Good news for the ladies this Monday morning!

First up, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission ruled that employers who provide comprehensive prescription coverage must include birth control on the list of approved medications or be liable for a sex discrimination lawsuit. According to the Detroit News:

Small businesses that offer comprehensive prescription coverage but fail to cover birth control are violating the state's civil rights act and could be forced to change their policies under a ruling Monday by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

The commission agreed that those employers are discriminating against women by failing to pay for birth control, which studies show most women will use in their lifetimes and costs employers about $1.43 a month per employee.

The ruling paves the way for employees who work in businesses with less than 15 employees to challenge them to cover conception if they cover other prescription drugs. If they refuse, the employee could file a sex discrimination complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to force a change. A small business owner could appeal that decision to a circuit court.
The fact that employers are only out $1.43 per employee per month to cover the cost of birth control amazes me. The biggest roadblock to extending the Michigan law to small businesses (firms with 15 or more employees have been required to cover birth control in Michigan for a while now) has been the argument it is simply cost prohibitive to provide coverage for all medications. As the MCRC makes clear, even if all 14 employees are women using birth control, small businesses will only spend about $240 per year on contraception coverage. Ortho-Tricycline costs about $50 per 28-pill pack--without prescription coverage, the average women will pay $600 per year out of pocket for birth control.

And in even better news, as it affects women outside of the Mitten, the FDA has finally stopped caving to political pressure and approved Plan B for over the counter use. Of course, the ruling stipulates that only women aged 18 and over can procure Plan B without a prescription. Although, I'm willing to celebrate half a victory since they seem to be few and far between these days.

Needless to say, the Concerned Women for Patriarchy America are outraged that the FDA has "overstepped it's authority" by approving the drug for OTC use. In other news, the CWPA is similarly outraged that:

"Overstepped it's authority?" Methinks the CWPA needs a primer on the purpose of the Food and Drug Administration.

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annamaria at 7:27 AM

0 spoke


Friday Random Ten: No Time for Commentary!

Sorry, totally running late this morning and working off my very limited mp3 collection on my computer at work. Very limited. Also hidden in about eighteen subfiles so that only a really ambitious snooper would realize I'm wasting precious server space on roughly 300 songs. I'm actually impressed by how random the work collection is; not sure what work-related activity required Grandmaster Flash, but I'm glad it's there.

  1. To Hell With Poverty - Gang of Four
  2. Star - Belly
  3. Crazy on You - Heart
  4. Heavenly - The Dandy Warhols
  5. Rocks - Primal Scream
  6. Sit Down By The Fire - The Pogues
  7. The Message - Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five
  8. This Is Radio Clash - The Clash
  9. Looks Just Like the Sun - Broken Social Scene
  10. This Is Our Emergency - Pretty Girls Make Graves

Rich was also kind enough to send me some new songs off the upcoming Decemberists album. I'd post them here, but it's really not worth the effort since Capitol has been handing out cease and desist letters like candy. I'll just gloat and tell you that they're all fabulous (with one minor exception, but I think that song will even grow on me eventually) and that you'll love the album come October. Of course, you could also pre-order the CD through Amazon by simply clicking on the cute album cover at the top of this post.

Happy shopping! And don't forget to post your random tens!


annamaria at 9:40 AM

5 spoke


Finally, an abstinence pledge I can sign

There appears to be some confusion amongst the fundies about certain intricacies of gay marriage, so allow me to use this visual representation to make a few things clearer for our logic-challenged friends:

Photo courtesy of Derek Goodwin Photography

This is a happily married gay couple.

This is a sheep.

I know that upon initial examination, it is difficult to discern any differences between the two, so I’ll do my best clarify:

It looks like Janet Rowland, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Colorado, needs a little help in differentiating humans from other animals. In an interview on PBS earlier this year, Janet had this to say about gay marriage:

"But I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle," she said. "That doesn't make it marriage. Some people have group sex," she said. "She we allow two men and three women to marry? Should we allow polygamy with one man and five wives? For some people, the alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?"

