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Monday
Jun112012

Republican Waddell Defends VA's Women's Strife Force PAC | Americans' Net Worth Pummets 

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Families’ median net worth fell nearly 40% between 2007 and 2010, plummeting to levels last seen in 1992, the Federal Reserve said in a report issued today. Writes WSJ:

Median net worth of families fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, a drop of 38.8%–the largest drop since the current survey began in 1989, Fed economists said Monday. Net worth represents the difference between a family’s gross assets and its liabilities. Average net worth fell 14.7% during the same three-year period.

The drop was driven in large part by the collapse of the housing market, leaving home owners with a median home equity of $75,000 in 2010, down from $110,000 in 2007.

Family incomes were also hard-hit with a drop in median family income to $45,800 in 2010 from $49,600 in 2007. Average income fell 11.1% to $78,500, down from $88,300.

Meanwhile, families worked to drive down their level of debt. Fewer families reported having debt of any kind in 2010 than three years earlier: 74.9% of families had some sort of debt in 2010, down from 77%. However, among families with some kind of debt in 2010, the median value of their debt was unchanged from three years earlier and the fraction of families with debt payments larger than 40% of their income remained nearly constant. Read on at WSJ.

Related: Bye bye McMansions. Hello renting and downsizing. That’s the main message of a new study by the Demand Institute division of the US Conference Board. 

Forbes contributor Males Poulos writes an excellent piece Memo to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama: Neither Sector is “Doing Fine”.

Women’s Strike Force: New Girl in Town

In late March, AOC reported on the amazing success of the newly-formed Virginia Women’s Strike Force PAC, formed after the debacle of VA’s proposed vaginal ultrasound bill, with the singular purpose of electing pro-choice candidates.

The Richmond Times Dispatch jumped on Strikeforce in late May, saying that while it claims to be bi-partisan, the group is really a who’s who of Democratic activists: Mame Reilley, a Democratic consultant who chaired the women’s caucus for the Democratic National Convention; Leslie Byrne, a former Democratic member of Congress; Kristen Amundsen, a Democratic state lawmaker from Mount Vernon; former Democratic Del. Robin Abbott; and more.

Republican Katherine Waddell, President of the Women’s Strike Force has called out the Richmond Times Dispatch, sharing not only her Republican credentials but a long list of Republicans who have joined Democrats and Independents in creating campaign coffers for pro-choice VA politicians.

Waddell has been a Virginia Republican for many years, serving as a  State Central Member, Virginia Federation of Republican Women for many years. WSF also boasts the support of outstanding former Virginia leaders Panny Rhodes, Jim Dillard, Bob Bloxom, Mary Helen Morgan and Jan Schar, writes Waddell.

Women’s Strike Force is a bi-partisan PAC that will recruit and support Republicans, Democrats and Independents, men and women who favor women’s reproductive rights. The WSF mission is to defeat Virginia state legislators who voted in favor of trans-vaginal ultrasound and personhood bills.

The Republican War on Women — with the help of select Democrats — has forgotten that both Republicans and Democrats have been unified for women’s reproductive rights for four decades. Simply stated, the girls are fighting back — and across party lines.

Saturday
Jun092012

In America's 13 Colonies, Catholic Bishops Had Little Religious Freedom | 'Documenta' Opens in Kassel, Germany

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Anne is reading …

About 200 people rallied in Philadelphia on Friday, demanding that the federal government stop what they perceive to be “morally offensive” health-care regulations. The protest — part of 150 rallies in America yesterday under the banner “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” — had symbolic meaning due to its location at Independence Hall, home of the Liberty Bell.

America’s Catholic bishops seek to define religious freedom as a series of right that permit them to reject a wide range of civic and government-protected liberties. Increasingly, the bishops demand a form of national theocracy, one that subordinates the rights of citizens and in particular, women citizens.

At issue yesterday is the Obama contraception mandate compromise, a decision that has ripped the Catholic Church in two.

Catholics stood proudly yesterday, embracing the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia as their symbol of religious freedom. In fact, when America was founded, Catholics were a tiny minority in the original 13 colonies. The first federal census of 1790 found America to have 3,939,000 citizens, with about 25,000 Catholics in residence.

In all but three of the original 13 original colonies, “Catholics were the subject of penal measures of one kind or another”,  writes Dr. Marian T. Horvat.

British settlers had no love of the Catholic Church in the least, fearing the very kind of theocracy in America that the Catholic bishops now propose. A theocracy is NOT what the founding fathers had in mind for America. Most of them were deists, believing in a more abstract infusion of spirituality throughout the universe. Turning to the 2010 book ‘America’s Four God’, the founding fathers believed in god #4.

