding.
--(but I may be kidding myself if I'm thinking that I'll actually get to those last two agenda items)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I am such a dork.

So--UTD decided that professors had to give all students midterm grades starting this semester (rather than just the freshmen). So, I decided that I'd check my midterm grades to see how I was doing. And, I see this B- in one of my classes. A class that I've been doing well in (or so I thought) and for which I had taken the midterm on Monday. Maybe, I thought, I really, truly screwed up on the test??

I was freaking out. I reasoned that it must be a mistake--there was no way I could have done that badly on the midterm. But it was still bothering me. In between classes all day, I have been ducking into computer labs to see if it had been changed because there was an error. In fact, I am sitting in a computer lab right now, having just finished my last class of the day.

I had seriously been thinking about what I was going to do had I actually bombed the midterm. This is a required class for my Gender Studies major. I contemplated dropping it. If it weren't offered next semester, I figured I could just do without the gender studies major and just stick to the sociology. Seriously, these contingency plans were going through my head. It would have ruined my GPA. If I stayed in the class, I was figuring out how to send out transcripts to prospective grad schools before grades were in at the end of this semester, so they would see my current GPA rather than my marred-by-midterm GPA.

So, I stop into the computer lab just now, check my email, and what do I find?

Just a warning: I was misinformed about when midterm grades were due. Ithought I had until noon on Friday to enter them, but the actualdeadline was 10 a.m. on Thursday. I could not possibly get all yourexams graded by then, so I have entered a "dummy" grade of B- forEVERYONE enrolled in the class.When you get your examinations back, you will have a more accuratereflection of your grade so far.
I feel so ridiculously relieved. I am such a dork.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Instead of writing a real post, or, you know, working on my paper that's due in the morning...

...I'll give you a quiz.

You Are Likely a First Born

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Pretty good predictor, I guess!
Anyway, I am now addicted to Rilo Kiley, just so you know. Back to work.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Midterm grades

So, I've gotten two of my midterm grades back so far and I'm happy with them.

I took my final midterm last night. I finished it, turned it in to the professor and walked out of the room. While waiting in the hall for a friend to finish, I happened to look over the test itself, noticing for the very first time that there were bonus questions on the back of the page. Bonus questions that I had not seen and thus had not answered. There were five points there, so I was darn well going to get them if I could. I sheepishly walked back into the room. I got a weird look from the professor and said, "I know I probably can't do it now, but I totally didn't see the back of the page." And--he let me go sit back down and do the bonus questions! I could have gone out in the hall, looked them up, and then gone back in and gotten them right (I was out there for a good five minutes). But, he (and he knew my name! and I never talk in that class! and it's kind of big!) let me do it again. Now I have this guilt that I should actually read for that class and start paying attention and participating. Just 'cause he was so nice.

In other midterm-related news, I got my grade back for one of my classes today. And, there was an error. The last page, where all of my partial credit, etc, was added up showed that I had missed a short answer question. I hadn't. I looked through the test like five times. Now, because of very generous bonus points, I still had over a 100 on the test (101, actually). But, darn it, I wanted those four points! So, I felt like a crappy person, standing in line to have a correction when I wanted to get a 105 instead of a 101, but, it IS four points, you know?

Anyway, I just was working out and am kind of gross, so I'm gonna go take a shower.

Edited to add: I know that last bit sounds a bit annoying... oh no! 101! how tragic! But, seriously... four points... may come in useful later if I don't do so hot on other assignments.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Reason #1,568 why google is cooler than dry highlighters*

I was looking for an article that is stored in an encyclopedia that one can only get access to through a paid subscription. So--when I googled what I needed, the first result was a page in that online encyclopedia. I click. It tells me to join for access. I click back to my search results and, in my computer illiterate style, wonder what "cached," a link right under the page I need, means**. I click on it. Apparantly google takes snapshots of pages when they crawl the web. And a cache is that snapshot. I have everything I need. I have cheated the system. I feel cool and special. And am now returning to writing my essay***.

*and those are ridiculously cool. Other than that, though, they have no relation to this post whatsoever.
**please do not ruin my illusions by commenting that any idiot would know what a cache is. I feel special in my unique knowledge at the moment, and I'd prefer to leave it that way, thank you very much.
***from which I was procrastinating by writing this post.

Monday, October 03, 2005

So, Roberts ditched the Gilbert & Sullivan stripes.

I'm kind of sad.

In better news: Roy Moore is running for Governor of Alabama, which should provide me with quite enough newstainment.

Move over chess people--

UTD, ever the nerdy school, can now boast, in addition to its number 1 ranked chess team, the third best debate team in the country.

Finishing ahead of UTD in the latest rankings were, in order of finish, Missouri State University and the University of Kansas. Rounding out the top 10 were the University of California – Berkeley, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa, Emporia State University, Miami University of Ohio and Dartmouth College.

I admit, I like going to a school where our top "sports" are chess and debate, even if I am myself am a pathetic slacker.

Of course, our football team is undefeated...

And, you know, nonexistant. (For now at least.)

But, seriously, congrats debaters! I only know a few of y'all, and even though you're weird, you make me proud(ish) to go to UTD.