Janet dear, look at the above photographs, would you? Then read the four bullet points beneath the pictures until it sticks in your little brain that only fundies confuse people with sheep. In order to assuage Janet’s fears of the eventual slippery-slope to bestiality that will be logical outcome of gay marriage, I’m proposing the following campaign: all progressive minded humans (not sheep!) should pledge to avoid sleeping with and/or marrying any barnyard animals in the event that gay marriage should become legal. In order to spread the word to Ms. Rowland and those like her, I’m proposing the following pledge be sent to her via email [her email address is inactive, I'm still searching for a good one] or regular mail at P.O. Box 20,000 Grand Junction, CO 81502-5010

Ms. Rowland,

I read with great interest your comments regarding gay marriage during an appearance on PBS’s “Colorado State of Mind.” I agree that sexual relations between humans and non-human animals is an abomination (to co-opt some of your language), and that we as a society must do whatever we can to prevent the sexual abuse of animals. I’ve never seen any poll numbers on how many Americans believe bestiality to be sinful, but I can state with confidence that they must outnumber those who oppose gay marriage and gay rights. So, in order to alleviate the fears of the anti-bestiality crowd, while still recognizing that gay humans should and do have rights, I am starting a campaign to have all decent Americans pledge to abstain from sex with non-humans.

I, __________________________, do hereby pledge to forswear and abstain from sexual relations with non-humans as a result of the recognition of marriage rights for gay and lesbian Americans. This disavowal of bestiality should also be construed as a promise to renounce any intentions of marrying non-human animals.

Once a sufficient number of people have responded with their abstinence pledges, I trust you will back off from rhetoric equating loving gay couples with horrific acts of violence against sheep. I also trust that your final argument against gay marriage, the slippery slope to bestiality, will be laid to rest.

Yours in peace,

I'll let you know if I get a response.

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annamaria at 12:00 PM

3 spoke


We interrupt this brief work-related hiatus to bitch about work-related things

We are back to my job being a complete and total pain in my ass. I attended an all-morning, no breaks allowed meeting yesterday to discuss changes to one of our departmental programs—the program for which I am solely responsible in my office. I had the pleasure of sitting next to the woman whose streamlining suggestion included doing away with my job. Remind me to send her some silk flowers to go with the utterly fake smile I kept flashing at her during the meeting. Luckily, all three of my managers (Hello, top-heavy corporate structure!) were in attendance and promptly shot down her suggestions, so my job is safe and now comes with the added security of doing four times the amount of work than I currently do. Basically, my main responsibility is to coddle and cater to Major American Automotive Industry (MAAI) Executives, which has be interacting with various MAAI departments across the globe doing order fulfillment, logistics and ass-kissing. None of this will change; what will change is that my select group of 50 MAAI Executives has ballooned to 250—all of whom will demand personal attention as if they are the only person blessed with a corner office.

Here’s a little bit of insight into my psyche: I have no respect for authority. It is a daily struggle to keep from telling people to fuck off, particularly when those people try to tell me what to do. I also don’t like repetitive questions, of which I am guaranteed many when the new program rolls out in a few months. On top of that, I don’t like being put in a position where I have to break rules or do someone a favor, unless I will personally benefit in some way. I’m a selfish bitch like that. I can foresee many attempts to get me to work around the system in the near future; couple this with repetitive requests and lack of respect for authority, and I’m seriously concerned that the addition of 200 new executives is going to break me. Or that I might break someone. All I need is one comment from my manager about my tits and the way that mere fabric sometimes has trouble containing them, and I think I might lose it.

So…resume is updated and job searching has commenced. Unfortunately, this is Michigan which has had one of (if not the) lowest job creation rates in the country. Since Person X has been beating off potential employers with a stick lately, maybe she can throw one my way. I’m emailing you the resume right now, girl.


annamaria at 12:56 PM

8 spoke


Friday Random Ten: Still with Commentary!

The ghetto prince of gutter poets

Hooray for Fridays! This has been the week from hell. I've had a headache for the past three days, everyone is annoying me, and I just found out that the office that our department is moving to has a no open-toed or heels over one inch shoes policy. What the fuck is that? Are they afraid I'm going to drop a file folder on my big toe and make a worker's comp claim? Maybe my delicate little ankles will turn on the tacky indoor/outdoor carpeting if I wear the same three-inch heels I've been wearing without incident for ten years. Looking through my closet, I realized that I own exactly two pairs of closed-toe shoes and one pair of flats. Usually, an excuse to go shoe shopping is a boon, but the thought of buying loafers is just too unbearable. I'm not sorry to admit that my first thought was that I need to update my resume, because I simply cannot work under these conditions.

I didn't have time to upload mp3s for all the songs on the FRT today. If I'm feeling ambitious this evening, I'll update and include some songs for you all to listen to. In the meantime, enjoy my inane ramblings and pointless commentary on these fine tracks:
  1. Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake
    I refuse to be embarassed by my love of this song. Not the even slightest inkling of shame or remorse.