‘Documenta’ in Kassel, Germany

The Daily Beast author Blake Gopnik writes that Kassel, Germany makes Peoria seem like Paris. The city may be no great shakes, but twice a decade for the past 57 years, Kassel’s Documenta festival is home to the world’s culturati.

This edition’s creative director is American Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who has worked mostly in Europe, has a passion for apples. Writes Gopnik:

For me, knowledge of Documenta’s world begins, as it should, with an apple. Or rather 372 of them, of every variety, meticulously drawn over many decades by a German priest and activist named Korbinian Aigner, who bred fruit while interned by the Nazis at Dachau. Packed onto two walls at Documenta, this nonartist’s apples, drawn in color and pretty much at life size, stand for artistry at the service of fact, a crucial constellation in Christov-Bakargiev’s cosmos.

The curator’s apple obsession, expresses itself in a bottle of apple juice offered to the press free of charge, inscribed with her name as its creator and with an allegorical label by the American artist Jimmie Durham.

The tart significance of said apple label isn’t lost on us at AOC. After all, in Latin the word apple means evil. Read on in AOC Sensual Rebel:Mysteries of the Garden of Eden’ | History Channel | In Latin Apple Means Evil.

Friday
Jun082012

Does Erykah Badu 'Flaming Lips' Video Speak A Universal Truth? | A Hustle Is A Hustle

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Erykah Badu, ‘The Flaming Lips’

At AOC we’re thinking carefully and closely about Erykah Badu’s dramatic and unsettling video with Wayne Coyne, a video that Erykah says violated the vision laid out to her and also one that was released with getting her approval on either the images of the lyrics, in a violation of her contract. Wayne Coyne doesn’t disagree.

In a long Facebook post, referenced by Think Progress, Erykah writes:

You showed me a concept of beautiful tasteful imagery( by way of vid text messages). I trusted that. I was mistaken…You begged me to sit in a tub of that other shit and I said naw. I refused to sit in any liquid that was not water. But Out of RESPECT for you and the artist you ‘appear’ to be, I Didn’t wanna kill your concept , wanted u to at least get it out of your head . After all, u spent your dough on studio , trip to Dallas etc.. Sooo, I invited Nayrok , my lil sis and artist, who is much more liberal ,to be subject of those other disturbing (to me ) scenes .

In terms of its artistry, I feel an honesty in the video that transcends the prurient interests of the Penthouse, Hustler crowd. The undercurrent of bloody, historical violence, rape and assault against black women comes through loud and clear with Wayne Coyne’s visuals and other sound effects.

The video is honest in terms of its confrontation. There is extreme beauty in Erykah Badu’s body and how she uses it in water. And there is violence and the suggestion of a participatory submission. Yes, that is unsettling but I lived through this unsettling issue of female submission last fall with a young woman I was ‘sponsoring’ artistically.

Watching her female vision move into the direction of submission and bondage — while she blamed feminism for the problems between men and women — I, too, felt violated. Of course I supported this young woman exercising her artistic rights, but when I am committed to ending the flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan, how could she promote this vision of the natural submission of women in my digital house. Now she’s into Japanese rope bondage, leaving me finished with her artistry for good.

I’m inspired to think further and write more on ‘The Flaming Lips’. There’s a truthfulness to this video that is searing.  ~Anne

A Hustle Is A Hustle

For Sister Margaret Farley Responsible Pleasure Is Not a Sin AOC Sensual Rebel

I understand the deep provocation of Erykah Badu’s controversial video and the juxtaposition of my Sensual Rebel column from yesterday.

Regular Sensual Rebel readers know that I suffered deep pain this winter, trying to help a Cathlic monk and his mission in Massachusetts. After warning him repeatedly that our collaboration would never fly, I agreed to write our 2 Ps in a Pod blog and promote his skin cream. The experience was devastating on every possible level for me, as I was judged by members of his flock and finally thrown completely onto the street by possible investors as a harlot. I can only say that I hope he got his money.

 …  Bro. Dennis asked me to remember him in my will a couple weeks after we began talking. I found that odd — given the small time we had known each other.  He told me I was like a true sister, a woman like so few he had known in life — and I believed his words because they were the first kind words about me from the Catholic boys club in decades. It’s been all downhill for me since Father Ben sided with the sexual predator who violated me as a young woman, and denied me communion as punishment for my sins.

At the end of the day, I was hustled and preyed upon by Bro. Dennis just as Badu says she was hustled. She participated in her hustle, as I participated in mine. Being artists, we seek men we can believe in. Often, the mission goes dreadfully wrong — yet there is a lesson there for learning. ~ Anne