  2. Won't U Please B Nice - Nellie McKay
    I like to think of this as the Concerned Women for America love song; no one hates men more than anti-feminists.

  3. Use It - The New Pornographers
    As if I need another reason to move to Canada. The plan has always been Toronto, but if moving to Vancouver means that I might get to mingle with Carl Newman and the lovely Neko Case, I'll consider it.

  4. Red, Red Wine - Neil Diamond
    When I picked up Rich from the airport last month, the first thing we did was put Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits in my car's CD player. I've already got more than enough reasons to hate the (post-Clash) British white boy raggae movement, but listening to the original version of this song makes me want to hunt down all the members of Ub40 and skin them alive.

  5. Tyrone - My Morning Jacket.
    Oh, this song. I was obsessed with the Erykah Badu original in college, and surprisingly, I don't hate this version. I was prepared to hate it, and was actually a little disappointed at how much I didn't hate it. It's a little karaoke-like in its faithfulness to the original, but it's still a little dirty and irreverant, so I'll over look that.

  6. The Tain - The Decemberists
    This song might actually be longer than the other nine songs on this list combined. I'm totally at a loss as to how to comment on this, there's just too much going on to discuss it in four sentences or less. I'll just say that when Colin Meloy sings, "She's a salty little pisser, with your cock in her kisser," I blush for him.

  7. Don't Feel Like Dancing - The Scissor Sisters
    Oh, the irony, it's killing me. Get it, it's a dance song, and it's called Don't Feel Like Dancing? If I didn't have a massive girl crush on Ana Matronic (our names are so similar--it's fate!), my head would hurt from all the eye-rolling. I'll forgive the title since the beat makes me want to shake my ass. ;)

  8. I'm So Bored With the U.S.A. - The Clash
    It's funny anecdote time! Apparently, Mick Jones wrote a version of this song called I'm So Bored With You about his ex-girlfriend; Joe Strummer, believing that break-up songs had no place in punk rock, re-styled it as an anti-American anthem.

  9. Redemption Song - Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer
    I'd write something here, but I'm too busy crying.

  10. Signing Emo - MC Lars
    The woeful tale of Marty, a major label scout, and his hapless quest to capitalize on stupid teenagers who actually like emo. I will forever love MC Lars for appropriating the name Hearts That Hate before an actual emo band could use it.

Your turn! Also, feel free to share the ludicrous wardrobe-related regulations from your corporate overlords to make me feel better.


annamaria at 9:07 AM

6 spoke


We're all queer now

Moderate liberals love civil unions because it's an effective counter-argument to the belief that marriage is so exalted a state it must not to be sullied by the presence of “teh gays”; if we can create a separate, though ostensibly equal[1], institution to mirror marriage, but without the extra special steeped-with-history-and-glorious-meaning name, gays and lesbians can live their lives and have a few rights without troubling our would-be moral martinets. Sounds nice, doesn't it? You give up hope of the 1,000+ federal benefits immediately bestowed upon (straight) marriage, and in return, we'll let you file joint (state) taxes, offer minimal estate protection from homophobic relatives, and be secure in the knowledge that you'll have to register your union (for a fee, of course) in every jurisdiction where you will ever live.

Amanda at Pandagon has a brilliant analysis of the classist and racist implications of the culture war: her argument, briefly, is that attempts to retroactively[2] define traditional marriage as the union between one working man and his homemaker wife with their adorable little tow-headed tots are based on bigotry toward the poor, people of color, gays, and anyone who doesn't fit into a narrowly-circumscribed definition of a "real family." Even I, a heterosexual, middle-class, white woman, am an object of scorn because I refuse to allow anyone to define my family for me; I don't want children, I'll never change my last name, and if I ever marry, I can guarantee I'll never be a wife. Should I choose to live my life with a partner (of either sex) without the benefit of a marriage license, I can look forward to costly legal fees to secure powers of attorney, medical proxies, estate planning, joint ownership of property, health insurance, ad nauseum. I can look forward to spending thousands of dollars to get one-third of the rights and privileges that would be immediately and unquestionably conferred to me for the bargain basement price of $20 with a marriage license.

I've argued loudly and frequently that the debate over gay rights isn't about Leviticus, it's about lasciviousness. The far Right embodies an increasingly fascistic worldview that seeks to turn over to self-appointed moral arbiters decisions about what we do with our bodies. And for the straight young things out there who think you're immune, I've got news for you, baby: we're all queer now. From birth control and condoms to tattoos and piercings, our rights concerning our own bodies are under attack. Even something as banal as how many roommates you have is under siege:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project filed a lawsuit today on behalf of a family that was denied a permit to live in the city of Black Jack because of a law that prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by “blood, marriage or adoption.

“The City of Black Jack’s behavior is both pompous and unconstitutional,” said Brenda Jones, Executive Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. “Black Jack’s attempt to criminalize people’s choice to live together as a family has earned international ridicule for Missouri.”

Fondray Loving and Olivia Shelltrack live in a 2,300-square-foot home in Black Jack, a suburb of St. Louis, with their three children. Because Loving is not the biological father of Shelltrack’s oldest child, the city has denied the family an occupancy permit for the home that they purchased. The family now faces fines of up to $500 every week for living in their home without an approved occupancy permit.

Fondray Loving [3] has been acting as a father to their oldest child, Alexia, since she was two years old (she's now 15) and the couple have other two children together. For thirteen years, Fondray and Olivia have lived as a family, but for the city of Black Jack, their love for and commitment to one another is nothing without a marriage license. And since the law limits household sizes based on relation by “blood, marriage or adoption” you can forget about spending your golden years like the Golden Girls; those brazen hussies would be drummed out of Black Jack. Remember folks, it's not just marriage they're after, it's your right to define for yourself what constitutes a family.

Currently, nineteen states have amended their constitutions to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. The amendments, however, all have eerily similar language: the second clause always denies the recognition of any situation that approximates marriage. While moderate liberals and conservatives of all stripes will tell you that these only apply to civil unions, not domestic partnerships, Alaska and Wisconsin have already declared open season on domestic partner benefits for state and municipal employees and Ohio batterers found in their gay marriage ban a convenient loophole to get out of felony assault charges. Rhea County, Tennessee nearly banned not only gay marriage but gays in 2004, introducing legislation to criminalize homosexuality. It starts with gays and lesbians because people are squeamish about anal sex and dildos [4], but it ends when all of us queers are neutralized.

[1] We all know how well separate but equal worked out.
[2] You should really read this book: Marriage, a History
[3] Loving vs. The City of Black Jack could not be more appropriately named; in 1967, the Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws and interracial marriage bans unconstitutional. Ironically, Fondray Loving and Olivia Shelltrack are also an interracial couple.
[4] And this already affects us straight ladies: Georgia, Alabama and Texas all have laws banning the sale of sex toys—even if you're married!


annamaria at 9:01 PM

7 spoke

I want one!

Thanks to Bitch, Ph.D., these lovely t-shirts are now available for purchase--they're perfect for reminding the fundies that if they really cared about preventing abortions, they'd stop haranguing women for taking responsibility (and, dare I say it, ownership) for our own fertility, and start supporting Plan B. I think I'll wear mine to the pharmacy when I pick up my pills, to the OB for my annual exam* and Friday dinner with my churchy siblings. Definitely Friday dinners, since the shirt is bound to get me banned and I can actually start having fun on Friday nights again...
*My OB's office is in one of the swankiest neighborhoods in Metro Detroit, and I am routinely the only woman in the lobby who isn't bloated with child. Going there always serves as a gentle reminder of why my birth control prescription is worth a few moments with the business end of a speculum.


annamaria at 11:30 AM

0 spoke

We interrupt this brief work-related hiatus for some mindless fluff

There's a nasty summer cold/flu/virus thing going around the office and, as per usual, I'm the only one who has managed to escape it. My propensity toward health and heartiness should be a good thing, but I've had enough of being the only person who shows up to work consistently. I think I'm going to fake being sick very soon, just to get some time off.

Enough about work, though, we've got some Project Runway to discuss! Check this out:

How hot is this outfit? Seriously. When I saw that Michael was to design a look for Pam Grier, I nearly pissed myself in excitement. And when the lovely Nazri (and her phenomenal legs) came strutting down the runway in magenta hot pants (hot pants, people!) I knew we had a winner. As an aside, I've realized that I have more interest in making sure that Nazri stays on the show than most of the designers. She's simply stunning, and certainly much more interesting than designers like Jeffrey, who attempts to be edgy but only succeeds in being a douchebag.

Hey, did you know that Tim Gunn has a blog? Reading it has become my Thursday morning ritual, particularly since only Tim Gunn would call Tim Gunn an old fart.


annamaria at 9:53 AM

2 spoke


Friday Random Ten: Now with Commentary!

I haven't done a Friday Random Ten in months! In order to celebrate my triumphant return to rock snobbery, I've decided that from now on (or at least as long as I feel like doing this) I'm going to list the songs and comment on their general coolness, how much I like a particular lyric, or regale you with stories of my debauched youth and the part that song plays in my fall from innocence.

This is either the best idea I've ever had, or by far the worst.

1. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
I had this song for like five months before I ever really paid attention to it, and then one day it just clicked. I think I listened to it on repeat for days before I finally got it out of my system. Now, after having avoided it for a few months, I think I'm back on the wagon. Damn, what a great song.

2. Enrique Iglesias' Mole - Clem Snide
Oh, Eef Barzelay; you're like my dream friend. I want to drink expensive imported beers and smoke American Spirit cigarettes with you while we discuss the social significance of the facial deformities of minor pop acts with creepy fathers. And while I might gently reprimand you for incorrectly placing the apostrophe after the last 's' as if our Latin friend's surname were a plural rather than singular noun, it's only because I want you to be the best person you can be, Eef. I rebuke because I love.

3. Yuri G - PJ Harvey
Only Polly Jean can make a paean to a Cosmonaut sound like the sexiest lesbian anthem you've ever heard.

4. Sweet Lord in Heaven - Doughty
How did we miss this during the Songs About Heroin thread? Doughty reminds me of Ted on Queer as Folk--so much cooler when tweaked out than sober. This song is redeemed only because it introduces the phrase "Cobain Sarcoma" into the common (okay, my) parlance as a euphemism for heroin addiction.

5. Mushaboom - Feist
I tried so hard to hate this song. Knowing that Feist inspired the creepy and awful Sloan song The Other Man makes me want to avoid her no matter how cute she is. But all of my defenses are worn down the moment she makes "Old dirt road" last for about seventeen beats. And the video is so adorable I can't even stand it.

6. The Concept - Teenage Fanclub
I shared with Gaby and Kerri this weekend my theory that 14 is the important year in a girl's musical development; our future coolness hinges on our ability to seek out good music at this delicate age. On my 14th birthday I used my Harmony House (remember them?) gift certificates to purchase three CDs: Fugazi's Steady Diet of Nothing, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub. If this was all you knew about me, you'd know enough.

7. Ballad of the Sin Eater - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Ted sings "And the French Foreign Legion / You know they did their best / But I never believed in T.E. Lawrence / So how the hell could I believe in Beau Geste, huh?" and Annamaria swoons. Every. Fucking. Time. I'm the most literate whore you'll ever know.

8. Bill Hicks - Hammell on Trial
I've heard exactly two Hammell on Trial songs (this and a cover of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues), and I love them both so much I'm terrified to find anything else by this guy--what if they aren't as brilliant? Someone go download a bunch of his songs and allay my fears, would you?

9. This Years Girl - Elvis Costello
Early in his career, Elvis Costello was often accused of extreme misogyny, a charge that I find ridiculous when listening to something like This Years Girl (et tu, E.C.? Can no one use an apostrophe correctly?!) compared to most of the unfettered woman-hating that passes as Top 40 these days. That said, there is something rather disturbing about the relish with which he delivers the line "you want her broken with her mouth wide open." I figure within the year, Mr. MacManus was firmly within the clutches of the insipid Bebe Buell, so he's been punished for this song enough.

10. Think (Let Tomorrow Bee) - Sebadoh
This is the most agonizingly painful song EVER. When I was 19 and my first college boyfriend that I didn't even like that much broke up with me (He broke up with me! He was madly in love with me for two years before I finally deigned to go out with him, and he broke up with me!), I listened to this song on a nonstop loop for nearly a week before my friends finally staged an intervention. I think they were concerned that if the break up didn't drive me to suicide, the song surely would.

Your turn!

PS: In case you didn't notice, the FRT is also fully downloadable. Updated: links are gone. If there's a song that you really, really want, let me know and I might be nice enough to put it back.


annamaria at 7:46 AM

11 spoke


Maybe I should get married...

...if only to have a convenient excuse to change my last name. After all, it's been uttered by both Michelle Malkin and Dawn Eden this week. I feel dirty.


annamaria at 7:24 PM

0 spoke